Thursday, May 13, 2010

7 Questions For: Author Linda Benson

Linda Benson is the author of the middle grade novels Finding Chance and The Horse Jar. Click here to read my review of Finding Chance, which I absolutely loved. I’m thrilled to have such a talented writer here today. In her own words, Linda Benson’s “writing tends to focus on the importance of nature and animals in the lives of children. I've realized how enriching the human-animal bond is to children (as well as adults). This is why I often write about young people and their connection to animals.” In addition to being a writer, Linda Benson has worked at a zoo feeding raw meat to lions and jaguars, written lots of country songs, worked at a race-track grooming thoroughbred racehorses, owned a saddle shop, worked as a realtor, raised spotted donkeys, and been a children’s librarian. 

And now Linda Benson faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

Oh gosh, how can I possibly pick just three? I cannot, but I'll try. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, because I was amazed that a man could write so eloquently about women and their feelings, and because I sobbed. The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford, (which I read way before any of the movies were made) because it's about the relationships between animals and humans, and I sobbed. (Do we sense a pattern here?) Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, because it espouses my views on life (and yes, I take spiders outside, send them on their way and wish them a good life.

Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?

I do not have a set schedule, and don't really like schedules. But if I'm working on a project, either writing or revising, I can spend hours and hours each day writing, and the rest of the time thinking about it. I also read a lot. Books, newspapers, magazines, online, I read for pleasure and to learn things.

Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?

I wanted to write for children since the second grade, but did lots of other things first. The confidence I gained from going back to college in mid-life, and working as a children's librarian at the same time, converged to point me on my way. And truthfully, after the events of 9/11, I decided I wanted to write for children to give them some hope in the world. Then I wrote a novel, then another one, attended classes and conferences, found some critique partners, and just kept at it. When you find something you love to do, you stick with it.

Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?

I think writers can be taught, if they have the desire. I think most writers start out as readers, and when they read something wonderful, they think "wow, I wish I could write like that." Then they just have to learn how. The more we write, the better we get at it.

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

Hmm, favorite thing - working for myself, making stuff up, writing about what I want. Least favorite thing, so much butt-in-chair time when I'd rather be outside.

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

Believe in yourself. Keep learning your craft. Read - a lot! If you really, really love what you're doing, don't give up!

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Right now? Today? Kathi Appelt, author of The Underneath (which I almost put on my list of favorite books, because I LOVED it.) She is an amazing author, and a cat lover and animal lover, and I know we would find a lot to talk about ;-)


  1. Great interview, MG Ninja!

    And yeah, Linda, the butt-in-seat thing can be tough on a beautiful sunny day. (That's why I live in Chicago!)

  2. Nice interview, Linda! LOL, I am a spider saver (and a rainy sidewalk worm rescuer) too!

  3. Great interview!!
    I didn't know those were your favorite books, Linda, and I was totally surprised not the see THE UNDERNEATH on there...until I read the last question!

  4. So glad to find an MG blogger. Lots of YA. Not enough MG. Boy do we need you, Ninja! And I love Linda's interview. Thanks for sharing info about a fellow animal and nature lover. Linda, I so agree with the too much chair time when I'd rather be outside.


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