Name Benjamin Bautz
Where are you from
A small city in the middle of Ohio called Mansfield.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Hmm, always struggled with these type questions. I dropped out of college on the precipice of my junior year and took a job in a toy factory to support my now ex-wife and myself. I worked as a happy little elf for fifteen years, found my second ex-wife, got MS then ended up on disability. Rather than wallow in self pity I once again took up the pen (so to speak) and started jotting down the stories in my head. Currently live on my own, unattached with my loud mouth cat Kelly.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve recently released my first full length novel Johnny Chaos, which is part of much larger story, despite each part mostly standing on its own. I’m currently working on the conclusion of that, as well as a sequel to my The Book of Goat.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
The earliest I can remember writing is writing and drawing stories about Batman and sending them to my first sweetheart when I was five I think. I did it so she would smile and because she was cute. I’ve written pretty much my whole life. Mostly because it brought peace to my unquiet mind.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess I’ve always considered myself a writer, even when I wasn’t really pursuing it as a career.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book, hmm. The first one I put out there or the miserable pile of trash I first finished and have hidden away in an undisclosed location? Either way, the answer is the same I suppose. I had an idea, or a bit of a scene that would not leave me alone until I wrote it down. For all intents and purposes I will go with Johnny Chaos as my first book, as it has been in my head and gone through many incarnations for close to twenty years, finally being finished in the form it is currently, in 2012.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know, really. Is that a question I can answer or should I leave it up to readers? I guess if you put the irons to my feet, I would say no, outside my penchant for tongue and cheek sarcasm.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I just thought it was memorable. It’s the main character’s first name followed by what he has become.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There is a lot of allegory in it, but the end message I suppose is that out all the forces in the universe, love is strongest.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
Hehe, none of it, or all of it, depending on where one stands in a metaphysical sense. I’d go with not much. Although kicking lions may actually be a good date activity.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In a warped, kind of twisted way, Johnny is my unfettered id. Events, no.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
No mentor per se, although both maternal and paternal grandmothers were very supportive. Influences,hmm…, HP Lovecraft, Robert E Howard, CS Lewis, Michael Moorcock, Walter Mosley, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ernest Hemingway, Terry Pratchet. Franz Kafka is a big one. I could go on, but I think it’s fair to say if it touched me in any way whether I loved it or hated it, it had an influence on both me and my writings.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished Baudolino by Umberto Eco. I’m getting ready to start a book by a newer, independent author Brick Marlin. As soon as my stupid kindle charges up.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Sure. Become a big fan of Vivian Hwang under both her pen names, Alex Chu and HW Vivian. Also really have enjoyed Rebecca Boucher’s work that I’ve read, as well as Lisa McCourt Hollar and Blaze McRob. I’ve derived a lot of pleasure from reading and working with Joann H Buchanan’s work. Brent Abel shows a lot of promise.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I think I mentioned finishing up my Chaos cycle and a sequel to my The Book of Goat. I have a historical fiction comedy called The Plague Gigglers set in 13th century England coming out soon. I’m piecing together another historical fiction work in my head right now called the Bastard Guns of Dracula, set during the Mexican/American War.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
God has been an immeasurable support. Outside of Him, all my friends have been incredibly supportive of me. I’d be nowhere without the people God put in my life.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I sure hope so.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Hahaha, umm, I no longer want to even think about that. So no. Well…., no dang it, no.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
With stories that would not leave me alone.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure, here’s a bit from Conflagration the last book in my Chaos Cycle:
“Johnny, get up.”
The boy moaned, smacked his lips, then fell back into the rhythm of dreams.
“Johnny, get up,” the voice called again, a little more insistent.
Again the boy did little to react, other than to roll away from the one trying to wake him.
“Johnny! Dagnabit, get your ass up!”
Johnny Arnald, perhaps the most powerful being on the face of planet Earth, blinked bleary, unfocused eyes, and looked up at his long time companion, and avatar Gabriel. Gabriel had put on a few pounds and grown a rather scraggly looking beard. It made him look less like a younger Al Pacino, and more like just an old fat guy. But his appearance didn’t matter. He relied on his friend like no one had relied on anyone before. Gabriel was the only one that could help him navigate the maelstrom of which he was the epicenter and cause.
Because, despite looking quite like any other nineteen year old High School Graduate, he wasn’t. He wasn’t sure he could even lay claim to the title of human anymore. He was the Earth’s reigning Lord of Chaos. Which didn’t really get him the credit, or benefits, he felt was due him.
He yawned and sat up, stretching his arms out over his head. “Come on, five more minutes. My head hurts.”
“No, you have to get up now!”
“Because you teleported us into the middle of some flippin’ medieval battlefield, and I quite like the idea of my organs staying on the inside, thank you!”
Johnny looked around him. Gabriel had not lied. They were indeed on a grassy plain, not more than twenty yards from where men slaughtered each other with sword and shield. The clanging of steel, the smell of blood and entrails, the cries of dying warriors for their mothers as their spirits passed. Yep. Battlefield. The Chaos Lord stood up, and brushed the grass and dirt off his jeans, frowning a bit when he noticed a grass stain on his pant leg near the thigh. He poked his partner in the shoulder, then pointed to the green and brown smudge. “Is this going to come out? I mean, Cindy just bought me these.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Depends on what I’m doing. Making sure my history is as accurate as possible, keeping track of too many characters, but mostly making sure the work is honest.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’d have to say Bernard Cornwell and how he brings the past to life in my mind.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I did a little last year for The Book of Goat. Will be doing more next year. Do I have to, no, but I like reaching out to readers face to face.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My brother, Daniel Bautz, has done most of my covers so far.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Filling in all the details when I just wanted to get the cool parts in my head.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned where Hitler was born, lol. I usually do quite a bit of research as I go. I’d have to go through the book to figure out what I learned then.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Grit your teeth and gird your loins. You’re in for a battle, but the reward is your sanity! Keep your head down and your mind open, everything you learn now can be useful.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you, and I hope I made you forget your troubles and smile.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yep, Hands, Hands, Fingers, Thumb when I was four.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I can find a way to laugh at anything, even if it’s just whistling in the dark. Stupidity makes me cry. Well that and intense torture. Losing loved ones kind of sucks, so that’ll make me cry. I will admit to crying at the end of a Jet Li movie, but it was moving damn it!
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I have been so blessed by the people that have come into my life that I can’t think of anyone I have a desire to meet living or dead. I won’t know how amazing they are, or were, until I’ve met them.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
The Race is done. I have won. Because I believe this life is just the beginning.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Love poker! I’m also a big comic book geek.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy Gotham, Flash, Arrow, Doctor Who (although Tom Baker will always be my Doctor), you know geeky stuff. My favorite film is probably Highlander.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Tomatoes, I am a tomato junkie
Colors: Red and shades of red. I guess green is okay as people say it’s my color.
Music: I’m an unapologetic metal head through and through, but I also enjoy the symphony quite a bit, and have come to the conclusion David Bowie hasn’t written a single bad song.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’ve done almost everything I’d set my mind out to do. Just on a small, more obscure scale. My only unreached ambitions are to be a good man, a good and faithful servant and a loving husband and father. I think I managed the loving husband on the last marriage, just to someone that didn’t appreciate it, and as for the rest, well, I’m not dead yet.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Not currently. Have to work on that soon.
and my author page