A Chat with Raymond Benson, Author (part 2)

Raymond at the Spy Museum
Raymond at the Spy Museum

TS. ‘This photo speaks loudly about the rewards of overcoming procrastination, doesn’t it??’

Part 2 of 3 ** My Interview with Raymond Benson

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

A. If you don’t have a real deadline from an employer, then make one for yourself. Just tell yourself, “I’m going to finish this by the holidays,” or whatever, and stick to it. It takes discipline, and you might have to work at it, but hey, being a writer is, after all, a job.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing and for how long?

A. Never, because I take care of all the instances of getting lost during the Outline phase. I’m a firm believer in outlining a novel prior to writing it. I know many writers don’t, and that works for them, but for me, I find it to be an invaluable tool. I spend a month or two on it, and it’s in that document I work out the plot, the twists and turns, the red herrings, and I structure the story into a dramatic piece, the entirety of which I can look at with a bird’s-eye view. It’s like doing a prose storyboard for the novel. Believe me, it’s easier to throw out a few paragraphs of an outline when you don’t like the way the story is going, than it is to throw out two or three chapters. So I do all of my hair-pulling and angst-spouting during the Outline phase, which then makes the longer, more tedious phase of Writing much easier.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

BlackStilettoCoverIsolatedColorA. My character The Black Stiletto became a muse after I created her. She was so much fun to write, I couldn’t wait to get back to giving her more to do. I just recently completed the fifth and last Black Stiletto book, though, so I’m searching for a new muse. If you know of any muses looking for work, let me know.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

A. I tell a joke—There was no money in theatre, so I became a writer. 🙂 Actually, though, I fell into writing, it wasn’t on my Grand Plan of Life, although I had written stuff as a kid and in college. It was several years later, when I was in Manhattan working as a theatre director and music composer, that I decided to write a book for fun, as a labor of love, because it was about a subject close to my heart. This was The James Bond Bedside Companion, first published in 1984. That made a left turn in my career path that I didn’t expect.

Q. How long after that were you published?

A. It took three years to complete The James Bond Bedside Companion from conception, getting a publishing contract, researching and writing the book, and eventual publication after a series of unforeseen bumps in the road, such as the first publisher going out of business and having to sell their properties to a new one.

Q. What makes a writer great?

A. Who one reader thinks is great, another reader might not like at all. And vice versa. Who can say someone is “great” except when expressing one’s own opinion? Instead of saying, “that’s the best whatever,” I try to say “my favorite.” My favorite movies of the year, not the best movies of the year. No one is really qualified to say what is best. But I can tell you some of the authors I admire: Ian Fleming, Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Richard Adams, Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, Greg Iles, Will Graham, Tess Gerritsen, Philip K. Dick, William Kent Krueger… that’s just off the top of my head.

Don’t Miss Part 3 of this fascinating Interview  January 14th.concert25

Click here to read Part 1

DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   “The Writer’s Corner”

In addition to my twice weekly blog I will also feature an interview with another author once a month. These authors have already responded and you can read their interviews by clicking on their name: Janet Evanovich, Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal,  Karen Robards, Mark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Tasha Alexander, Patrick Taylor, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Cathy Lamb, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Raymond Benson, Andrew Grant, Heidi Jon Schmidt, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, Walter Mosley, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!    Patrick Taylor joined us in November.  Heidi Jon Schmidt will be under your Christmas tree.  Raymond Benson will be my January author. Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. Janet Evanovich and Loretta Chase will be featured . Sherryl Woods is our Valentine author. Dean Koontz just granted me an interview and will be featured here this spring!

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