I’m pleased to have author Daniel Bensen on the blog today, giving his answers to the Never Have, Never will interview! Daniel talks about capes, sociopaths, dinosaurs, and his avoidance of damp places.
Let’s jump on in:
- Is there a story you’ve written that will never see the light of day? Why would you deprive us of this genius?
Actually I think everything I’ve written is out there somewhere, all the way back to the pre-internet event horizon when I was in middle school.
- What’s a story you’ve never written, but always wanted to?
I’ve never written a space opera. I just can’t figure out how to get the capes to billow properly in a vacuum.
- Is there a character or plot point you’ve wanted to change in retrospect?
Oh certainly. I wrote all of Kingdoms of Evil before I realized I ought to have killed off half the cast. But which half? I’m up for recommendations!
- Which of your characters would you never want to meet (in a dark alley or otherwise)?
I would not want to meet Trals Scarback. I wrote him to be a believable Conan-the-Barbarian-type genius/murder-machine, which means he’s pretty much got to be a sociopath. Come to think of it, Andrea would probably have nothing to say to me, Chris would be mad on power, and Turtle would have me executed. I don’t think I want to meet any of the characters in Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen. Except Vrem. He’s chill.
- Which of your worlds/realities/cities would you never want to visit?
I wouldn’t want to visit the world of Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen, at least not until contact to the 21st century is re-established and they open a Starbucks.
- Are there any real-world locations you’ve written about but have never visited (or never want to)?
Well, Tyrannosaur Queen takes place in Hell Creek, Montana 65 million years ago. It’s real, but it’s not a place I’d want to visit. Very damp.
- Is there a piece of writing advice you’ve never followed?
“Revise until it’s perfect.” Perfect is the enemy of good, and rather than strive for the impossible and spend forever polishing one book, I’m going to take what I learned and channel my energy into the next one.
- What is an aspect of the writing craft you’ve never had a problem with (and why)?
Dialogue. Or maybe creature design. The first thing I hear is humorous conversation. The first thing I see is monsters. Everything else is work to fill in the gaps between the banter and the beasts.
- What’s the one book out there you wish you’d written (but of course won’t, because it’s already written, and writing it again would be plagiarism, and that’s just mean)?
I wish I’d written Lexicon by Max Barry, but I wouldn’t have done as good a job.
- What aspect of writing will you never stop working to improve in?
Whatever it is that makes people enjoy books. There’s always something better you could be doing to enhance the experience for the reader.
- What’s one part of the publishing industry/process you wish you could do without?
Expecting authors to do their own promotion. We’re good at writing. Other people are good at promoting. We should stay inside our areas of competence. I mean hell, look what a terrible job I’m doing at this interview!
- What’s the one thing you would never do to shamelessly promote your current/upcoming release?
Spend any more money. My wife cut off my allowance 🙁
- What’s a question you’ve always wanted to answer, but have never been asked?
Would you rather we paid you a big advance and small royalties, or the other way around?
- And your answer?
The other way around. I don’t need the cash right now, but if me and my publisher are both depending on sales of my books to continue long into the future, we both have the incentive to make my writing career work.
Daniel M. Bensen was born in Chicago and has since lived in Maine, California, Montana, Japan, and Boston. He currently lives with his wife, daughter, and in-laws in Sofia Bulgaria, where he teaches English as a second language.
Dan writes stories across the spectrum of fantasy, science fiction, and alternate history, but all deal with the theme of clashing cultures, usually with romance and humor. He is represented by Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary Agency. Dan’s fiction has been published on 365 Tomorrows, Scifiideas, and the Prehistoric Times, and he was the editor for the English-language version of GAME TALE (Bulgarian winner in the “Best creator of children’s sci-fi or fantasy books” category at Eurocon 2014). Daniel also has editing credits on Simon Roy‘s science fiction comic “Habitat,” from the August 2015 and December 2015 editions of Island Magazine.
His next novel, Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen, comes out in January 2016.