Author Q&A with Tammy Bench
Tammy Bench is a busy writer and mum, whose nostalgic writing shows her fondness for days gone by and echoes experiences from her own life.
We worked with Tammy on a cover for her book ‘Mr Chambers’, and are due to start work on a new cover for ‘The Not Gate’ shortly.
Tammy gave us some insight into her childhood writing, how her old school friends have inspired some of her characters, and about her past life as a magician’s assistant!
Q. Tammy, how did you get into writing?
I was one of those kids that just wrote things down. I used to have this notebook that I hid from my sister and I’d write stories, well not really stories but scenes. So, I’d be daydreaming and a little scene would play out in my head and I’d write it down in detail. Just a few pages, a snapshot of something. It could have been about a movie I had just watched and I’d think ‘those characters would be cool if they did…’ or about a boy I liked at school and so on. As I got older the scenes or short stories got longer!
I was one of those kids that just wrote things down... just a few pages, a snapshot of something. Click To Tweet
Q. Where do you write?
Normally at the dining table with lots of tea!
Q. Where do you get the ideas for your characters from?
It’s tricky because whenever I write a main character they always seem to end up as a small part of my own character, but magnified. So I can relate easily, until they develop more deeply and take a shape of their own and then start doing things that I wouldn’t dream of!
Other smaller characters, I find myself taking traits from friends and twisting them slightly. Sometimes I just meet someone randomly at a wedding or something and they stick with me for some reason and they make great characters, because you can take their face value or social quirks and develop their back story however you please. Many of my characters from ‘Mr Chambers’ come from old school friends.
Q. How have your life experiences influenced your writing?
I’m a pretty nostalgic person, so when I write I tend to find myself thinking back to school days and the kind of thoughts and feelings I had as a teenage girl. This helped when writing my first book, a student/teacher romance, ‘The Not Gate.’
‘Mr Chambers,’ picks up their story fourteen years later and again I was able to draw on the present, to reflect Alice’s struggles as wife and mum coming face to face with her first love again.
Also my mum and dad had an age gap relationship and struggled with other people’s opinion and scepticism. Proving them all wrong in the end, achieving one of the best and most loving marriages I’ve ever witnessed. Sometimes the things people perceive as wrong are only wrong because they can’t see the view.
Q. How do you fit your writing in around your day job?
Primarily I’m a mum, so fitting it in is fairly easy once all the chores, school run, play dates and clubs are taken care of!
Q. Which book has influenced you the most and why?
I’ve read a variety of books and find myself enjoying a number of different genres. Yet it was one simply told, emotional little book that got me, ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven.’ It’s a story about what happens when an ordinary old man dies. It’s a reminiscence on his life told through the medium of five people that wait for you in heaven and explain how your life matter and what it meant. Sometimes the people that wait for you will be family and sometimes it will be someone you’ve never met, but through the butterfly effect you have impacted on their lives or vice versa. It’s romantic, bitter sweet and nostalgic. Heart breaking and funny. Whether heaven is anything like this or not, it teaches us that we all matter, we’re all part of the bigger picture, we’re all linked. You’ll be crying by the end, but it will stay with you. It will make you feel accountable and aware of others. It will also leave you wondering who might be waiting for you when it’s your turn.
Q. What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading Peter Falk’s autobiography ‘Just One More Thing.’
Q. And finally, what would people be surprised to know about you?
When I was younger I worked as a magician’s assistant.
Tammy Bench’s books are available to buy on Amazon.
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We’re Peter and Caroline O’Connor. Creating beautiful book cover designs for authors all over the world is our passion. Every author should be able to benefit from a beautiful book cover design (not just the lucky few who get signed by a big publisher). We design, podcast, and coach authors full-time so we understand your struggles. Currently accepting new clients.