Interview with Benjamin Schramm

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When not writing I spend most of my time healing/saving my friends in online games. For years I have been a druid healer in World of Warcraft and before that I was a Jenquai Defender in Earth and Beyond. Looking forward to Wildstar and serving my raid as a combat medic.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was a hideously rough draft of the first book in The Ninth series. At the time I was a full time college student with the vast majority of my classes being in the field of business. I had no idea how to write dialogue and it flowed as easily and naturally as a report on quarterly earnings.

However, Brent lodged himself right in the center of my brain and over time I refined and refined until I finally got a version of the story that didn't cause the eyeballs of friends and family to burst into flames on first read through.
What is your writing process?
Sitting in a dark room, listening to random music, and trying to keep up as my characters tell me what they want to do. I see writing as more of an old school dungeon master's role. My job isn't to make a dozen robots and tell them what to do every minute. My job is to create an interesting world for my characters to explore.

Half the fun is being taken in a completely random direction as characters do something I hadn't considered when I planed the main story arc. The conundrum is deciding if I need to shepherd them back to the intended path or see where the new one takes the story.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Hearing reader's memories of scenes or characters. Nothing tells me that I've hit the mark better than a hearing a past reader talking about how they envisioned a scene, or how their friends remind them of characters.

So much of media is about making splashes and explosions, but most tend to fade pretty quickly and they crowd one another for attention. If a character of mine can survive past a season of blockbusters and still be someone fresh in the mind of a reader - that's pretty impressive to me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the town of Frazier Park, California. It's a smallish town about an hour away from the big cities. It had a grocery store, a hardware store, a post office, a pizza parlor, and a mom and pop store that rented VHS tapes. (Be kind, Rewind)

The biggest impact the town had on me was the diversity of the people and how they interacted with one another. Despite the fact the citizens were fairly homogeneous, each and every one saw the world at his or her own slant - and none of them had a problem expressing those slants. Hour long arguments would erupt from people that agreed on ninety-nine percent of the world. Oh, but that one percent.

However, they would only argue with certain others. At times I would watch a strongly opinionated citizen sit in complete silence as another spouted views completely opposed to their own. It was fascinating as a child to watch the behavior of those around me shift depending on who was in the room.

All that taught me that people, be they real or fictional, are deep things. A cardboard cutout of a catchphrase or a mood does not a realistic character make. To have a true character you not only have to know how they view the world, but how they view those around them.
Published 2014-03-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.