Hi everyone! Today I am one of 45 stops on Jeff Bennington's virtual book tour through the blogosphere. I read Jeff's book and it was awesome. Please see my Reunion book review. I had the pleasure of asking Jeff about himself, his writing experience, and his book in the interview below. At the end of the post is a link to giveaway contest Jeff is holding for the tour. You can win a Kindle!
Welcome Jeff! Thank you for being here with us today.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure. First and foremost I’m a dad and a husband and my family is my greatest motivation. They contribute to my creativity, ideas for crazy characters, and the life lessons that translate into the literary themes that I write about. After family, I write.
Is Reunion your first book? If not, what else have you written?
I’ve written a follow-up supernatural thriller (Act of Vengeance) that will be available in late 2011 and a really cool short story (The Rumblin’). I tried my hand at a political thriller (Killing the Giants) when I first began writing in 2007, but I think I’ve found my niche…supernatural thrillers. I have lots of ideas lined up.
Are you writing anything else at the moment?
At the moment I am busy preparing for the book launch and writing 45 blog posts for the blog tour. By the time this is posted I’m hoping that I’ll get back into my epic thriller, Federal Underground…more on that in the coming months. Personally, Federal Underground is my most anticipated book of my short writing career. It is so awesome, so huge, that I have to write a supplemental book (novella equivalent) to bring it all together. In the meantime, I’m having a great time getting to know who my audience is and making friends in the blogosphere!
ABOUT THE BOOK
REUNION is different. It’s a supernatural thriller that is meant to grab the reader in many ways. It’s about a group of kids who suffer through a school shooting and then reunite twenty years later. What’s special about this book is that it gets into the mind of the teen shooter (David Ray) and then digs into the pain and consequences of the shooting twenty years after the incident. I then add lots of spice to that recipe by throwing in plenty of twists and a supernatural element that will scare your pants off!
Here’s a brief synopsis:
David Ray kills eight in a failed attempt to fix his world. Twenty years later, the survivors organize a reunion. Old flames rekindle, fears ignite, and their lives explode in a whirlwind of memories. Will the classmates overcome their fears, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare?
ABOUT THE WRITING
What inspired you to write this story?
Honestly, I wouldn’t call it inspiration. I think I was driven to write this story because there’s too much about school shootings that I didn’t understand. The unanswered questions about what happens to the survivors and why the shooters do it troubled me. School shootings are an exploding phenomenon and I don’t think enough people understand how common and how traumatizing they can be to the survivors.
What is your favorite character from Reunion?
My first editor suggested that I focus on one protagonist. I couldn’t do that because everyone of the survivors were important to me. Tanner, however, is special to me because there is more of me in him, but I’m saving his story for another stop on the blog tour!
How is he different or similar to yourself?
He and I have a lot in common. And that’s all I’m saying.
What was your favourite scene to write? (No spoilers please!)
I really enjoyed David Ray’s flash backs, but I also enjoyed writing the carrot scene, because I spilled my heart out, flesh, blood, everything.
What was the hardest part about writing Reunion?
Believing that it was good. Believing that it would be accepted. Fearing that it would be hated.
Can you share a few lines with us from the book?
…Peering through the dirty glass, David thought about his plan to finally get even with everyone who’d taunted and bullied him. Today was the day they’d finally get what they had coming to them. Today the world would sit up and take notice of David Ray. Those kids and their families would be sorry. Now they’d know some of his misery. They could kiss goodbye their happy days of Mom’s cookies, home-cooked meals, and playing ball with Dad.
A sliver of sunlight struck his eyes. David squinted and released the window blind. He preferred the darkness...
I love covers. How did you come up with the cover for Reunion?
The cover comes from a scene I cannot disclose, and I believe, will generate the image I was hoping to form in the readers mind.
Did you design it yourself? If yes, how did you decide what to include on it? How does it fit with the story?
Yes, I designed the front cover. I knew what I wanted because the scenes I referred to in the previous question is so dramatic and impacting. I knew that image would grab you. I posted several cover options on my blog and my followers picked the concept. I then had a photographer take a pic of one of our local schools and my rock star 15-year old was the model.
OUT OF CURIOUSITY
In this book, one of the characters is a priest who also happens to know a lot about paranormal activity. How did you come up with this character idea?
Honestly, I don’t know. But when it hit me who this person would become, I about had a heart attack because I was so excited (I do that a lot).
All the XXX's in the chapter breaks were really creepy. Was this something you thought of immediately or did it happen after you finished writing?
After. I liked them because they were creepy.
One of the themes I kept coming back to while reading Reunion was that of the importance of family and of 'being there' for others. Any comments?
Like the survivors, everyone will take away something different from this book. Those ideas were installed intentionally. As I researched school shootings I noticed that the incidents drew the communities together. And I couldn’t avoid that.
Do you ever write in your jammies?
No. I like to feel like I’m ready for the day, physically and mentally.
Ever pulled an ‘all-nighter’ writing?
I write at night.
What's your favourite book of all time?
Whispers by Dean Koontz
Do you have any book suggestions for those who've really enjoyed Reunion? Whispers by Dean Koontz or The Red Church by Scott Nicholson or my next book, Act of Vengeance!
Is there anything else you want to share with my readers?
Yes. I can’t tell you how humbling it is to have anyone read my work let alone be on a blog tour. If you ever wondered what an author looks like on the ground floor….your looking at him. I work a full time job, I’m married, and my wife and I are working like oxen to raise four kids to not be bullies. And that is tougher than writing a novel.
Thanks again for joining us here at 100 Stars or Less!
GIVEAWAY, TOUR SCHEDULE, AND PURCHASE INFORMATION
Giveaway Rules and Tour Schedule:
Available at most online retailers.