Geetanjali Mukherjee

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How I Write: Authors on Their Writing Process - Justin Bienvenue

Today's interview is with Justin Bienvenue, an author and poet from Massachusetts. 

Hi Justin and welcome to Creativity@Work.

1. When did you first start writing?

I first started writing and taking it serious when I was in high school. I would write poems in class because I was bored. Of course when English class came around and I had to write a poem it came with no problem whatsoever. I had written prior to high school but didn’t really have the passion I had for it now plus I was young and writing had always felt like a chore. It wasn’t until I used my imagination and wrote what I wanted on my own terms that I really started writing more and found a new appreciation for it.

2. What led to your love for literature? Any favorite books / teachers / writing mentors?

I enjoy writing and have a knack and understanding for literature but I would not say I love it. I think there’s a fine line between writing and reading literature. If it’s writing literature then I love it, if it’s reading literature then I definitely don’t love it. Call me crazy but I’d rather write than read. I’ve always had a solid reading level but never cared to read in fact I only started reading more due to my becoming a writer and thought I’d read more to develop relationships with my fellow authors and see what it is they’ve written. Sorry if I took that question elsewhere, basically I enjoy literature but don’t love it. Some of my favorite books are The Endlands by Vincent Hobbes, Vlad: The Last Confession by C.C Humphreys and of course various poetry by many of the greats, Poe, Dickinson, Hughes, Frost and even Shakespeare.

3. What's your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you write by hand / type / dictate?

If I’m writing a story or book I’m usually 100% typing it on my computer. I’ve thought about writing an outline out on paper but then I remember we are in 2016 and well..why make things harder and complicated? I do however write poems by hand and even sometimes write them using a notepad app on my phone. I guess when it comes to writing I like the short and long stories on the computer and the poems can be written any way.

I’d also consider giving one of those voice sites that type for you a chance, it’d save me on typing so much, possibly prevent writer’s block and prevent me from developing carpel tunnel.

4. What's your editing process?

I was going to ignore this question but then I felt if I’m thinking about that then what I have to say about it must be worth talking about. I edit my work personally at three different times before I send it off to be edited. I go over it as I’m writing it, after a particular chapter is done and when the final product is done. I look over every bit whether it be spelling errors, punctuation, grammatical errors, the whole bit really. I am also a person who realizes that no matter how many times I got over my work I am going to miss stuff, it’s human nature. I am so used to my own writing that I can see something 100 times before someone kindly(at least I hope they are) points out that I’ve made an error. I then send my work off to be edited by a professional and I only stress out over it if they send me back a bunch of fixed errors to which I then want to curl up in a ball and sob for dropping the ball and making so many mistakes on my latest work. In all seriousness I do pretty well and I take my process quite serious when it comes to editing.

5. Any favorite apps / software / technology for writing?

I don’t use any big time apps to write aside from notepad on my phone. I use WordPerfect because I’m stuck in 2003 but hey it works for me and I’m happy with it. I’m not afraid of upgrading or trying new things though.

6. Any favorite apps / software / websites for marketing and promotion?

I have many websites I use to market and promote. Aside from the obvious Facebook and Twitter I use Pinterest, Tumblr and iAuthor which is a site based in the UK that helps and creates a outline and profile to help indie authors promote. I also use Youtube for book trailers, and am addicted to Goodreads. Most people drink coffee I go on Goodreads. So I definitely have quite a bit of places I go on to market and promote.

7. What did you find most / least useful in learning to write?

Cursive. I get the idea that you want to learn how write your signature or write in a fancy way but I always thought they should just teach you how to write your name fancy and that was it. If I wanted to know how to write any further in a fancy way I would rather than have it mandatory.

8. Who or what inspires you? Where / how do you get your book ideas?

When I do read I like to take small bits of an idea and store it in my brain to later create and put my own creative spin on. I also take in what I see, hear and feel all around me when I’m outside. I watch television and film so of course I take ideas from that so overall I am inspired by anything and everything as long as I find it’s useful, entertaining and I can make it my own.

9. When in the day do you usually write? For how long?

I write anytime I feel I have something. I usually go on the computer at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to do book stuff so if that consists of writing and I feel in the mood to write then I’ll usually spend two hours writing. For the most part anytime I feel I’m in the spirit of writing I will sit down and write.

10. How much research do you do? What kind?

When it comes to a book topic I usually do extensive research when it requires me to do so. For my latest novel Opium Warfare it required me to sit down and do quite a bit of research from opium and drugs during the time of the book to Shanghai and the 1920's itself. I research key aspects when need be and I’m always researching marketing and promoting tactics and trying to use them when I can fully understand them.

11. How much marketing do you do? Which platforms are you most active on?

I do quite a bit of marketing. Right now I’ve taken a break from major writing to focus on marketing. I know they say you should never stop writing and I haven’t as I still write my poems but I’m taking a break from writing that next big novel. I’m on Goodreads, Copyblogger and Author Marketing Club where I’m watching videos and webinars looking for the next way to market and promote. I would say right now I either do too much marketing or not enough lol. It’s all or nothing as I have my days where I’m focused and trying out marketing tactics or I’m off my game and can’t seem to find a solid grasp of marketing.  

12. What's the most fun aspect of marketing? The most challenging?

Trying out a new way to promote and market your book that you haven’t done before is fun for me. Of course it’s fun when you first try it and if it succeeds then it’s still fun but it becomes less fun if it doesn’t help you. The most challenging for me has been writing useful articles and blog posts that people will take an interest in and trying to understand the full grasp of content marketing and copywriting.


Justin Bienvenue is an author and poet from Massachusetts. He enjoys picking his brain and rummaging through the nonsense to find those creative and innovative gems that will become poems and stories. While his published works are mainly horror and poetry based he is by no means afraid of expanding into other genres and will gladly take on the Goliath of other genres with his metaphorical sling shot.

When he’s not writing he enjoys playing video games and watching sports such as football, baseball and basketball. He also enjoy the outdoors by playing sports and other activities when he can. Some of his interests include, History, Egyptology, Ufology, The Wild West and The Civil War.

Opium Warfare

As a boy, I remember my father telling me a bedtime story about the day my grandfather was decapitated. Sure, it seems like an odd tale to tell a young boy, but I was strong and my father knew I could handle it. He told me because he wanted me to know about our family, where we came from, the struggles we overcame and that started with my grandfather, who was in the fur trade like his father. Business boomed, but only because he made a deal with another man to help him with the money. When business got bad, the money decreased and when my grandfather couldn’t pay his debt, he couldn’t pay the man back, and it was in that moment that things changed forever. My father always said he knew not of the details of what happened entirely, but knew my grandfather got his head taken off because he could not pay the man back. He also told me there was a myth behind the cruel act, but swore to tell me when I got older. He never did after all. I always suspected it being due to something along the lines of my grandfather’s head rolling down the top of a hill of the opium fields where he was killed…I always liked to mix my imagination together with the rumours.

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