Thursday, January 23, 2014

#Author Ben Woodard on Social Media, Writing & Relaxing @benswoodard #AmWriting

Image of Ben Woodard

Have you started another book yet?
Yes, and it’s a middle grade novelette. The working title is Whispers Of Trees and the story is set in present day Ireland. A visiting American boy is lost in an ancient forest and the boy’s older brother meets a strange woman who claims to know how to find the brother. But how does she know this? Is she a witch? Find out in January.

What are your current writing projects now?
I’m working on a middle grade paranormal trilogy that has sparked interest from a couple of agents. I intend to query the first book hoping for a traditional publishing contract. If after a set period of time, there is no interest, I will self publish the book.

How do you write, with a laptop, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

All of the above, and more. When I’m writing a draft, I usually dictate using Dragon Dictate for the Mac. I’m a decent storyteller and this is the quickest way for me to get the words out. However, when editing I use a Mac Mini with a large screen monitor. Don’t tell, but sometimes when editing or writing, I will get in the tub with a couple of dark beers, a pad of paper, and a pencil and stay until my wife threatens to call the fire department to get me out.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I like to read, to hike in the woods, to play with the grandkids, and snuggle with my wife on the couch. Oh, and not necessarily in that order.

How often do you write? And when do you write?
I write, market, and/or edit every day. Since I’m semiretired—I don’t have to go to work every day—I’m fortunate to be able to spend from eight to twelve hours a day on my books. And that doesn’t seem to be enough time.

Have you met any people in the industry who have really helped you?
Tons of them. Two multi-published children’s authors in my city have mentored me. One edits my drafts and urges me to learn more about plotting and story arcs. I get incredible support from traditional and indie authors alike on social networking. I can’t believe that there is any other profession where competitors spend so much time helping one another.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
Since I writing for teens, I hope they will get a sense of adventure and fun. There are lessons in the books, but the main reason I wrote them was to spark interest in reading from kids that don’t like to read.

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?
For authors, they are an excellent resource—both for marketing and finding writing information. And, as a plus, they’re fun, but all of us need to be careful because they can suck away our writing time. I set limits on the time spent networking and even use a timer because I can’t be trusted when looking at animal videos on Facebook.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
Social networking is probably the best tool. Not just for getting your name out, but to learn writing techniques and to keep up with publishing. Blogs, too, are another great resource. The amount of writing information that is available on the internet is simply amazing and a perfect place to start if you’re a new writer.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
To me success would be when reluctant readers, and especially boys, read and enjoy my books. I’ve had one boy who, according to his mother, is bored with reading. She got him to read Hunger Games and the Percy Jackson books, but he’s a slow reader and lost interest. But with tears in her eyes, she told me that when he read my book, A Stairway To Danger, he wouldn’t put it down and even hid under the covers reading late into the night. That’s my definition of success.

Do you have any advice for writers?
Sure. Write. That’s it, that’s the number one thing all of us must do. No excuses, no doubts, and no quitting. Because to get better, there is only one way, and that is to keep putting words on paper until we’re good at it. For some of us this might take years, but we really have no choice.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?
My main reason for deciding to publish my stories is to encourage reluctant readers, especially boys, to read. Reading was my salvation as a teen. When I wanted to fight, scream, or run, I would grab a book and mange to stay out of trouble. My greatest hope is that my books will cause a child or teen to develop a love of reading.


Explosions, sabotage, caves, deadly warnings and a dangerous red-haired man.

Imagine The Hardy Boys meet Tom Sawyer. Add a layer of teen angst and excitement plus a mysterious group trying to stop a new dam while stirring up racial tensions.

That’s STEPS INTO DARKNESS, the next book in the Shakertown Adventure Series by Ben Woodard.

Fourteen-year-old Tom Wallace again makes plans to escape the small town in the 1923 Kentucky countryside. The town that won’t let him forget his past, when a horrific event changes his mind. He teams with his cousin Will and young FBI agent Rick Sweeney to try to solve a perplexing mystery. Attempts on the boys’ lives and a bewildering list of suspects keep them on edge and confused. An old man gives them a clue that leads to a false accusation and embarrassment until they discover the real villain, and then wish they hadn’t.

STEPS INTO DARKNESS is a fun, page-turning thriller with a hint of romance that delivers adventure and mystery while exploring the fears of a teen living with a frightful memory.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - YA/Mystery
Rating – PG – 13
More details about the author
Connect with Ben Woodard on Facebook and Twitter

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