T. Marie Benchley – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Once Wicked Always Dead is the name of my recent book and has a release date of Sept. 2010 In Hard cover and E book.

Molly Madison is unaware of the Sociopath who is on the loose, creating havoc with a sense of their own justice. 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.

Tell us something about yourself.

I was born in a very quaint town in Michigan and I was introduced to classic literature at an early age. I remember fondly going to the Dow Library to check out various works by Twain, Shakespeare and Poe as a young girl and taking them home to devour them late at night while hiding under my covers with a flashlight. I have a family heritage of actors and writers on both sides of my family and writing has always come natural to me, so there was never a question in my mind that I would someday create my own stories but I believe timing is everything. I have a son and daughter and took the time to raise my children and help them get started in their own careers. I am an avid traveler and get a lot of inspiration for my novels by studying people and listening to their stories.

What inspired you to write this book?

As a writer you never know where an idea for your next book is going to come from. One evening when I was watching the news and I became transfixed by the image of a politician, who with his wife by his side, made a confession to the world that he had a gay affair. The fact that another politician was confessing his transgressions was not what I found so interesting. After all, living in today’s society I must sadly say we are becoming very use to politicians getting caught with their hands in various nookie jars. What I did find so interesting was the fact that his wife was standing in loving support by the side of the same man who had blatantly betrayed her.

This was the particular moment that started my wheels turning. I could not help but wonder what this woman was really thinking as the cameras rolled. Was she angry? Was she being forced to stand there, or did she really want too?

Then there was the question as to how this betrayal was going to affect her life, her future, her self confidence. After being so deceived by someone she loved, would she ever be able to trust her own judgment in future relationships?

Throughout the week I pondered over this scenario. I found myself thinking of the husband who felt that he had to hide his real sexuality, all of those years. I mean could you imagine, if you had to go through your whole life living a lie? What would that do to you as a humanbeing. Would you unknowingly come across angry, and now that it he was out of the closet did he feel a sense of relief? If you have a child and you do not allow this child to be themselves, will their future and those who love them end in tragedy?

My own answers to these questions are what generated Molly and Phillip Madison’s. Two Characters who had lived a large part of their lives based on a lie, and both finding the courage and strength to start over.

How did you publish this book?

After I finished writing “Once Wicked, Always Dead” I had great illusions that I would have no problem publishing my Novel the traditional way, after all I come from a long line of published authors. I soon found out that I was disillusioned. The industry has changed; Publishers have created Agents to become their gatekeepers, and unfortunately, I personally feel that they are missing out on a lot of talented authors. I personally enjoy having a more hands on approach, as well as creative control, I am fortunate that I can afford to pay for all of my own PR, Marketing and distribution, I chose not to have an agent and started my own Publishing House with my Husband.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

Ever since I can remember I wanted to write, but when I was younger I just wasn’t seasoned enough and need to age, I was lacking in life experiences. Then I became busy living life. Children, take up a lot of your time and ours were extremely active and kept my days and nights filled. Getting married, raising our children and age made me into a better writer.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

For me writing the book is the easiest thing. The hardest part is after it’s finished. It takes a team of people and a lot of decisions in not only publishing it, but properly marketing. You don’t want write a great story and have it just sitting upon shelves, you want people to enjoy it, and so it’s really important that you market yourself and your book!

How do you do research for your books?

“Once Wicked, Always Dead” is based out of the two states that I live in and of course am very familiar with, Florida and Montana. The characters and plot are purely fiction so I really didn’t have to do any research, although the book I am currently working on, I did have to do extensive research, as I have taken real details and actual happenings and created a fictional story around it. I had retained my facts from the internet, books, and personal interviews with several people.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

This was my Debut Novel and it was all about having fun. I knew what it took to write the book, but what I was amazed at was the massive amount of details, time, and money that goes into publishing, marketing, and promotion.

What are you reading now?

Robert Benchley is a permanent fixture upon my nightstand for easy access when I need a good chuckle, I absolutely adore him and how witty he was, but right now I am working on my next Novel “Mother Can’t Be Trusted” so as a general rule, I won’t read other Authors works, but the last Novel I read was Dan Browns “Lost Symbol.” Excellent work, I couldn’t put it down and once again reverted back to my childhood hiding under the covers with my little light shining upon the pages while my husband slept beside me.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I read anything and everything from the great classics like Hemmingway, Walt Whitman to the Naughty Jackie Collins, Jen Lancaster, ( Who by the way is so funny that I keep my husband up all night from my outburst of laughter while I’m reading her books) and Augusten Burroughs. I love Dan Brown and of course one of my all time favorite writers is Ann Rice, she has such a Poetic Style with the way her written words role off the pages. You would never see me write a novel about Vampires just because I think she broke the mold. Oh and of course Peter Benchley and Jaws, do I even have to explain?

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I am in the mist of writing my next Novel “Mother Can’t Be Trusted” it is a fast pace suspense/romance. A fictional story based upon actual happenings. I would tell you a lot more but I don’t want to give away too many of the juicy details.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

First thing I would like to stress is…. finish the book… finish the book……finish the book! So many people have the eagerness to write but they never finish. After you finish you are now going to get into the tuff part, getting it published. Just don’t give up, always be open to changes in order to make it better, but don’t ever give up! My motto is; and I’m sure you have already heard this before “If they don’t let you through the front door, then go through the back. If they shut the back door in your face, go through the window!” Just find a way in and have incredibly thick skin.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

My Marketing Campaign consist of : National Print Campaign, National Online and Social Media Campaign, a 20 Market Radio Tour, TV Satellite Tour, National Book Signing Tour, Studio Produced Book Trailer to be released worldwide, a $1,000.00 Readers Challenge, National Trade Show Representation and in five countries. Extensive Outreach to Independent Booksellers and Pre-Publication Trade Advertising.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

You can visit my Web-site at TMarieBenchley.com or Atlasbooks.com