Author Stephen Benatar
Author Stephen Benatar

Born in 1937 to Jewish parents in Baker Street, London, Stephen Benatar started writing at the tender age of eight. Despite that, it took until he was 44 before he was published, and now he's celebrating the release of his new book. We caught up with him to find out a little more about his career, writing and more...

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

At age eight, roughly. I wrote a play - about a Colonel and a lady of the night!

How long does it take you to write a book? Does the process energise or exhaust you?

Anything between six months and (allowing for inactive periods between drafts) a year. Energise - most definitely energise.

How many books have you written? Do you have any favourites?

Books published - a dozen. Books written but never submitted - many, many more. The Return of Ethan Hart - second of the two novellas included in Recovery [is a favourite].

Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers finish their first draft? If so, what are they?

Simply persevere. It must be something you want to do more than anything else in the world. OR - if that aspiring writer has himself or herself lost interest, it's highly unlikely that anybody else is going to be interested. Therefore, abandon it and start on something new!

In your opinion what are the best things a writer can do to help promote their book?

Myself, what I've always done in the past is arrange signing sessions. But I was very lucky at the beginning. The friend of one of my daughters ran a bookshop in Harrogate - and, after that, things snowballed. But without that sort of contact, I honestly don't know. I have no experience whatsoever of Facebook or Twitter.

What does literary success look like to you?

Certainly, not money. A knowledge that no one else could have written the books you've written, and an abiding faith in their quality. A strong hope that when you die, your work is going to survive and that your having been in this world is going to make a big difference. A cliche - but your books are like your children. (Only, far more controllable!)

Before Getting Rid of Gil & Josh and About a Boat Trip, a Hold Up, a Strip Show and You by Stephen Benatar is available now.

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