Not so long ago, I sent Brooks Benjamin, a.k.a. the most amazing and the friendliest author, a set of questions for an interview, and he did it with heartfelt and unique answers that have left me awestruck probably. If you don’t know this person, he’s a middle grade author of the book stated at the title. And honestly, he is very, very, very, very friendly. Also, amazing which I have mentioned earlier. Very amazing.
Brooks is represented by the fantabulous Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary.
1. What/Who inspired you to write?
Every author I read growing up. Whether they wrote books, comics, TV shows, movies, or the dialogue in a video game, they nudged me closer and closer to the moment when I finally picked up a pencil and attempted to string a few creative words together for myself. No joke, the very first “serious” piece I ever wrote was video game fanfiction. I loved the game Golden Axe so I wrote a short story about this kid who finds a unicorn in his woods and when he touches it, it teleports him into this world where Death Adder (the bag guy from the game) is terrorizing a medieval town, so my main character has to find a way to stop him. I actually entered the story into a competition and ended up winning first place, so that basically convinced me that 1) Golden Axe was the absolute best video game ever created and 2) my words might not be completely rubbish.
2. What is the title of your favorite book?
Oh my gosh, what an unfair question! Seriously, how can a person pick their favorite? That’s like asking someone to pick their favorite food (pizza) or drink (Virgil’s Dr. Better) or TV show (tie between The Office, seasons 2-4 and Dr. Who, the eleventh Doctor). *clears throat* Okay, so maybe that’s not too hard. But for books, it is. At least for me. But only because I’m the world’s most useless critic when it comes to books. I can find something I absolutely adore in everything I read. So I think for this question, instead of pleading the fifth, I’ll mash up some of my most loved novels into one long title: Simon Vs. the Vigilante Snicker Holes of Terabithia’s MosquitoWinger (starring Nate Foster).
3. Do you eat when writing? If so, what do you eat?
I write every single morning, so I’m always noshing on some toast when I write. But more importantly, I’m drowning the Army of Writer’s Block in mass amounts of black coffee.
4. What is your least favorite thing to do?
Like as it pertains to writing? Probably having to stop in the middle of a really good scene because I have to go to work. That’s the worst. I’m always afraid I’ll never get that momentum back or I’ll forget the brilliant little spark that made those words so magical or I’ll come back home and find the characters have taken over my laptop and turned my latest manuscript into a recipe for steamed broccoli casserole.
As it pertains to life? Eating steamed broccoli casserole.
5. When you are not writing, what do you do?
I’m always reading. But that’s probably a given. Other things I love doing are playing video games (I’m a huge fan of open-world RPGs), going to the movies, watching TV, shopping (shoes are my weakness), going on road trips with my wife and finding quaint, little BnBs to stay in.
6. What is your all-time favorite movie and TV show/series?
I probably should have read this entire list of questions before I answered that second one. But, oh well. Editing is hard, so I’ll leave my favorite TV show up there and use this space to build a sort of literary altar to the absolute greatest movie of all time: Ghostbusters. It’s just wonderful. I can’t get over how happy that movie makes me. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But my childhood revolved around Peter Venkman, Ecto I, and Slimer. Every time I watch it is a full-on dropkick into the land of nostalgia.
7. Give your best ‘one’ word to describe your upcoming book: My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights.
8. What’s the feeling that your upcoming book will almost finally be released?
This stomach-churning gut flutter of “OMG YAY THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING!” and “OMG I’M SO NOT READY FOR THIS!” with a healthy dose of satisfaction, pride, anxiety, and fear mixed in. But all of that swirled together makes for a very pleasant sensation.
9. Can you give an advice to aspiring writers out there?
I certainly can! It’s probably advice they’ve heard a million times before, but writers saying it and knowing it’s been said that many times already just makes it that much more important to listen to. My biggest piece of advice is this: Keep writing what makes you happy. Don’t let anyone tell you that the story in your head isn’t worth telling. After all, when we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, we’re doing it for ourselves. The characters, the dialogue, the humor, the sadness are ultimately going to come from a place deep inside of us. And those bits of our soul we pour out onto a page are all beautiful, relevant, and momentous. Whether you’ll be sharing your words with the world or keeping them to yourself, write them. They deserve it, and more importantly so do you.