Today I’m interviewing fellow brummie Lee Benson, who writes quirky poetry and children’s books, plus humorous novels and some nonfiction too.
Tell us something about your books.
The books are about a chap who opens an art gallery, employing strong predatory female staff who are able to look after most customers, some get through and some of the artists are a little crazy. However fueled with copious amounts of wine, the owner successfully survives in the retail world, that is till the landlords decide to force closure and our gallery owner becomes an artist; thereby watching the world and its inhabitants from the other side of the counter.
What inspires you to write? Who are your favorite writers?
I was told I was too astute in school, I would try to fit anything on to one sheet of paper. Basically I never really enjoyed school, however with lots of life’s experiences and adventures, I decided to put pen to paper and be creative with the observations of over thirty years in the art game. My hero is Spike Milligan and I am partial to Bernard Conwell and Neville Shute.
How do you start writing? Do you have a process or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
I have to sit quietly somewhere I can lose myself in thought, then I just connect and begin writing from inside the story as if I am reliving the episode. It is sometimes quite exhausting, for example writing about driving to Scotland to set up and run an art fair stand, party hard afterwards and drive back, all in my head but the feeling was real … luckily I didn’t have a real hangover.
How has your writing process changed since you started writing?
I don’t believe it has, being dyslexic has its challenges as I hate the editing part and words and pages fly off and I get lost.
How long does it normally take you to write, and what proportion of the time is spent doing what?
Each novel has taken a year from start to finish, the writing is the most enjoyable bit, but you can’t have pleasure without the pain.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
In addition to stories, I write poems or prose or poems that don’t rhyme, I don’t care, and I write most of these on my trusty iPhone using the notes app, then send it to email to check over.
You can write anywhere in this manner and seeing as my handwriting is near on illegible, this method is a saving grace, plus I can read my notes back.
Do you involve other people in your writing, as collaborators or editors? How do you make this work?
I read out chapters to my wife who has a good ear and comments on if it doesn’t feel right. She tends to be right as well.
Do you have any writing tips you’d like to share with readers?
I think it is important to read out what you right, even record it and listen, as it does make you hear things differently. Apart from that, I rarely rewrite complete chapters, that is so far, and have enjoyed writing these three stories. Always write what you like, as I started a murder mystery and hated it, actually it was too scary for my liking, strange that one can petrify oneself. Here’s to my next children’s story, should be much more fun.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Lee. You can find out more about Lee’s writing on his website.