T. K. Benjamin has always been a storyteller. She was telling stories before she could even read or write. Then, once a pencil was placed in her hand and she was taught to write, nothing could hold her back.
Somewhere in her parents' home are still boxes of notebooks filled with hundreds of stories written in her childish handwriting—stories of Billy The Train and his travels and Detective Beasley Bell and the many, many crimes he solved. Obviously, storytime was always a favourite, whether it was listening to a new story, re-reading an old treasure, or writing her own tales.
These days, she lives in a sleepy, seaside suburb with her supportive partner and their ridiculously spoiled and overactive pets. She dreams of the day she can just find the time to write down the multitude of stories running amuck in her head, clamouring to be heard, and having people read them.
Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
A: Oh, yes. Even as a kid, I wanted to tell stories. I remember making my poor mother sit with me for hours as I spun tale after tale.
Q: Where did the passion come from?
A: I think I have to put the blame squarely on my mother’s shoulders there. I would make her read to me, before I could read for myself. When she'd get sick of reading Cinderella to me, she'd start making up stories to tell me and keep me quiet or go to sleep. So, yep, totally mum’s fault.
Q: Do you write daily? What's your writing schedule?
A: I'm afraid I don't write on a daily basis. Three days out of five, my day starts at 5 a.m., when I head off to work a breakfast shift. I return home by 10 a.m., when I wrangle my life into submission, catch a nap, and then head back to work for the dinner shift.
My writing time starts on the weekends, when I can write during my crazy breaks during my long shifts. Then my beloved days off. On these days, I can write for hours at will.
Days off and holidays are for hours and hours of writing.
Q: Where do your stories come from?
A: I really can't tell you. It's as if my main characters whisper their stories to me and it's my job to write them down.
Q: What's the hardest part of writing?
A: The hardest bit for me has to be the first read-through. I tend to write at speed and don't read or edit as I go. I try to get it all down as fast as possible. Then, once I'm done, I go back to the beginning and start reading. At times, it's a matter of trying to decipher between what I meant to write and what I actually wrote down. This can be challenging—and hilarious.
There are times I've missed, jumped, or lost complete paragraphs. All I can say is that the first read-through can be difficult, challenging, and very interesting.
Q: Why do you write gay erotica?
A: That's easy, really. I enjoy telling love stories—especially love stories between strong men expressing and showing equally strong emotions. Love is love and I'll always find it beautiful.
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