Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ben Wolf {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

A little bit about Ben...

--> Ben Wolf is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Splickety Publishing Group, your source for the best flash fiction in the world. Ben founded Splickety Publishing Group to meet the needs of busy folks like him: people who appreciate great fiction but don’t have a lot of time to read. Splickety offers three quarterly flash fiction magazines: Splickety Prime (multi-genre), Havok Magazine (speculative fiction), and Splickety Love (romance).

Ben has written six action/adventure novels (five of which are good) and has multiple other projects in the works. His first novel, Blood for Blood, debuted on October 31st of 2014 and has been characterized as "bold...with nonstop tension" and "hard to put down." It examines the question of whether or not God can redeem anyone—even a vampire. NYT Bestselling author Tosca Lee endorsed it as, “Action, humor, romance… Ben Wolf goes for the jugular and dares to ask: is anyone beyond the grace of God?”

How to connect with Ben...

--> Website: www.benwolf.com
Blog: www.splicketypubgroup.com/lighting-blog
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/23496871-blood-for-blood
Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=110400056
Twitter: @1BenWolf
Splickety: www.splicketypubgroup.com
Purchase: Blood for Blood 

Author Interview | Ben Wolf

--> You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...In 7th grade I saw the movie Congo. It was so bad that I decided to write a spoof of it set in Australia that featured murderous kangaroos instead of gorillas. So began my writing career.

...I had long been inspired by Frank Peretti to dream of one day writing and publishing a novel, and that finally happened when I published Blood for Blood, my debut novel, on Halloween of 2014. Now I write because the story ideas won’t leave me alone. They all constantly jockey for my attention, and as someone who is slightly ADD, that calls for action. So I write them down.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

...Blood for Blood is definitely up there with my favorite works, and as it’s my only published work right now, it’s definitely my favorite in that category. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite novel that I’ve written yet, though. I think one of my unpublished novels, tentatively titled “Unlucky,” takes that spot. I hope to release that one in early 2016.

{By the way, if you want some free stories from me, including one that ties into Blood for Blood, go to my website and sign up for my author newsletter. You’ll also get two free issues of Splickety’s magazines.}

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

...The hardest part for me was playing the waiting game. I felt like Blood for Blood was a great book, but no traditional publishers seemed to want it. Eventually, under the direction of my literary agent, I decided to self-publish it instead.

...The easiest part, believe it or not, was writing the book. At least Blood for Blood was easier than a lot of my other books. A lot of authors say that writing is hard, and I totally agree, but in the case of Blood for Blood, it all just came together beautifully, including a twist that no one has yet seen coming as they read. With that said, a lot of times I find myself carving my way through other books one scrape at a time, and it can be very slow-going.
--> Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about what you're working on currently.
...At the moment I’m working on book 3 of my YA fantasy series. It’s set in a fantasy world called Kanarah and it follows the traditional allegorical style of Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. The allegory, however, takes a very, very different approach. I can’t really say more about that right now, but I can tell you that it’s action-packed and has monsters, lots of sword fighting, and really interesting characters.

...I wrote it because I saw a question that needed answering about my faith. That question was, “How does the world perceive how Christians treat everyone else?” The answer I’m seeing throughout the series is worth writing about.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...A lot of the people who read my first book or two in the series don’t like my character Alex. He mostly plays second fiddle to the lead, David, but if you asked Alex if he was David’s sidekick, he’d emphatically deny it and he might even shove you away (physically) for insinuating that the story wasn’t actually about him.

...He tends to rub readers (and other characters) the wrong way because he’s brusque and arrogant, but I like that about him. He adds some fantastic flavor to the story and I couldn’t see writing this story without him. He’s also part of what amounts to a love pentagon (as opposed to a triangle), and he’s a crucial part of that, so he serves to further complicate the character dynamics. I love that.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...Both the YA fantasy series and Blood for Blood share some common themes. One of the most important ones is this: treat people the way you’d want to be treated. It’s the Golden Rule, but we so often forget to employ it in our everyday lives. We’d all do well to do that better going forward.

Writing

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I personally don’t know any vampires (Blood for Blood is about a vampire who gets saved), so the real life connection there is tenuous at best.

...With that said, the vampires in
Blood for Blood can easily represent any type of person whom the Christian community at-large would look at and consider undesirable. Homeless people, impoverished people, LGBT people, possibly people of different races or religions—the list could go on indefinitely, but the point is that as Christians, we need to treat those people with love regardless of who they are or what they believe. God created them the same as He created us, so we should try to love them like Jesus would.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories? 
...I’ve been talking a lot about my themes recently, but those are just a happy side effect of my stories. In general, I write stories so people can be entertained. I often only recognize there’s a theme at all later on in the writing process, and when I do, that’s when I start writing with that theme in mind more intentionally.

...The entertainment value always comes first, though—I’m not a “message-is-paramount” writer. I hope I never am. I just want people to have fun reading my books, and if they glean something from the book’s theme in the process, then that’s something I believe God is working on in them, not something I set out to change in my reader.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Write a lot. The more books you can finish, the more books you’ll have to show to publishers, and the more likely they are to take a chance on you. I’d also encourage you to study the craft and practice mastering it. We never really do master it, but trying to master it will serve you well as you write.

...I’d also encourage you to write some flash fiction, and get good at writing flash fiction. Yes, I happen to run three flash fiction magazines, so I’m a little biased, but objectively, this art form will really help you sharpen and hone your writing skills in a variety of ways—too many to list here.

...Lastly, hire a good editor. Editing is so important. A good editor is someone you can learn from and someone who can help you take your material from okay to good, or from good to great. If you need one, check out my website (www.benwolf.com/editing-services/) and consider hiring me. I’m not cheap, but I can certainly help you develop much faster than you could on your own.


You

How did you celebrate the 4th of July?
...This past 4th of July I road-tripped up to Milwaukee to catch the Weird Al Yankovic show at Summerfest. It was hilarious, entertaining, and fantastic. If you ever have a chance to see him in concert, do it. You won’t be disappointed.

How are you making the most of your time this summer for writing and relaxing? Do you do anything different in the summer months?
...I’m usually pretty busy with freelance editing regardless of the time of year it is. June, in fact, was my busiest month of the whole year. Couple that with me teaching at three conferences within two weeks time starting July 30th, and I’m still swamped. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though—I’m blessed to take advantage of the opportunities I have, and I’m delighted to keep getting new ones.

Do you enjoy hot weather or cold better?
...Definitely hot weather. I grew up in Wisconsin, went to school in Minneapolis, and live in Iowa, so I’m ready for a change.

Thanks for having me! -Ben

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Thanks so much for joining us here at Thinking Thoughts! I love shining the spotlight on authors writing in all genres and I personally love the fact you wrote about vampires! Yeah, that's the speculative fiction writer in me. Also love your advice to writers - so important to keep writing and to work on honing your craft, whether that's flash fiction or longer works (or both!). 

And P.S. writers: If you're looking for an editor definitely check out Ben's website! He's busy for a reason ;)
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::WINNERS::

We've got winners today! For New Novel News with Camille Edie I'd like to congratulate...

Rebecca Bell

And for Love's Rescue by Christine Johnson the winner is...

Susan Anne Mason

Contact me to so we can arrange to get you your books!