Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Ben Hale!
As an avid snowboarder from Utah, Ben grew up with a passion for learning. This thirst for knowledge led him to sports, music, and academic endeavors. After a year of college, he did volunteer work in Brazil and became fluent in three languages. Graduating from the University of Central Florida, he started and ran several successful businesses before publishing his first novel in June of 2012. By the end of the year he’d sold almost ten thousand copies of The Second Draeken War, and he began writing full-time. Now spanning 10,000 years, ten titles, and two series, The Chronicles of Lumineia represents a sprawling YA series that has sold over 100,000 copies, and continues to expand its readership across all ages. Each of his books has been inspired by his wonderful wife and five beautiful children.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Not at all. I didn’t get into writing until I was 25 and I had already graduated college. I’d had an idea for years but never thought to write it. My wife encouraged me to do so, and four years later I was launching my first trilogy.
Why did you choose to write your genre? I’ve always liked fantasy, and draw inspiration from many great fantasy writers. The idea of magic and its possibilities intrigues me. Within fantasy I can be inventive and imaginative, pushing the limits of my creativity. It also means I can make things up.
What is the strangest story you’ve ever written? A strange question! I would say that writing from the perspective of a teenage girl in The Last Oracle. It was educational to write from that perspective, but as I continued into the five-book series I found that diving into Tess’s mind was complex and surprising. Strange? Yes. Awesome? Even more so. I believe young women are more powerful than they know, and wish they understood how inspiring they truly are.
What are you currently working on? A series titled The Age of Oracles. It continues the expansion of the world I have created and follows a powerful young mage that must decide whether to side with blood or stand with honor. I am close to finishing the first book and plan on completing and publishing the trilogy by December 2017. [Wow!]
What motivated the plot of your latest book? The entire Lumineia timeline stems from a single idea, and currently spans 16 books in 4 series. There is a single, subtle plot that connects them all, but each story can stand on its own merit. Like combat and battle? I have a series of spartan-like rock trolls, The Warsworn. Want to follow a cheeky thief? Jack of Thieves is perfect. The idea for The Age of Oracles began years ago and tells the beginnings of a story referenced in several of my other books. The motivation for all of my books is to connect epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and science fiction into a single, massive timeline. When I’m done I hope to span 50,000 years. I outline extensively in order to connect them all, and it will take several years to complete. [Awesome!]
What was the hardest story for you to write? Probably The Last Oracle and the rest of its series, The White Mage Saga. As I said, the character was vastly different from anything I had written. I enjoyed the challenge, and ultimately found Tess to be one of my favorite characters.
What process do you use to plan your novels? I find ideas in everything I do. I have six kids, so I find inspiration there. I also play video games, board games, and sports. Ideas are everywhere. The challenge is in refining them into my own story.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? A difficult question with no easy answer. It’s probably a tie between Tryton, a rock troll, and Iris, a techno mage. Tryton is the mightiest of warriors but his honor is his true strength. Ultimately he changes his entire race because of his strength of character. Iris is, to put it one way, nuts. She’s crazy and powerful, and crazy powerful. Her relationship to Tess in The Last Oracle is a defining element in the series, and every reader loves her. A close second would be Jack Myst, thief, rogue, and oh-so-entertaining scoundrel.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? A writer can’t help but put a piece of themselves into the characters they create, nor can they help it when the character gains consciousness and wants to tell their own story. We should be grateful the characters don’t Frankenstein their way out of a book into real life, or we’d all be in trouble. (But it would be awesome to meet Dumbledore!) [Great answer!]
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? Every single day. Writer’s block is the mind’s way of saying you need to go a different direction. I’ve worked at it a lot, and usually don’t get stumped for long now. Still, I’ll distract myself and come back if I have to. But the key to overcoming writer’s block isn’t distraction, it’s perseverance. [Emphasis is mine.]
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? Clean romance. I know, shocking. My dating life as a youth was unique and tremendously fun, and I would love to describe it in a fictional story. I may not ever do so, but if I was going to branch out from fantasy, this would be it.
Which authors inspire you? Too many to count. Chanda Hahn, Honoree Corder, J.K. Rowling (How can you not be?), and many more. Writers inspire me to be a better author, as well as a better person. [Exactly!]
What novel would you read multiple times? I don’t really have a favorite book I go back to all the time. But I would say I Want to Go Home, by Gordon Korman. It’s hard to find because it’s out of print, but I’ve never laughed so hard from any book.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character) Batman. Because he’s Batman.
What is your favorite quote?
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? A dragon, what else?
What is your favorite color? Blue. The best color. Everyone knows that.
When you’re not writing… Writing is my full-time career, and pretty much all of my income. I do occasionally coach other authors but that is on a case-by-case basis. I also do public speaking upon request, a facet of being a writer that I really enjoy. I am fortunate that my books provide for my family, and I’m grateful to my avid readers for that. [Sign me up for lessons!]
Catch up with Ben online at:
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2n84jgn
Thanks, Ben for joining us today! This has been very inspiring.
Join me next week when Jolanthe Aleksander stops by!