Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.
When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband – often scouring the brush for huckleberries, which overflow the freezer and find their way into her signature huckleberry lemon pound cake. For more, visit www.loribenton.com.
Welcome back to the blog, Lori! I’m so glad to have you here today. Congratulations on your upcoming release, A Flight of Arrows. I’ve been counting down to this sequel ever since I finished The Wood’s Edge. 🙂
So my mind just about burst with all the possible answers that clamored to be The One when I read this question! What I enjoyed a lot about writing this story was also its biggest challenge: finally getting to see the world from inside William Aubrey’s head and heart. Except for a couple of letters in The Wood’s Edge, I made readers wait a long time for that. And what I enjoyed most about writing William’s story in this second book was how a certain character readers of my earlier books will be familiar with played a key role in softening William’s wounded, hardened heart. But to say more would be far too spoilery (is that a word?)!
Haha! Love it. Oh, I can’t wait to get to know William more. 🙂 Do you have one character you will miss the most when the series is finished?
The Pathfinders is a two book series so I’ve already moved on and am writing something new now. I still think about the characters (a lot) and I miss writing them. There are certain relationships I’d have liked to explore further. There are later events during the Revolutionary War that involved the Oneidas and the people of Schenectady, NY that would have been challenging and interesting to portray. Though the story of these two families is brought to a conclusion with A Flight of Arrows, in my mind those characters’ lives have gone on, and I’ve seen some of it. Maybe one day I’ll write those stories too.
I love seeing all your FB pictures of your outdoor activities there in Oregon. What’s one of your favorite things to do for fun?
Other than hiking on the weekends every chance we get and shooting the occasional arrow? I enjoy baking while listening to a good audio book. I also work at my church one day a week now. On that day I might weed flower beds, clean bathrooms, drive a golf cart to the burn pile, work in the kitchen at the retreat center on the mountain behind the church, or set up Sunday School classrooms (including drawing a picture of that Sunday’s lesson on four dry erase boards). All of that and more. I love the variety, the people I’m working with, and learning new skills (I’m no gardener… yet).
I read on your website that you love audio books. What’s one of your favorites you’ve enjoyed listening to recently?
I recently listened to two of Susan Meissner’s books on audio, Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Fall of Marigolds. Both were excellent. I admire how Susan interweaves her contemporary and historical story threads. An audio book I always go back to if I have nothing new to listen to is To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, read by Steven Crossely. I wish everyone would listen to this book!
You recently started learning how to play the cello, is that right? Do you have a favorite song to play?
I started taking lessons at the end of October, but it’s been very slow going. I’m not up to playing songs yet, unless you count Jingle Bells and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And I play even those badly! I’m not sure I have much musical talent. Maybe it’s not finding the time to practice as much as I want to that’s holding me back. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to try, so I’m trying. I’m determined to give it at least a year before I decide whether this is something I like enough to keep on with it.
I think that’s great! The cello is such a beautiful instrument.
Do you have a word of advice for aspiring writers out there? We’d love to hear something that has helped and encouraged you.
I sometimes wish there was a set of rules or steps I could hand to beginning writers—do this and you will be a good writer and find a publisher in X amount of time. But the more published writers whose writing journey stories I hear, the more I believe each path is unique, both in timing and circumstance. Not all writers take 22 years to see their writing craft mature and their first book published (I did). The best thing I can say is this: if you love to write, then write. Don’t stop. While you are writing educate yourself about the writing craft (read good books on the subject; I have a list of recommendations on my website). Also while you are writing, educate yourself about the business side of things. It’s easy to do with so much knowledge at your fingertips online (not like when I began in the early 1990s). Where to start? Follow agent blogs like Books & Such. They’ll tell you what you need to know if you are patient and pay attention. Check their archives for older posts on subjects you need to see addressed. Do the work.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Lori! It’s always a joy to have you here. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
It’s too early to talk in any detail about my upcoming projects, but I’m happy there are two on the horizon. Both look to be stand-alone novels at this point, with new settings and characters, though each will be set in the same 18th century world I’ve been building for the past few years (always with potential for characters from previous books to wander into the middle of things). Readers can anticipate more of what they’ve come to expect from my stories—frontier adventures, issues of faith and culture, and a generous dash of romance. I’m excited about these upcoming novels and hope readers will be too.
Yay! That sounds great, Lori. They will certainly be on my reading list. 😉 Have a blessed 2016!
Lori has graciously offered to give her complete series, including both Wood’s Edge AND A Flight of Arrows to one lucky reader! Enter below and it could be YOU!
Thanks for entering! Contest ends April 19, 2016. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!