Author – Ben Rovik Shares Their Story @BenRovik
About the Author
I’m an author, actor and dad living outside Washington, DC with my wife, baby girl, and a brawling pair of cats.
My current projects are the humorous fantasy series “Mechanized Wizardry” and a related series of medium/short length pieces called “Petronaut Tales.” The Petronaut Tales are set in the same fantasy world, but give me license to play with new characters and genres, including romance.
What inspires you to write romance books?
Romances put people in a good mood. Even love stories that go badly are incredibly satisfying to read. They just tug at us in a way I don’t think any other genre does.
With my book “Aloft,” I was inspired to write a romance about characters who weren’t especially beautiful, and who spent most of the lives feeling overlooked and out of place. Meeting each other is what lifts them up to do great things, even through adversity and danger.
Why not write about a passion-fest between two supermodels? Because most of the world’s passion-fests are between ordinary folks. I wanted to explore the reactions of two characters who didn’t ever imagine themselves capable of feeling a love that strong, let alone inspiring it in someone else. And I wanted to show how love can make people stronger, which was easier to do with characters starting from a lower-status place.
Tell us about how you write:
I write frantically, whenever I get five minutes to myself. (The joys of having a baby at home.)
I’m an outliner for sure. I’ll write out the framework of a story on notebook paper or legal pads before I begin the first word. Sometimes I’ll block it out scene by scene, chapter by chapter.
I always stray from the outline here or there as the story takes shape, adding new scenes or moving things around. But I always keep my eye on where I want things to go. That helps me make sure I’m setting things up properly for revelations or big dramatic moments. Things like that.
Since I have a lot of books set in the same fantasy world, I keep track of all the names, places, and historical details I mention as I make them up, to help myself manage continuity.
I love to write; it’s something I always can lose myself in once I get started. I like editing, too. I always take a few passes through my books in addition to having my editor and beta readers look them over. I love being surprised by an image, moment, or turn of phrase I don’t remember having written. And while I hate how many typos creep into my early drafts (I’m literate, I swear!) I’d much rather catch them myself than foist them on my readers.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Sometimes I’ll read scenes out as the characters to see how the dialogue feels and sounds aloud. The cats don’t like it if I orate too loudly, though. They start to worry about me.
What advice would you give other writers?
Every couple’s love is a little different, and every relationship has quirks and idiosyncrasies that make it distinctive. What makes your characters’ love unusual? What’s your spin on the oldest plot line there is?
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m a published playwright under a different name, so I’ve gone that route. But for my fiction, I decided to self-publish. It is very, very straightforward to publish your own ebooks.
I liked the idea of having control of my own work start to finish; being able to release titles and make changes whenever I wanted. I liked that the people I’d be trying to sell my stories to were actual readers, and not interns in the basement of a publishing company reading the first twenty pages of a hundred manuscripts all day, playing guesswork about what would sell and what wouldn’t. I liked the 70% royalty on self-published ebooks, as opposed to one-tenth that for traditional contracts. At those rates, it was much easier to imagine a future where I was selling enough books to support my family. Selling a million books a year is a pipe dream; selling 25,000, and making two to four bucks every time, seemed within reach with enough hard work.
I’d recommend self-publishing for sure. Learning how to format files, line up cover art, edit and market your book online means you’re picking up a whole boatload of new skills, even if your books don’t sell at the start. It feels more productive than writing cover letters and collecting rejection slips.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Big publishing companies are going to shrink in size and importance, but not disappear. Even more authors will have hybrid careers, self-publishing some titles and shopping others around to presses large and small. I’m just going to keep writing and see what happens!
What genres do you write:: Romantic comedy, Fantasy Romance, Steampunk, Fantasy, Humor
What formats are your books in: eBook