This Week’s Feature Author Interview with
Hi Tom Benson, 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.
In 1969 at the age of 17, I left my native Glasgow to join the British Army. My military career spanned from 1969 to 1992. I followed this with a career in Retail Management, from 1992 to 2012.
I’ve been writing since 2007. I’ve published novels, short story anthologies, novellas, and a series of anthologies of genre-based poetry. I am presently working on another novel, an anthology of short stories, and two series.
When not writing, I draw or paint, and last year I revived my interest in cycling.
When did you start writing and why?
I started writing my military memoirs in the mid-90’s, having finished my army service in ’92. It took a couple of years to complete the manuscript because of my full-time job. I felt the story might be okay, but the writing was terrible. I left it aside and concentrated on my day job.
Last year I resurrected my attempt at military memoirs and they are now being rewritten as fact-based fiction in a five-part series: ‘A Life of Choice’. The first three parts are available on Amazon.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
Beyond The Law: Formation. My principal character in the story is Phil McKenzie aka Hawk. I wrote an experimental poem about ‘Hawk’ in 2008, which featured an ex-Special Forces soldier who returned to the UK after his service. He assessed the state of lawlessness and resolved to become a vigilante. I went on to create a poetry series of the character. In 2010, I used the story as the basis for my first attempt at the NaNoWriMo (Write a novel in a month). I followed this by working on the idea for a year and produced the novel.
I have since published the sequel, Beyond The Law: Retribution, and my main project at present is the third in the trilogy – Beyond The Law: Consequences.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I created a working title. From the moment I start writing a story I’m alert to any word or phrase which I believe captures the essence. My tale was first published as Beyond The Law, but to extend it to a trilogy the main title required suitable sub-titles.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did your design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
I created the original cover. When I’d received feedback on the book and cover I contacted Aimee Coveney of Author Design Studio. I sent her notes about the story and the location. I needed something mysterious, but which said ‘Glasgow’. Aimee produced several solutions. Complete with professional cover, sales rose dramatically, and the book still sells well.
What are some of the themes of your story?
Loyalty, violence, vengeance, bravery, and denial of emotion, but the over-riding theme is summary justice.
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?
My process has evolved with the experience of each book since 2012.
- Consider an idea I’ve had. This might take hours, days or weeks to develop.
- Make notes in my pocket notebook. These will include lead character’s name, a conflict, and the working title.
- Consider a starting point and write various options.
- Get the first draft written.
I write the first draft rapidly, and leave it aside for a month. While working on other projects I use my notebook regarding the novel. I read the novel, amending and editing a hard copy after a month. This sequence will happen several times. I create chapter names during the editing process.
When the manuscript is ready, I use a grammar/spelling programme before I send copies to beta readers. I study their comments, and amend where required. I contact my designer and confirm with notes what I’d prefer. Aimee provides several solutions within a week.
I format my own work, which helps me to spot the occasional issue. I leave the manuscript aside for a week, print it, and read a hard copy aloud before I make final amendments and publish.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
Beyond The Law trilogy finds Phil, who is ex-SAS, a man’s man and capable of anything. He’s good-looking, but not vain. Annabel is his sidekick. She is in her 30’s, and hot on several levels, and of course she’s deadly. Rachel is a younger version of Annabel, and in many ways sees herself as Annabel’s protégé.
A Life of Choice (series) features Jim, who is loosely based on me. Jim’s story is fictional, but heavily based on fact.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Wilbur Smith, Jeffrey Archer, Chris Ryan, Lee Child, and Frederick Forsyth.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
Beyond The Law: Consequences (final part of BTL trilogy), A Life of Choice: Part Four (a five-part series), Highland Games – 3: An Erotica Novella (a five-part series).
If you could have any super powers what would they be?
To exist without sleep – so I could write for longer each day.
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
New Zealand. It looks like Scotland, but with a better climate.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
Living somewhere in the Scottish Highlands, with a good broadband connection, and a steady income from my catalogue of books.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview. Take a minute and check Tom Benson out on the links below.