Ben Campbell [roguenovelist]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
The first book I ever finished reading was "To A God Unknown", a kick-ass, paranoid menu by John Steinbeck. I began writing when my high school English teacher, Mrs. Hunt, gave me one choice of three; she could have the class bully shame me, she could flunk me or, I could write a story for her.
My choice was naturally the story. I titled it "Children With Weapons". The theme was that children use their minds as weapons instead of hand guns. Mrs. Hunt was my first reader and she cried over the story. My grade went from a D- to an A+ for the year.
I have three books available for purchase. "KISSING FREUD," "DUBROVNIK" and "IT'S ALL MAKE BELIEVE, ISN'T IT? *Marilyn Monroe Returns*."
You can preview and purchase my books on my secure site. They are available in paperback, bardcover and uploading: http://www.lulu.com/bencampbell
Or, if you prefer, you can purchase them in paperback and Kindle but not hardback, at amazon.com. Type in my book title with my name in their search window.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
Two genres come to mind. Adventure and mystery. But you know what? The genre doesn't matter, the story must grab me by the throat and make me breathe and swallow its perfume garbage.
This is the link to my adventure and mystery stories: http://www.lulu.com/bencampbell
This is the link to my Red Room site: http://www.redroom.com/member/roguenovelist
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I get some ideas from watching people interact at parties; in airports, at shopping centers, and by listening to people's personal stories. Ideas mostly come to me while engaged in sex and sitting on the toilet.
Before I begin writing, I visualize the sexuality of the story and characters. Will they appeal to me and my readers? Is there too much descriptive overkill. Does the story drive toward a destination? It's free-form story evolution that excites me.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
A full bodied story; in other words, it must have hair and arms and legs, even tits and ass, a vagina or penis would be great, armpits and toes you can't leave out, all that is clean and dirty, insufferable and infused with lust and deceit, reality and spine.
Also, A topic that rocks and shocks me, an abstraction that deep kisses me, an event that stabs me in the heart, a happening that cripples my body. Any type of noise that scares the shit out of me...I then have to investigate.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
The first ingredient is conflict. The second is exquisite characters; smart, ass-kicking intelligent, playful, witty, creative, charismatic people that challenge intelligence on elevated, entertaining and educational levels.
Of course dazzling, accelerating, impeccable plotting, with sub-plotting backup, that reveals misery, discovery, and a calamitous conclusion makes for a healthy, bloody story.
And, then there are the words; conclusive words, tight, exact words, practically eliminating all adjectives.
You can infuse spice and gore into a story, but will that excite hormones and put the reader on the edge of discovery. The basic ingredients must be worthwhile. Without challenging, crazy characters, and heart-warming protagonists inside of propelling plotting, your reader would rather cruise pornographic sites on the web.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I enjoy them equally. If the voice bites, I'm deeply kissing the narration.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Technical writers like Kathy Reichs, suspense writers like Lee Childs, reality writers like Paul Teroux and religious and political controversial writers like Dan Brown. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude is the epic of wonderment and joy.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
To be believable a character must be real; money concerns, partner and employment problems, sexual and friendship problems that cause stress and anxiety, as well as emotions that fester and explode into bits of depression, anger, guilt, disconnectedness, and even murder. If the character is supernatural those problems can still be accentuated via imagination.
Examine Jason Bourne for instance. He was a brainwashed killer with amnesia, and he was so human with all the traits above.
My characters are pieces of people who've entered and exited my life; people I've hated and loved, acquaintances I've envied and cursed, partners I've wanted to hurt and message, lovers, teachers, children, adults and all kinds and mischievous friends that I didn't want to know, and, including figments of my imagination.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Sometimes. It depends on how badly I have to vomit or want to get drunk. I work better with smaller groups of people, or one-on-one. Orally is an excellent word.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Actually, I write for my readers...because I know everything else. :)
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
It could be considered personal therapy if the writer wants to commit emotional suicide. Internal conflicts can be fiercely destructive in nature.
A writer needs balance, as in internal creativity, which equates to external eccentricity. A writer must put the skillet over the flames to fry his eggs, a writer must expose nudity to achieve full disclosure. Even then, that's not enough. A writer must explore their own bodily cavities to bring the inside out for the readers.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Sometimes. Other times, if the writer has a revelation everything is overlooked.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
Yes and yes. I was the winner of Red Room's http://www.redroom.com/member/roguenovelist "Most Memerable Summer Read" writing contest in San Francisco. The reward was fifteen first edition 2008 books.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
No, I don't. Maintaining exclusivity is nourishing. I'll tease though by flexing my six-pack brain during conversations.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
Voices change. Presentation changes. Sexual preferences change. Voices have octaves and I believe that should be the rule for writing. Voices must whisper and scream, elevate, scrutinize, beguile, and be blunt, bold, remorseless, querulous, mettlesome, thoughtful and so forth.
Each story deserve distinguishable, stealth voices.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
None. Discipline is for pussies. I write when the urge compels me. You can set up specific hours per day to write, set daily word or page amounts...but when writing doesn't happen during those set times, the writer considers suicide. Screw it, write when creative juices spew from your brain.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
My sexuality. That's all. There's nothing material. Put all your sexuality into your story and it'll be a spectacular literary masterpiece. Or, a conjunctive sewer of spicy shit. Whatever, sexuality will be your silver chalice to success.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I only use my trusty 2008 Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop, with Windows Vista Home Premium. I don't print or correct on paper. I write, eat, edit, drink, rewrite, reedit, delete, restructure, reformat, delete dead language, delete adjectives, copy edit...and, I'm hungry for more. I'm starving for every word that spikes me with brain freeze.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
Facebook, Goodreads, Flickr, Red Room.
What has been your experience with publishers?
Poingnant and deliberate irritation.
What are you working on now?
In my fifth novel I've resurrected the mercenary Alexander Crown from my novel DUBROVNIK. Mercenary turned philanthropist, Alexander makes an historical discovery about the jewelry he stole. It was a product of a Renaissance sculptor and painter. His arch enemy, the French Secret Service, insurance investigators want to confiscate the jewelry and kill Alexander.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Look them over, if they aren't exemplary pieces, recycle them. If, by change, one or two of them sweep you away, rewrite and update, have a stranger read for content and context. Then, recycle them if they're junk. It's more than likely they are junk since they've been sitting around for years.
If they are part of your soul, edit and update them, put them in book form using shutterfly.com, order copies and give them to friends and relatives. You won't regret it. By doing that you'll become a diamond in the rough.
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
I do. Go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sedonascenery/