Brandi Benson is an American Writer, Speaker, Business Owner and Cancer Survivor. She is also the founder and CEO of Resume-Advantage, an employment service for both civilians and transitioning military veterans. Her debut memoir tells the touching story of her Ewing Sarcoma diagnosis during her deployment in Iraq in 2008. With a BA in Mass Communications and Journalism at Ashford University and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Education at Concordia University in Chicago. Brandi is dedicated to using her second chance at life to help fellow cancer survivors, participating weekly for the Livestrong cancer survivor program.
What is your writing process?
Well, I have a very unconventional writing process. Yes, the process includes prewriting, drafting, revising and editing, but I look for inspiration in many different places. If I am writing something that needs to be funny, I watch funny movies or I read funny material that will help spark up that space in me or I will call someone who is funny to bounce ideas off of them. When I find the material that really stirs up my innovative juices, I write it down, and I dissect it. I look at the elements, which made it funny or the steps it took to lead to the moment of laughter. I then write it out and begin the “normal” writing process, and write. And I do this for every emotion that I am trying to evoke for my readers. My most recent book The Enemy Inside Me, I had to re-read my old journal entries to resurface the emotions of despair and hopelessness and anxiety. I had to have hard conversations with my mother who was a witness to the entire event about her memories and how she felt. Everything in writing is done strategically, and a great writer can bring the words to life, so understanding the mechanics behind this process is magical and unforgettable.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I cannot recall the very first book I read, but I can remember the first book I read that struck my interest in reading, which led to my love affair with writing. It was the Goosebumps books, and it was in 1992. I can remember being very fascinated with the covers and how they felt, they were much different from the other books I would get from the library at school – I loved the colors, the stories, and how the books made me feel. The books were so descriptive to me back then, and I really admired that. They had an element of suspense and foreshadowing that I would try to replicate when I found a sentence that really moved me. I can remember reading a paragraph over and over again and changing the scene and making it my own, but using the same setup. This is where I became aware of the power of words and the control it had on me.
This memoir is a poignant, yet true account of a young soldier's fight with cancer, that begins miles away from enemy lines. Her journey is a gripping reminder that every moment is a gift and every breath is a blessing.