Interview with Linda Benson, author of
Six Degrees of Lost
1. What would YOU like your readers to know about you in general?
I was a late-bloomer. I wanted to be an author ever since second grade, but didn’t get around to it until much later in life. I’ve always loved reading and books, but it wasn’t until I went back to college at age 48 (and finished a Bachelor’s degree at age 52) that I had enough confidence to finally pursue that dream. Now I have four books published, and another one called WALKING THE DOG due for release in September 2012.
2. What was your favorite book as a child or teen?
When I was younger, I was enamored with books about horses. I lived, breathed, and dreamt horses and I made it a goal to read every single horse book that our public library carried. Fiction or non-fiction, it made no difference, I just wanted to learn and know all that I could about horses. Fast forward many years later: After a long career owning horses, I now not only write about them often, but I still love to read good horse fiction. Horses and reading about horses have been a life-long passion.
3. I find it interesting to know what environment people write in. Do they use a pen and paper, laptop? Quiet room, music or what? Dog at their feet? Cat on the desk?
I used to write at a desk. But since I got a laptop, I find I’m much happier (and my back is happier) sitting in a comfortable chair with my computer on my lap. Of course it’s a little difficult when one of my cats decides that it also wants my lap (and that’s quite often.) Music? I love all kinds of music, but when I’m working on a manuscript, I like it totally quiet, so I can listen to words in my head, and what my characters are telling me.
4. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I cannot seem to work with an outline, or pre-planned chapters. I usually start with a character who is speaking to me and wants their story told. No matter what I think the character or characters might do, when I set them free on the page, they pretty much do whatever they want. This is called being a “pantser,” an affectionate term for a writer who writes by the seat of her pants. Actually, for me it’s one of the great joys of writing: discovering what my characters will do next.
5. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In SIX DEGREES OF LOST, some of the events and characters who help lost animals find their way home were based on a network of caring people here in my own country neighborhood, who call each other whenever we see a lost dog, strange cat, or even runaway livestock. This is a subplot in the novel, but it was definitely based on my experiences.
6. Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others?
The two main characters in SIX DEGREES OF LOST are two teens, David and Olive, who both had a story to tell. I decided to let them have equal billing, and they each narrate alternate chapters. This made for some interesting moments in writing, to see who would tell what part of the story, and still keep the plot moving forward at all times. I think it worked well, though, and this story belongs equally to Olive and to David. They each have their own set of problems, and after they meet and become friends, at one point those problems collide.
7.What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order?
Neither Olive or David drink coffee yet. Does Starbuck’s have a large hot-chocolate-y sort of thing?