Wednesday, December 12, 2012

{Writer Wednesday} | Emily Benedict & A Giveaway

I am excited to introduce to you Emily Ann Benedict and not only because she happens to share my first and middle name, but because she is a talent author and a sweet woman who I've had the privileged of getting to know over the last few months! Love Facebook for that very reason :)

In addition to this interview, Emily has a special treat for you! She is giving away a copy of her book "Only Angels are Bulletproof". All you have to do is comment below with your email.  It will be open to entries until Saturday night (December 15th) at 9pm and I will announce the winner on Monday the 17th. 

Emily Ann Benedict specializes in mystery and comedic novels with a healthy dose of Hope mixed in. Sharing the power of reading, the art of writing, and the love of God with all generations is her passion. When she is not writing, you'll probably find her near a Starbucks somewhere in California with a Dalmatian by her side and a Kindle in hand.

To connect with Emily, check out her website [here] or her Facebook [here].  You can also click [here] to pick up a copy of her book "The Father Christmas Confessions".
Author Interview | Emily Ann Benedict

You & Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
I actually started writing because I wanted to be an illustrator. I thought if I wrote my own stories that would give me something to illustrate. Of course, I quickly realized I was spending all of my time writing the stories. After years of training to be an artist, I found writing more fun.

As to why I keep writing, well, it is often said that once you really get into writing you just can’t stop. You write because you have too.


Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
If I had to choose, and that is very difficult, my mind goes back to a mystery I wrote several years ago. At the moment, I don’t have any plans to release it any time soon, but I think I enjoyed writing it so much because the main character was wildly different from anything I’d ever written. To write a character outside my comfort zone really allowed me to open up my imagination. Although, sometimes I think the fact that it is out of comfort my zone keeps me on the fence about releasing it.


If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
Ah, the hardest thing about publishing is marketing. Getting the word out is often an uphill climb, especially in a world with so many authors. But that same world is now full of great resources for authors, so that makes things little easier.

Honestly, the easiest part about the publishing experience is writing the book! That’s the fun part. The eBook revolution, however, is making some pieces of the publishing puzzle easier.


Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
The Father Christmas Confessions is my newest release and my first attempt at a Christmas novel. I’m a great lover of Christmas, particularly Christmas novels and movies. I guess I must have overdosed one year, because I started dreaming up my own Christmas story. Somehow I decided to rewrite the legend of Santa Claus. For the moment I’m playing with the idea of a sequel.


Do you have a favorite character? If so, why?
Jeremy (aka “Father Christmas”) is definitely my favorite character. I came up with the character for another novel, but he just didn’t fit well. It turns out he makes a better Father Christmas than he did a detective. I think part of the reason he works is he is the antithesis of the traditional Santa Claus…and he is frequently offended by the comparisons! Red, after all, is an impractical color.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?  
The message of the book is really very simple. Christmas is not just, as we are often told, “the season of miracles.” The season itself is a miracle.

Writing 

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
I almost always begin with characters. I often have them worked out before I have a story to put them into. Usually, I begin with a personality type or personality types I want to play off of each other. For instance, in The Father Christmas Confessions I knew Jeremy’s character would be naturally more serious and at times a little severe, so I wanted to pair him with a character who by her very nature would inadvertently make life difficult for him. If you are going to write comedy, making life difficult for your characters is essential.


When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
Making people laugh and giving them a momentary escape from life is always on my mind when I write. There are enough stresses in the world to make anyone want to take a break.

But at the same time I don’t just want to write a story purely for entertainment. Sharing the love God and how present He is in our lives is always a theme in my stories, no matter what time of year I’m writing about.


What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
The world of publishing has changed a lot. I think my best advice would be just to learn as much as you can and decide what are you best options. I’m not good with reading books about writing, but I do keep track of several blogs by industry leaders and writers. They give out some great advice, but they also help me keep an eye on the pulse of the publishing world and all in little bite sized posts.


You 

What is your favorite snack to eat when writing?

I always, ALWAYS, start my writing time with a cup of cappuccino. American cappuccino…you know, hot water and powder. If I eat while writing, I go for something salty. Preferably Cheez-It’s


What is your favorite Christmas song?
I love Christmas music in general, but the one that is always stuck in my head is “Let it Snow.” It seems like I’m singing that one all year long.


What is your favorite thing about the Christmas season? 

 Hm, that is difficult to say. My family gets involved in everything from baking to decorating to way too many lights in the front yard. But I think my favorite part is buying gifts. Finding each other the “perfect” gift is really important to us, because even if it doesn’t turn out to actually be the perfect gift it always says “I really thought about you.” (drops voice to whisper) And this year I found some great gifts…. 

Thank you so much Emily!  I really appreciate your perspective on writing and that you love Christmas just as much as I do ;)

For everyone else out there, don't forget to leave a comment below to be entered into the contest to win Emily's book Only Angels are Bulletproof!  Feel free to reply to her post as well (that will also enter you into the contest).  Thanks again everyone and have a happy 12th of December!