Writer’s Window: Lori Benton
Aren’t we all curious about the people who read/comment on the same blogs we do? Well, that’s how I started getting to know today’s featured writer, Lori Benton. I’ve known Lori for a couple of years now, and I’m finally going to get to meet her face to face at this year’s ACFW conference!
Lori blogs about the writing journey/process/industry at Past Perfect.
What do you like best about being a writer?
- Discovering my characters with all their nobility and failings, and falling madly in love with them.
What do you like least about being a writer?
- The hardest part of the writing process for me is the first draft of a scene. Once I have something down on the screen my brain unclenches and I feel more like a kid at play. Until then, it’s mostly like pushing rocks uphill with my brain. While I can’t say I dislike it, I like it much better at the end of the work day than I do those first few minutes in the morning when I sit down to the computer.
Pop, Soda, or Coke? What do you call it, and what’s your favorite variety?
- Soda. I’m a Coke girl, but don’t drink it often.
Describe your favorite pair of shoes.
- It’s summer, so it’s sandals (I can’t stand wearing socks and shoes in summer). They’re Skechers and they look like something you could go hiking in. Wide, distressed leather straps connected by stretchy bits, closed toe. If it was winter, it would be a pair of Mudd ankle boots with fat high heels that make me look tall but don’t make me topple over.
What’s the most fun/interesting/crazy/scary/unique hands-on research you’ve done for a book?
- Nothing too crazy or scary. I took a road trip with a friend from Wisconsin down to Tennessee and North Carolina and back, visiting many of the locals where my novel, Kindred, is set. Meeting sweet little old Hazel at the Hot Springs, NC, visitor center (it was a red train car), who gave us both a cow magnet that still lives on my fridge, and then trying to find Paint Rock along the French Broad River, will live on as one of my favorite memories.
Candles. We all have them. But do you burn them? What scents are your favorite?
- I burn them in the cooler months. I like vanilla, bayberry, or anything with an autumn-cinnamon spice to it.
Have you ever re-gifted something someone’s given you?
- Oh sure.
If you were to write a novel about what your life would have been like if you’d become what you wanted to be at eight years old, what kind of character would the story be about?
- A biologist who lives in Montana with the wolves she is studying.
What makes you happy?
- Seeing or even sensing God’s hand at work in me, or those I’m linked to. Oh heck, even in the lives of characters in the stories I read and write. Nothing else is so joyful. Little Debbie Boston Crème Rolls also make me happy.
What makes you nervous?
- Being the center of attention in a group for more than about twenty seconds. I’m much better about this now. I used to have a ten second limit.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
- The best advice I’ve received might seem a no-brainer, but it’s crucial. There’s no shortcut to growth as a writer. If you want to increase in skill, you have to write. Not now and then when inspiration strikes, but daily, or nearly so. Make it a habit, a routine, a lifestyle. The second best advice I’ve received is, be a reader, one that devours book like others do caffeine. So there you have it: write, read… repeat.
What’s your biggest dream for the future?
- I really would like the experience of holding a published novel of mine in my own little trembling hands.
Tell us about what you’re currently writing (or your newest release, or both).
- My agent is submitting Kindred, set in 1793 North Carolina: When the master’s nephew returns to Mountain Laurel, the boundaries between the big house and the slave quarter are irrevocably breached, and a slave finds her lifelong secret perilously exposed.
And I’m working on The Quiet in the Land (working title: Willa), set in 1784 New York: A young woman returns from Indian captivity to find she must disprove a charge of treason to save her family’s land from confiscation, forcing a frontier town still reeling from a devastating revolutionary war to divide once more over hatred, fear and prejudice.
Willa is a companion book of sorts to Kindred, set in the same fictional world, though the storylines won’t converge until/if I write a sequel for Kindred (and a sequel is bursting at the seams to be written).
Where can people find out more about you/connect with you online?
- At my blog: http://loribenton.blogspot.com/ Please drop by and say Hi.
Lori Benton writes historical novels. Just now her fascination is with the 18th century and the diverse frontier cultures that clashed and blended in the crucibles of settlement, slavery, and war during the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Federal eras of American history. Since mid-April of 2010, Lori has been represented by Books & Such Literary Agency.
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