Is it Saturday already? OH How time flies, but no matter, because Saturdays mean Lime Lights and that is fine with me 🙂 Time to shine the spotlight on another well-deserving Writer/Creater/Poet/Author who I recently met via Twitter (great place, Really, you ought to visit sometime if you don’t usually). But who you can also visit at her blog: http://roaribenjamin.blogspot.com So, go ahead, grab a steaming cup of something soothing, sit back, relax and allow me to present Roari Benjamin, writer of sci-fi and fantasy laced with romance and adventure. She lives in Southern California’s High Desert with the love of her life, their son and daughter, three cats, two dogs, and a turtle. Roari LOVES being in the water, in spite of the fact that she lives in a desert.
Creator of the Society of the Shadow Civilization, Roari is the Author of 3 published books, with 3 more on the way; she blogs, she writes poetry, is currently invovled in NaNoWriMo (http://nanowrimo.org) and she found time to “sit down” with me to talk about her writing and what inspires her.
Hi Roari, Thank You for joining me for this week’s Lime Light! Ready to talk about yourself with wild abandon? GREAT! Let’s go:
Thanks for inviting me to your beautiful blog, Morgan. I’m incredibly honored to be here!
Please Introduce us to your Blog. What is it all about? What sorts of posts do you lean towards?
Roari Benjamin’s Blog -formerly Roari’s Ramblings – is really a place I hope to introduce my writing, and myself to readers. As an Indie Author, it serves as my author website.
My posts are relatively random. I’ve shared sample chapters, short stories, some of my experiences in self-publishing, and a poem I wrote for a woman I met in the bookstore. Occasionally, I voice my opinion on TV shows – I want my Revenge back! Then, there’s the one with the video of Flutter, my hummingbird friend, taking a shower by the spigot. Yes, I talk to and name the critters in my yard. I also post some of my “Midnight Ramblings,” which aren’t always right at midnight, but are the result of whatever comes to mind when I decide to write in the late hours.
What Inspires and stirs your creativity?
Nature, music, science, visual art, and, of course, countless works of other writers. Animals fall under nature, but I feel the need to highlight them because they often turn up as characters in my stories. Ideas sneak up on me, usually after midnight. I really don’t plan on it. Except in November – I was bitten by the NaNoWriMo bug in 2009, and have been afflicted the entire month every year since. Which means, by the time your readers see this, my eyes will be bloodshot, and I’ll be having caffeine and Halloween candy jitters….
How has your blog helped you as a writer/Indie Author? What things have you learned along the way that you never anticipated?
I find it to be good practice, in a different form of writing. The more I write, the better I get. At least, that’s how I think the theory is supposed to work? It also gives the search engines something to find 😉 Admittedly, I’m still learning. I never expected Twitter to be so effective at bringing readers in. Visits to my blog skyrocketed over the summer, when I started twittering. Go figure! It was a nice surprise.
Tell us about your book(s):
My first novel, The Shadow Watcher, is book one of the Society in the Shadow of Civilization series. It’s a blend of mystery, adventure, science fiction and fantasy. I call it a sci-fi fairytale….
After college, Samantha Marquet distanced herself from the small fortune her father left behind. Determined to make her own way in the world, she works as a content writer and part-time bartender to make ends meet, hoping to publish her first novel soon. She also lives with the strange sensation someone’s watching….
When enemies Sam never knew existed attack, the man behind the mysterious presence she senses must come forward to protect her. She soon remembers seeing him once before, at her father’s funeral. And she realizes he hasn’t aged a day in the seventeen years since.
The Shadow Watcher reveals Sam’s true inheritance is the key to his youth. Something more powerful than money. Something far more valuable. Something many others are desperate to possess. Now that they’ve found her, the best way he can protect Sam is to guide her into the secret world founded by her grandfather, the Society in the Shadow of Civilization.
In book two, A Shadow in Doubt, after learning of the Society, and its secrets, Sam knows her life will never be the same. Though, now aware of the dangers she faces, she feels better prepared to take care of herself. But, while Sam’s learning the ins and outs of the Society, she’s also trying to sort out her feelings for her Shadow Watcher – who sent her a warning, telling Sam she has to push him away.
She also needs to know if her boyfriend pursued their relationship because he was interested in her, or because he’s working with her enemies. She accepts his marriage proposal in hopes of learning the truth. But, just when Sam thinks her life can’t get any more confusing, her ex-fiancé walks back into her life, acting not at all like the man she knew.
To complicate matters further, prisoners from the attack at the Society’s Complex share disturbing information about the U.C.E.’s plans, implying the Marquet family has long been misguided by the one they trusted most.
Fore Shadows: Escape 2169 is a companion short story, but can be read alone. Told by Sam’s grandfather, Dr. Samuel Marks, he narrates the hours leading to the formation of the Society. My suggestion is to read it between The Shadow Watcher and A Shadow in Doubt, as it gives some insight about the founding members of the Society, and adds another layer to the story. But, that’s just my suggestion 😉 I’ll be working on more Fore Shadows, and a novella narrated by Jayden, Sam’s best friend, before moving on to book three, Of Shadows and Sovereigns.
Sounds Fantastic!! What Inspired you to write your books?
While poking around Writing.com one night, an idea came to me for what I thought would be a short horror story. It started with a scene where Sam meets her Shadow Watcher (which is in the first chapter). I had no idea who, or what, he was – only that he’d been following her for years, and hadn’t aged. And their connection was intense. I knew he wasn’t a vampire, or ghost, but not much else. So, I had to come up with another reason for his lasting youth.
After pondering and abandoning the Fountain of Youth, I moved on to the Philosopher’s Stone and the Tree of Life. From some combination of those legends, and random internet articles about GMOs and super foods, emerged the Flamella tree.
