Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Author Interview ~ Simone Benedict

Ever lived in Kansas?

Ever wondered how to escape from Kansas?

Our interview is with an author who can answer yes to both those questions :-)

Without further ado, here’s Simone Benedict.


Let’s start with where you’re from, how old you are, and is Simone Benedict your real name?

I was born and raised in Kansas near the exact center of the continental United States. Currently, I’m living in the same place. I’m in my forties. Simone Benedict is one of my pen names. As happens with some fiction writers, I was categorized into a certain type of writing under other names. The new pen name has helped me to expand my writing into other areas.

When did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside back then?

I first began to write stories down when I learned cursive writing. I was telling tall tales long before then. I don’t remember feeling anything inside. It just seemed to be a part of who I was. A grade school teacher wrote on one of my papers, “You’re a great story teller!” Inside, I felt proud that she was impressed.

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

After I learned to read, I thought I could be a writer like the authors of the books. After being published, it felt good to walk into bookstores and find my work on the shelves. I felt like a writer at that point because my book was with other writers’ books.

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

At this stage in my life, I only hope to do my best. Like everyone, I would like to have one of my novels take off in an astonishing way. Yet, I think more than that I would feel a deep satisfaction if only one person was affected positively by my writing.

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

I didn’t pursue an M.F.A. The degrees I did pursue required a great deal of focused non-fiction writing. I always enrolled in creative writing classes as electives, but they were not of help to me other than requiring me to write. If I could do it over, I would take more care in selecting writing classes that were taught by good writers by reviewing their work before I enrolled in the class.

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

I believe there are two things that have taught me the most about how to write. Reading a lot of books is one. The other is my “hands on” and diverse life experiences. To most people it would seem my life has had no direction and I just hopped around like a vagabond. Of course I hopped around like that. I was busy gathering material. Over time I’ve worked and re-worked the material giving me the experience of how to write.

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

There are so many. My favorite authors include most of the well-known writers. Anais Nin’s Journals affected me because of her beautiful and open style. St. Teresa of Avila’s, The Interior Castle, also affected me because of her brilliant use of language (originally in Spanish) and imagery in describing that which can’t be seen and is not fully understood by anyone. Another author who comes to mind as a favorite is Willa Cather. I’ve always admired her strength in character development.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

Most of my ideas begin over some situation I see in the real world. Through my writing I imagine other outcomes of the situation I see. Other times, a character comes to mind so I place him or her in small plots which gives me more ideas.

What is your normal revision or editing routine?

After writing, I re-read several times, and at least once aloud to make sure the words “sound” true. I then set it aside for up to a week if I can restrain myself from returning to it for that long. Then, I re-read for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. As I do this, I check for balance in paragraph length, chapter length, and making sure it “looks” right. After that, I place it in my done cabinet and move on to the next project.

Are you published?

I’ve been published. I don’t know when I’ll be published again because I haven’t set any goals. It isn’t something that’s important to me at this point. Writing is.

Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

My blog is silly and sometimes absurd. On occasion, I write posts about writing or my thoughts about a book. I just go by the seat of my pants when deciding what to post. I don’t have a method. As I wrote in a past post, my hope is to eventually narrow the focus of my blog. I hope to stop the silliness and be more serious. I believe this will happen very soon.

Thanks, so much, Simone for taking the time for this interview! And, I hope you keep a little of that silliness in the blog :-)

I hope our readers will put a few questions for you in the comments!!

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31 responses to “Author Interview ~ Simone Benedict

  1. Karla Telega February 8, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    So happy to learn more about you, Simone. You said you’ve written in several genres, hence the penname. What kind of stories get you up in the middle of the night, wanting to write them down? Do you feel more comfortable with one genre over another?


    • Simone Benedict February 9, 2011 at 12:13 am

      Thank you, Karla. I only wake up in the middle of the night if I’ve been agonizing over a story I’ve been writing and I get an “aha” while asleep. I will read almost any genre. In writing, I try to stick with general adult fiction.


  2. Alexander M Zoltai February 9, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I also publish the posts in this blog on my BookSite and there was a comment over there:

    “Interesting that writers have to use multiple names. I suppose that means starting marketing over again with pen name?

    “Great success to you, Simone.”


    • Simone Benedict February 9, 2011 at 1:05 am

      That’s an excellent question by MPax. I’ve never been self-published, but marketing would be difficult. I think I would start the marketing over again if I chose that route. Once stuck in a genre, it’s difficult to overcome that stereotype for some readers.


  3. Pingback: Would You Like My Autograph? « Simone Benedict's Blog

  4. Freedom, by the way February 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    You’re very secretive about your real identity. How can we find your published work with no name? Do you have a web site?


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  6. DumbFunnery February 10, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Great interview! I enjoyed the questions for sure, and also hope Simone keeps a bit of silliness.


  7. Once February 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Yes, by the way, I escaped from Kansas. When my father left the Navy, he made the decision that we were going back to Kansas where both my mother and father were born. That was 1955. After living in San Diego, California, Yuma, Arizona [when the Colorado River was still a mighty river]; we then escaped to Topeka, Kansas, a fantastic place to live for me for all kinds of reasons; thence to Overland Park, Kansas, what I considered hell, itself knowing that after junior high school, I would end up at Shawnee-Mission High School which had at the time over 4,000 students. Ultimately on 2 July 1959, we ended up in Grand Island, Nebraska, safe and sound and as far from civilization as I could have managed to be. In time, of course, I grew to thinking of Nebraska as my home, but of course, it had to be a relief in the end that crabgrass and chiggers are the State Flower and State Animal in Kansas and they were no such thing in the Beef State, Nebraska. In the end, what better place to grow up…unless, of course, you are anything other than white Anglo-Saxon and had to abide by Jim Crow in every little town. I made it, however, out of the general rage that is the daily fuel [in my opinion] of pedestrian strife which is the daily portion of anyone who happens to land there and deal with the mentality of those who live in the center of continents and so far away from any generalized benefit from “new blood” that constant immigration bestows that they tend to feel that Kansas is the center not only of the continent but following the same logic the epicenter of the entire world.


  8. Simone Benedict February 10, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Once, I can’t imagine a better way to sum up the entire deal. Well said!


    • Once February 11, 2011 at 12:04 am

      Of course, there are some people in Kansas that I love; my Aunt Dorothy [with no dog named Toto] and other members of my family, and then, again, they have chicken-fried steak there that’s to die for which doesn’t exist where I am and chocolate pie and just about everyone weighs more than I do; beyond this they have Mary Kitchen roast beef hash in cans and hominy corn in cans both of which are beyond the imagination of anyone I know where I now live. Other than these few essentials to lasting joy, from their point of view, they have everything anyone would want to live happily ever after…except, of course….me.


      • Simone Benedict February 11, 2011 at 1:23 am

        I’ve said this before, but I once had a book of poetry called “Why Would Anyone Live in Kansas?” I’ve lost the book and it seems to be out of print. However, I do believe your comments remind me more of that book than anything I’ve heard in a long time. :-)


  9. HaleyWhitehall February 11, 2011 at 4:44 am

    I’m sorry it has taken me so long to read this interview and respond! I’ve been dealing with a family emergency. Simone I loved this interview because I learned so much more about you. You have been very mysterious because you haven’t shared much about yourself until now.

    Because you are so shy do you find that writing gives you a way to express yourself safely?

    I have a similar question as Freedom. My dear friend I would love to read something you have published. Can you give me a title?


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