Saturday, 26 December 2015


Title: Starscape
Author: Benita Prins
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: 9th June 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
A legend that tells of a star… more beautiful than any other… even before the sun… thousands of years ago… wiser than the wisest of men… a song of unearthly beauty…

It was no more than idle talk in the marketplace that began it.

When Pluriel is accidentally reminded of an old prophecy, he and three companions begin the long journey to Nevarra Swamp. Their mission? A nearly hopeless attempt to recapture the Sword of the Star, stolen centuries ago by Jalavak. This Sword is the only weapon which can defeat the Dark Lord, for he was wounded by it in the war of the Valintari at the dawn of time. But what can Pluriel, Ringard, Galdore and Tristal do alone? For if the prophecy is to be fulfilled, the Star itself must fall from the sky – and how could such a thing come to pass?



What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Benita J. Prins. I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and now live near London, Ontario.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Oh yes, I have wanted to be a writer ever since I can remember! The first story I remember writing, I wrote when I was about six. I was terrifically proud of myself!

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Considering I first looked into publishing when I was twelve or so and my first book was not published until I was nearly sixteen, you might say it was a long time!

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes - I work as a waitress.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest book is a fantasy entitled Starscape. Pluriel and his friends must recover the Sword of the Star, the only weapon that can kill the Dark Lord.
(Precisely 20 words - go me!)

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I am self-published. This is largely because my main purpose was to have copies to give as gifts to friends and family who had read my manuscript. But why not allow other people to enjoy my writing at the same time?

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It really depends on the book. Starscape began as something completely different from what it ended up as two and a half years later! That, however, I think was because I was developing so much as a writer. I tend to think my current project will not take nearly as long.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Once I actually got into the story of Starscape, it was very easy to write. So far, Seascape (my WIP, not a sequel!) has been difficult. I'm hoping that will also change once I get more into the story.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
The former - more books of the same genre! I love fantasy and the freedom it gives to create everything.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
My answer is above; yes, I am writing a new book (and have plans for a third once this one is finished). But no, it is not part of a series. I have extremely varying ideas many of which would not fit in the same worlds I've used before, and so a series would not easily work for me.

What genre would you place your books into?

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I read The Lord of the Rings at age eleven and fell in love with it at once. Fantasy is what I have wanted to write ever since.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I love Pluriel. I am not sure why, because in the first drafts of Starscape I hated him (and even laughed when, in the first draft, I killed him off). I ended up loving him though.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
I get great ideas at night, as soon as I've decided to go to sleep. They just pop into my mind at random times.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I like to listen to the Lord of the Rings soundtracks; they provide great backing for my plots.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
My sisters and several friends love reading my work as I write and they often have very good suggestions for improving what I have so far, or for new plot lines. No official reviewers or reviews though.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I am happy to gift PDFs or epubs to readers in return for an honest review.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes. I love to know what people think of it.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
So far, no tough ones have come in. The best review I ever had compared Starscape to The Lord of the Rings. It was literally a dream come true!

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Certainly not, that would be dishonest. As I said above, I want honest reviews. In my eyes it's better to have a negative review than a flattering but false one.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I once drove by a farm called Starscape Farm, and I immediately noted down the name as a great title for a fantasy book. It remained on my list of unused titles for some months until a friend's dream triggered a plot idea which perfectly fit the title Starscape. Unfortunately, I've never been able to find that farm again.
Once I'd finished Starscape, I was talking to one of the friends who had been reading along from the first draft of the prologue to the last draft of the last chapter. This friend, Bridget, is also a fantastic artist; as we were talking about the book, she suddenly paused and gasped a little. I asked what was wrong, and she said she'd just had the best idea for a cover image. She described it to me and I was amazed to find that her idea was the same as mine had been! I hired her on the spot to paint the front cover.
Who designed the cover? Yours truly. I took Bridget's lovely painting and added only a title and author name, and it was perfect. A professional couldn't have made it more satisfactory to me!

