From the author:
Young adult book author Christina Benjamin grew up in the small town of La Plume, Pennsylvania, where at an early age her playful imagination led her to love the art of storytelling. She started writing short stories in grade school and continued practicing her craft all the way through college, attending the University of Central Florida to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Writing.
After spending some time writing for blogs and websites, she was inspired to get back to her true love of telling stories, and dove headfirst into The Geneva Project, her first novel.
Christina now lives in Central Florida with her husband, son, dog and cats and spends her free time writing the second book of The Geneva Project series.
Interview with Christina Benjamin:
What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
CHRISTINA BENJAMIN, BORN IN GEORGIA, GREW UP IN PENNSYLVANNIA AND NOW LIVE IN FLORIDA
Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be?
I'VE ALWAYS LOVED TO WRITE. IT STARTED WHEN I WAS YOUNG AND LEARNED I HAD A KNACK FOR MAKING UP STORIES AND TALL TALES. IT WAS A GREAT CREATIVE OUTLET.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
AFTER I OFFICIALLY COMPLETED MY FIRST NOVEL, THE GENEVA PROJECT TRUTH. IT FELT FUNNY AT FIRST TO SAY I'M A WRITER, AS MY ACTUAL JOB, BUT I LOVE BEING ABLE TO SAY THAT NOW, SINCE IT'S TRULY SOMETHING I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
NO, NOT REALLY, MY HUSBAND HELPED ME SELF PUBLISH, AND IT'S BEEN A FUN PROCESS TO HAVE SO MUCH INPUT AND CONTROL OVER THE WAY WE'VE PUBLISHED AND PROMOTED IT.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words, what would you say?
THE GENEVA PROJECT TRUTH. IT'S AN EPIC TALE OF ADVENTURE, FRIENDSHIP, COURAGE AND SELF DISCOVERY, LACED WITH THE LIMITLESS POSSIBILIES OF MAGIC.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I'M CURRENTLY WORKING ON BOOK 2 IN THE GENEVA PROJECT SERIES. THIS ONE IS CALLED SECRETS. I HAVE PLANS TO MAKE IT AT LEAST A 3 BOOK SERIES.
Do you have a favorite character from your books, and why are they your favorite?
WELL, I LOVE THE MAIN CHARACTER GENEVA. I CAN RELATE TO HER AND THE WAY SHE STRUGGLES WITH SELF DOUBT AND WHERE SHE FITS IN. I ALSO HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR NIV BECAUSE HIS CHARACTER WAS BASED OFF OF MY DOG.
If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be, and why?
I WOULD BE NOVA, HE'S SO CONFIDENT AND STRONG AND AWARE OF HIS ABILITIES. HE'S A NATURAL LEADER.
How long have you been writing, and who or what inspired you to write?
I'VE BEEN WRITING SINCE GRADE SCHOOL, AND TRULY BEGAN TO LOVE IT IN HIGH SCHOOL DURING AP ENGLISH AND THEATER ARTS CLASSES. READING THROUGH PLAYS REALLY GOT ME INTO SHAKESPEAR, AND THEN I ENDED UP MAJORING IN ENGLISH IN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
I GET INSPIRATION FOR MY BOOKS FROM THE PLACES I TRAVEL TO, HOPE TO TRAVEL TO, AND A LOT FROM GROWING UP OUTDOORS. BUT THE CHARACTERS AND THEIR ADVENTURES ALL COME FROM THAT CREATIVE PLACE IN MY HEAD THAT IS CONSTANTLY CHATTERING TO ME.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
YES, I LOVE TO HEAR WHAT EVERYONE THINKS, ESPECIALLY STUDENTS WHO LOVE TO READ YA NOVELS.
How do you come up with characters' names and place names in your books?
I LOVE NAMES! I HAVE BEEN KEEPING A LIST OF NAMES THAT I LOVE FOR WHEN I HAD CHILDREN, BUT I ENDED UP USING THEM FOR MY STORIES, WHICH IS FITTING BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE EACH CHARACTER IS ONE OF MY KIDS.
Do you have a basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out, or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
THE FIRST BOOK HAD NO OUTLINE. I JUST LET IT FLOW AND HAD SO MUCH FUN SEEING WHERE MY MIND WOULD TAKE ME. SOMETIMES I'D END UP SOMEWHERE I DIDN'T LIKE AND THEN I'D THINK, HEY, I'M IN CHARGE. IF I DON'T LIKE IT I CAN CHANGE IT! THE SECOND BOOK HAS A ROUGH OUTLINE JUST TO KEEP ME ON TRACK, BUT I ALLOW PLENTY OF ROOM TO BRANCH OFF AND FOLLOW THE STORY WHERE MY MIND TAKES IT. I LIKE TO ALLOW ROOM FOR SPONTANEOUS CREATIVITY.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I TRY NOT TO, BUT I THINK YOU CAN'T HELP BUT LET LIFE EXPERIENCES INFLUENCE HOW YOU THINK, AND THAT COMES THROUGH IN YOUR WRITING.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
NOT HIDDEN MESSAGES, BUT I DO THINK THAT THERE ARE MORALS TO THE STORIES. I TRY TO MAKE THEM GOOD INFLUENCES SINCE MY TARGET AUDIENCE IS YOUNG READERS. LIKE TELL THE TRUTH, BE LOYAL TO YOUR FRIENDS, PUT OTHERS FIRST, FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN, BE COURAGEOUS.
Is there a certain author that influenced you in writing?
I THINK J.K. ROWLING IS AMAZING, AND SHE HAS DEFINITLEY INSPIRED ME TO DO WHAT I LOVE IN WRITING.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
IF DONE RIGHT, YES. LIKE HARRY POTTER, THE MOVIES ARE AS GOOD AS THE BOOKS, AND SEEING THE CHARACTERS ON FILM WAS LIKE HAVING MY THOUGHTS BROUGHT TO LIFE. THE CASTING WAS EXCELLENT IN THOSE MOVIES. IT WAS EVIDENT THAT THE AUTHOR HAD A CLOSE HAND IN THE MAKING OF THE MOVIES.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (ebook, hardback or paperback)
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENT SERIES. EBOOK