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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Author Interview – Sunny Benson

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I enjoy reading and writing fast-paced mysteries with a humorous bent. I especially delight in plotting out interweaving mysteries and endeavor to surprise the readers with the associated twists.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? Authors who charmed me with their quirky characters and wacky stories, including Kim Harrison, Janet Evanovich, and Sarah Strohmeyer.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Keeping impatience at bay. I get so excited to see where the story will take me, it’s sometimes hard to slow down and describe the small details that may not be critical to the plot, such as the internal emotional state of the characters or the environment. I realize the importance of those details to the reader, but it’s an area for improvement.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? Persistence in proofreading and editing. The process of proofreading and editing a book takes far more time and effort than I ever imagined.

Have you developed a specific writing style? My stories tend to be quirky, fast-paced, and dialog heavy.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A small stream of water flowed from under Grandpa’s door and into the hallway. Oh boy, the fire alarm again. I knew I should have stopped buying Grandpa cigars after the last sprinkler system incident.

“I take it he set off the sprinkler system with his smoking,” I said.

“Not exactly.” The rest home director opened the door. “Take a look in the bathroom.”

My snow boots squishing on the slick tile floor, I stepped inside the silent room, ready for anything. Anything except for what I spotted when I opened the door to Grandpa’s bathroom. Flat black eyes peered at me from under an overflowing toilet, and a forked tongue taunted me. A scaly head flattened, a neck expanded, and a wild hissing emanated from the creature.

“Holy crap!” I said, closing the door and almost falling as I retreated from the room at warp speed. I wasn’t especially scared of snakes, at least the nonpoisonous varieties. As a kid on my grandparents’ farm, terrorizing my sister with garter snakes was one of my favorite pastimes. But the snake in Grandpa’s bathroom was no ordinary reptile. It sported a pink bonnet and a matching pink tube dress. No, I was scared because there was a distinct possibility Grandpa would be moving in with me.

How did you come up with the title? The title of the book is January Exposure. The word January evokes the cold, wintery time of year. The theme of exposure reoccurs throughout the book. The murder victim in the book dies of exposure to cold, the protagonist exposes the evildoers in the book, and the protagonist herself experiences exposure due to her perennially bragging mother and the media.

Can you tell us about your main character?  The protagonist, Ellie Craven, is highly intelligent, works as a chemist, and loves playing pickup hockey with guys twice her size.

Will you write others in this same genre? January Exposure is the first in a series of mysteries, and Ellie will grow into her detective skills as the books progress. In future books, I envision her taking detective classes, learning how to shoot a gun, signing up for martial arts instruction, and becoming a licensed private investigator.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? I use Fargo, North Dakota, the community I grew up in, as the main setting. Plus like the protagonist, I’m addicted to cheesecake and my mom is the original Iron Chef Cheesecake.

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Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG13

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