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I have a list of titles which I can apply to books as they come. I did have the title Starscape picked out already and I did tailor the story a little to fit it at first. However, by the time the story really took on life, it was naturally wound up with stars and I didn't have to try and make Starscape fit at all. It was perfect.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
My main method of coming up with names is to take three words that relate to the character or place, then mix and match the letters and sounds to create a new name. It works remarkably well. A few of the characters in Starscape, though, were named by going through my French dictionary, finding interesting French words, and modifying them.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I almost always know how the story is going to end, with a rough plan of the middle events which I mostly keep in my head. I do jot down ideas I have because I have a horrendous memory, but other than that I don't outline. I tried that once and the book came out totally flat and lifeless.

How do you market/promote your books?
I run a website, numerous pages on sites such as BookLikes and Booklaunch, and I have Google+, Pinterest, and GoodReads. I have never had a Facebook or Twitter account because I have a prejudice against them, left over from childhood. Both my parents hate FB and Twitter and I have to say I agree.
Besides online means, I have been creating brochures and postcards that I can distribute around my town, encouraging people to support their local author!

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
You never know what's going to be a bestseller. It has to connect with people on a deep level and it's difficult to impossible to write something that you know is going to be a bestseller. (My joking about Starscape being the next Lord of the Rings doesn't count.)

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
Oh yes, I have a hobby - writing! No, really, other than writing, I read, sing, and play piano. Filmmaking is another of my hobbies; but I'd hardly call preparing for a shoot, undergoing the exquisite torture of keeping actors in line, and then editing the entire movie, "relaxing"...

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I haven't done this consciously. I know I've included traits of certain friends' and family members' personalities, but I have never taken a real person and copy-and-pasted him/her into my book.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
I prefer paperbacks. There's nothing wrong with hardcovers but paperbacks are easier to carry along! I cannot read ebooks very well. There's something about reading on a screen that makes me skim; it's really hard to concentrate. Besides, screens make my eyes ache.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
My favourite book ever is The Lord of the Rings because it's true. It's fiction but it's true. And of course I've read it more than once! I can't imagine liking a book a lot and not reading it a second, third, fourth, hundredth time!

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
It depends on the book. My least favourite movie adaptation is The Hobbit. Ugh, I couldn't stand that movie! It's not so bad when a movie just deviates from the storyline a little - it's when it completely deviates from the spirit of the book that I go bonkers over it.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
What am I reading... I'll pick one: Still William by Richmal Crompton. The William books are hilarious collections of children's short stories from the 20's or 30's or thereabouts. I never get tired of them! This particular copy of the book is an old hardcover.
(I remember Just William being a TV Show and Bonnie Langford was the little girl who was always threatening to "scream, and scream and scream until she made herself sick")

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I highly doubt it. At the very least I hope not! That would be terrible.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
No, I don't think children are encouraged enough to pursue literary activities such as reading and writing. And then there's the problem of teachers and parents thinking that as long as their children are reading, that's good - no matter what they're reading. That's not true. Children, especially in the elementary school years, are so susceptible to messages that different books promote. If the books they're reading are promoting being disrespectful to adults (such as the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary) or dangerous activities like witchcraft (like Harry Potter), then these are not books they should be reading. I don't think the books I mentioned above should be banned or anything; I just believe that parents shouldn't let their kids read them till they're a little older.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I have always read and written. I have to write; it's in my blood.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
I read and reread Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. They influenced me a ton for a long time!

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
There are lots of books I know I will never read... one of these is the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. I've heard a lot of things about them and am not impressed by what I've heard.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I might change some of the word choices and expressions I used. But what's done is done, and Starscape is written in my unique voice so I'm almost glad I can't go back and change.

What do you think about book trailers?
If a book trailer is well done, I think it can be great. I personally have almost never watched a book trailer, though.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Don't change your voice or your story to suit anyone! It's your story and yours alone!

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I don't use a pen name now, no. I used to think it was a neat idea, but I now like the idea of readers knowing what your real name is. They get to know so comparatively little about you that they should at least know your name!

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
J.R.R. Tolkien for some good conversations about world building, and to ask him some questions I've always had about Middle-earth. P.G. Wodehouse, for a solid dose of humour. C.S. Lewis, for an illuminating chat about theology.

Where can readers follow you?

Goodreads author page:


  1. Oh my goodness, you remember the Just William TV show too! It was fantastic, the child actors were so good. Bonnie Langford as Violet Elizabeth was so entertaining. ;) "I'll scream and scream until I'm sick. I can, you know!"

  2. I really enjoyed this interview! Some mention of oldies but goodies thrown in too! Loved it!!