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Monday, March 28, 2016

Interview with Award Winning Author Ben Burgess Jr.

It's quite an honor to have such an esteemed author do an interview on The Troubled Oyster. Ben Burgess Jr. is a three time Reader's Favorite International Award Winning Author! 

Tell a little about yourself. 
I’m a father, husband, NYPD Detective, Author, and personal trainer. I’m a person who wants to leave a lasting, positive difference in the world.

What can you tell us about your books?
I put my heart and soul in every book. I believe art imitates life, so when fans read my books, I want to challenge them with stories that will make them think. With all of my books, my goal is to stir the readers emotions. 

What genre do you write and why?
I write African American Fiction/Urban Fiction and Contemporary Romance. I write in those genres because I feel they’re broad enough for me to write realistic stories. I try to write novels where a majority of people can relate to the situations and characters.

If a fiction writer, is any part of your book based on events in your life?
All of my books have a part of me in them. “Monster” was semi-fictional. 90% of it was true, with a lot of characters, situations, and names were changed around to protect the actual people they were based on. A part of the character design for “Samantha” in my novel “Wounded” was based on a family member of mine as well as numerous women I’ve met in life. In “Love and Happiness”, both Chris and Karen have parts of me in their character design. After interviewing a lot of women to get the “voice” down for Karen, I feel she has such a diverse personality because she was based on lots of women. I feel when an author puts parts of his soul in his work, the readers can feel the emotion in the book and it makes it easier to connect.

What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your
One of the most significant challenges I’m facing now is convincing readers that not all African American Fiction/Urban fiction book are about drug, baby mama drama, gangs, or crime. I feel that sometime African America fiction is viewed as the “reality tv show.” of literature when many stories within the genre are deeper than that. Sometimes its very hard for me to find reviewers and bloggers to give my novels a chance because of the stigma that comes with the genre. While it can be frustrating, I know the best way to change people is by doing it one at a time. I try to alter the opinions of every reviewer I meet with my work.

You are a three time Reader’s Favorite International Award Winner. Tell us a little about that and will you be going for a fourth this year? 

I’m a big believer and fan of Reader’s Favorite. They were the first book award competition that I won. Even though my first novel “Monster” was received well by readers, I wasn’t completly confident in my skill as a writer. Winning that competiton helped me to not only gain recognition, but it also gave me the confidence to continue to write. I’ve been blessed to win the competition for three straight years, and I cherish it every time I win. I’m hoping to go for a fouth this year when I enter my next novel “Daddy’s girl.” 
Do you have an interesting writing quirk?
I’m very weird when it comes to writing. I don’t follow an outline, everything is mapped out in my head. I constantly rewrite and edit while I’m writing, which is considered a big writers no-no. I have a weird Quentin Tarrintino approach to writing my books. I write the parts as they come to me. It could be the middle of the book, the end of the book, it doesn’t matter. As I write more of the book, I make evolve to fit together with the parts that I’ve previously written.
Do you have a favorite author or book?
My favorite author is Eric Jerome Dickey. His books as well as Richard Wright’s Native son, are the reasons why I am an author today. I’ve been blessed with speaking to Eric Jerome Dickey personally and he has been a good mentor to me. I was honored when my favorite author was one of the first people to support first novel “Monster,”

Describe yourself in three words.
Persistent. Assiduous, Giving

Be sure to visit Ben

Love and Happiness

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