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Monday, April 20, 2009

I don't have all of the answers...

but I've got a few of them. I recently came across an article in one of the online newsletters (Writers Online Workshops) to which I subscribe about the "Five Hard Questions You Must Answer to Succeed" as a writer. I pondered them for a moment and figured, what the hell, I'll give it a shot. So, here are my answers:

Five Hard Questions You Must Answer to Succeed

Who are your favorite authors and why? Lisa Scottoline because she writes about real people and real problems. She also happens to be a wonderful person and I'm truly inspired by her. Janet Evanovich because she explains things in plain English. She doesn't try to fancy it up and she knows what she's talking about. Aside from her Stephanie Plum series, I truly enjoyed her "How I Write" book and use it as a guide in my own writing. J.A. Konrath because he's a fun and talented writer who can really give you the creeps. And I mean that in the most complimentary way. Sarah Strohmeyer for making a character that is so likable in her Bubbles Yablonski books.

What do they do that grabs your attention and keeps you turning pages?
It's a combination of being able to relate to what's happening and having felt a connection to what the author is saying. Some writers grab you with their first sentence and you just know that you want to keep going. If it takes twenty pages for me to connect with a writer, then I just can't spend the time reading them.

What keeps you coming back to your favorite genres? The characters. I believe that we create a relationship with our favorite characters and we look forward to finding out what they are doing with each new story. That's what draws me to mystery series. You get to shadow your favorite P.I. or Amateur Sleuth while they figure it all out and you don't even have to dodge the bullets. It's great for those who like to live vicariously through more adventurous types.

What compels you to write fiction/ memoir/ poetry? It gives me somewhere to vent mostly. If I have something I want to say, I can say it through my characters and get my point across without sounding like I'm preaching. I have a few pet causes that I love to talk about, one being women's empowerment. I hope that through my characters, I am showing women in a positive light and in a way that makes them feel more empowered to speak their minds.

How will you make sure that your own work grabs and keeps your readers' attention every bit as well as your own favorites capture you? I'll keep it real...and not like Dave Chappelle real...just true. The emotions of the characters need to come from the same place they come from for me. I don't want to read about how it should feel to experience something and then try to paint that into my storyline in some attempt to be politically correct. If something feels like hell, I want to say it and make the reader understand that pain. Sometimes, things aren't pretty and I think it's important to show characters warts and all. I hope that I am always able to do that in my writing.

This was a fun exercise. I'm always surprised to find out something new about myself when I answer questions like these. Then again, I seem to surprise myself all of the time. But that's another post.

Until next time...

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A Little Bit of Mystery: Short Mysteries to Confuse and Amuse

Where I've Been...

Listen to my interview on the Jeffery S. Miller show.

Listen to my interview on Calling All Authors.

Listen to my interview on the Let's Just Talk w/Kathryn Raaker.

Listen to my interview on Radio Free Baxter.

Where I'll Be...

After a short break in the summer, I'll be at the following locations:

8/11/09 Allen Park Public Library, Allen Park, MI 6:30 p.m.

Looking for something entertaining for your library or bookstore patrons? Looking for a fun way to spend a couple of hours? Do you love mysteries? Then you need to schedule a Tea & Mystery event for your library or bookstore! The fee is minimal and the presentation is fun and informative! Attendees will be given the chance to win great prizes and share their thoughts about the mystery genre and their favorite mystery writers!

E-mail me today at for details on how to set up your Tea & Mystery event!

Books by Rebecca Benston

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“You'll find yourself looking forward to more stories from the files of Rona Shively.”

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“Rebecca Benston has written a detective with plenty of suspense…I hope there will be a sequel…”

Annick, Reviewer for Euro-Reviews


“The story is good, the plotting great. Rebecca Benston draws you into the story from the first page. Read the book.”

Lucille P. Robinson, An Alternative Read


“Rebecca Benston’s twists, turns, and descriptions are utterly engaging.”

Tracy, Fallen Angel Reviews


“In The Wash is like a 1930’s film noir detective story that had a modern, edgy twist and a female lead.”

Janet Davies, Once Upon a Romance Reviews


“Under Lock and Key is an enjoyable, fun book! Rona Shively is a delightful character. I loved her off-beat, quirky personality and her outstanding sense of humor.”

Connie Harris,


“Talented author Rebecca Benston shows the reader just how complicated life can get suddenly and how people you thought you knew, aren't who you thought they were.”

Anne K. Edwards,