Interview with Stephen Bentley

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
One of the first books I ever read was 'Gulliver's Travels' by Jonathan Swift.
I did not know at that age (about 9) what satire was. But nevertheless I was fascinated by the tale. It intrigued, fascinated, and entertained me.
I would say it had a huge impact on me.
What do you read for pleasure?
A mix of crime fiction and biographies mostly by indie authors. However, I am still trying to catch up with many classics too.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm learning fast about this important part of book marketing.
I generally know what sort of look I want for the cover then liaise with my cover designer. She is an excellent designer with a solid history in graphic design and professional photography.
Generally speaking, I have received some good comments about my covers.
I almost made a big mistake with my last book; my first crime fiction work. I was set on using a watercolor painting of my protagonist sat on his motorbike. The painting was excellent but didn't suit the genre. Back to the drawing board!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Easy! My Samsung tablet with the Kindle app.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am a Twitter evangelist and preach its virtues to other indie authors. It takes a time to get used to it but once you get the hang of it then it produces results.
Facebook in comparison is impersonal. I am unable to measure campaigns using that medium but with Twitter I often have dialogue with readers who have bought my books.
Describe your desk
It's a standard inexpensive office desk with my laptop taking pride of place in the center. A corkboard is fixed to the wall above my laptop.
My next WIP will go on the board in the form of index cards so I can "beat" out the whole story. That will be the skeleton fleshed out by my words.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Huyton, Liverpool, England.
Residents of Liverpool are known for a dry humor. I do believe you, the reader, will find some in my books. Liverpudlians are also passionate people. They fight for what they believe in.
You will also find those themes running through my books whether non-fiction or fiction.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It may be a unique story. Allow me to quote from the blurb of 'Who The F*ck Am I?' - "This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!"
There were two guys I met when I was a real-life undercover cop. They wanted me to help them import vast quantities of cocaine into Britain from Bolivia via Miami.
They were never arrested for operational reasons. I always wondered who they were. My latest book fictionalizes who they could have been!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had a story to tell and believe I tell it well. I knew nothing about the publishing industry. I suffered the usual rejections from agents and publishers and researched self-publishing.
I am pleased I took the plunge as I now have full control over all aspects of my work.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Finishing the book brings a great joy. It is an accomplishment.
I also love writing great dialogue. I do think it makes a huge impact upon the reading experience.
What do your fans mean to you?
Totally love them!
I have one lady in the UK who has read my memoir three times. She left a second review recently to say just that and added, "every time I read it I enjoy the writing even more."
I want to give her a big hug!
What are you working on next?
Two books simultaneously. Besides Book 2 in the 'Steve Regan Undercover Cop series,' I am writing a book about my paternal grandfather, a rating in the British Royal Navy. Able Seaman Frederick Bentley joined the Navy as a "boy sailor" in 1916 at the age of 17. He was on the Prince of Wales in 1941 when that ship was sunk by the Japanese in the South China Sea. My grandfather survived and remained in the Navy until 1945.
Who are your favorite authors?
Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, James Patterson to name but three.
I must add one indie author - Nick Rippington. His last novel 'Spark Out' was brilliant. He is now a friend of mine and I hope to co-write a novel with him in the future.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life! Why waste life laying in bed? Seriously! I have too much to do and so many words to write.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, enjoying my family, drinking cold beer, watching Liverpool Football Club on TV, and jamming with local musicians.
I don't play any instruments but they allow me to "murder" a song of my choice :)
Published 2017-09-26.
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