Second-year English student, Ben Newman, has seen his dream manifest into reality. He has recently published his first book Choices.
The Linc had the opportunity to talk with Ben about the book and the writing process he went through to publish it.
How would you describe your book in a couple of sentences?
Christopher Lane is a young man who is diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after meeting the love of his life, Sarah Hewit. After discovering that Sarah has lost her mother to a similar fate, he decides that it would be better for her not to know of his condition. The book follows Chris as he leads two lives: the average college kid and extraordinary cancer patient.
How did you come up with the idea?
When people said things like, “It came to me in a dream,” I would always scoff at them. But, Choices came to me in a dream.
It was a really vivid dream with a full story [and ending]. I grabbed a notepad, pen, and paper, and I wrote it down. It was about six or seven pages of manuscript, and then I branched it out.
How is Christopher similar and different to you?
Chris is different to me in that he is a lot more cocky and confident. In that sense, he is what I wish I could be. I’ve always been quite shy, and I wish that I could talk to people more easily. He’s like me in his sense of humour. He can sometimes be quick to flare, and that is definitely me, as well.
How long did it take you to write the book?
The first draft I did in about six to seven months. However, I went back and rewrote sections of it. Then I did a whole rewrite of the entire piece. I would say it took me just under a year.
The longest I ever stayed up writing was about sixty hours straight without sleeping. It was so difficult to leave my book because I felt like I was going on this journey with my characters.
Was it nerve-wracking to write the book?
At first, it was just really exciting. That’s how I would describe it.
I wouldn’t say that actually writing was nerve-wracking compared to actually clicking “publish.” That absolutely scared the life out of me. I couldn’t even sleep that night.
What is your favourite part of the writing process?
My favourite part is going to have to be when you are writing away. It is when you know where you are going with it and what you want to do. You can be writing for up to a day at a time. Weekends are spent behind closed curtains, with your laptop just writing. Equally, my least favourite part is the editing when you need to cut it down and trim it. That can be heart-breaking.
What’s your hope for your readers?
This is going to sound terrible, but I want them to cry. There were a couple of things when I was going on a journey with these characters that made me cry. I basically want my readers to go on the journey that I feel like I went on with my characters. I want them to have sympathy.
What is one important thing you would like to add?
If there is somebody out there and they want to write a book, I would tell them to do it if they want to. You are not going to get anywhere with your dream if you suppress it.
“Hi,” the woman’s voice said.
I’m really sorry about your wait there. Chris, I’ve just been finding out who it was that saw you when you were last in. Is it correct that Doctor Hanson saw you?”
That’s the one.” Chris confirmed it.
“Right, OK. Christopher, I’ve spoken to Doctor Hanson about your needing an appointment and he’s told me that he’d very much like to see you much sooner than Saturday. He says your appointment needs to be treated as a matter of urgency and, if possible, would you be able to make it in tomorrow morning?”
“And skip college?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“I think I’ll be OK with that.”
“Great. Shall we say ten thirty?”
“No college and a lie in? Sounds good to me.” (pg. 8)
You can download the rest of the book here via Amazon. Until Wednesday October 8th, it is free!Tweet