About Bentley Turner:
Bentley Turner, a pseudonym, has written several short stories and poems that have been published in literary journals and anthologies. His first mystery–The File on Thomas Marks–will be published by Global Publishing Group in June. Under his legal name the author has written articles for academic journals, chapters for academic and scholarly books, entries for encyclopedias and reference books, and several books of nonfiction.
What inspires you to write?
I enrolled in several writing courses when I was an undergraduate. I found the process of writing fiction enjoyable. However, primarily because of my profession, I had to switch gears so-to-speak and write nonfiction aimed at specific readers. Of course, I enjoyed writing nonfiction–and still do, but I also enjoy writing fiction. Although I don't write every day, I try to write whenever I come up with an idea for a possible piece of fiction or nonfiction.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
I enjoy mysteries by Linwood Barclay, Raymond Chandler, and numerous other writers. I also enjoy fiction by John O'Hara, Ernest Hemingway, Erskine Caldwell, and numerous other writers as well. However, I enjoy reading nonfiction, especially books about American history as well as scholarly studies about Jesus and James.
Tell us about your writing process.
Generally, an idea for a story comes to me, but these ideas don't come as often as they used to. However, whenever an idea comes to me I try to get it on paper. Although I have identified the characters by name, I have not necessarily fleshed them out. Usually, this comes as I work on one draft and then another. In other words, the characters–like the plot–mature after several drafts. Sometimes the characters change as a result of this maturation. Sometimes their names change, too. Sometimes the plot changes as well. For instance, I went through numerous drafts when I wrote my first mystery. In fact, I put it aside for several years. Then I went back to it and worked on it some more. As a professional writer told me years ago, sometimes you have to stop working on a piece of writing and send it out. He said that whenever one of his books was published he could open it to any page and find a passage or two that he could improve. Of course, his change or changes may not have caused the character or story to change.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I try to get inside the heads of my characters, especially the major characters. I try to learn how they will (should) react in certain situations. I also try to learn how they will (should) respond to what other characters say to them and vice versa. In short, I try to get to know my characters well.
What advice would you give other writers?
If you enjoy writing mysteries, read as many mysteries by different authors as you can. One way of doing this is by purchasing a collection of stories by various writers. Read and study these. I would encourage any writer to read novels by the so-called masters, too, primarily for style. In addition, I would read books on how to improve one's writing. Writing comes easy to a few people. Unfortunately, many find it difficult.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I'm not interested in self-publishing. I send my work to publishers. If it is rejected, so be it. There are other publishers. I sent my mystery to–first–large publishers that accepted work without agents and then worked my way down to smaller publishers. About three or four of the latter showed any interest in it. I will submit my next novel to smaller publishers. Most of the large publishers accept work from agents, not authors. On the other hand, my nonfiction has been published by various large and smaller publishers that know their respective markets well.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Publishing is changing. The large publishers are being purchased by other large publishers or corporations, which are interested in the bottom line. If writers can find agents, then they may find their manuscripts at large publishers. However, most writers, particularly those who do not have agents, should investigate smaller publishers. Of course, smaller publishers don't have the resources the large publishers have; consequently, writers who place their work with smaller publishers will have to work harder to get their name and their work known.
What genres do you write?: Mystery fiction, Academic nonfiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
Your Social Media Links
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.