Interview with Benjamin Cunha

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing last year, 2014. I had been working in the deli when I had been in creative talks with a co-worker, when all of a sudden it was like a light bulb flashed on. All my life I have always been creating stories in my head, but never knew what to do with them other than to act them out when I was younger. Now it's frowned upon usually to act out our wildest fantasies, but thanks to the power of books I can unleash all of the worlds and characters locked in my head onto the world! This has been a truly rewarding and fantastic experience, even though I'm just starting out!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book that I am working on is a roller coaster ride of love and the pursuit of finding out why we act they way we do. I wanted to tell this epic love story, and I use epic loosely, only in terms of the arcs I'm taking the characters through, but I wanted a story were both characters are flawed and it has all to do with mental blocks they put on themselves. And it shows how much of our own misery that we cause and place on our selves. The main character is the ultimate virgin, and has never even touched a girl and he's starting to think he never will, when of course a girl he never had eyes for, hits him in the gut like a love cannon. Both characters will need to come to terms with their pasts and eventually there futures if they want any hope of a romance.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is getting to tell the stories that I want to tell, and not have some company be like, "Well, for the market you really should add, 'X' or 'Y' to the plot." I must say writing characters is so much fun, especially dark and twisted characters, because it's like you get to play all of these different persona's in your mind that would never be acceptable of course in the real world. Writing that last page, completing the epic journey that you take your characters also brings me deep satisfaction, which I usually reward myself with some Chinese food!
What do your fans mean to you?
The fans mean EVERYTHING! Like literally without your fans you are worthless and nothing, because without them you never can keep doing this dream job. The fans are the ones who will be there for you when you are feeling down, and when you see some encouraging words from one of them; it makes your whole day change around. Because they are the ones who will be in line for that first book, they are the ones who will come to your book signings, they are the ones who sometimes by both an ebook and a print copy of your book. Your fans will be the ones who defend you on the forums from the trolls with their torches of torment. The fans make up this world of continuing fantasies. I'm an avid fan and I hope to one day have formed somewhat of my own community where we can say, "Welcome, we don't judge."
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite of all time, and the woman I practically owe my current life to would have to be J.K. Rowling, I mean that Harry Potter series saved my life. She's the reason I really, really fell in love with reading books. And I think that's the goal ultimately, that we try to do as authors. Other authors I love, of course Stephen King, I love his dark mind and the way he writes, he's written some great books. I like Jasper Fforde a lot, I think he's got some really sharp writing to him, love his Tuesday series, great characters. I've recently just read "Missing You," by Harlen Coben and he's definitely someone I'm going to look into more, fantastic book I would really pick it up if you haven't. Finally some more, Dean Koontz, David Gaider, Rick Riordan. Finally a shot out to Ann Aguirre, LOVED her Razorland Trilogy, please do yourself a favor and just go buy all three books!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
What inspires me to get up everyday is the thought of getting to be creative each and every day. Everyday I can get up and finish a characters story, or start a completely new one, the options are nearly limitless. And then I compose music on the side, that was meant to be my true career path but for now, it's full steam ahead on being an author. I just love creating stories, music, writing lyrics it's all very rewarding and such a rich experience and job! I couldn't imagine my life without being creative and just being a mindless drone.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing you can usually find me with a book in hand or jamming out to music. Now I LOVE music, music is life, music is the soul, music is everything to me. Also I do watch TV, I used to be huge on talk shows and reality shows, but I'm finding my tastes are shifting which isn't a bad thing really, scripted shows are much more entertaining. I also like to work out, and by that I mean like ten minutes on the treadmill, no triathlon stuff here.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story that I can remember writing with an actual plot and arc, would have have to been in 7th grade. I believe the story was called the, "The realm of Darkness." Or something to that effect, I wish I still had it with me, can't remember what I did with the dang thing. But anyway, the story was influenced by Kingdom Hearts, I remember that much, and it was about this organization (hur hur), that was trying to find the main characters for some reason. All I can remember is that they eventually make it to the realm of darkness where they do battle with the organization's leader, who wore a sun crested mask on his face.His outfit did resemble Xemnas's a lot in my mind though to be honest, haha. The heroes defeat the villain in a mighty battle and he survives at the end, shocker. I just remember my teacher at the time, she would always give me confused looks on what I was trying to do with the story and where it was going. I didn't get the best grade on it, probably a reason I didn't learn to appreciate the craft for many more years to come. Plus being unmotivated, she shouldn't get all of the blame. Wish I still had that story though, *sighs.*
What is your writing process?
My writing process is to have a general overview of the main plot points, of where the characters are going and what is the point of this journey. Will the characters develop, how much? How many obstacles will they face, I love a good challenge. I do plan but I believe it's also important to let ideas that you receive in the moment allowed in, because my thinking is that you got that thought for a reason. And sometimes the things you'd planned on doing the whole time don't match up when you eventually get to that point in the writing process, so don't be afraid to make changes. Sometimes they work out for the better.
How do you approach cover design?
I think of a few things when I'm thinking cover design. First thing is what kind of art style do I want for this book and story. You need to set the mood of your story and your cover will help facilitate that notion for you wonderfully, sometimes. My book just released so we'll see what people make of it. Secondly you want someone who will help see the vision in your head, because unfortunately we haven't invented the device were you can take ideas from the mind and instantly pop them into reality. Lastly, make it look cool but stick to your vision, sometimes the illustrator won't know what they are talking about adding such and such to the cover, but be open minded as well. Feel out the ideas and see what's best option for your book, that's the key, it's your book.
What are you most proud of?
The single thing I'm most proud of I have to say even though I've written a book and that takes a lot, would have to be the score I composed for it. There's something so beautiful about making emotions come to life through the power of music. Especially for a book that you've written? C'mon doesn't get better than that, I really hope people will check it out. I'm planning to release it on iTunes in the very near future, I'm just seeing if I should add more songs or brush them up. For more information just stay tuned to my facebook page, I post all relevant information there for now, until I get a website up and running!
Published 2015-02-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.