Then, I realized I needed to look to the future before I could look to the past. I’ve always loved time-travel stories. A Sound of Thunder (Bradbury), Timeline (Crichton), A Wrinkle in Time (L’Engle) are among old favorites. I also have a very worn copy of Lightning (Koontz) in my possession, which definitely had an influence. Once I started down the path of time-travel, it kind of spiraled out of control….
From what Point of View do you prefer to write? Is there a reason?
I really don’t have a preference; I guess it depends on what I’m writing. The Shadow Watcher was my first attempt at a novel in first person. Originally the first few chapters were written in third person. When I went back to it, I decided to switch it up, and liked the result in first person much better. But, it doesn’t work for every story.
How would you describe your “Voice” or Style of writing?
Hmmm…. That’s a tough one. Again, it depends on what I’m writing. I have a twisted sense of humor, sometimes it’s a little bent, and I try to scatter bits of it around. Some of my characters are better at expressing it than others.
What genre do you prefer to write or are you truly eclectic?
I like to stay under the speculative umbrella. As a reader, I’m drawn to fantasy – like Dark Fey: The Reviled-, non-sciencey sci-fi and paranormal, so, it’s what I write, primarily. Right now, I’m working on a YA fantasy novel involving elves who cause nightmares, among other things. There’s also this pirate who’s been bugging me to write her story. So, I’m also researching a historical high-seas murder mystery adventure.
Do you painstakingly plot out your story; are you a discovery writer or a bit of both? Why?
Definitely discovery. Ideas or characters usually come to me, I rarely seek them out. Once they do, I’ll write out five to ten thousand words in a week or so. Then, I’ll think on it, usually a long while, and make a rough outline. Certain events become set in stone, while others, not so much. Sometimes, I can’t see the whole picture until I’m writing out the scene, then, things change. Sometimes, my characters are adamant about what they want to do. When their choices are better than mine, I give in.
Share an insight or secret about your book(s).
Ultimately, the series is a love story. There’s just some really big the-fate-of-the-world-is-resting-on-our-shoulders kind of obstacles standing in my time-crossed lovers’ way. Just remember, what seems impossible today, may already be possible tomorrow….
What do you feel is your best advice to share with other aspiring authors?
I’m going to fall back on what’s helped me. Read what your author heroes have written on writing, not just their books. They leave little gems of wisdom all over the internet.
Something Anne Rice shared on her website stayed with me – “Go where the pleasure is in your writing. Go where the pain is. Write the book you would like to read.” I especially like this part -“And remember, there are no rules for our profession. Ignore rules. Ignore what I say here if it doesn’t help you. Do it your own way.” ( http://annerice.com/Chamber-OnWriting.html )
OH this is Great Roari! Wait right there…I need to get more popcorn….:) While Im gone, say hello to Artemis, who appears as Sam’s cat in her books, and is Roari’s real life writing companion
OK now, let’s find out about the person behind the writer, so to speak. If you had to describe yourself to someone who has never met you, what might you say?
I’m a thirty-something mom of two, who never really grew up. What I lack in height, I make up for with imagination.
If you could meet one person from the past, who might it be and why?
Just one? Since a handful of interesting people have made their way into my books as characters already, I’ll pick one who’s not. Leonardo da Vinci. I think to see a mind like his in action would be something almost magical to behold.
When you are NOT writing, what is your favourite pastime?
I love being outdoors – working in my garden, playing or walking with my kids and dogs, hiking, swimming, camping, talking to lizards and hummingbirds…. It’s also my favorite place to read. Family time is really the big thing right now though, anyway we can get it. The boy is ten, the girl just turned eight, and I’m just trying to take it all in. They’re getting into sports, music and science now, and growing way too fast!
Describe Your Dream Getaway Destination. Have you ever been there? What makes this place Irresistible to you?
My bucket list is long, there are so many amazing sights in this world to behold. Spending a night in one of those glass-topped igloos, under the Northern Lights, is near the top. But, I really don’t do well in the cold. So, I’d have to say my Ideal destination would be somewhere warm and tropical, preferably with beaches and mai tais. I’ve been to Hawaii, once, and for me it’s definitely a little piece of Heaven on Earth. The best mai tais I found while there came with brunch on a little boat, on the way back from snorkeling around Molokini.
Speaking of Hawaii…. While walking through Lahaina one evening, I stopped in Christian Riese Lassen’s gallery. I love, love, love his work. I was the only one in the room, lost in an enchanted undersea world, when the curator came over and asked, “Would you like to see something?” I said, “Sure!” Then, he said, “I don’t show this to everyone,” and turned down the lights in the room. Keep reading, it’s safe. He walked me over to one of the paintings, adjusted the controls for the lighting, and it came alive! The dolphins were swimming, the light in the water danced… it was amazing. Something I will never forget.
Do you have a Mantra?
No, I can’t say that I do. But, there is a Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) quote that sticks with me – “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” I’ve reinvented myself more than once already, and I suspect I’m not done.
Roari, Thank You So Much for taking the time to share So Much about yourself, your writing and what Inspires you. The World grows a little bit smaller each time a soul opens 🙂
You can find Roari in ALL of the following places:
Links for The Shadow Watcher
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/tswnook
Links for A Shadow in Doubt
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/NookASID
Links for Fore Shadows: Escape 2169
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Nook2169
The Shadow Watcher and Escape 2169 are both available to read free, and A Shadow in Doubt is on sale for .99¢ through November.
Where else you may find me lurking online:
Writing.com – https://www.writing.com/main/portfolio/view/isiterrasource
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/The-Shadow-Watcher-727074813985971
Twitter – https://twitter.com/roaribenjamin
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5819549.Roari_Benjamin