James Benger comes from Kansas City, U.S.A
How long have you been writing? I started writing stories as soon as I could string a few words together. I started getting serious (i.e. wanting to make a book) at about five.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? Every once in a while I do a reading or someone reads something I’ve written and they’re inspired to try their own hand at it. If I can keep having that happen every once in a while, I’d say it’s worth it.
What projects of yours have been recently published? My last solo chapbook, You’ve Heard It All Before was released by Arkansas publisher GigaPoem in the spring of last year. I’m the admin. of an online poetry workshop called 365 Poems In 365 Days. We recently published our second anthology.
What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? I just finished a split book with Pittsburgh poet, Jason Baldinger called Little Fires Hiding. It’s been picked up by Spartan Press. That book is sort of a conversation between our two cities. I’m finishing up another split book which has also been picked up by Spartan with Baton Rouge poet, Tyler Robert Sheldon called Against The Dark: Road Poems. That one is a fictitious travelogue of two friends driving from Kansas City to Baton Rouge. But the story is told with poetry, and from two distinct perspectives. That one’s scheduled to be out in November. Lastly, my first solo full-length book of poetry entitled The Park was recently picked up by Aldrich Press. That one’s about the residents of a fictitious trailer park in the American Midwest.
Where can we find your work? I have two fiction ebooks on Amazon. Also there you’ll find both 365 Days anthologies as well as some other anthologies I’m in. My first chapbook, As I Watch You Fade can be found on EMP Books’ website. If you’re looking to find some free stuff, I have a few poems up at the awesome ezines In Between Hangovers and Philosophical Idiot.
How do you react to rejections? Like everyone else, I can get a little bummed out when I get a rejection. It’s never easy to hear that what you’ve worked so hard to create is not what the publisher is looking for. I try to remember that a rejection doesn’t necessarily mean that the work is bad, it simply might not be a good fit with that publisher.
How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? That’s always very exciting. I tend to only submit stuff to projects that I really want to be a part of (like the Bukowski issue of The Ramingo’s Porch), so when things get accepted, it’s a thrill.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Don’t let rejections get you down. And never take yourself too seriously.
What is your favorite book? That changes pretty much every day. High on the list are all of Bukowski’s books, most of Stephen King’s, the first several by Chuck Palahniuk, and Appalachian Frankenstein by John Dorsey.
Who is your favorite author? Pretty much the same answer as the last question.
What makes you laugh? My son.
What makes you cry? Also my son.
What is your favorite food? Ham and pineapple pizza.
Shakespeare or Bukowski? Bukowski. Every time. No contest.
Books for sale and/or press: