A few days ago, I had a chance to sit down and share….several pints with Benjamin Andrus, author of The Moonless Nights and the mind behind the Veldorian Saga. His first novel is being re-released shortly with new content and he is hard at work writing the 2nd novel in the Veldorian Saga. Ever since I read The Moonless Night, I have had many questions from one author to another. Ben is one of the most non PC and hilariously blunt people I have ever met. This could be the reason we get along so well since we are not the most politically correct people in the world. Between beers, airing of grievances about women, complaining about the publishing business, marketing, and professors we hate at GVSU I managed to get a few questions in.
Ben, you wrote a book called the Moonless Night and it falls in the fantasy genre. Who are some of your favorite authors in that genre (outside of Tolkien)?
-Hmmm, inside the genre, I would have to say I enjoy George R.R. Martin, but who doesn’t right now, also I was inspired quite a bit by John White, he wrote the Anthropos series a set of Christian Fantasy novels back in the early 80s. And I guess you could classify Neil Gaiman as a fantasy writer, even though it is not true fantasy. And when talking about writers that inspire me I have to mention P. G. Wodehouse, because his mastery of the English language is second only to Shakespeare.
As writers, pieces of ourselves find their way into our characters sometimes intentional sometimes not. What character do you feel you relate with the most.
– Mike I did my very best to stay out of this book. I tried so hard to not let myself become a character because I knew if I did I would end up favoring that character and the story wouldn’t be authentic. With that being said, there is a minor person near the end of the book called Jarret, I think we might be seeing more of him in the series.
In the fantasy genre are there any overused aspects that you feel have gotten cliché’?
-Elves, and Dwarves, I know they are amazing and the very groundwork of all Fantasy, but right now I feel they are overused. That is why you will not find one elf or one dwarf in all of Veldoria
What is the hardest part while you were inventing the world you showed us in the Moonless Night?
–The hardest part was consistency. Most, if not all, of the main characters travel fairly far away from their starting locations, and having to work out the distances and the mileage traveled per day and the exact size of the world was way to math oriented for me to enjoy.
As a hot new author was there ever a moment where you just wanted to say “Fuck it”?
–After the book was completed. While writing it I was way too excited to give up, but now that it is out, I just wanted to forget about it for a while. And I did. I started two new projects brainstormed a third, and finally after having been talked back into it by a friend, I am starting book two of the Veldorian saga!!
Is there one part or scene in The Moonless Night you wish you could change or think you could have made it better now?
–*Spoiler Alert* Lonessa’s transformation. I wanted it to be creepy, weird, and scary and I don’t feel I got it just right.
Who is your favorite actor?
–Leiv Schreiber I think. I liked his portrayal of Sabertooth and I think he is generally a bad ass.
Does your girlfriend like the book?
–Funny story about that she has not read it. The story line of Aislinn, is from her dream, so she already kinda knows it. But I tell her everything about the book and she does like the story.
Are you working on anything that’s not in the fantasy genre?
–I am. A crime drama in the vein of Castle, called Elizabeth Stone. Based here in Grand Rapids where a local serial killer mutilates his bodies to mimic Lizzy Stone’s unique scars.
You are in college full time at GVSU while trying to write and promote yourself as an author, what’s the hardest part for you with that kind of work load?
–Not sacrificing something important. I don’t want to miss assignments because I was writing, but if I am writing I don’t care about assignments… so it is a catch 22.
Did your mom read the book? What did she think?
-Yes, I think she was disappointed with some of the decisions that some characters made. *ahem ahem* (Tobin)
What’s your least favorite genre of books?
–Non-fiction. Anything that is a true story and forces you to feel all good about yourself. Chicken Soup for the soul, that kinda thing.
In the publishing world you are what is considered to be an Indie Writer or Indie Author, how do you feel about the business we are in. Are there any issues you have with it?
-Marketing, I wish there was a way to announce to everyone alive that I have written a book. And not have it cost me thousands of dollars. And I get so many emails from so many ‘publishers’ for their great deals.
You are a veteran and proudly served in the United States Army, do you foresee yourself writing anything in the action genre where you can draw from your experiences overseas?
–No, I think some of the things I felt or learned over there make it into some of the feelings of my characters, but I am not planning on writing any contemporary war stories.
They say to be a good writer you need to be an avid reader. Do you think this is true? How many books do you read a year not counting your reading for college of course?
–Reading helps. It opens your mind to new possibilities of how to write. Per year, I have no idea, but I do read quite a bit. I just bought two new Philippa Gregory books (oh add her to the list of fantasy authors I like, she is historical fiction about England but it is still good stuff) and the new Neil Gaiman.
Do you listen to music when you write? If so what is your favorite?
–I have a playlist that is just 50 of the best classical pieces that are supposed to be scary and I will hit that up while writing. Or I have two albums of Two Steps From Hell.
What character in all of literature do you hate the most?
–Besides Joffrey Baratheon? (haha). Um…. Romeo. I mean just get over it already. You knew the girl for less than two weeks and you are ready to kill yourself WTF mate?
Is there anything you would like to share with people who read this interview and fans of your writing?
-I would like to say thanks! I LOVE it when people tell me they like my writing and better yet when they ask me about it. So keep reading it, share it with your friends (but make them buy it) and I will keep writing!
Here is the links for his social media so you can stalk him….he likes that shit.