Thursday, April 10, 2008

Promotional Interview with Angela Benson

You have been invited to share you experience with our readers.

Name: Angela Benson

1. Tell us about yourself - where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)

Thanks for hosting this stop on the blog tour. I appreciate your support.I'm an author with a full-time job as a university professor. Kensington Books published my first novel, Bands of Gold, back in 1994 during the launch year of Arabesque Books, their ground-breaking line of romances featuring African-American heroes and heroines.

I published five romance novels and one romance novella with Arabeseque during the 1994-1997 timeframe. BET Books (now Harlequin's Kimani Books) released a collection of three of those early books (Bands of Gold, For All Time and Between the Lines) in April 2006. I also published two novels with Silhouette Books, both in 1997, which were recently re-issued.

My first Christian fiction titles were Christian romances published by Tyndale House Publishers. Awakening Mercy hit bookshelves in 2000. It was a finalist for both the RITA Award for Excellence in Romance Fiction and the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction. Abiding Hope, winner of the EMMA Award for Excellence in Inspirational Romance Fiction, followed in 2001.

My third and most recent Christian fiction title, The Amen Sisters (Walk Worthy Press, 2005/2007) marked my entry into what is considered mainstream Christian fiction. The hard cover edition of The Amen Sisters reached #10 on Essence Magazine's list of bestselling books in February 2006.

My tenth novel, Up Pops the Devil, will be published by HarperCollins in September 2008.

2. What inspired you to write your first book?

I'm not sure I was inspired to write it. It was so long ago now that I can't remember where the idea originated. I do know that Bands of Gold, my first novel, was a tad auto-biographical. Like most first-time novelists, I drew a lot from my own life. There were so many similarities between me and the heroine in Bands of Gold that I had relatives asking me if the book was about me. I had a hard time convincing them that even though there were similarities, the book was NOT about me. Well, not TOTALLY about me. What a hoot!

3. How many books have you written?

My eleventh novel, Up Pops the Devil, will be published in September 2008. I've also written a nonfiction writing book. As a university professor, I've published more than thirty academic articles and book chapters.

4. How do you decide on their topic?

Story ideas come from everywhere. An overheard conversation in the grocery store. An interesting article in a newspaper or magazine. As an author, your eyes and ears are always open for fresh ideas.

5. What works best to keep you focused and on track?

Deadlines. Without firm deadlines, I'm not sure I'd ever finish a book.

6. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

Both. I enjoy the writing but it's the publisher-imposed deadlines that keep me writing regularly.

7. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?

With my earlier books, I did a lot of book-signings. I haven't done many of those recently. This blog tour is something new I'm trying. I also maintain a website that I try to keep up to date. It's difficult though managing the writing, the promotion and my day job. I plan to devote some money to hiring a professional to take care of promotion for me.

8. What are some unique methods?

I'm not sure if I've done anything unique. I'm usually watching what other authors do, asking questions, and then doing something that's been done before with reasonable results.

9. Do you sell through a website?

I have a link to but I don't actively sell books on my website.

10. Do you plan on writing additional books?

I'm in the middle of a two-book contract with HarperCollins. I turned in the first book of the contract, Up Pops the Devil, in September and it'll be published in September 2008. I've recently started kicking around ideas for the second book, which should be out sometime in 2009. The idea for the 2009 book came from an incident in my mother's church. I discussed it with my editors and we tweaked it some to make it work for the book. Then a colleague told me about an incident at her alma mater and that gave me another twist on the idea. I plan to fully develop the idea over Christmas break and write the book during the Summer 2008.

Though Angela Benson began writing fiction in Miss Milizo’s fifth grade English class, her first book was not published until 1994, more than thirty years later! Since then, Angela has published nine novels, one novella, and a nonfiction writing book. Her books have appeared on national, regional and local bestseller lists, and she has won several writing awards, including Best Multicultural Romance from Romantic Times magazine, and Best Contemporary Ethnic Romance from Affaire de Coeur magazine. She was a finalist for the 2000 Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award in Multicultural Romance.

Angela made a career move to Christian fiction in 2000 with the publication of Awakening Mercy, the first book in her Genesis House series from Tyndale House Publishers. Awakening Mercy was a finalist for both the RITA Award given by Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction.The second book in the Genesis House series, Abiding Hope, was published in September 2001. Abiding Hope was awarded the Emma Award for Best Inspirational Romance presented by the Romance Slam Jam. The third book and final book of the series, Enduring Love, is not yet scheduled.

BET Books, now Harlequin’s Kimani Press purchased the mass market rights to Awakening Mercy and Abiding Hope in 2000 and released mass market editions of the titles in June 2002 and June 2003, respectively.Angela’s first hardcover title, The Amen Sisters, was released in September 2005 by Walk Worthy Press. The Essence bestselling title won the Emma Award for Best Inspirational Romance. The trade paperback edition is being released in November 2007.

No comments: