I want to thank and welcome, Linda Benson for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her book, The Girl Who Remembered Horses, will be released through Musa Publishing, Friday, November 4th, and will be available at your favorite on-line bookstore.
How long have you been writing, Linda?
Although I wanted to be a writer ever since second grade, and I've dabbled in poetry, song-writing and short story writing over the years, I've been writing seriously for publication for about ten years.
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Girl Who Remembered Horses?
I recently found the pages in my journal where I had the first seed of inspiration for this story. It was six years ago, right after Hurricane Katrina, and I realized how nature could easily hand us a catastrophic event that might change everything we know and the way we live. And I wanted to write something about horses and their changing status in our lives as we become a more urban society. I've been involved with horses for 45 years, and I'd recently done a college research project about women and their obsession with horses, and all of those things clicked together.
What sets The Girl Who Remembered Horses apart from other books in the same genre?
Well, there aren't too many horse stories set in the future, for one thing. The other is that although this book might be billed as speculative fiction or apocalyptic fiction, it isn't fantasy. I've tried hard to make all of the situations involving horses and animals as real as possible - something that might actually (in those given circumstances) happen that way.
As an author, Linda, what is your writing process?
I guess you'd say I'm a pantser. I don't write from an outline or any given plotline, but by the seat of my pants. I get an idea, a character, or the spark of a story and just sit down at the computer and see where it takes me. Sometimes it takes me surprising places!
So, how long did it take for you to start and finish The Girl Who Remembered Horses?
It took me a few months to write about half of the story, and because it was so different, I was almost hesitant to show it to my critique group. But they loved it, and prodded me to finish it, which I did. But I got stuck in it a few times, put it aside, and came back to it. So maybe a year or a year and a half to finish the first draft. I had an agent for awhile with this novel, and she and I worked on editing it for several months, but she ultimately wasn't able to sell it. I was thrilled when Musa Publishing picked it up for their Euterpe YA imprint, and I'm excited to finally bring this exciting story to readers!
I’m excited for you too! Do you have any advice for other writers, Linda?
Yes. After you've finished a manuscript, put it aside and let it sit for awhile before you read it again. Then find a critique group or some good beta readers to help with editing. If you want to be a published author, don't give up. Keep trying all the different doors, avenues, and windows until one finally opens. And most importantly - Believe in Yourself!
Great advice, and so true! What’s next for Linda Benson the author?
My next YA novel, called Six Degrees Of Lost, was just accepted by Musa Publishing for release in 2012. It's a contemporary story set in the Pacific Northwest, told in two alternating voices, a boy and a girl. And my current work-in-progress is a YA novel in verse.
Wow, sounds like you’ll be quite busy! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere in history, where would you go, and why?
Probably back in time to pioneer days. Although it would be difficult to accept the constraints on clothing, work, and women's roles, I would love to be able to experience the vastness and beauty of the western United States before it became populated and civilized.
The Girl Who Remembered Horses comes out on November 4th.