Interview with Ben Kreiselman

Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
I was born into an extremely creative family. Most of the people in my family have some type of creative talent that can “wow” you. Personally, I used to play in a rock band in my teens. I have a lot of original music I copyrighted from back then. When my first daughter was born, I walked away from music entirely. I didn’t want to raise her around that type of environment. Once she was born, I decided to start my own glamour shots photography business, and a few years later I had a second daughter.
Around that same time frame, the first thing that triggered me writing The Rose of Provins happened. I was in Vero Beach waiting to book a hair salon for a photo shoot. I was sitting in the waiting room reading a magazine when I noticed an Indian lady sitting across from me staring holes through me. I looked up and gave her a nod and a smile, then went back to reading the mag. The lady never flinched or even changed her expression. She just kept staring holes through me. So, finally I got up, set the book down and said “Hi, I’m Ben.” As I shook her hand she told me “You’re a writer.” I looked at her funny and told I had written and copyrighted songs. She shook her head and told me I was writing a book. At that point she had my full attention, because I was indeed working on a book that’s still sitting in my desk unfinished. She went on to tell me that someday in the future I was going to inspire people, and that I was going to eventually make a lot of money doing it. As she got up and walked out, she turned back to me and told me if I didn’t continue to write that I would be a pauper. I sat there kind of dumbfounded. There was no way in hell that lady could have known I was writing a book. Especially with my hair down, I looked more like some rock n roll punk than a writer.
Fifteen years passed with me still working and raising my kids. I had put down the novel I was working on and had forgotten about the psychic lady. I also dropped the photography business and went into landscaping. Then the second thing happened that triggered me writing The Rose of Provins. I was sitting at a Super Bowl party drinking beers with some random people. At the end of the night, I got up to leave and was shaking hands with the people around me. The last person I shook hands with was this little grey haired old lady. She gripped my hand tight and wouldn’t let go. She was clearly half drunk and looked up at me all cross-eyed and said “You’re special!” I laughed and shook my head thinking “Damn, granny thinks she’s gonna score some young stuff.” So I asked her what she meant. She told me I was going to create something and I would eventually make a lot of money from it. Then went on to tell me that one day I would inspire people. She totally killed whatever little bit of buzz I had at that point. I instantly thought of the Indian lady and what she had told me. I realized that that was now two times in my life that random people that could not know me from Adam saw something in me and told me basically the same exact thing. I went home and told my wife about it and she told me I better get busy writing. So, instead of picking up the old book, I started a new one. The Rose of Provins.
As for all the things the two psychics said to me, the money and inspiring people, I guess we will have to see. Although, I did stumble onto an old creative writing teacher that has asked me to come and do a seminar for his classes at one of the local high schools. So maybe that could be the part where I could inspire people. We’ll see. =)
The Rose of Provins is your first published novel; can you let us in on where the idea for the story came from? And how long it took you to turn the dream of writing it into reality?
Well, as I said, I run my own landscaping business. So I would go out and work in the hot Florida sun all day, then come home and write two or three pages per day. So I actually finished writing it in a little under seven months. But you can tack on another six months’ worth of waiting for the editing, formatting and cover art to be done. The main delay was waiting for slots to open up for the work to begin. Next time all that will happen faster because I understand the process now.
The idea for all my books comes directly from my dreams. I have a folder full of all kinds of weird dreams I’ve had. I wake up in the middle of the night from a really intense dream and grab my notebook and write it down in the dark. Then I will pick one out and mould it with a little creative fiction. I have some really neat stories coming in the future. Stay tuned.
Was it always your intention to add the Supernatural element to the book, rather than a potentially more straightforward romance novel?
Actually, I never intended for the book to be considered romance. My editor and all of my proof readers agreed that there was a heavy flavor of romance throughout the novel. They are the ones that ultimately decided to call it a supernatural/romance.
The supernatural element was the creative fiction that I added to my original dream. I think it really added a lot to the plot. The plot itself is very complex. There are a handful of threads that all eventually merge together. I’ve received a good amount of positive feedback from readers about the plot itself.
Can you tell us a little about the leading character, Emma?
Emma is an easy-going, but very self-sufficient woman. She had a rough time growing up after her mother died and her father married a much younger woman. When she came of age, she used the money her mother left for her in a trust fund to open an antique shop. However, even though she is proud of herself for being self-sufficient, she still feels alone and like something is missing in her life.
Now that The Rose of Provins is out there for all to see, has the reaction been what you were expecting?
Yes and no. I figured people would comment favorably on the complexity of the plot. And they did. What caught me off guard were the reactions I got from some of the more graphic scenes. Even my editor went out of the way to mention some of them. “This scene is pretty impressive. Gross and horrible, but impressive. Kudos!” I got similar reactions from other readers as well. It was something I actually worried about and went out of my way to tone down. I wanted to put some shock value into the story, which I apparently did, but I was afraid of going overboard with it. Overall I guess it worked out okay. I’ve gotten a good amount of five-star ratings so far. =)
We are big believers in professional looking book covers, can you tell us about how the great cover for The Rose of Provins came about and whose handiwork you have utilised?
The design is my vision. The artwork was done by Karri Klawiter. I described how I wanted the scene to look and she sent me the first sample. I told her how to change the scene and what I was looking for and after going back and forth about four times, I was happy with the final version. She does amazing work and is very easy to work with. I highly recommend her to anyone needing a cover artist. Tell her Ben sent you.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It's more than likely going to be the second book I release. I really like the story, but I wanted to shelve it until I gained a little more writing skill. Now I'm in the process of revising it.
When did you first start writing?
I messed around with it in the late 90's on and off. For the most part, raising my two daughters and earning a weekly paycheck kept me pretty busy. Once the girls graduated and were off to college it was a lot easier to sit down and focus on writing. So I actually started writing The Rose of Provins in November 2011 and finished it by Summer 2012. And that was writing a page or two a day after work.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating a unique story and situation that nobody has ever experienced.
What do your fans mean to you?
They should mean a lot to every author. Without them, you would have a book that nobody has ever read. Some of the readers I have interacted with have opened my eyes a bit. I've learned several things from them about what most intrigued them about my book. Things that I will be able to apply to future books.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like hanging out with family, growing vegetables and flowers, playing with my cats, reading, watching movies and going for walks on the beach.
Published 2013-09-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Rose of Provins
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 75,580. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
Emma’s peaceful life was shattered by a fateful trip to the flea market. She met a man who made her skin crawl and, for reasons she couldn’t understand, gave her an old diary. Within the diary, her dreams and nightmares were recorded as if by magic. Her only hope to unravel the mystery of the diary and her horrifying dreams lies in the hands of a handsome stranger named Jack.