Interview with D. Dean Benton

Published 2020-03-21.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I am a Des Moines, Iowa Southsider. When I graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School, the faculty sang "It Took A Miracle." My mother and uncles were business people. I began waiting tables and washing dishes in Mom's restaurant at age 12. I pumped gas at my uncle's service station in my teens. That experience of interaction with customers was instructive.
When did you first start writing?
One of my great mistakes was cheating in high school English classes. I really did cheat and I didn't pay attention. After all, I reasoned, who would know? When I began pastoring, I wrote my sermons in manuscript form after making a strict outline. I preached at least two sermons on Sunday, so I hammered out a communication style. My wife did take English classes seriously, so she has helped me as have editors and friends who read letters with blue pens in hand to circle and return corrected grammar, which on a grumpy day can be irritating. But helpful.
What's the story behind your latest book?
There really were mockingbirds. My communication style changed when I mixed my "preaching" with singing. I had a short time to introduce a song or to make a point. I told stories. Everything I saw, read or interpreted became fodder. I needed to do serious Bible study. These are stories that helped me interact with the Letter to the Ephesians, most of which I told dozens of times in concerts and seminars.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
We were on the road 200-300 days a year with opportunity to sell product at the back of the room. We had albums and books to supplement our work. I was motivated by John Wesley who not only preached, but sent written tracts with listeners to reinforce the message. If we were teaching on anger management, our books gave the seminar participants something to read later.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given us a potential audience far beyond anything we have at the back of the room.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have an agenda. My mission is to develop distinctive people and that begins by dealing with what could be their blockage. I can write stuff people will read anonymously and contemplate privately at their convenience. One of my mentors was a great communicator and scholar. I traveled with him and studied his techniques. He told stories. I like to tell stories that will hang in people's memories and stimulate them to change or act. Jesus was good at that!
Who are your favorite authors?
Robert Benson, Anne Lamott, church researcher Ed Stetzer. I think J. F. Penn is a good mystery writer. My reading tends to go to topics rather than to writers. I read everything Myles Munroe, Andy Stanley, Malcom Gladwell, Leonard Sweet write. Jon Acuff, Seth Godin and Brene Brown have recently captured my attention. And who can not list Rick Bragg!
What are you working on next?
Glad you asked. I've been working on a series of novels centered on the work and staff people at a mythical conference center named Southwood. The "Carafe Conspiracy," "The Suite Spot," "It is Today" and "Seizin' Your Season" are in various places of completion.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't think of my readers or hearers as fans. The last time we had a fan club meeting, we met in a Cleveland phone booth. I have tribe members. They are resources, friends and tribe members.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Explaining to my wife why I can't help her clean the garage because I must think what I'm going to write today. I am a Chicago Cub fan, Iowa Hawkeyes and Cyclone fan. I really am interested in finding ways to stimulate my tribe and to resource my family's talents and gifts.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I like coffee. My morning regimen is inflexible. Coffee, reading from my current stack, Bible reading and praying for my tribe, family, the hurting and then exercising. Those are positive addictions that pull me out of bed. My purpose is to share healing and spell out specific resources and habits for those who find their lives built on sand--those who have not yet found their purpose, gifts and place. To establish The community you've always wanted."
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
News releases. Mostly from reading professional journals, blogs and listening to what my heroes and tribe members are reading.
What is your writing process?
When I went through a mid-life crisis, I wrote about the process. When I was depressed, I studied the subject and told my stories. Sometimes I see someone struggling and know there are solutions and try to describe solutions and strategies. I wrestle with the issue, read everything I can to make sure I understand and then build a seminar which grows into a book. The Southwood Series grew out of my hunger for a colony to belong to and to work with. People just keep showing up at Southwood with a story that they want me to tell. Bernie showed up yesterday.
How do you approach cover design?
My son is a commercial photographer. He showed me a picture of a hand holding a baseball and I instantly had a book: "Seams to Me." We are wrestling with a cover concept right now. Having marketing people in the family is helpful. I run ideas and potential covers past my creative team. I have learned to trust them. They see things that I do not. I trust my wife's inclinations. My adult children have creative skills. I have a couple of friends who are the fresh eyes.
