Ever wondered how to escape from Kansas?
Our interview is with an author who can answer yes to both those questions :-)
Without further ado, here’s Simone Benedict.
Let’s start with where you’re from, how old you are, and is Simone Benedict your real name?
I was born and raised in Kansas near the exact center of the continental United States. Currently, I’m living in the same place. I’m in my forties. Simone Benedict is one of my pen names. As happens with some fiction writers, I was categorized into a certain type of writing under other names. The new pen name has helped me to expand my writing into other areas.
When did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside back then?
I first began to write stories down when I learned cursive writing. I was telling tale tales long before then. I don’t remember feeling anything inside. It just seemed to be a part of who I was. A grade school teacher wrote on one of my papers, “You’re a great story teller!” Inside, I felt proud that she was impressed.
Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?
After I learned to read, I thought I could be a writer like the authors of the books. After being published, it felt good to walk into bookstores and find my work on the shelves. I felt like a writer at that point because my book was with other writers’ books.
What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?
At this stage in my life, I only hope to do my best. Like everyone, I would like to have one of my novels take off in an astonishing way. Yet, I think more than that I would feel a deep satisfaction if only one person was affected positively by my writing.
Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?
I didn’t pursue an M.F.A. The degrees I did pursue required a great deal of focused non-fiction writing. I always enrolled in creative writing classes as electives, but they were not of help to me other than requiring me to write. If I could do it over, I would take more care in selecting writing classes that were taught by good writers by reviewing their work before I enrolled in the class.
What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?
I believe there are two things that have taught me the most about how to write. Reading a lot of books is one. The other is my “hands on” and diverse life experiences. To most people it would seem my life has had no direction and I just hopped around like a vagabond. Of course I hopped around like that. I was busy gathering material. Over time I’ve worked and re-worked the material giving me the experience of how to write.
Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?
There are so many. My favorite authors include most of the well-known writers. Anais Nin’s Journals affected me because of her beautiful and open style. St. Teresa of Avila’s, The Interior Castle, also affected me because of her brilliant use of language (originally in Spanish) and imagery in describing that which can’t be seen and is not fully understood by anyone. Another author who comes to mind as a favorite is Willa Cather. I’ve always admired her strength in character development.
Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?
Most of my ideas begin over some situation I see in the real world. Through my writing I imagine other outcomes of the situation I see. Other times, a character comes to mind so I place him or her in small plots which gives me more ideas.
What is your normal revision or editing routine?
After writing, I re-read several times, and at least once aloud to make sure the words “sound” true. I then set it aside for up to a week if I can restrain myself from returning to it for that long. Then, I re-read for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. As I do this, I check for balance in paragraph length, chapter length, and making sure it “looks” right. After that, I place it in my done cabinet and move on to the next project.
Are you published?
I’ve been published. I don’t know when I’ll be published again because I haven’t set any goals. It isn’t something that’s important to me at this point. Writing is.
Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?
My blog is silly and sometimes absurd. On occasion, I write posts about writing or my thoughts about a book. I just go by the seat of my pants when deciding what to post. I don’t have a method. As I wrote in a past post, my hope is to eventually narrow the focus of my blog. I hope to stop the silliness and be more serious. I believe this will happen very soon.
Thanks, so much, Simone for taking the time for this interview! And, I hope you keep a little of that silliness in the blog :-)
I hope our readers will put a few questions for you in the comments!!
Folks, be sure to check out Simone’s blog :-)
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