Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Six Degrees of Lost?
There were two characters floating around in my head, both wanting their story told. One was a girl, Olive, suddenly transplanted to live with her aunt in a new state, and feeling lost and alone. The other was David, a boy with a great family and home, but feeling the restraints of his family’s expectations for his future. Besides that, many of the elements of this story, the rural location, the neighbors that help lost animals find their way back home, and even the peacock, were inspired from my own life.
What was the most challenging part of writing Six Degrees of Lost?
I wanted to challenge myself as a writer to tell this story with alternating points of view. It’s set in first person, present tense, with each character telling part of the story from his or her point of view. Olive and David meet at one point, which eventually changes the course of everything for them, but it takes awhile for that to happen. Meanwhile, I had to make a chapter-by-chapter timeline, noting what happened and where each character was at that point in time, and fitting the pieces together like a giant jig-saw puzzle. It was occasionally tricky, but I hope I pulled it off.
The Girl Who Remembered Horses – a YA post-apocalyptic fantasy – was your first release with Musa Publishing. What made you decide to switch genres?
Actually, I have two previous middle grade novels, The Horse Jar and Finding Chance, which are both contemporary realistic novels, as is Six Degrees of Lost. This is a genre I’m comfortable writing in, and The Girl Who Remembered Horses, set several generations in the future, was a bit of a departure for me. Of course now I’m writing a sequel to that book, and the futuristic world that I created is a bit more familiar to me.
A sequel! That’s great news to hear, looking forward to reading it! How long did it take for you to start and finish Six Degrees of Lost?
I think it took about a year for me to finish the first draft. Then it went to my critique group, and several other beta readers helped me make sense of it, with lots more drafts and revisions along the way. So, I would say at least three years, maybe more, from start to publication.
Do you have any advice for other writers like yourself, who like to work in different genres?
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Constantly challenge yourself.
Love that advice! It offers growth and potential! What’s next for Linda Benson the author?
I have another novel due for release in September 2012 called Walking the Dog. I’m working on a sequel to The Girl Who Remembered Horses, which I hope to have out by next year, and I’m also writing a YA novel in free verse.
Other than believing in yourself, Linda, what else would you suggest a new writer needs?
A new writer needs a critique group, I believe, to help them see what’s good and bad about their writing. Whether you belong to one that meets in person, or find online writing buddies to exchange manuscripts with, writers need other writers – for help and also support in what basically can be a very lonely endeavor.
Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel and meet anyone throughout history, who would you meet and why?
I’d love to meet Rachel Carson (1907-1964) author of the non-fiction books Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us. An author, biologist and conservationist, she was a woman ahead of her time, who not only cherished the natural world around her (like I do) but made a difference by writing about it. At a time when DDT and other pesticides were widely used without knowledge of the dangers, she took on the government and huge chemical companies, and made the general public aware of the disastrous consequences of such practices. She is one of my heroes.
Linda Benson has written several young adult and middle grade books, including the post-apocalyptic THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES, also available from Musa Publishing. Her passion for nature and animals often finds its way into her writing. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a variety of animals – all of them adopted. To find out more:Visit her website: http://www.lindabenson.net
Her blog: http://www.lindabenson.blogspot.com
Find her on Facebook: http://facebook.com/LindaBensonAuthor
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/LinBensonOn Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3421565.Linda_Benson
Purchase Links for SIX DEGREES OF LOST:http://www.amazon.com/Six-Degrees-of-Lost-ebook/dp/B0087XI14E/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338566940&sr=1-6
Here’s a short synopsis of Six Degrees of Lost:Olive’s mother is headed to jail and her brother to join the Army, so thirteen-year-old Olive is uprooted from sunny California and dumped in Washington State like a stray. That's exactly what she feels like surrounded by her aunt’s collection of homeless dogs, cats, and horses.
Fourteen-year-old David’s future is already carved in stone. From a military family with two brothers serving overseas, he’s been pointed towards the Air Force Academy his entire life - but a rafting trip gone awry might ruin his chances.
When a runaway dog is almost hit by a car, the search for its owner leads Olive and David, two kids from entirely different backgrounds, to an unlikely bond. Will their growing attraction to each other be enough to keep Olive from a foolhardy journey to find her mother? Will David risk his family’s plans to save her?