Name – Jennifer Bene (pronounced like the latin prefix for ‘good/well’, beh-nay). It’s actually an inside joke from when I was choosing my pseudonym that I love being called a ‘good girl’. My BFF and I helped choose it.
Age – 29! I’ll be 30 this year, but I’m not afraid of it at all. I love being where I am in life!
Where are you from? – Dallas, TX!
A little about your self (i.e. your education, family life, etc.)
I have a Bachelor’s degree in English language/literature, and two Master’s degrees in other disciplines. I’m close to my family, and everyone lives in Texas so as much as I’d love to live up north where it’s cooler, I’ll likely never leave! I have tons of great friends and do my best to live life to the fullest, every day. I’m active in the BDSM community in Dallas, have a Dominant, and tend to write most of my books from experience. I say that I have three full-time jobs. I work at my day job all day, I’m a single mom to a toddler in the evenings (when I have her), and any other free moment I’m writing. It makes my life a very interesting, and VERY busy, world – but my Type A personality wouldn’t have it any different.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just released my most recent ménage erotica book, ‘Reunited’ and it’s available on Amazon, here (http://amzn.to/1Qu6a22).
It’s a really fun, light-hearted book, which is a little out of my normal writing zone. I tend to write much darker work. Closer to my normal level of dark is my upcoming book with my publisher, Blushing Books, and it’s called ‘Taken by the Enemy’. It’s slated to be released March 26th!
Last, but definitely not least, is that the first book in my Thalia series, ‘Security Binds Her’ hit #1 in several categories on Amazon last month and became a best-seller! Very exciting news, and the book will also be available as a deal on BookBub at the end of March or early April! It’s available here (http://amzn.to/1Qu6vlu).
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I think I’ve written for as long as I can remember, telling stories aloud as a kid, moody poetry as a teenager, and then in my late teens I started my first novella. Unfortunately, like many authors, instead of running into a supportive group, I ran into a cruel group who ripped my work apart and offered no help. I put my writing away on a shelf for 8 years until a friend of mine who had supported me at my first attempt at a novella begged me to participate in NaNoWriMo in 2013. That was when I wrote the first draft of ‘Fae’ (Book 1 in my Daughters of Eltera series, available here, http://amzn.to/1QxIccI).
I wrote almost 65000 words in a single month, but didn’t stop. I finished the book in Feb 2014 and then kept it on a shelf while I wrote the Thalia series. I came back to it last year, finished it, and published it as well. Over the last year and a half I have had the most supportive group of people come around me and it has resulted in a number of books and wonderful opportunities as I started publishing!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it was when I was about halfway through writing ‘Fae’ for NaNoWriMo. A few friends were beta reading as I was writing it, and to see the excitement and engagement on their faces as they told me how much they liked the story – it made me feel like an author. Mainly because they were saying and expressing the same things I did when I really liked a book, or a writer. There’s nothing like that feeling!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I always joke with my friends that I have ‘movies’ playing in my head all-day-every-day, and these movies sometimes live there for years before I get the urge to get them on paper. When I first started writing I had so many playing simultaneously that I felt crazy, but now I’m starting to get those characters out and on paper. That is my real motivation though, I want to capture the worlds happening inside my head and share them with others.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I do! In the writing world they say you are either a ‘plotter’ (meaning you plan/plot your stories before you write them) or a ‘pantser’ (meaning you write by the seat of your pants, with no written plan). I am most definitely a pantser. Plotting out a story will kill it for me, make the movie stop playing in my head. When I write it’s like the movie is playing inside my brain and I’m just doing my best to keep up and write it all down. Sometimes my characters even surprise ME with what happens. It’s probably the coolest thing about writing for me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I’ve written a lot of books at this point, but I usually struggle with titles. My brain is more interested in the story than the title, and I almost always have to ask my friends or my editor for help coming up with one. The only ones that I had really fast were ‘Security Binds Her’ and the ‘Daughters of Eltera’ series, which I chose to name each book after the main character.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A theme across all my novels is one that I hold very true in life as well, we have to experience the darkness to truly appreciate the light. It’s been my life experience, and I see it occur in others as well. Almost all of my books have this theme running through them in one shape or another, and I do hope people can see it.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Since my books get pretty dark, I would hope they never happen to anyone in reality, but unfortunately a lot of them are sadly realistic. The reality of sex trafficking and abuse is a reality in the world, but it’s why all my books end with an HEA (happily ever after) because I feel that hope can keep the darkness at bay, even in real life.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As someone active in the BDSM lifestyle I try to experience punishments / situations myself first so that I can write them as true to life as possible. I always love when I get messages from readers who compliment how well I depict ‘real’ BDSM situations and relationships, because I couldn’t ask for better feedback! It lets me know I write it down well.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
Sheesh, this is a hard question! I have so many ‘favorites’ but I’d say that Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series really showed me that dark, hard subjects could be handled beautifully and eloquently and still tell a great story.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I actually just finished ‘The Shadows’ by J.R. Ward. It was amazing, as are most of her books!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’ve had the good fortune of meeting a lot of wonderful writers in the past year. Some of my favorite new authors are Livia Grant, Tara Crescent, and Sophie Kisker. All of whom write delicious erotica, both light and dark!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently working on a freebie story that will be released to all of my newsletter subscribers (sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/jbeneauthor) and it’s dark and delicious. I am also 2/3 of the way through Book 2 in my Daughters of Eltera series, but I had to pause that project when my publisher wanted ‘Taken by the Enemy’ which is coming out on March 26th.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My friends in an author group called ‘The Erotic Collective’. Most of us originally connected through an erotic serial website called Literotica, but we’ve been incredibly supportive of each other as we all ventured into publishing over the last couple of years! Also, my editor, Jim the Brit (as he calls himself) is always my #1 cheering section.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely! I treat it as my second job, and sometimes that means not doing something I want to do because I have a deadline. It’s worth it though, because I love it way more than my day job, and there’s always that idea that one day it may make me enough money to let me do it full-time! Ah, what a dream.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope! I do my best not to overthink my writing (or I’d never let go of it)! By the time it’s in my editor’s hands I’m confident in it, and he always says I write ‘clean’ because of it. I think that if I told the story I wanted to tell, then I’m a happy author.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think it’s always been there. Just an urge to tell a story, to get the movies in my head out for other people to see them! I’m just lucky people seem to like my stories!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure thing! Here’s a snippet from my latest release, ‘Reunited’. This scene comes after Megan met up with her hot, dominant, ex-boyfriend at her 10-year high school reunion. Not only did he express interest in her again, but so did their mutual friend Colby. After Colby and Eric were heating things up on the dance floor with Megan they slipped away from the dance to have some private time in the halls of their old alma mater. Here’s what happens:
Colby spoke quietly, “I don’t know how many times we told Eric off for keeping you all to himself, but, ha!” He smirked at Eric. “Did you hear that, man? She did look at me. You were not the center of her universe!”
