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A: For a writer, reviews are essential for staying alive and to proceed. It’s like an oasis in the desert, They’re his revenue, far more important than profit (book sales).

Turnover (collecting reviews) is what everything revolves around. A writer is not only a person who writes books. He’s a little company. For him, getting reviews makes him go. It’s called passion. That’s where it all starts. it’s his sacred fire, a proof of his existence as a writer.



Ben Midland questioned about the characters in ‘The Hata Enigma’

Q: Why did you choose the name William Sandwell for your ongoing series character?

A: The main reason is that when I approached the creation of this character I was looking for a two syllable name with a pleasant sound. Two different but often used vowels such as i’s and a’s stick to a person’s mind, easier than for example Karl Glockenheimer. So I came up with this English name. I also knew that Sandwell is a borough in the West Midlands in the U.K. Well, Midland, versus Sandwell…. See what I mean? I must point out this is a fictional conceit. It can be in certain places and under particular circumstances — and this is where I place William Sandwell. But overall I love the U.K.


Q: Is William Sandwell based on any professor? How much of him is based on you?

A: William is not based on one scholar in particular. He is an amalgamation of several real scholars I knew, plus aspects of fictional people. I think that starting off William had some things in common with me, other than left-handedness I love to investigate in the supernatural things around us. Over the course of the books I have written about him, though, I think that my ‘world view’ and his, are becoming more closely aligned. This probably was inevitable. The more you write about a character, the more you look inside for attributes and thoughts to give him.


Q: Which of your books is your favorite?

A: I don’t have a definitive favorite. Regarding books from other writer, I like different books for different reasons. I like Russian writers. These guys are really reaching the bottom of existence. Writing out of suffering. I like Camera Obscura from Hildebrand, the Dutch 19th century author because it was my first time reading classical books ever. I think I can find something about each of the books that make it my favorite, so I guess that means that I don’t have an overall favorite.


Q: What is your work schedule like?

A: presently I work every minute of the day available but mostly in the evening or even at night. I have to. There’s so much pressure on me to get books on the shelf. It’s a voice inside me telling about what subjects I need to write. During the weekends I try to work a little bit in the morning, then take the rest of the day off. One day I hope that I can take some time off during the weekend to spend some time with my family. They deserve it.


Q: What books do you like to read?

A: I read less than I should.  When you are writing you can’t read, so if I read it’s more non-fiction. Anytime I list writers whose work I enjoy I run the risk of annoying fellow writers who I forget to mention.  So, suffice it to say that I share many of the same favorites that readers of my work have. I’ve kind of become a collector, so I try to collect all editions from a certain writer. I have all volumes of Jules Verne.  I also like to read autobiographies and epic stories such as the Ilias.  My favorite is Fukuzawa Yukichi’s ‘The Gates are Open’. Furthermore Japanese authors such as Edogawa Rampo, Russians like Anton Tschekov, Dostoyevski…


Q: Are you inspired by current events when creating your plots?

A: Sometimes. Actually, I prefer to use crime only in a functional way. The plots are based on the solving of present, historical or mythical events.


Q: How much of William Sandwell is planned out in your head? How do you know where you will go with him next?

A: Not a lot is planned ahead. I usually have a few loose threads dangling from one book that I can then take to the next or even one further down the line. But I don’t think a lot ahead. I think that by not planning his future out I have a better chance of keeping him fresh and current and more reflective of the moment.


Q: When will we see William Sandwell in the movies? Who do you see playing William?

A: That is hard to say.  My characters have visible images that come from inside me. I don’t write him or any other character with a movie actor in mind. Every novel I write is written in a way the manuscript can be easily turned into a screenplay.


Q: What are your favorite and least favorite things about being a writer?

A: The main thing is being able to do what you want to do — and just having to walk down the hallway to do it. The least favorite is knowing there is no one to blame but yourself when it’s not going well. Somebody once said ‘writin’ is fightin’ and I think that is very true. It is not easy. You have to fight to get what you want to say out. So this means that when it is going well, the feeling is almost euphoric. It also means that when it is going bad, the feeling is proportionately opposite. So there are lots of highs and lows. For me as a person I can say: ‘my pen is my sword, the paper my battelfield’.


Q: Do you read your reviews, good and bad, and do they make a difference to you?

A: I think I will read them if I can get any which is difficult nowadays, but not all. They rarely affect my writing because I don’t think anyone can fully understand what I am trying to do but me. Good or bad, it is hard to take a review to heart unless the intelligence of the reviewer is evident to me either in the review itself or by other means such as personal knowledge or association. In other words, I don’t know whether to take praise or criticism to heart if I can’t figure out anything about the reviewer. Because just like book writers, reviewers are good and bad and bring everything they know and have read to the plate with them. There are a lot of amateurish reviewers out there who bring personal agendas to their task and there are many who bring thoughtful and unbiased comment. I have had both types praise and slaughter me. So in the long run I am always curious to see reviews but don’t get too worked up about them, good or bad.


Q: What are your long term goals as a writer?

A:  I just want to keep on keeping on. I want to grow as a writer and get better. I want to keep the William Sandwell series fresh and alive for at least a trilogy. I want to keep filling in the portrait of Sandwell so that when I am done with him he is a fully realized and understood human being, a person that the readers who have gone the distance with him know like a brother.


Q: Will you ever come to my city for a signing?

A: It depends where you live. I would like to get to every country where I am published before I am through. Join the site’s Mailing List to be notified about my tour schedule.


Q: I plan on attending your book signing. Will you sign paperbacks too?

A: I will sign anything you put in front of me. Some bookstores have their own policy about what you can bring in to their store, so it is always a good idea to check with the store first. It is also a nice idea to wait at the end of the line if you have a big stack of books so you don’t slow it down for everyone else.


Q: Can I send you my books to get them signed?

A: No, I am sorry but I would never have time to write if I said yes to this. I get too many requests. But I tour every year in different places around the world. Hopefully, I will have a signing at a bookstore near you someday. I also attend many fundraising events and book conferences every year. I am happy to sign books on any of those occasions.


Q: I have a great story idea for you. How can I get it to you?

A: Sorry, but for legal reasons I do not read or accept story ideas.


Q: I have written a book. Will you read it and tell me what you think?

A: Once again, I can’t. I just get too many requests like this to keep up with them and get my own work done.


Q: What is the best way to find an agent or publisher? How do I get published?

A:  There is no best way and no magic answers to these questions. You should consider joining a writers group on Facebook in your country or the Mystery Writers Of America or another writer’s organization like it. These organizations exist to help writers. They offer symposiums and conferences annually. They offer e-mail lists for writers to discuss subjects like getting published, finding an agent, etc. They are a great resource. There are also numerous web sites available for writers. Do not rely only on agents and publishers too much. Self-publishing is popular. The bad part of it is you have to do all the marketing yourself, especially when you don’t have a budget.


Q: Why did you decide to write in the first place?

A:  Necessity, the will to put my thoughts on the paper and trying to make a living out of it. Up to now the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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