Well now, I was gripped when I read the synopsis for the book. To View The Valley (The Lune Du Lac Chronicles Book 1) is set in 1905 in the town of Lune Du Lac, Wisconsin and follows the stories of two families. What was the inspiration behind this tale?
The characters were the inspiration. Sometimes they just come to me and take me on a wild ride. This was one of those times.
We have stories of love, the prospects of a new life for an affluent big city family, the misguided resentment of a young lady guided by the close-minded bigotry of the small town of Lune Du Lac, and the threat of something deadly that will change the lives of those in this small town. If you could describe this story in 10 words what would they be?
Two prominent families, brought together by fate, cursed by revenge.
With several different characters with different backgrounds, interests and stories we can all find someone that we relate to. You must have a character that you favour?
Though I obviously enjoy all my characters, as each one is—in some small way—a part of me, I must say I am probably most protective of Royal. Growing up gay at the turn of the 20th Century was not only illegal, but probably more of a hardship than most people today—gay men especially—will ever fully be able to comprehend. That’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to write this book; there was a story to be told, but not just a gay story, a story about love, true, unconditional love…as finding it is a universal hope, something almost every human being can identify with.
I imagine Honoria’s wedding to be a scene that captivates the reader’s attention. It’s building to a climax and at the wedding reception the disaster strikes. Are there any other scenes within “To View The Valley” that you enjoyed writing and readers would find of interest?
Oh, yes, so many. Though some of the best for me, as a writer, were the wicked exchanges between Joseph Bloomfield and Mrs. Beverly Asher. Nothing sets a better scene than two manipulative villains trying to outfox one another.
Without giving away anything about the outcomes of the residents of Lune Du Lac, will there be the opportunity of a sequel?
I’ve gotten this question a lot lately…people seem to really want more. And so the answer is yes, this book was written as a first instalment in an ongoing series, “The Lune Du Lac Chronicles.” Story ideas and outlines for the next book, “To Survive The Valley,” are already well underway.
Your stories are vivid, with complex, well created characters, and plot lines that draw the reader in until they’ve found they reached the last page, and craving more. How do you plan your stories, characters and settings?
I don’t—they just come to me. I sometimes start with a character name, or an engaging opening sentence, and simply go from there. I am just as surprised as my readers as to how the story unfolds.
What’s next for Bruce Benzel? Do you have more stories to tell?
Most definitely; I’m always writing, creating. Currently, I’m finishing up a psychological thriller entitled “The Plaza Murders.” It should be available for purchase in the coming months. After that, it’s a paranormal romantic thriller—talk about covering all your genres!
You say that you don’t label yourself as a writer of any particular genre, and that the story comes to you and with it the genre comes too. In terms of reading, would you have any particular genre that you would read, or do you look for a good story first?
First and foremost, it has to be an exciting story; the setting, time period, or genre—for me as a reader—is irrelevant. Though like most readers, I certainly have those go-to authors I enjoy who seem to never disappoint…the late, great Jackie Collins, for instance. Her books were always so high-energy and engaging. I knew once I started one, I wouldn’t put it down until I’d finished it. That’s what fantastic storytelling is all about, taking your readers on that same wild ride that you, as the author, were originally taken on by your characters.
What words of advice would you give to our readers who are perhaps starting to write their own book, or are currently in the process of writing?
The number one quality every writer has to have is passion for their craft. If you’re writing simply to try and achieve great fame and wealth, chances are, it will probably never happen. You have to really love what you do, and just keep doing it. You know, so many people tell me they want to write a book, to which I respond, “So stop talking about it, and just go do it.” Writing is difficult, exhausting work. But you have to have drive, determination, and above all else, that passion to truly want to write. Without it, you’re just another set of hands on a keyboard.
Where can our readers find out more about you Bruce Benzel?
I’m everywhere online…
Amazon Author Pages in both the US and UK—check them out!
My blog: brucebenzelblog.blogspot.com
And, of course, head to YouTube and subscribe to my BRUCE BENZEL channel to see some really great book trailers.