“I never thought I was the center of her universe, but I wasn’t very good at sharing back then.” Eric grinned, and it was that charming, dimpled smile that made him look impossibly handsome. “However, Megan liked me keeping her all to myself. She always liked me taking control.” He stepped forward and slid his hand into her hair. His fist tightened slowly, the strain increasing until little tingles of electricity rushed down her back, and then he suddenly pushed her back hard against the lockers. The metal popped behind her, and she couldn’t deny the way she felt. She wanted him to take charge, she wanted him to tighten the grip on her hair a little more, she wanted him – “I’m not sure if she still likes it though. What do you think, Colby?”
She was speechless as Colby leaned on the lockers next to her. His hand landed on her waist, trailed slowly over her stomach, and then glided down. “I’m not sure, let’s see if Megster still likes someone else in control.”
This story is actually FREE on Kindle Unlimited or only 99-cents for a hot, fantasy-fueled ménage erotica! 1-click away, lovelies! Grab a copy: Reunited
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Having the time to do it. It’s a full-time job on its own, and I balance it with my day job, being a mom to a little one, spending time with family, friends, and keeping my Dom happy. I wish I didn’t have to sleep!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
This is the CRUELEST question to ask any writer or reader, because it’s impossible to choose. However, the series I could read over and over unto forever is Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series (as I mentioned earlier). It’s just perfect to me.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I travel to Chicago sometimes to meet up with my writing group, sometimes I travel for conferences, but mostly I stick close to home because it’s A) expensive, and B) time consuming!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
One of my best friends is a graphic designer and she runs her own freelance company Quarter Hazel Designs (the website is currently down for a redesign), and so she has done most of mine but I also love the covers on GoOnWrite.com!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That the hardest part of writing is just getting started (and that’s a perfect segue to the next question)!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just sit down and write. You may hate it in the morning and erase it, you may love it and it could launch you into a 10k word spree of insanity. You’ll never know unless you try, and for first time writers? We all suck in the beginning. It takes time to capture your voice, mostly because you’re so terrified of every word you put down when you start. Ten years ago when I got my work ripped apart, I wish there had been one person to sit me down, pat me on the back, and say ‘Yeah, this wasn’t perfect, but fuck it. No one is great when they start, pick up these pieces and do something with them, because the core of this? The core of this is badass and deserves to be written.’ Everyone needs to be told that!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you? I mean, honestly, what more can I say to the lovely people who have supported me since before I even started to really publish. Every Facebook comment, twitter reply, email, review – it all means the world to me. I can’t ever say thank you enough.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably a Bernstein Bears chapter book? I read from a super early age, so I can’t remember!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Real life stuff doesn’t, but I crumble when I read books or watch movies! Stories get me so easily!
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I would love to sit down with Eleanor Roosevelt, she is so damn quotable and was so ahead of her time. I just want to listen to her talk about a thousand subjects.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I plan on being cremated, so if I end up with a headstone I’m haunting someone, but I’d really just want people to know ‘She lived her life to the fullest’ because it’s what I strive to do every day.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I play Dungeons n’ Dragons with a group of friends almost every Friday, I go to Renaissance Fairs, and I’m a total nerd. I love it, and when people meet me they don’t believe it because they imagine nerds to look one way. The thing is, I also love yoga, and being healthy, and partying and dancing. I’m an awkward mix of introvert and extrovert, but I always recharge when I’m alone!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My favorite movies are Zoolander and Love, Actually. Favorite shows at the moment? The Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Galavant, iZombie, Vikings, and many many more!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music?
Foods? Probably chips and queso. I just wish it was better for me! Colors? I love blacks/whites/grays and red! Music… I tend to lean towards these weird indie artists no one listens to. I find them all through Spotify and love them!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I write for my day job (instructional/technical writer for a company’s training program), so writing would have happened regardless, but I was a trainer for years (teaching classes) and so I probably would have taught!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I do! Here’s the complete list of ways to stay in contact with me:
Check out her website – http://jenniferbene.com/
Amazon Author page – http://amzn.to/1QuaLBk
Find her on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/jbeneauthor
Follow her on Twitter – http://twitter.com/jbeneauthor
Follow her on BookBub – http://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-bene
Be a fan on Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/jbeneauthor