Interview with Ben Highlander

Describe your desk
Desk? Who has a desk? I sit in the sun in my lounge, or have the heat pump on (yeah, it's cold here!) and allow provocative scenes to run through my mind. I have a skinny posterior and I would never last on a chair that wasn't kind to my rear end! But if I had a desk, it would be highly disorganized-- only my mind is tidy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in South Africa, in a little town East of Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa. I am Afrikaans, and as such I was unwittingly part of the Apartheid machine until I came to my senses through the helpful guidance of a lover at the age of 24. Some of my story leaks into a few of my books. Although I was in an Afrikaans high school, my family wasn't racist in the typical way. But of course, we all discover layer upon layer of prejudice as we get older and have to make sure that we search our souls to uncover how we can be kinder to others. Being gay really opened my eyes in that regard as it made me aware how destructive prejudice is.
When did you first start writing?
I have always written, in one form or another. I first discovered I had a talent for it when my grade 8 teacher, who was married to another teacher in the same school (a grade 12 teacher) took a bet that I could write a better essay than his star english pupil. That teacher (I won't mention her as she's probably long gone by now) inspired me and gave me faith in myself that has lasted me a lifetime.

I have tried numerous times to write a book, but never succeeded until recently when I started writing erotic gay fiction. I realized that my dirty mind was attractive to others and the encouragement I received from my fans spurred me on to write more and more. Writing is hard work, and writing well makes me proud. If my words don't move me then I won't publish them. I suppose some people may think that's self-indulgent but that's the reason that I write: to move people, starting with myself!
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have written a few books, only one of which is currently on Smashwords. But my newest book is, as many of my stories are, about a married man who discovers late in life that he, how shall we say, likes to take it from behind. I don't make excuses for the fact that my stuff is about sex, although I have learned along the way that a good story is very important.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I want to be able to write whatever I want, and don't want to have to cow tow to some publisher's notion of what sells or is permissible. I am too old to waste my time and I know people who read my stuff like what they see. So I want to give them what I like, and make a buck or two on the way. Whereas writing is its own reward, I need to put bread on the table and this seems to be the best way.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
That is two-fold.
1. Being moved by my own words, and finding new ways to say things to that old situations get new juice.
2. Have people write to me and tell me how they felt when they read what I write.
3. Ok I did say two-fold. Here's another fold. The joy of having something that is complete and I can dust it off and point to it and say, "That's a chunk of me. See what you think of it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did."
What do your fans mean to you?
The short answer is: EVERYTHING. Yeah I know Caps on the internet means I'm shouting. But the truth is that the stories that I share with my fans makes me a part of some of the most intimate moments that they experience. Sex is beautiful and, well, sexy, and that makes us a little like sex partners. No, that's not awkward. Men get that. Guys can do stuff together and just get off on the idea that another guy is watching. It's a man thing and it's beautiful. I love it and I love my fans.
What are you working on next?
Well, I am working on Making my brand a little more recognizable. What I publish here on Smashwords is a part of it, as well as my twitter feed @Ben_Highlander (NSFW!) and my website www.BenHighlander.com, where I am trying out new stories in different ways. It's about taking something that I love and making it work for me in more than one way. But in between I am constantly working on new stories. My latest is a series of "SHORTS", less than 1000 words that just describe sexy situations, some fo which may develop into full length stories.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life is a story, and no less than the ones I write on my laptop, it is something that I get to write for myself. A favourite quote of mine I came up with when I was a young man"

"We are art. We are our own muses. And our choice sets us free."
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do. It is a story based on the TV series "Merlin" and is available on my website. It isn't finished, but I aim to complete it one of these days. There are three chapters.
What is your writing process?
I just write. I don't plan a story. I tried that: it got me stuck and I ended up not finishing anything. I'd rather save my creative juices for the stories that write themselves when I sit in front of my laptop.
How do you approach cover design?
With great fear!
What do you read for pleasure?
Science fiction and spiritual books. I also love to read erotic fiction but I try to limit my time spent on that because I don't want to wear my...um...self out on other people's sexy stories!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love the kindle app which I have on my Android phone, my iPad and my Macbook.
Published 2015-05-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

I Want My Son
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,570. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Men's Erotica, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
A 19-year-old accidentally discovers his dad's secret diary. It contains the shocking revelation that the happily married parent is secretly in love with his son Pierre. Little does he know his son shares his attraction. This hot incestuous fantasy plays off in the minds of the dad and son until the two finally overcome their inhibitions. An erotic, incestuous short story.
Jamie Goes Greek On Me
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,470. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
What happens when a straight man falls in love with his best friend's eldest son? Can it end in anything but disaster? In "Jamie Goes Greek On Me", Ben Highlander tells the sexy, romantic story of Jamie and Douglas, two men who, with their unusual love, have to choose whether to break the boundaries of convention.
I Don't Mind A Hairy Back
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,950. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
A Married man with an eye for boys fears he may be bored to death or at the very least tears when he and his family attend a Christmas lunch with family. What actually transpires is food for any fantasy, if you're so inclined.