Interview With Author Bentley Turner
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
After years of writing nonfiction, I started writing mysteries and thrillers a few years ago. So far, I have written “The File on Thomas Marks,” a police procedural; “A Killing in Oklahoma,” a legal thriller; and “The Agency,” a thriller about the CIA and its investigation of UFOs. “The Prize Winners and Other Stories” is a collection that was published earlier this year.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“The Agency” was inspired by my earlier interest in UFOs as well as the federal government’s investigations of numerous sightings. I wanted to try writing a thriller that focused on the federal government’s investigations in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t think so. However, I had to do a lot of research for the novel mentioned above. I wanted to make sure I knew what the federal government had done and for how long. In short, I wanted to make certain that what I wrote was based on fact and realistic.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
In my youth I read novels by Erle Stanley Gardner, John D. MacDonald, Donald Hamilton, John O’Hara, Ernest Hemingway, Erskine Caldwell, James M. Cain, and numerous others. Later, I read novels by Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, Ira Levin, and numerous others. Although I enjoy reading novels by Linwood Barclay, Stuart Woods, and others from time to time, I prefer the earlier writers overall. Whether I’ve been influenced by any, well, to be honest, I don’t know.
What are you working on now?
I just sent in another mystery to the publisher that publishes my mysteries. However, I have a nonfiction manuscript with another publisher. I hope to receive reviews about it in January or so.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I try to employ various blogs, facebook groups, and newspapers. I even contact librarians from time to time. I try to advertise my novels as much as I can. Of course, this takes time away from writing or editing. However, a writer has to invest a certain amount of time and effort in order to attract possible readers.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Most writers do not earn a living from what they write. So they shouldn’t quit their regular jobs. In fact, they should remember that their regular jobs pay most of their bills. Most writers have been advised to write about something they know. I agree. However, the Internet has enabled writers to learn new things easier and faster than they could just a few years ago. For me, this is immensely helpful. If a writer doesn’t have a computer and access to the Internet, then s/he should invest in one asap.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“If you want to be a writer, you have to write.” I don’t remember who said, but I remember the words. So I try to write or edit something almost every day.
What are you reading now?
I am reading several books of nonfiction about religion, which I find extemely interesting.
What’s next for you as a writer?
More than likely working on the nonfiction manuscript mentioned above.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The “Holy Bible,” a book about what one can eat if stranded on a desert island, and a book about how to build a raft if stranded on a desert island.
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