Interview with TJ Bennett, Author of Dark Angel and Giveaway!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, TJ! Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[TJ Bennett] Supermom-author-professional-crazy person. I can talk to muses and bring home the bacon, too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Dark Angel?

[TJ Bennett] When young widow Catherine Briton is washed ashore, the sole survivor of a violent shipwreck, all she wants is to go home to London. But injured as she is, she can’t escape when a shadowy stranger rescues her and takes her to his castle—where she’s healed with suspicious, almost magical speed.

The more time Catherine spends in the castle, the more her curiosity rises where her fiercely handsome new "master," Gerard, is concerned. As she begins to investigate, though, her discoveries only bring more questions. It seems Gerard isn’t the only one on the island keeping secrets…

The small town is full of strange mysteries and townspeople who know more than they should about her. And when a hulking beast that stalks the nearby hills and valleys catches up to her, Catherine must figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[TJ Bennett] I knew I wanted to write a book with a Victorian heroine. I think I was doing research for the period and I stumbled across a reference to Florence Nightingale. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to write a story about one of the women who worked with Miss Nightingale?” The first line of the book came to me, and it just spun out from there. I felt much of the time I was working on it that the book was writing itself. It really isn’t like anything I’ve ever done before.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Catherine?

[TJ Bennett] Spirited, resilient, and compassionate.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Gerard had a theme song, what would it be?

[TJ Bennett] I’m not sure, but it would probably be something classical and Russian; maybe something by Rachmaninoff or Tchaikovsky—passionate and dramatic. I actually considered a scene where Gerard would play the piano for Catherine, but I thought that might come off a bit too Phantom of the Opera for my taste.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Catherine is never without.

[TJ Bennett] Her cameo. She is a widow, and it was given to her by her husband about a year before he died. She always has it with her, no matter what.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Gerard’s bedroom?

[TJ Bennett] Oh, that’s an interesting question. He’s a real alpha male, and Catherine comments on how natural and woodsy his scent is (she says he smells like “wood smoke and heather and pine”), and she knows it isn’t cologne, so that would be one item. He always dresses in black, so probably you won’t find any pink cravats in his wardrobe (although he is fond of his gold and silver waistcoats). And you won’t find a picture of his family, either, because…well, he doesn’t have one, and therein lies a tale.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Catherine’s greatest regret?

[TJ Bennett] Hmm. I know what the answer is but I can’t tell you! It’s part of a plot twist in the book. Suffice it to say that it involves a great tragedy in her life. Beta readers have told me that the scene where she reveals it is a real tearjerker!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[TJ Bennett] I’ve said many times that I love Laura Kinsale’s work. I will read anything by her, historical, contemporary, whatever, although I admit I balked at the medieval language one. Early on in my writing life, I was influenced by Stephen King’s work. And nowadays, I love Sherry Thomas’ books. They are witty and outside the box, and I love intelligent historicals like hers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[TJ Bennett] A computer, a closed door on my home office, and munchies!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on Dark Angel?

[TJ Bennett] Job hunting. I was doing some free-lance editing for a while for extra income, but I decided that I needed to go back to work full time to help support my husband and family. The kids are teenagers now with a lot more expenses and it was getting tough to make ends meet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[TJ Bennett] The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro. Definitely not a romance, but there is a romance in it, and I loved the way she crafted the multi-layered story and complex characterizations. I also love mysteries she built a doozy into the story. Slam-bang.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[TJ Bennett] Wow, I couldn’t even begin to tell you. I was a reader from the womb, it feels like. I do remember clearly reading a few books as a kid that stuck with me—The Velveteen Rabbit; Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret; and The Red Badge of Courage. But I read anything I could get my hands on. I’d just walk up and down the shelves of the school library and pull off a book at random and take it home.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[TJ Bennett] I like to read, go to the movies, or watch series on Netflix. I love visiting with my sister, who lives in Los Angeles, (I live in Houston). And I love spending time with my family and with my friends—doesn’t really matter what we do.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[TJ Bennett] I’d love for them to visit me at my website and blog: www.tjbennett.com and www.tjbsopinion.blogspot.com

I’m also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TJBennettauthor

I’m a little late to Facebook, but by the time your readers see this, they will be able to find me there as well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

About the book:

When young widow Catherine Briton is washed ashore, the sole survivor of a violent shipwreck, all she wants is to go home to London. But injured as she is, she can’t escape when a shadowy stranger rescues her and takes her to his castle—where she’s healed with suspicious, almost magical speed.

The more time Catherine spends in the castle, the more her curiosity rises where her fiercely handsome new "master," Gerard, is concerned. As she begins to investigate, though, her discoveries only bring more questions. It seems Gerard isn’t the only one on the island keeping secrets…

The small town is full of strange mysteries and townspeople who know more than they should about her. And when a hulking beast that stalks the nearby hills and valleys catches up to her, Catherine must figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.

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5 thoughts on “Interview with TJ Bennett, Author of Dark Angel and Giveaway!

  • November 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm
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    Thanks for having me! I hope your readers get a chance to enjoy Dark Angel. They can find me on Facebook as TJBennettAuthor, btw.

  • November 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm
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    @TJ – Thanks for dropping by!

  • November 8, 2013 at 7:40 pm
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    Ty for the awesome giveaway! :D

  • November 9, 2013 at 4:59 am
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    thx u so much..is this INT giveaway ?

  • November 9, 2013 at 8:03 am
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    Yes, it is an INT giveaway – thanks!

Comments are closed.