Jul 23, 2014

Interview with Author Ben Miles

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
When I was eight I read a book called ‘Omelette: A Chicken in Peril!’ by Gareth Owen. An obscure little story about a bantam chick who get into all kinds of bonkers predicaments. I remember it clearly because it was the first time I ever really got lost in a book. I couldn’t quite believe how a few well-placed words could make me laugh, cry and shiver with excitement. After I finished reading it I knew I wanted a piece of the action. I’ve not looked back since.

Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?
I write for pleasure. I write because the idea, the story, the thing doesn’t exist yet, and if I don’t get it down on paper then I feel all bloated and uncomfortable like I really need a poo. So in a way, I suppose writing happens out of necessity for me. Like lingual laxatives or something.
The best thing is when someone reads one of my stories and they’ve imagined it just like I did. Or even better, they’ve imagined in it in a way that adds a whole new dimension I never even realised. That’s why stories are so brilliant. They exist way beyond someone putting their pen down. They wander off on their own as soon as they get into a reader’s head.
The worst thing is shutting myself away when working on a new story. It can get a bit lonely. And maddening. Luckily I have amazing (and tolerant) friends and family who somehow always know when they need to pull me back to reality.

What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
Probably my name in a big yellow crayon. I must have done the ‘e’ backwards. Tricky blighters those ‘e’s

What made you create (your book)?  How did it come to you?
Almost everybody has sat down beside a campfire and shared an idea, a story, a longing, looking up the stars. There's something about that setting. Something about the way it brings us together, huddling for warmth, while words and worlds spill out of us.
It was no different for me. That was where the first few fragile ideas for my book came from. Sat by a fire, talking with my friends, looking up at the stars.

Who is your literary hero?
Philip Pullman. What he did with the His Dark Materials trilogy blew my mind. I hate him for it.

How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
If I’m honest, all my characters start off as a twisted version of me - either people I want to be, or people I’m scared to be. But the good characters, the one’s that come to life, the ones I keep writing about; they are quick to shed the burden of my identity, becoming people in their own right. If I ever look at a character and it no longer feels like looking in a mirror, I know I’ve got a good one!

Describe your main character in six words.
Troubled, Kind, Impulsive, Protective, Angry, Loyal

Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
Unforgiving, Revealing, Cruel, Vast, Struggling, Changing

What scene was your favorite to write?
The one where Kasper sabotaged his school project. I loved writing Mrs. Coombs, even though she only makes a brief appearance. She’s so well-intentioned.

What scene was the hardest for you to write?
The last chapter. It’s an odd mixture hope and devastation. I’m proud of that scene.

What are you working on now?
Book 2. Enormous things will happen.

Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?
I want to finish the Apparent Brightness trilogy. I’m very excited about where it’s heading. Finding the time to sit down and write it is getting harder though! I also want to learn how to stop my plants from dying, so do message me with any tips.

Are there any authors or books you recommend?
Patrick Ness. If you haven’t read his Chaos Walking trilogy yet then what the hell are you waiting for? I hate him a bit too.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
I’m a total geek at heart. I can always go back to my Nintendo if all else fails. Zelda’s not going to rescue herself now, is she?