T. Marie Benchley comes from a long line of authors and creative people. Did that influence her writing career? You’ll find out quickly enough as you read our interview! She is also donating a portion of her book sales from her novel Once Wicked Always Dead to the Shriners Children Hospitals. A great cause and yet one more reason to find out more about her. Enjoy this interview.
When we think of Benchley, the name that pops up is Peter Benchley of Jaws and The Deep. Are you related? If so, did he influence you to become a writer?
Yes, I am related to Peter and although I absolutely loved Jaws and all of Peters work I would have to honestly say that his work alone was not my only influence. My family heritage consists of over 100 years of male authors, including my Grandfather on my Mother’s side who was a poet as well as Nathanial and Robert Benchley. I can’t really say who influenced me the most, but I will say that writing is just a part of who I am and after so many male authors in my family, I would have to say it’s time for a woman to take the reins and I am excited to take a hold and run with it.
Tell us about Once Wicked Always Dead. What do you hope readers take away from it?
The story starts off with the lead character Molly Madison. Her life is shattered by the sudden death of her beloved parents and the revelation of her husband Phillip’s affair – with another man – Molly leaves the life of Country Clubs and the luxury of city life and heads west to Montana, resolved to run the family ranch, and to move on with her life. Her attraction to Clayton Leatherbe, the ranch foreman, is instant, but before a romance can blossom, the ranch falls prey to sabotage by wealthy land developers determined to drive Molly out, and Clayton learns of a family secret and collides with the Sociopath that could put the ranch – and Molly’s life – in jeopardy.
I wrote the Novel purely for an entertainment value. It is fast pace, easy read with some shockers and humor thrown in for good measure. With that being said, like any good book, there is a deeper meaning to this story. The message conveyed here is that everyone has the right to be happy. One of the hardest things for most people in life is to be the person you want or need to be. No matter what age you are, it’s never too late to find the inner strength in yourself to make the changes that need to be made.
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
I have come into the time of my life where my children are now grown and off with their own careers. I am seasoned and happy. My plan is simple, to finish my life out writing one novel a year. I am working on my next book which will be released in the fall of 2011 “Mother Can’t Be Trusted” It’s a fiction suspense thriller based from actual events. I currently have six Novels outlined and ready to go. Although I love writing Suspense/Romance I am also working on a couple of novels that are more family orientated and filled with humor.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
You know that is really a good question but I’m not sure if I have just one. I have always read so much and It is really about the mood that I am in. I love all books, I’m big into the classics, I love Ann Rice, Jen Lancaster is hilarious, and I am currently reading Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I usually have three different novels sitting on my night stand at all times. One of the most interesting for me was Dan Brown. My husband is a mason so when I was reading his last novel The Lost Symbol I would ask him questions trying to get him to spill the beans and tell me all the secrets, but of course he wouldn’t .
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
“Writers block” the kryptonite for writers. Sure, I have known writers who have had it, for me? No. I have tons of ideas and outlines for stories. When I sit down and start a new project I have a basic Idea of my characters, the concept of the story, and how it’s going to end. I give birth to the characters but like children they take on their own identities, they act and react on their own and I am never quite sure where they will take me. Another added benefit is that my husband and I are extremely close and he is very creative. We love discussing whatever story I am working on over dinner. I can only imagine what the table next to us must think, if they over hear our discussion as we plot out murders and the type of weapons that my characters will use.
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
Hey for me a successful writer is just simply a person who is able to do what they love, love what they have written and entertain the readers.
Advice for other writers?
I remember the very first day I sat down in front of my computer and decided it was time for me to start my career. I was scared to death, I have a lot to live up too but then I remember this quote that Bob wrote “The hardest part in building a bridge is starting.” I scribbled this down and taped it to my desk lamp so that every morning I would read his words. He was absolutely right, but I do have one more thing to add. Finish it, no matter what, finish the book. Another piece of advice is to write every day, you have to be self motivated and don’t give up.
Where can we learn more about you?
You can go to my web-site T.MarieBenchley.com to find out more about me and Once Wicked Always Dead. Also look for my blog on this web-site which I update weekly and I always love to hear from my readers as well as answer any questions you may have.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to say thank you so much for Interview, hope the Bucs meet up with the Packers in the playoffs next year. One last thing that I did want to mention is that I will be donating a portion of all my book sales of Once Wicked Always Dead to the Shriners Children Hospitals, and please watch for the release of my studio produced book trailer of Once Wicked Always Dead as well as the details of $1,000.00 reader’s challenge.