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A Conversation With Ben A. Sharpton Author of The 3rd Option and 7 Sanctuaries
http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/6380/1/A-Conversation-With-Ben-A-Sharpton-Author-of-The-3rd-Option-and--7-Sanctuaries-/Page1.html
Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

To read more about Norm Follow Here






 
By Norm Goldman
Published on September 3, 2013
 



Norm Goldman, Publisher  & Editor of Bookpleasures.com Interviews Ben A. Sharpton Author of 7 Sanctuaries and The 3rd Option


                                                                                                              

Bookpleasures.com once again is pleased to have as our guest Ben A. Sharpton author of 7 Sanctuaries and his most recent book The 3rd Option. Ben has won several awards in contests with Writers/Editors Network, the Center for Writing Excellence and Writer's Type.

Good day Ben and thanks once again for participating in our interview.

Norm:

How and why did you become interested in ectogenesis?

Ben:

I can't say I ever was. I guess I read about it in BRAVE NEW WORLD a long, long time ago, but never gave it much thought since. 

Norm:

What served as the primary inspiration for The 3rd Option? As a follow up, did you write the The 3rd Option to express something you believe in or was it just for entertainment and what matters to you about the story?

Ben:

 It all started in Sunday School - Really. I am a part of a very unique group of people who gather together every week to talk about the really tough issues - the ones others are afraid to touch. It's a broadly open-minded group that gives members the option to make up their own minds.

I was teaching a session on abortion, and it occurred to me that there seemed to be no "technological solution" to the abortion debate. Some controversial issues, like gun control, might have some sort of solution in technology - fingerprint locks, for example. But abortion only offered Pro or Con sides to the debate. So I asked what might happen if there was some way to remove a fetus and incubate it until it could be adopted.

A few days later I was talking with a close friend from Louisville, and I mentioned ectogenesis ("Out of the body growth"). I asked, "What would happen if someone did create a viable option for growing an organism outside of the womb." Then I answered it in the same breath: "Somebody would probably try to prevent it because people use the abortion argument to gain power and money politically." The book flowed out of that.

Norm: 

How did you go about creating the character of Allan Chappel in The 3rd Option?  

Ben:

In addition to being made up of various people I've known, Allan was also a seminary dropout. I hit on the idea of taking a character that usually opposes abortion and placing him in a position where he has to support Pro-Choice and then later, finds an alternative - a 3rd option. That was fun. Plus, it allowed me to show a side many ministers don't reveal to their congregations.

Norm:

As The 3rd Option is your second novel, the first being 7 Sanctuaries, did you find the process easier or more difficult?

Ben:

I'd say I found it simply different. This novel is much more of a page-turner. People have told me they have to force themselves to put it down so it will last longer for them. I put everything I had into making the book a high-concept thriller. Seems to work.

Norm:

When writing your books, do you work from an outline? 

Ben:

On a high level. I have an idea where the book is going and how it's going to get there. But, when the characters themselves start taking me in directions I didn't expect - start making up their own minds, that's when things get fun!

I use the writing program, "Scrivener". It employs an "index card" metaphor. I create a different scene in a different index card. When I want to, I can display the cards and see a high level view of the book. I can also move the cards around to change the order of the scenes and color the cards on the screen to indicate which scenes are transitional and which ones game-changers. I also can insert cards to indicate different days of the week. It's a powerful program. So Scrivener becomes my outliner. By the way, it ultimately exports an MS Word file.

Norm:

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

Ben:

In many ways. I grew up in a family in which faith was important, however, my novels are not "Christian" novels. I write about normal people, some of whom happen to be spiritual. I also have always taken pride in thinking for myself. I don't know if my parents had anything to do with that or if I learned to do it in spite of them, but that is important to me.

Norm:

What helps you focus when you write?

Ben:

I guess discipline. There are so many other things I could be doing, but I have to find a way to make the writing happen.

Norm:

What has been the best part about being published?

Ben:

I think influencing others. When peeple say, "I never thought of it that way, I'm proud."

Norm:

What books have most influenced your life most?

Ben: 

The writing of Ira Levin, probably more than most. He had a gift for tackling an issue that wasn't yet an issue but would be soon. This Perfect Day, asked what a real socialistic society might be like and how real individuals might overcome it. The Stepford Wives explored the opposite of the feminist movement (through robots, no less). His last book, Sliver dealt with the loss of privacy. They were powerful, impactful novels.

Norm:

What would you like to say to writers who are reading this interview and wondering if they can keep creating, if they are good enough, if their voices and visions matter enough to share?

Ben:

Persevere. Make time to make it happen. You may never be a super-successful novelist, but your work may touch someone else in an important way. In M. Night Shyamalan movie, "Lady in the Water", one character (actually played by Shyamalan)'s gift is to write a book that never makes it big and never is successful by today's standards. However, someone comes along, years from now, reads that book and it guides that person to lead the world in a time of turmoil. My wirting - our writing, may just be like that. 

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?

Ben:

"Wherever great books are sold." Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Belle Isle Books and Novel Voices Press (my two publishers, so far). And, of course, my WEB SITE.

Norm:

What is next for Ben Sharpton?

Ben:

I have two completed novels "in the drawer". I'm cleaning them up right now and plan to pitch them soon. One is a young adult story and another is a paranormal adult novel about a person who sees the significant life events of others. I'm anxious to get both of them out. Then, I've started a third book in the "Boomer Lit" genre - about struggles baby boomers now face.

Norm:

As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.

Ben:

Marketing is so vital for new novelists these days. We have to do much more marketing ourselves than our predecessors did. What are some successful marketing tools? Possibly the most is getting readers to review your work. I read recently that a review is more valuable to a new author than a sale. I'd echo that sentiment. A reader's ability to drop a few sentences on Amazon or Barnes and Noble can really help a new author get the word out.

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors

Follow Here To Read Norm's Review of The 3rd Option

Follow Here To Purchase The 3rd Option