I’ll be in discussion with Benjamin Thomas, author of the thriller Jack Be Quick, at the Book Club Bookstore & More in South Windsor next Saturday, July 29, at 1:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, reserve seats by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the store at 860-432-7411. Copies of the book will be available for purchase/signing. More info can be found here. Location: 869 Sullivan Ave.
Today, I’m Monday-musing with Benjamin Thomas.
Benjamin is the debut novelist of Jack Be Quick (Owl Hollow Press). His short stories have appeared in publications such as Flash Fiction Online and Winter Tales: A Fox Spirit Anthology; he can also be found reviewing books for Shoreline of Infinity, the Hugo-nominated speculative fiction e-zine. Ben earned an MFA in creative writing from Albertus Magnus College while working as an emergency room technician. Ben writes from New England, where he endeavors to balance traveling, hiking, and quoting seemingly random movies.
Praise for Jack Be Quick:
“This is an amazing piece of writing. I had palpitations and felt as though a movie was unraveling before my eyes. Read it from cover to cover in one sitting! I could not stop or put the book down once I started. Very impressive read.”—Amazon reviewer Angela LaPorta
“This book had me gripped from the very first page … [it] will have you turning the pages as quickly as you can and trying to guess who the killer is … The author is a master storyteller and when it comes to thrills and suspense he has it nailed … The secondary characters are excellent too and fit perfectly into the story. If you are a fan of murder mysteries and suspense thrillers this is definitely a book that will grip you. I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say, put aside some time if you pick up this book because you won’t want to put it back down. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.”—Amazon reviewer Amanda Evans
From the publisher:
A picture scrawled in blood pushes paramedic Noah McKeen into a game of hide and seek with someone attempting to honor Jack the Ripper.
Tormented and controlled by little white pills and visions of the woman he had intended to start a family with now in the company of another man, Noah fights to control his sordid selfish behavior and stop a brutal reenactment of history’s most notorious serial killer.
Now, Benjamin reveals a few pages from the book of his life …
John Valeri: As a child, did you wear your literary lust loud and proud or were you a closet bibliophile?
Benjamin Thomas: Sort of both. I loved to read when I was really young. I can still remember the Scholastic book catalogs that I would bring home to order all of my Animorphs and Goosebumps books from. And I would always read class assignments way before their due dates (yay To Kill a Mockingbird; boo Of Mice and Men) but then high school came and I fell out of reading only to pick it back up again in college.
JV: What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?
BT: This question made me laugh. Primarily because I was actually caught reading once way past when I was supposed to go to bed and it was Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. If I remember correctly I told my mother I was “previewing it” for tomorrow, not actually reading it so I shouldn’t get in trouble. But if we’re talking books that we always keep close—His Dark Materials—the entire trilogy.
JV: What are you reading currently & what is your initial impression?
BT: Working on two at the moment: The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston—it’s solid nonfiction about an expedition into the Honduran rain forest in search of a lost city. Fantastic. Making me once again wish I was Nathan Drake. Also reading Off Beat: Nine Spins on Songs a collection put out by Wicked Ink Books. I’m reviewing it for the speculative fiction magazine Shoreline of Infinity so I can’t go into too much but so far it is one of the better anthologies I’ve read in a while.
JV: What one book do you always recommend when asked?
BT: That’s tough. I really have a diverse reading pattern. After two or three science fiction books I need a thriller or a nonfiction piece. But overall? Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is one of my favorites. Or if someone is into horror I would say King’s Under the Dome. Yeah, I really don’t have one solid recommendation across the board.
JV: Which of your own books would you suggest to readers & why?
BT: I’m sort of biased to say Jack Be Quick at the moment because it’s my debut. But there is a short story collection I was part of—Winter Tales—put out by Fox Spirit Press. The short story I contributed, Among Wolves, is probably my favorite one that I’ve written.
JV: Is there a book or author that readers would be surprised to know you’ve read and liked?
BT: I loved Mary Lawson’s Road Ends. She’s a great writer and I think the only reason it would be a surprise is because it is a very ‘literary’ novel where I’m rooted more in genre fiction. And now we can commence that great debate.
JV: Who is the one author that would, or did, make you weak in the knees upon meeting?
BT: Ummmm . . . I’d like to grab a drink with Gillian Flynn just to BS about the psychology behind messed up people. No one can argue that she is one of the best at capturing those characters. I’d love to meet Cassandra Khaw. I reviewed one of her Rupert Wong novellas for Shoreline and it was awesome.
JV: Has there been an “I’ve made it” moment in your career?
BT: Not yet. Don’t get me wrong, getting an offer of publication was a massive milestone that I still don’t believe really happened despite the fact that the books been out for a month and a half now. Wow it’s actually been a month and a half. Anyway, I haven’t had that moment yet and to be honest I’m kind of glad because it gives me something to climb to, you know?
JV: What is your greatest literary ambition?
BT: Without a doubt, to be walking on the beach and see someone reading a book that I wrote.
JV: Fill in the blank: John B Valeri / Hartford Books Examiner is ______.
BT: Pretty good at coming up with some solid / interesting questions!
With thanks to Benjamin Thomas for his generosity of time and thought.
Don’t forget: The author and I will be in discussion at the Book Club Bookstore & More in South Windsor on Saturday, July 29th, at 1:oo p.m.