For my next interview, I have Ben Brown visiting on a one day stop. Ben is on holiday, but will be around to chat with readers.
A little bit about Ben before we start:
Ben Brown was born in Reading, England. He struggled through school academically. Diagnosed with dyslexia meant being removed from class to attend “remedial” lessons. Ben did not enjoy reading and writing, and left school early to work with his father as a builder. It wasn’t until his mid twenties that Ben persisted in teaching himself to read and finally read his first novel.
Ben emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in 1990 where he now lives with his wife and two teenagers.
He planned his first novel each day while working as a bricklayer, to pass the hours. His love of scientific facts, futuristic possibilities and fast-paced action is what makes his first novel a great read.
Ben and I are glad you joined us today. And to celebrate this occasion, Ben is giving away a coupon for a free copy of Enhanced on Smashwords and it's valid till the 31st of January.
Louise: Ben, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
Ben: Thank you for having me. I first decided to see if I could get Enhanced published after a friend at work read it. Of course, all my family told me how much they had enjoyed it, but he was the first, none-relative, to compliment the book. I think it was then, that I began to think it might be good.
Louise: Please tell a little about your new release Enhanced without giving too much of a spoiler away.
Ben: I like exploring breakthroughs in science, and opportunities that are just over the technological horizon. With that in mind, I find the field of genetic engineering, and stem cell research particularly intriguing. I heard of some research where scientists attempted to reverse engineer the DNA of chickens, turning some of their aspects back to reptilian states, namely teeth. This fascinated me. Then I thought, what if certain humans had ancient strands of DNA code, that when turned on, made them super human? Well, that idea blossomed into developing power hungry maniacs and the trials of those who needed to stop them.
The book follows the conflict around the world, as one side tries for world domination, and the other tries to stop them. It’s your classic struggle for humanity.
Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
Ben: I had a clear image of the four main protagonists, but everyone else just seemed to pop up as the story evolved. I would get excited as a new character would enter my head, I would never know exactly how each would develop. A good example of this is, Michael. When he first appeared in the book, I thought I knew what he was going to do. However, as the book grew, so did he. I found myself liking him more and more. He began to do things that made me change my original plans for him. He became one of my favorites, which took me by surprise.
Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
Ben: I researched this book a great deal; I wanted the places my protagonists visited, to be as accurate as possible. In fact, one of the people editing the book asked me, “When did you go to New York? Your descriptions of Ellis Island seemed so vivid.” I answered, “Never, I just read everything I could find about the place.” I applied this to all the aspects of the book, the scientific facts are just tweaked a bit, stretched for more effect. One of the things that I found hardest to find, was the catholic ritual of the last rights, I wanted this accurate. I ended up contacting a catholic monastery here in Perth, they kindly sent me it verbatim, and explained its origins, and meaning. I found the research heaps of fun, but hard at times. Accuracy is always an issue when researching on the net.
Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?
Ben: This is how I write; I make it up as I go along. For instance, the idea for Enhanced popped into my head, so I sat down and started writing. The story revealed itself to me with every key stroke. I had no idea at the beginning of the book, of how it would end. I write like that all the time, I find it as exciting as reading a book that I have never read. Plot twists, and characters suddenly appear to me, I don’t know what will happen next. It’s like I’m watching a movie in my head, and all I have to do is write it down.
Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?
Ben: Like most writers, I have to work; writing hasn’t made me rich yet. I work in construction, which I have done since I left school at fifteen. I have dyslexia, and left school all but illiterate, I didn’t finish high school. I worked in my father’s company in the UK, and then I immigrated to Perth at the age of twenty-three. With the help of my wife, and the aid of a PC, I learned to read thanks to sites like Project Gutenberg. The first book I ever read was an eBook, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I have an affinity for eBooks; I think they’re the future of publishing.
Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.
Ben: No, not really, that said, I always write in my study. Thanks to my dyslexia, I need complete silence to both read, and write. So I shut the door, pull the blinds, and just type.
Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.
Ben: Most of my real writing happens on a Sunday. I get up early, around 5.30am, and write for all it’s worth. I take breaks to watch a bit of TV, or listen to music, then back in to it again. During the week, I tinker with what I’ve written, fine tuning it.
Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?
Ben: Obviously, I’m working on the sequel to Enhanced, but I’m also writing a book following on from a short story I wrote. Rescue Unit 867a, won third place in a short story contest at, www.sfnovelists.com. I want to see what happens to John Saunders, the main character in Rescue Unit, three years down the track from where I left him.
I also have a book out called, Pohon Setan, you can find that on Amazon.
Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?
Ben: I like all sorts really, everything from Tolkien, to King. I like action packed books, Matthew Reilly, an Aussie author, is good at that genre. I also like another author found at AKW Books, John Bowers. I’ve read all of his many books. If you love action packed epics, then he’s your man.
Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?
Ben: Only this, give writing a go, it’s rewarding beyond belief. Don’t do it thinking you’ll be the next Stephen King, do it because it stretches the mind and the soul. Writing has helped to free me from my own self-doubts. Everything involved in getting Enhanced out there, has been a great experience, and one I will always hold close to my heart. I know that sounds a bit maudlin, but I mean it. Thank you for the opportunity of this interview, I’ve enjoyed it a great deal.
Louise: Thank you for visiting on my blog. And have a great holiday trip! Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?
Ben: The easiest place to find everything about my writing is my Web site. You can find links to both my books there, as well as samples of each. In addition, Rescue Unit 867a can be downloaded free from there.
Readers, don't forget to leave a comments with your email address included. One lucky commenter will be drawn for a free copy of Enhanced choice of eBook format at Smashwords.
Zac was just an ordinary man, in an ordinary town, with an ordinary life. He drudged through his existence with tedious resignation. That was, until he met the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, Lea Abella. He felt drawn to her, not just because of her beauty; she had something else. However, after she drugged him, and he woke in the secret lab of Dr. Henry Skinner, he felt those feelings may have been misplaced.
Zac had a rare and ancient DNA code, one that when unlocked by Dr. Skinner would enhance every cell in his body, changing him forever. Strength, endurance, senses, everything would improve immensely. In short, he would become — superhuman. However, there was a catch. Dr. Skinner had carried out the unlocking procedure a number of times before. The first“subject” had been his son. He’d unlocked Dominic’s code in an attempt to cure his insanity. Instead, he unleashed the biggest threat to humanity the world had ever seen. Dr. Skinner needed Zac’s abilities for one reason: he would be the only “subject” powerful enough to stop his son’s plans of world domination.
Zac, Lea, and a small team of crack soldiers, head out on a worldwide chase, a hunt that can end in only one of two ways: either stop Dominic and his band of enhanced psychopaths … or die trying.
This fast paced, action packed novel travels the globe in an adrenalin-filled race
against time. From the Berkshire Downs of the UK, to New York and Africa, the
tale moves from one breathtaking battle to the next.
Pohon Setan Blurb:
Chelsea Brown dreamt of being a journalist her whole life. Now, that dream was about to come true. She and her two friends, graduated university together, and were about to embark on their first assignment.
Under the guidance of veteran reporter, and alcoholic, Bill Redcliff, the group head to Java to investigate tales of disturbing animal cruelty. However, what they find is far more horrific, and Chelsea’s dream quickly turns into a nightmare.
Bradley Munroe, ex S.A.S, had made a lucrative living rescuing hostages from dangerous situations. The biggest challenge of his career now lay in Indonesia. Munroe would need to face something he’d never encountered before. It would push him to the limits of his formidable skills.
You can also find Ben on Twitter and his Blog.
Purchase Links for Enhanced:
Ben also has a sequel in progress, The Eden Hole, to his short story, Rescue Unit 867a, which can be downloaded free from his site. It follows the story of John Saunders three years after the disaster.