Lori Benton is a huge favorite here at the CCC blog! :) She is the agency-mate of Erica, Gabrielle, and myself, a favorite author of Anne's (and the rest of us too!), and an all around beautiful individual. I love chatting with Lori online and she's so approachable. Not to mention her books are beautiful, inside and out. She's offering a fantastic giveaway today too, to all our beloved CCC readers, so take a moment to get to know Lori and then enter to win :)
What authors do you like to read?
There are probably hundreds, but topping the list would be Ellis Peters, Jan Karon, Diana Gabaldon, James Alexander Thom, Laura Frantz, Katie Ganshert, Melissa Tagg, Mesu Andrews, and Tony Hillerman. Of course I’ll remember more in a moment or two!
What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
Books by Stephen Lawhead. Books by Diana Gabaldon. Books by James Alexander Thom. Books by Ellis Peters. Books by Francine Rivers.
What’s more important: characters or plot?
Since I believe character drives plot, I’m going to have to say characters. But plots are important too!
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author and what would it be?
Never say never! But for the sake of an answer I’m going to go with technology. After the Industrial Revolution I start to lose interest in history pretty quickly. So it’s likely my novels will remain set in the 1700s or earlier. Maybe, just possibly, the early 1800s.
How important are names to you in your books and how do you choose them?
I love choosing names. Sometimes characters show up with a name attached. Most often I need to hunt for the right one. If they are immigrants from a certain country to the American colonies then I look for names common in that country at that time. I read old ship manifests. I check out my family tree, which goes back centuries and draws from many European countries. I’ve been known to sit through movie credits reading as many names as I can catch as they scroll by, especially if the movie was filmed in a country from which my character hails. If I’m naming a Native American, I will learn all I can about how that character’s people named themselves and stay as close to such traditions as I can and try to choose a name that sounds true to their nation.
What secret talents do you have? Because here at the CCC blog we have all kinds of them ;)
No secret talents here. I tend to post photos on Facebook of the things I like to do. Like cookie decorating.
What were you like as a child? Steady-going like our Anne, a tornado like Jaime, and adventurous soul like Erica, or an avid-reader like Gabrielle?
A steady-going, adventurously avid reader! I went through books like a tornado through a cornfield, only not as messy.
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
My husband and I managed to get our car stuck on ice in the mountains not far from our home, late a couple springs ago when we’d thought the ice pack on a particular road would be melted away. Suddenly it wasn’t and we were going nowhere. After about five minutes along came a truck with the proper tires and an Englishman of all things driving it and because we had the needful equipment, our car was soon attached to the back hitch of the truck and they pulled us off the ice. I really don’t think that could have gone any smoother. I didn’t do anything but pray!
What’s your writing goals for 2016?
I have a deadline for the book I’m writing now, later in the year. My goal is to meet it and write the very best book I can. Also to take a research trip. Then start the next book before the New Year rolls around.
Lastly, will you leave us with a snippet from your book that is one of your favorites and gives us a glimpse into its pages?
From the just released A Flight of Arrows, Book 2 in the Pathfinders series. Copyright 2016 Lori Benton
Looking both regretful and relieved, Reginald cleared his throat. “What of Johnson’s regiment? Is there news?”
“That is for my son to answer,” Stone Thrower said.
Two Hawks sat straighter as he related the rumors that had circulated about Sir John Johnson and his regiment. “We put to rest each one until none remained to follow. We know where William is not—at the lake forts. We do not know where he is.”
Reginald was silent, absorbing this, then said, “Too long have I been gone from my place on the Binne Kill. But once my business there is in order…” He met Stone Thrower’s questioning gaze. “I’ve had time for thinking about what Arnold did on Lake Champlain. I thought of doing likewise—
“No,” Lydia said before she could think better of it. “Reginald, winter is nigh upon us.”
Reginald ignored all but Stone Thrower, to whom he’d bound himself with a promise—that they would neither go after William alone.
“It is a bold plan,” Stone Thrower said. “It stirs my heart to hear it. But we have taken hurt, you and I. To cross such distance in snow would take a man in his full strength to do. And I have reason to stay. For now.”
“You don’t know yet where to look for William,” Lydia persisted. “You cannot even be certain he’s joined Johnson’s regiment.”
“You do not let fly an arrow before you aim it,” Good Voice added.
Stone Thrower said, “We do well to heed the wisdom of our women. We wait. Pray. Trust our lost one to Heavenly Father. Until we have a target to aim at.”
Reginald’s jaw tightened. He closed his eyes, only to open them when Two Hawks stood abruptly. The young man’s color deepened as all gazes turned his way, but it was Reginald’s he held.
“I am glad you are safe from battle,” he said. “We have been much worried for you, wishing you home. Now I am going down to the barn.”
“The barn?” Anna asked in evident bewilderment.
Two Hawks jerked a nod. “Where I will sleep. I have moved my things to be ready for morning. Sleep well,” he said to the room at large, though his gaze rested on Anna’s upturned face with its own pleading. For what? Turning away too quickly for Lydia to be sure, he passed between her and Reginald and went out.
Anna stared after him. Only Lydia seemed to notice her hurt. Reginald was reaching inside his coat. He brought out something small, wrapped in faded cloth. He laid it on his thigh and removed the wrapping to reveal two framed oval faces. Lydia was near enough to see one was a tiny portrait of Heledd, his late wife, who had returned to Wales nine years ago with…
“William,” she said, recognizing the face in the second frame.
“What is this?” Good Voice leaned forward, staring at what lay in Reginald’s lap. Stone Thrower mirrored her movement.
“I found these among the things William left behind. Heledd must have had them commissioned soon before she passed. He looks to be nearly the age he is now. Here.” Reginald held out the portrait that had captured their attention, his voice gruff with feeling. “See the face of your son.”
As Good Voice’s hands cradled the miniature, Anna wept openly, watching William’s parents, hearing as did Lydia the involuntary sounds each made, eloquent of years of pain and loss and wondering.
“They are much alike,” Good Voice whispered at last. “The brows, the mouth…”
“But the eyes…” Stone Thrower said. “He is like you.”
Anna shot to her feet and all but ran from the room. Good Voice and Stone Thrower barely glanced up at her going, but Reginald raised his eyes to Lydia. Eyes still haunted by guilt.
Visit Lori at her Website: http://loribenton.blogspot.com/
Enter to win Lori's generous giveaway of paperback copies of "At the Edge of the Woods" and "A Flight of Arrows"