Due to technical difficulties, this interview is appearing on a day other than Monday. The patient victim this week is Bennie L. Newsome. Dusk was flickering in the sky, and I posted a sign outside the entrance…the arrow pointing away from the doorway read “Springville, AL.” There was only one choice…
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
I have two talents: writing and drawing. When I was younger, being an artist was my dream. In high school, I was known for my drawing abilities, but I was never really good at marketing my artistic abilities. Drawing never really got me anywhere. Then there was writing. In high school, I won a poetry contest which gained me school wide recognition and a stereo. There was another instance where a teacher asked me to participate in a city wide oratorical contest. I had to write a speech and present said speech. I won second place, cash, and city wide recognition. Still it never occurred to me to be a writer.
Eventually, I went to college for graphic design. After several attempts to make it as an artist, nothing panned out. Constant failure drove me to my second love, writing. I started writing seriously back in the fall of 2010. Writing comes more easily to me than drawing. I can’t always express my visions with pictures, but with words, I paint exactly what I’m seeing. And just like in high school, I flourish when I write. I haven’t given up on drawing. A couple of my book covers were designed by me, and I turn to art when I need a break from writing, but a profession in the written word is my calling and that’s why I continue.
If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last? (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)
That’s easy. The books I would save to the very end are: (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) Return of the King, The Two Towers, The Fellowship of the Ring, then there’s the Prelude, The Hobbit, and finally the Holy Bible.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?
The most challenging thing I’ve done was follow my dream. Telling my then girlfriend (now fiancée) that I was going to drop everything and pursue this path that neither of us had the road map to was very challenging. Even my mother was doubtful of the choice I made. In the end I had to ask myself, did I want to live a subpar life to make everyone else comfortable, or did I want to follow my calling at the risk of losing the one I loved? I chose to follow my dream. Three years later, my writing career is going strong and my wedding date is set for September. Sometimes you have to listen to that voice within you and trust that everything else will take care of itself.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
A phrase that drives me nuts is, “I know, right?” I’m always saying it, and yet I hate it. Someone says something that I agree with, and my response is, “I know, right?!” Why the unnecessary question at the end? Who came up with that and why is it so addictive? Stupid.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
My favorite character is Bryan Mann. His victims know him as the BoogeyMann. Bryan is the literary version of myself. One day, I came up with this awesome disciplinary technique. Instead of whipping my kids, I would scare the living daylights out of them. Then common sense told me that might be considered child abuse, so I created Bryan Mann (a.k.a. the BoogeyMann). He does what I can’t, and he does it on a much larger scale.
Creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
Springville, Alabama – where my mother’s side of the family is located. During the daytime, it’s a regular small, underdeveloped town. Not all the roads are paved, downtown looks like something out of a black and white movie, and it’s surrounded by woods. Springville has a few modern amenities but not enough to alter its rural appeal. Then nightfall comes, and that underdeveloped place surrounded by trees and hidden places is downright frightening. I use Springville in a lot of my fiction because that’s where the dark things feel most at home.
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
Thankfully, I’ve never had a really terrible rejection; however, the best one stated that my story was not what she wanted, but if I had anything else, she would like to read it. The editor liked my voice.
How did you get that scar?
This question made me smile while baffling me at the same time. I’m not sure which one you’re referring to – if you were referring to a specific one at all – but I have a scar on the bridge of my nose from when I had chicken pops. I scratched. And you would think the scar is enough, but chicken pops said it might be back later to give me shingles.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
Whenever I go out, I keep an Ipod in my back pocket while speakers ride in my front pockets. Time slows down and people stop to stare as Moby’s Flower (the intro to Gone in 60 Seconds) plays. With all this technology at our disposal, if you don’t have a song that precedes your entrance into a room or a shopping center, then what are you doing with your life?
Promote yourself and/or your writing
I am a writer and graphic designer from Birmingham, Alabama. I am the author of The BoogeyMann (YA, horror), Life is no Fairytale (YA, romance), and Agape (Christian, fantasy). In addition to my three novels, my work has been showcased in numerous anthologies, including Hallmark’s Thanks, Mom. For more info on me and my endeavors, check out my website
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
Follow your dreams, but tread carefully. They lead us along dark paths, never before explored. If your dreams walk ahead of you, but turn around every so often to beckon you forward, then you are being called and this is a good thing. If your dream is hauling ass, not caring if you keep up or not, then you might want to choose another route.
Thank you, Mr. Newsome, for the encouragement and the wonderful addition to the interview pile. You’re free to find your way back through the maze of whispers….just make sure you keep your eyes focused in front of you and your hands away from the walls.