Describe your desk
The aftermath of an E-4 tornado.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Latest books by This Author

Mining for Reality & Truth
Price: Free! Words: 27,780. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2022. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Spiritual awakening
Questioning reality? What is true? Wondering about Truth? Few things will determine, define or detour life more than our worldview. Our worldview is the filter through which we interpret all things. Stunning: few examine personal worldviews. If a miracle you pray for contradicts your worldview, you will not recognize it even if delivered to you by FedEx. Time to dig preferences & paradigms.
Seizin' the Season
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 36,160. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2022. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Christian Life / Personal Growth, Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Christian Life / Professional Growth
Position yourself for season changes. The verbs of Psalm 37:1-9 show universal principles, virtues & values that make room for who we are and what we produce. There is no road to Camelot where seasons are controlled by wishes and executive decree. Someone will influence your seasons. Psalm 37 verbs are tools for the prepared. "Those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land" (Psalm 37:9).
Meanderings -- Swapping Road Stories With Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Hagar, Ishmael
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 71,810. Language: English. Published: August 13, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Christian Life / Personal Growth
Why Abraham? He became known as the Father of Faith. The stories that grew out of Abraham's family's response are an outrageous adventure of failure and God's faithfulness. They heard God make laughable promises. The Bentons' traveling ministry--34 years' meanderings--led us to crises, laughter, lives impacted, silence, disappointment, many questions and His faithfulness. Come, meander with us
The Whales Are Singing
Series: The Southwood Collection, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 76,360. Language: English. Published: January 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational
Felicia had been separated from her husband for eighteen months. She was in a government protection program while her husband managed and rehabilitated Southwood Christian Conference Center. He and colleagues had become a dynamic national community. Felicia had never met this new tribe. When released, she didn't know if she wanted to or could renew her marriage. Then the whales began to sing.
Pillars & Porches
Series: The Southwood Collection, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,320. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational
Pillars & Porches is the prequel to eight ebooks. Non-fiction adventures set in a fictional antebellum mansion and a diverse community of visionaries, entrepreneurs, a family from Sudan, a cop/pastor, a former New Orleans stripper whose vision is to embrace, encourage, equip the divorced, depressed, abandoned and those focusing their dream. Antebellum to high-tech tv studio in a rail depot.
Depot--On Track: Heritage, Destiny, Legacy
Series: The Southwood Collection, Book 4. Price: Free! Words: 52,410. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » General, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
An abandoned crate purchased by a Midwest pastor on eBay from a Maine salvage company is delivered to a retreat center in the South. The box contents reveal the pastor's family secrets and shadowy heritage. What he finds in the box unlocks the pathway to his healing and his purpose. The conference center staff helps him release his wounded past, embrace and activate his family's mysterious legacy
HopePushers--with intent to deliver
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,440. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
(5.00 from 1 review)
Hope is an energy generator, the mental-spiritual capital that funds your idea infrastructure. If your dream/goal is not happening, something has gone wrong with hope. Hope is not a feeling or a certain style of teeth clenching. Hope needs an objective and focus. Hope building requires process and people. HopePushers--tells you what hope is, how to get it, how to maintain it, how to dispense it.
Caught In The Tail Lights
Price: Free! Words: 55,340. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Christian » General, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Emotional healing
(5.00 from 1 review)
"Powerful words," a friend said. "I wish I had heard them when I was a kid." Seventeen-year old Timothy Raymond Kendall time travels into his sixty-seventh year where he grasps and describes the impact of parental divorce. He is different than his peers. He returns to build a future he prefers. He finds resources in people, principles and a place. Caught in the Tail Lights is not a sentence.
Turn Back The Tirade
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 44,320. Language: English. Published: March 21, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Relationships & Family » Anger, Essay » Author profile
(5.00 from 1 review)
Anger is a gift. Violence is not permissible. Hostility can kill you. Turn Back The Tirade tells stories of people stunted, stuck and devastated by out of control, negative anger. There are stories of disempowered people who don't know what to do with legitimate anger. Jesus and Paul encouraged anger that empowers. Fun success stories. Healing, understanding and skills for productive use of anger.
Seams To Me--Ready When They Hand You The Ball
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 34,680. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success, Essay » Sociology
Be ready when they hand you the ball and say, "Okay. It's up to you." It "Seams To Me" that solutions, skills, strategies and participating in our healing, equip us to break out of addictions and being stuck. God gave Joshua instructions to conquer and govern the Promised Land. With stories, experiences, Bible application, Dean uses these principles for spiritual-emotional growth and achievement.
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