Within the Indie Author Hub, you can learn about other authors, their thoughts and opinions, what makes them tick and how their writing process works for them.
All this week I will be releasing segments of an interview I conducted with fellow author, Ben Hale, author of Fantasy series, The Chronicles of Lumineia. Have a look at his profile and books here.
Part 1 : Ben’s life as an Author
What inspired you to become an author? The idea for my series began when I was 12. At the time I would read before bed every night, and one night I created my own story. It turned out to be a relaxing way to fall asleep, so every night I added a piece to the tale. Over time it became something like a movie that I would watch in my mind. Fifteen years later my wife asked why I fell asleep so fast. As I shared it with her I was astonished to realize that the story was complete. At her encouragement I began to write. When I hit ten chapters I realized it wouldn’t fit in a single novel, and the Chronicles of Lumineia were born.
What did you read as a 12 year old? I read a variety of books, including fantasy. The Sword of Shannara was one of my favorites. Oddly, my favorite author is a little known writer by the name of Gordon Korman. Many of his older books were out of print even then, but I managed to get a small collection together. I still laugh when I read his work. Funniest stuff I’ve ever read.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would you be? A snowboarder.
Do you write full time? I do now. With the growth of my series I decided to sell my previous businesses and make the transition. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. In college I started an irrigation contracting business, and by the time I graduated it was flourishing. Later I added a vending machine business. I’ve never been afraid of getting my hands dirty or working hard, but I must admit that writing is better than digging ditches.
Where do you write? At home. I prefer desktop computers over laptops, so my favorite writing place is really my only writing place. I have a small office at home that I do nearly all of my writing. However, my favorite place to outline is the bookstore. I love the smell and feel of a new book. Regardless of how big e-books get, I will still prefer print over digital for my favorite novels. Sometimes writing at home gets chaotic (I have 4 kids including a newborn), but if it does I put in some headphones and listen to some music. Cake, Incubus, and other bands are my favorites, but not always. I find that the music I choose reflects the writing of the moment. Fast paced music for action scenes, slower ballads for conversation, etc. When I feel inspired I have written up to 8,000 words in a day. When I am stuck I spend more time on research or marketing, or playing video games. (My wife isn’t quite convinced that counts as research yet). If I have a book well outlined I can write it in a couple of months. When I am working on a new novel, a chapter a day is my primary goal.
Before writing, do you plan your books? I am somewhere in the middle. I plan an outline, and then go from there. If I know generally what happens in a scene, the writing flows much easier. My favorite is when I feel like the story and characters drive themselves. I recall a certain line from my second book, where a man makes a statement about his love interest. When I finished writing it I laughed, not because I had written something funny, but because he had.
How do you decide on your characters? I like to choose a characteristic from a certain person and then add attributes from others. As I am sure most authors do, there is usually a piece of myself in characters as well. None of my characters are real people.
How do you promote yourself? I have used KDP Select and facebook. The more my Facebook page grows, the more it increases my ability to connect directly with readers. There is nothing better than getting a message from a fan who just finished my book and is excited for the next one. I also believe that if a cover and description are intriguing enough, readers will buy it. I have sought to create a common theme between my book covers. This helps create a branding effect, and makes them more recognizable. I planned my first three covers before I commissioned the first.
In Part 2, Ben reveals his thoughts on the future of publishing.