‘What does No Book to Finished book Look Like? Part 3 with Raymond Benson, Author

My Interview with best-selling author, Raymond Benson (part 3).  It’s always a thrill for me when busy, well-known authors are so generous with their answers that I must serialize the interview.  Don’t miss Part 1 or 2.

Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like? 

Raymond at the keyboard
Raymond at the keyboard

A. There is no set in stone process that writers should follow except the process they fashion themselves—the process that works for them. As I said (see Part 2), I happen to outline, it’s part of my process. I know writers who don’t outline, and that’s part of their processes. Everyone is different. That said, you do have to develop a process, and it must be a productive one, for the most important thing about writing a finished book is to indeed finish it.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters ?

A. My books tend to be plot-driven—I think of the storyline before I cast it with characters. They develop with the story, usually. This hasn’t always been the case. With The Black Stiletto, the character came first. My literary manager and I were having lunch one day, and he advised me to create something women would like, since the vast majority of book-buyers were women. I facetiously suggested creating a female superhero, and we laughed for a minute. And then he said, “You know, that’s not a bad idea.” At the same time, I already had a story brewing in my mind about a grown man who discovers some dark secret about his dying mother (who has Alzheimer’s). I didn’t know what that secret was yet. So I put the two ideas together. The dark secret was that the man’s mother was once a masked vigilante known as The Black Stiletto, who was active in the late 1950s and early 60s, and then mysteriously disappeared. As a result, there are five Black Stiletto books that tell this woman’s tale—in many ways she was a feminist before that word was in our vernacular. And then there is my tie-in work—of which I do a lot—where I’m given the characters or the universe or the actual plots. For example, I wrote six original James Bond novels, and three movie novelizations. In a case like that, the character is set, and the writer’s job is to create original plots and villains.

Q. What inspired your story/stories ?

A. Various things. With the Bonds, I’d study a map of the globe and note the hotspots the United Kingdom would be concerned about. By zeroing in on a country and its history, and England’s motivation for being there, I usually found a plot tied in to real-world events in history or the present. With my own novels, I’m usually inspired by news stories I’ve heard, true crimes, or, more often than not, just my imagination.

Q. When is your next book coming out? (or) What are you working on?Raymond in Houston

Raymond in Houston


A. The fourth Black Stiletto book, The Black Stiletto: Secrets & Lies will be published in January 2014. The fifth and final book, The Black Stiletto: Endings & Beginnings, will be published November 2014. In between is a Mystery Writers of America anthology I co-edited (with Jeffery Deaver) and contributed to: Ice Cold—Tales of Intrigue From the Cold War, featuring a number of terrific authors.

Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`?

A. I’ve written thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, horror, historical fantasy, and non-fiction. What else is there? 🙂 I have no burning desire to write romance. I suppose attempting to write a novel-novel, one of those “Great American Novels,” the kind Oprah talks about and becomes a worldwide bestseller—I haven’t done that yet!

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

A. You can find out everything you wanted to know about me, but were afraid to ask, at my website www.raymondbenson.com. You can learn more about the Black Stiletto, see videos, hear Black Stiletto music, and read a free teaser short story, at www.theblackstiletto.net. Find me on Facebook. Oh, and a recent series of blogs I wrote go into more detail about my writing process and the things I’ve learned about writing… by writing. You can access Blog Benson through my website.

  Missed Part one or twoClick here

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!     Raymond Benson will be my January author. In the coming months, Andrew Grant, Janet Evanovich, Barbara Delinski, Loretta Chase and Sherryl Woods will join us.  Dean Koontz just granted me an interview and will be featured here this spring!

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