This Week’s Feature Author Interview with
Hi Becky Benishek, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website. Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what do you enjoy doing, hobbies and interests.
Hi! I’m Becky Benishek. I was born and raised in Wisconsin. I went to school here, I work here, and my family is here. Good thing I like it here! Besides writing, I love singing, playing with my guinea pig, doing logic puzzles, video games, beading, and Legos (I’m a builder).
When did you start writing and why?
I can’t remember when I haven’t been writing stories. It was just something I always did. I can picture that wide-ruled brown paper still! Somewhere I have my first poem, an ode to a cloud, written at age 7.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
Ooh, it’s hard to pick between “What’s at the End of Your Nose?” and “Dr. Guinea Pig George.” I had to flip a coin.
“What’s at the End of Your Nose?” happened when I saw a series of photographs about snails that uncovered a whole new world. And I thought, what if this were about just one snail, and this was that snail’s day? Suddenly I was writing the whole story from start to finish.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Originally, “What’s at the End of Your Nose?” was called “Sidney Snail’s Great Day.” I changed it right before it went to editing, because I wanted the title to be truly evocative of what happens in the story.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
My illustrator, Kelly Cline, drew her inspiration from the photographs and went on to really make Sidney his own snail. My other characters, Old Samuel Snail, Betty, and Beebee, equally came to life under her artistry.
On the cover, I feature one of the key adventures in the story.
A bonus feature of the paperback edition of “What’s at the End of your Nose?’ is that your child (and you) can color in the pictures! Kelly’s enchanting black and white drawings lend themselves admirably to colored pencils. I’ve done it myself to make sure.
What are some of the themes of your story?
We live in a fast-paced world with a lot of distractions. We so often miss what’s right in front of us–at the end of our nose!
I feel that it’s important for kids (and adults) to slow down, take a look around, and give the seemingly simpler things a chance. If you think about it, we’re surfeited with things to do, yet still find ourselves being bored. That’s probably because we often take a passive role to being entertained. All these options keep coming at us and we just have to sit back to be served.
But then we aren’t really choosing what to do, and so aren’t really finding what we’re looking for because we’re not actively looking. Sidney Snail’s whole journey begins the moment he actively decides to give his immediate world another try.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book? What is your process and do you have a system?
The trick is to forget about myself. If I’m saying, “I need to write,” then I’m not writing. If I’m thinking about myself at all, then I’m not writing. You have to forget about the “I” at the back of your head. Yet at those moments, I feel more “me” than at other times.
I have learned to my cost that when inspiration strikes, I’d better grab it or it’ll pass me by! That’s how “What’s at the End of Your Nose?” happened, definitely. It was early in the day, the house was quiet, I was hungry, yet there I was, caught in the grip of the story and writing furiously at the kitchen table.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
Jo March—struggling to fit in the world she was born in, she comes out on top despite various mishaps.
Laura Ingalls—perseverance, strength, and clear vision.
Alanna (Lion Quartet)—indomitable, plus sympathetic.
All of the Penderwicks in Jeanne Birdsall’s remarkable series because of how they’re such complete people.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love 18th and 19th century British authors and poets, such as Alexander Pope, Jane Austen, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Keats. I also love Elizabeth Peters, Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, F. Marion Crawford, Anne Pellowski, Lois Lowry, Richard Scarry, Miriam Young, Astrid Lindgren, Susan Cooper, Madeline L’Engle, John Donne, Yeats, and I’d better stop now or I never will!
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
Yes! I have a story about a very boastful dragon that is headed for illustrations. After that comes a story about a teeny tiny grey cat with a great big mission. I also have a monster who is very misunderstood, that I’m currently shipping to agents and publishers. And I have a pack of adult fiction short stories that are destined for a collection.
If you could have any super powers what would they be?
Ooh, I never could pick between invisibility and being able to fly. And being able to shoot electricity from my fingers, for reasons unknown.
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
Venice! I’ve been there twice; love it. And Australia, where I’ve always wanted to go.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
Sitting on top of a pile of my published books! Figuratively speaking, of course.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview. Take a minute and check Becky Benishek out on the links below.
Becky Benishek Goodreads