1. Quick intro…Who are you?
Aaron Benwell; university grad in Anthropology, retail prisoner and writer.
2. What first inspired you to start writing?
I honestly can't remember. I was in primary school and wrote lots about Greek myths and then in secondary school I always did well in writing, especially in the 'Gothic' genre. I just like it. I like building my own little world where people can live lives that I've created and carry them on even when the pages have stopped.
- Do you find it difficult being an indie author when so many others are also now doing it?
YES. It is so hard to stand out from the crowd. However, it's also nice, there's so many other people willing to share your work and read it and help you with questions you have. So although you're constantly trying to get above the wave of people it's also great to be able to have such a large support group.
- What keeps you writing?
I don't want to be in a dead and job the rest of my life and although a difficult way to go about getting out of said jobs it's the easiest for me. It's what I love doing and keeps me entertained when I can't be bothered to do anything else. Also now I've started I want to get everything perfect, so I want to keep doing the new editions and finishing my novels is a big TO DO.
- Why do you write?
I write because I love it. I like hearing or seeing people's reactions as they read a gruesome part of a story of mine and also, honestly, like everyone trying to earn a living I write them so I can sell them.
- I read one of your short stories ‘The Taste of Her Skin’, where did the inspiration come from?
I accidentally stumbled across an interview with a cannibal on Youtube (like you do) and although disgusted, I felt kind of sorry for him, because he obviously wasn't 'all there' and although being a nasty man he almost didn't understand what he had done was wrong.
Then I was just sat there writing part of my novel and wrote the random gory scene, but it in no way fitted into Terra and so decided to write is as a short.
- When you create the characters for your short stories, do you have anyone in mind that they’re based on? Relatives, friends, enemies?
Not really for the shorts. I just try to think how I'd react in that situation... which is usually ridiculously panicky. For my novel though (which is being edited) I have based the two main characters on my own and my partners personalities. It just seemed easier to understand them when I was writing as I obviously knew them so well.
- What are your favourite 3 songs ever?
Hmm probably A New Error by Moderat (I listen to it whenever I need some inspiration), Mouthwash, by Kate Nash, thats a good one if I'm feeling a bit shit about my Tourettes. And Placebo's Post Blue, that one is mine and Aidans song.
- Do you have to plan to write or are you constantly jotting ideas and lines down?
I have days where I force myself to write, I'll need something finished but it'll feel a bit of a drag. That's usually when it's tying up loose ends. But usually I just write when I have an idea.
- What do you think it takes to stand out from the indie author crowd?
It takes a good lot of genuine mentions. For instance on Twitter (it's a gold mine for indie writers with all the readers, mass updates and the amount of people who like to help each other), a retweet is great! But a retweet with a genuine review makes people notice that the works actually been enjoyed. Also, having a great promoter like my sister Kelly and my parents is amazing... They're constantly telling random people that I'm on Amazon. However don't google me just yet as a man who happened to murder people comes up before me; with the same name... fantastic. So a great promoter, a genuine review and also a great artists and editor (Aidan Chewings, Hattie Hilsdon and Terri King are my talented peeps). If your work is fantastic but it looks a bit bland or reads juxtaposed then people put it under the rather rude title of "just another typical self pub". I don't think people realise how hard self publishers have to work.
- What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?
I would like to be able to live off of the earnings, rather than just as a top up. I think that means I have to be traditionally published, which I am going down the path of now, because people tend to take that more seriously (which is a shame and hopefully that changes soon). I'll keep my shorts and FaeryFables as self published though; so I still feel completely in control of some of my work and can feel more involved in the reviews and feedback.
- What would ‘living the dream’ be to you?
... I don't know why but it would be having enough money to basically live off of nothing, so owning a small holding and growing everything and living in a big old house with shutters... It sounds a bit boring but there we go. I really want a house pig (Aidan however, quite understandably doesn't... but less understandably would prefer snakes!?.)
- Who would you most like to read your work (a hero/idol)?
I would like any of my favourite authors to read them and like them; Terry Pratchett, Charlaine Harris (shh), J.K.Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Dianna Wynne Jones, Jon Ronson, Suzanne Collins... the list goes on. Also, there was a man who laughed at me in my university interview in Gloucester to study Illustration, who said "pft you can't just write a book don't be stupid, it takes years... it takes talent!" So I'd like him to read my books as well.
- What is your favourite book?
The Hobbit. Without question. It kept me going through detentions at primary school and I can reread it at anytime and fall in love with it all over again.
- What’s the least favourite book you’ve read?
I feel kind of bad saying it, but J. K. Rowling's A Casual Vacancy. I wanted to enjoy it so much, it was a book for the generation who had grown beyond Harry Potter. We all ended Harry Potter together and it was a new genre and something more 'grown up' for us... but my god was it boring. I couldn't finish it. I started off enjoying it but it just seemed to keep going with nothing happening. If it was shorter I think I'd enjoy it more.
Also, Castle in The Air, by Dianna Wynne Jones. I was genuinely obsessed with the book Howl's Moving Castle and wanted to be just as obsessed with this but just wasn't. So really they're not bad books and in no way poor authors, I just was disappointed by how un-obsessed I was with them.
- Do you only write one specific genre or are you multi-talented?
My style is quite dark. My shorts are horror, my Faeryfables are more gruesome and honest and my novel defiantly has a dark side to it. I tried to write comedy but frankly trying to write a funny line is harder than saying one and apparently being disgusting and creepy comes naturally.
- How did you come up with the title for your first book?
I have in the past suffered with waking dreams. You are stuck, paralysed, semi- awake thinking someone or something is in your room talking or touching you. It is terrifying and it seemed only appropriate that my firs sets of horrors should be named after something that I find personally bloody petrifying.
- If you had to live without ever reading OR writing again, which would you choose and why?
Hmm, Okay this took me a while, but I think I'd keep the reading. I love writing but I most of the time I know where the story's going, but I like to be surprised. Plus either way I get the same feeling of being in another world for half hour or so, so I'd be happy.
- How do you find the promotional aspect of being an indie author?
I always feel like I'm being annoying. I try not to shout BUY MY BOOK at people, but sometimes feel I am doing that. It is hard. Telling people you know to buy it too is also hard... you get the "really? YOU wrote something and I have to buy it?" look (don't get me wrong lots of people are genuinely proud). So I try and stick to promoting it to people I don't know, who hopefully I'm not annoying.
- What is your preferred genre to read?
Fantasy and/or humour. I love Terry Pratchett, he's hilarious. Oh and Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials was pure genius.
- Give us a random fact about yourself.
I can fit my whole finger through my ear lobe and I use it to keep one of my nephews entertained if I fail at being an interesting uncle.
- As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and what are you actually doing now?
I for some reason didn't want to be a fireman or a space man I wanted to be like a character in my favourite book called Mr Patel and he owned a shop... so I wanted to be a shop owner. Ironically most of my jobs have been in retail (university does that to you).
- List your websites, blog, Facebook, Twitter and the links to your books or author page on Amazon and any upcoming promotional days.
My website is www.aaronbenwell.wix.com/aaronbenwell and you can find all up and coming books and promotions there. My quick promo's though are easiest to find on my Twitter;
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Aaron-Benwell/e/B00CKJ4RE4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1371293140&sr=8-1 that ones the link to my Amazon page, where all my current downloadable books are; Anna, The Grey Figure, The Taste of Her Skin and the collection of them all; Waking Dreams.