Author Interview: Linda Benson

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing?

I wanted to be a writer ever since I was in second grade, but I didn't get around to it until much later in life. I went back to college at age 48 (yeah, that was brave) and finished with a Bachelor's degree in Social and Behavioral Science at age 52. My course work was quite writing intensive, and guess what? I not only realized that I could write (and was a good writer) but finishing college gave me the confidence to finally pursue my dreams of writing a book.

It took about five years of learning (how to write, how to approach publishers) before I had my first success with a middle grade novel called Finding Chance. Next came another one called The Horse Jar (from the same publisher - Mondo Publishing) which was also translated into a Spanish version.

In the meantime, I kept writing and my next novel, The Girl Who Remembered Horses, was picked up by Musa Publishing as an ebook. It's a post-apocalyptic horse novel, and getting great reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.

Can you tell us a little about your recent release Six Degrees of Lost ?

Six Degrees of Lost is a young adult novel that was just released from Musa Publishing. Here's a short blurb:

Olive’s mother is headed to jail and her brother to join the Army, so thirteen-year-old Olive is uprooted from sunny California and dumped in Washington state like a stray. That's exactly what she feels like surrounded by her aunt’s collection of homeless dogs, cats, and horses.

Fourteen-year-old David’s future is already carved in stone. From a military family with two brothers serving overseas, he’s been pointed towards the Air Force Academy his entire life - but a rafting trip gone awry might ruin his chances.

When a runaway dog is almost hit by a car, the search for its owner leads Olive and David, two teens from entirely different backgrounds, to an unlikely bond. Will their growing attraction to each other be enough to keep Olive from a foolhardy journey to find her mother? Will David risk his family’s plans to save her?

Six Degrees of Lost is a YA Contemporary where two people from different backgrounds who have their own troubles and lives to deal with develop an unlikely bond. What was your inspiration behind this storyline?

I had two characters floating around in my head: Olive and David. Both wanted their stories told, and I ended up giving them equal billing. They each narrate alternating chapters in the story, and although it was a bit of a puzzle figuring out what parts of the story each would tell and keeping the narrative going, I believe it turned out well.

The story is set in the rural Pacific Northwest, amidst tall fir trees, rivers and hay fields, and also includes dogs, cats, puppies, and even horses. My own life is pretty animal-oriented, and they seem to jump into every story I write.

The cover of Six Degrees of Lost is great. It is simple yet I think it portrays the book perfectly. Do you think a simple cover can have as much effect as a cover with loads of detail and color?

Thanks! I like the cover of this book, too. It was really hard to choose, because there are lots of subplots going on in this story: lost animals, yellow labs, boys behaving badly, Greyhound buses, raft trips, and we originally tried to have several of those things on the cover. But in the end, we decided that the main focus of the story was Olive and David, and the journey they take toward finding where they belong in life.

Also, my preference is not to show faces on a cover, because often they don't look like how a reader might imagine a character. In the end, we chose simple, and I think it works. It kind of draws you in, and makes you want to find out more, don't you think?

In September you have another book being released by Musa Publishing called WALKING THE DOG can you tell us a little about that?

Walking the Dog is a story about a young boy named Jared and a girl named Sophie, who is a victim of abuse. When she gets transferred to a new school, she and Jared become friends while walking the guidance counselor's new dog. Jared is infatuated with Sophie, but he is told to stay away from her. Of course, he can't, and they find ways to sneak off together. It's a very sweet story about friendship, innocence lost, but also found again.

Why should we read Six Degrees of Lost in one sentence?

It's a wonderful coming-of-age story filled with great characters, a roller-coaster ride of emotions, page-turning action, and first love.

Six Degrees of Lost is available now from Amazon or Musa Publishing

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1 comment

  1. Megan - Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. This was a fun interview, and as an author, it's fun to go back and revisit the writing process, when your novel is still being molded into shape. I appreciate the support you give authors, Megan!