How did you develop your plot and characters? Well, I didn’t develop, a plot. At the time I developed the main plot and the subplots together. Okay, the main plot was like a Christmas tree and the subplots hung on it like ornaments. With that said, if I didn’t balance the ornaments on the tree, it would appear lop sided or fall over. At the same time, I tracked the subplot carefully as the story progressed so most would conclude a head to the dark moment and climax. I spent a lot of time on actor development, thinking about who these people were. Staying true to the time in which they all lived and who I intended them to be. I tried hard to see none of them acted out of character in order to move the plot forward. I try to drive the plot forward with circumstance, not by lazy author tricks.
Why did you choose to write this particular book? I wrote this book for my son, at the start my son was ill and I wanted to give him something to be a part of when he wasn’t able to be a part of so many other things young boys like to do. Making him the main actor and letting him help in the story development gave him something to be excited and happy about.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? The hardest part was getting up to speed on my technical skill as a writer. I had never finished high school, I left to go to work. Before I started writing I knew there was a lot I needed to learn. So, I went to college for writing then attended a two year workshop and read everything I could get my hands on. One thing I decided was if I were to write a novel I wanted it to be the best I could do. I still read a lot about writing and I enjoy doing different types of writing.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? Yes, I learned writing takes a whole new level of commitment. I didn’t want to be the guy who says he’s writing a novel and never finishes it. I also discovered the joy that goes along with writing fiction. Writing offers a creative release many other forms of art just can’t give.
Will you write others in this same genre?Yes, I started out writing How to Books. My jump to fiction has opened up a world of possibilities for me as a writer. In a sense you get to play God. On the other hand I think writers are a little crazy, as I have learned thinking for a dozen people can be a challenge.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?Yes, I wrote the book’s foundation based on Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of survival. It starts at the bottom with fulfilling the basic needs of food, shelter, water, and security. Then, moves up until a person is faced with moral decisions which affect a group. This is the path Ben, my main actor, follows until the climax of the book. The message is well I don’t want to give the whole book away…
How much of the book is realistic? All of it. I wanted every scene to be actor driven. I didn’t want any writer short-cuts to get in the way of the actors living their lives, chasing their dreams, and dealing with circumstances as they came. I want it to feel as real to the reader as possible. It’s a great adventure story based in every day reality. No wands or vampires, what I give the reader is a roller coaster ride.
Benjamin Holt is an average thirteen-year-old streetwise kid living in Lower Manhattan during the 1930′s. His world is turned upside down, when a simple case of mistaken identity by the cops has him accidently taking refuge in the belly of the tramp steamer U.S.S. Alexandria bound for the wilds of Africa. Along the way, Benjamin must face the challenges of living at sea, a captain’s dream of treasure, and a first mate who would just as soon feed him to the sharks.
Ben’s troubles are only beginning when he is taken hostage by an evil German colonel. He survives a daring escape, only to find himself on a volcanic island battling bloodthirsty natives. Things go from bad to worse as this explosive adventure unfolds around him. Ben must find it in himself to become the most unlikely hero before it is over if he is to make it home again.
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Genre – Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13