Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcome, Sara Benfit

1: Thank you so much for being here, Sara. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

I started writing seriously about five years ago when I set all the excuses I had aside, and made writing one of my priorities. I’ve always had that urge to write stories in the back of my mind, but told myself it would be a waste of my time; that I had children to raise, housework to do, and that nobody would understand my dream to write.

2: What inspired you to write?

I’ve been a voracious reader of all genres since childhood, and the more I read, the more I wished that someday, I could write a story that would draw a reader in, and move them, as many authors have done to me.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I really enjoy the research, learning things about our world, and our history that I didn’t know before. And of course I love the actual writing, especially when I get into a good scene. The thing I least like about writing...commas, definitely commas.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

Well reading is top on my list, but gabbing with my family is right up there. Our three young adult children are all so varied in their own aspirations and talents, that I enjoy listening to their ideas, and about their daily adventures. The funny thing is, my children all have a much better sense of humor than I had at their age, and they can make me laugh. Which is exactly what I need on a daily basis. I also love to travel, but now that I’m writing all the time, I will have to settle for traveling through my characters. We do love to camp, and we get away a couple times a year to the beach or the other side of Mt. Hood.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

There are sooo many, but Dean Koontz and Stephen King are the two authors I cut my young adult teeth on, and I still read their work. I discovered romance later than most, and it wasn’t sweet romance, Tami Hoag is one of my idols, as well as Nora Roberts and Diana Gabaldon. I also love adventure/medical/science novels, and will dearly miss Michael Chricton and his work. Other authors include Ann Hoffman, Ann Rice, Lisa Jackson, Linda Howard, Tess Garrettsen, Sandra Brown, Catherine Delors, and recently Ted Dekker. There are many others whom I’ve not mentioned, and whom I would like to branch out and read.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

That I’m approachable. I have vowed to never forget, that all of us were newbies at some point in our lives, whether a new mother (motherhood can be so hard at times), or a new registered nurse (full of knowledge and ideals), or a new writer/author. It is our duty, for those of us who have been there, done that, to guide and mentor the up and coming...

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

My debut novel, The Lycan Moon will be released from Muse It Up e-publishing, April 2011. It is about a cursed werewolf from seventeenth century Europe, whose quiet life is upended when a Seattle columnist comes to his town looking for a legendary, and immortal werewolf. The columnist is really a witch who believes she’s been chosen to end the poor guy’s curse. There is of course all sorts of chemistry, and the sparks literally fly when they collide.

My website is:

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Read books in the genre you’d like to write. Write at first without regard for grammar and polishing, just get the story and emotions down on paper. The writing flaws will be smoothed out and realized with each revision, don’t be afraid of ‘slashing and burning’, if a scene doesn’t add to the story and move it along, then put it in your deleted scenes file. The polishing will come (of course before you submit it to an agent or editor). Also join a writing group, whether local or on-line. The critiques and knowledge you will gain from others, is invaluable. Oh and don’t forget the yearly Online Muse Conference, it’s in October, it’s online, and it’s free!

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

No not really, I suppose there are composites of types of people in my stories, but I generally go out of my way to not emulate anyone I know, or have met.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

Angels, ghosts, demons, witches, and other paranormal aspects, in a story which is grounded in our modern day, fascinate me. The idea of something beyond our understanding intersecting with our mundane lives is what drives my stories. And did I mention, I gotta have some romance too.

Sitting on my bookshelf all these years is a book on werewolves, by Sabine Baring-Gould, which my father gave me when I was younger. I guess I always had a werewolf story in the back of my mind because of that book. And the witch in this story, was inspired by the horrific accounts of the European witch trials which occurred in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

11: What are you currently working on?

I’m revising the first novel I ever wrote, about angels and demons, and working on the world building and outline of my third novel about a harpist. I also am itching to start researching for a sequel to The Lycan Moon.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I work full time as a registered nurse in my alternate life, with a background in Emergency Room nursing. I love what I do, but I have to admit, now that writing has its hooks in me, I would like to dedicate more time to it.

Thank you so much Roseanne for having me today! You’re my first interview!

