Author Interview – Ben Hale : Part 1

Author headshotWithin 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.

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