I recently had the opportunity to interview “The Plasmatic Writer,” Justin Bienvenue. Here is our Q&A:
On your website you mention that when you were young your friends and family said you had quite an imagination. Do any particular incidents stand out?
There are a few in my mind that stand out. I remember my mother telling me that my teacher told her I was rambling on about a story in great detail. She told my mother I had quite an imagination and if he could write down what he can tell out loud that I could be quite the storyteller. I also remember telling my mom a story in the car once about animals and super powers if my memory serves correct and she asked me where on earth I came up with such an idea. I told her I made it up the night before and I just kept thinking of stuff. Back then as a kid I’m sure I made nothing of it but now when my imagination kicks into gear I embrace and make the most of it.
Crime and horror are recurring themes in your work. To what do you attribute that dark influence?
One thing I will note is that horror and crime are two of the most popular themes in our society today when it comes to reading and watching television. I see this and I make good on it since it’s popular. As to where I get my dark side? I’d say Edgar Allan Poe for one. I always mention him or bring him up but truly it’s hard not to mention the father of gothic poetry and macabre story telling. I have read several of his works and his sinister style just reaches me in such a way that I cannot help but try my own dark tales. As for crime that I’m not really sure, I’d say given all the crime shows and psychological books that have been on over the years I’ve taken a good sure of mental notes and used them for myself. It’s always good to take mental notes when you’re a writer as you never know when inspiration will strike.
How did you come to write your novel Opium Warfare? What drew you to that place and time?
I had the idea for Opium already in mind and I knew I wanted it to have a warfare like effect in the sense that it was used to bring down a city or group. The title itself came to me after I came across the word Guerilla Warfare and for reasons I will never know opium popped into my head to which I then added warfare to it and a title was born. I knew briefly that China was associated with opium so as I did a little research and decided to go with China as my place. I didn’t want it to be too far back but felt that the twenties would serve as the perfect time period for the book. I picked Shanghai and it wasn’t until I did research after that I found that Shanghai was known for and is still known widely for opium. It all really worked out quite well.
How would you compare/contrast writing poetry versus writing fiction?
With poetry I feel there’s freedom, feeling and expression. With poetry you can write it in many different ways and in any way you want. You can put your feelings into it and put your emotions into it and you can express yourself in such a way that it can define you or let people know your deep and meaningful. With fiction you have to do a lot of research and you really have to go in and do your work and think what you want to write before you write it whereas poetry I myself can write on the spot. I feel poetry is more flowing and not connected compared to fiction where you have to think as to whether or not an idea you have has already been done, you have to make it your own. With poetry it is your own right from the start.
If you could visit any one place in the world you have not already been, where would it be?
Well there’s a lot of places I haven’t been but I would say Rome or Egypt. I enjoy history and I love Egyptian history and I would love to see the Coliseum in Rome. I would really enjoy taking in all the history and learning more about the culture and times and it would more than likely spark ideas for some new novels.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m focused on promoting Opium Warfare and some of my other works. I know the saying goes a writer can help promote and market by writing that next work but Opium Warfare took a lot of work and it took a bit out of me. I am going to focus on marketing the books around the holidays and I will likely have some fresh ideas ready to go for next year.
Opium Warfare is available on Amazon @ http://smarturl.it/OpiumWarfare
It is also available on Createspace, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Scrbid and iBook
Justin’s interview with me: http://bookblogs.ning.com/group/iat-indie-author-tactics/forum/topics/interview-with-robert-krenzel