Excerpt: The Lycan Moon-Unedited

Sitting in the back office of his charter shop, Calen scrolled through the Seattle Times archives while nursing a beer. Rick had gone home to his houseboat on Young’s Bay hours ago, and Noah had retired to his upstairs apartment. Noah enjoyed a quiet life these days, having been a coast guardsman for thirty years of his life, ‘back in the day’. Other than the occasional date with Mildred Swenson, he spent most evenings, reading mystery and adventure novels.

Calen however, had been too restless to go home. He needed to find out more about the lovely, and compelling Dana Pierce. He’d been reading through her weekly health columns for two hours now. Articles, on herbs, acupuncture, foods, environmental toxins, vitamins, imagery, and healing, using ‘laying on hands’ technique, were combined with commentaries on the latest therapies in traditional medicine, and with it the controversies, pertaining to health. She wrote with a blend of humor and personal caring that Calen was sure appealed to a large audience.

He saw that she was going to be a guest speaker at a Seattle Times-Sorrell Fundraiser for Foster Kids next week, and he wondered for the hundredth time that day, what it would take to distract the woman from her current quest.

Reading her written word had conjured up an unwelcome vision of the woman he’d met, although informally, that afternoon. Well he hadn’t really introduced himself, and in fact, he was quite sure he couldn’t have been more rude. But when he’d laid eyes on her...he’d had to rely on good old anger, to override the other sensations she had stirred up within him.

Without a doubt, he’d been rocked by that face. Velvet cream skin, adorned naturally with full generous lips that had looked soft as rose petals, and eyes that reminded him of green jasper.

Her almond shaped eyes had at first, registered surprise, then defiance, when he’d gotten in close. Her face framed by messy short raven hair which barely brushed her jawline, and on her chin he’d noted a ghost of a cleft which he’d wanted to taste right then and there.

No, he still couldn’t account for his lack of civil behavior toward the woman, except that he’d been too busy battling the overwhelming scent of her. It had been like an aphrodisiac of smell.

And combined with her beauty, it had taken everything he’d had, not to grab her as she’d brushed past him in her haste to leave the restaurant.

After lunch, Rick and he had gone out on an afternoon run. Though the sea air had cleared his senses, he’d still had difficulty getting her face out of his mind. And the ‘legend’ she’d spoken of, well now that was something else again. The last thing he wanted, was her snooping around resurrecting painful memories. Unfortunately though, he’d seen the determination in her intelligent eyes, and knew she wouldn’t be deterred easily.

That afternoon, he’d casually found out from Shauna Hansen at Astoria Realty where Ms. Pierce was staying. A little beach bungalow just across the bay in Warrenton.

He was going to have to put a clamp on his primal response to the woman however, if he was going to keep an eye on her.

Then there was the other problem which had been weighing on him since last night, the murdered woman in Neah-Kah-Nie forest, and the ‘thing’, he’d tracked and lost. He’d been fortunate at first, finding the beast’s trail again south of the sheer drop off, but when he’d backtracked down and around the rocks below to catch the scent again, he’d been unsuccessful. The worst part about it however, was that he couldn’t tell Elias the truth. He’d have to lie to his friend, and go along with the black bear theory.

The niggling in his brain, that trouble was just beginning, merely added to the dread that his own history, a history he’d painstakingly erased over the decades, was about to resurface like a corpse in a flooded graveyard.


Karen McGrath said...

Great interview, Sara! Best wishes with your writing!

Marva said...

It's good to meet the MuseItUp authors via this blog.

Sara: Working full time and writing? Wish I'd had your energy. Good for you!

S.Durham said...

Thanks, Karen and Marva for stopping by. Yes I'm scheming ways in which to invent more time for writing!


Janie Franz said...

Sara, It was great getting to know you! Congrats on your new book and much success on more coming from your creative muse.

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

Hey, Sara, waving wildly here. hi and congrats on you new book and being a member of the museitup family.

S.Durham said...

Thank you Janie and Larriane! I love this muse family and hope to settle in for the long haul...


Arlene said...

Great cover, and I love the premise of a were that's immortal, you've hooked another one. Thanks for sharing yourself with us, Sara.

S.Durham said...

Roseanne, again thank you for the opportunity to be on your blog, it was great fun!