Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Jen Benjamin, author of Follow Me Home.
About the author:
Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).
Hello, Jen. Thank you for being here today.
Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?
Oh, ambition! Such a strong word for someone as scatterbrained as I am! I love to write and while it would be fabulous to make a living making up stories, I can safely say that my only immediate ambition, as far as writing goes, is to entertain anyone who happens to read my stories.
Which writers inspire you?
There are and have been so many great writers. It’s hard to narrow it down and my writing skills are nothing in comparison with my favorite writers. I think the first writer who struck me with the beauty of her words was Madeleine L’Engle. She was the master of, not showing me, not telling me, but making me feel a story.
Tell us about your book?
Follow Me Home is a romantic comedy/chick lit story about a (what else?) writer named Katie who is thrust into Hollywood life when her novel becomes a film. She is a fish out of water in so many ways as everything she’s familiar with is yanked out from under her. And she wasn’t even blessed with the good hair gene to help her navigate life with silky, smooth confidence. Follow Me Home is a story that will hopefully allow people to see the humor in every-day life as Katie awkwardly navigates her new environment. And there’s men. Attractive men.
How long did it take you to write it?
Well, it was a project for National Novel Writing Month, an event during which writers torture themselves by writing an entire novel in a month. The reward is the satisfaction of knowing that you’re capable of doing this. So…Follow Me Home took one grueling November to write.
Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?
I have a second romantic comedy coming out in April called Quick, Fast and in a Surrey. It’s about Annie Gallagher who is a museum curator, surrey cart driver, fashion lover and believer in Fate. When a handsome historian comes to Annie’s small Oklahoma town, she’s sure Fate delivered him there just for her. Or maybe Satan did. It was probably Fate. It had to be Fate.
Why have you chosen this genre?
The chick lit writing style is a nice break for my mind. It’s written in present tense and flows like a natural thought pattern which can be flowery prose or fragmented musings. It’s a lot of fun.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always liked to write just to amuse myself. I like to daydream and writing is making something out of whimsy.
Why do you write?
It’s an escape and it feel constructive at the same time. Like, yes, I’m crazy but look what I made with my craziness.
Where do your ideas come from?
A lot of my ideas come straight from insomnia. They are born from random things I think when I’m lying awake at night. Other times it’ll be a song lyric or a little anecdote that my mind just builds a story around.
How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?
I am learning to use the computer for writing. Obviously I know how to use a computer but I used to always write by hand. It’s harder for me to feel connected to a computer screen like I feel connected to a pen and paper. But it’s more efficient to use the computer, so I’m now making myself do it.
What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?
That’s a hard question! I’m going to go with:
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
And we’ll say those authors are my favorite five, too. Ask me again tomorrow and things may have changed.
How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
I’m not very disciplined at making myself write when I don’t feel like it. I need a taskmaster to threaten me. Deadlines are great taskmasters. But I’ve found that if I just sit down and do it, the words flow.
What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?
Be your own taskmaster! Don’t be as lazy as I am! Just do it!
Thank you, Jen, for all your interesting answers!
About The Book:
When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.
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