Author Interview: Pike’s Quest by K.J. Bennett + Orangeberry Giveaway

Welcome to Author Kevin Bennett

I am a public servant: my employers have a rule that I can have a business interest as long as I don’t use my job title to further it, so I can’t say what I do. However, a small amount of digging on the internet will possibly give it away. I am a father of two teens – one male, one female, both headstrong, both wonderful (alternating with not-so-wonderful moments), and I am husband to the lovely Theresa (I am not worthy). I was born in August 1957 – that should save me from having to alter my age on a regular basis (well, annually, at least).
Oh, and I write. Nearly forgot that bit.
“Pike’s Quest” is my first published novel and it’s intended to be fun. Broadly, it would be classified as “Young Adult”, but at various readings I’ve had groups of adults laughing out loud – hopefully at the content!
In the pipe-line I have a sequel to “Pike’s Quest”, and a more adult sci-fi thriller. I hope to achieve mainstream publication in the future.

Name one food you would never eat?

Rhubarb: possibly the worst food ever to be grown in the soil.

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

I think it would have to be the past. I’ve always been fascinated by biblical tales, but I’m not a believer. I think everyone has the right to have faith, but I’m not at all spiritual. I’d love to travel back to the dawn of Christianity and see, first hand, what actually happened.

Pet Peeves?

I have many pet peeves, but the main one at present is that of prejudice, on principle, against indie authors. Some people believe that simply because a book hasn’t been snapped up by a major publishing house it must be rubbish. Now, imagine the furore if I were to suggest that all people with large ears were criminal, because I once saw someone with large ears being arrested!

There are whole blog strands dedicated to ridiculing independent authors and their products, based on nothing but the fact that someone once read a self-published book that was badly edited or poorly written. Well, many mainstream, commercially published books have the same faults. Yes, there are people self-publishing who have no idea about the basics of writing, but these days you can download a sample and don’t have to spend money to filter them out. Normally the first couple of pages will be a give-away as to the quality within.

Seriously: does anyone really think that MacDonald’s do the best food in the world and that Mabel’s Cafe can’t compete, simply because it’s not been swallowed up by a global conglomerate? Or that Billy Bloggs the plumber is useless because he is self-employed and not part of a national plumbing chain?

Please, judge me on quality, not on assumptions. If you don’t like the free sample on Amazon, fine, don’t buy it, but don’t accuse me of being rubbish simply because the “Big 6” didn’t publish me.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

It’s funny, entertaining, suitable for anyone aged 12 to 112, and is well-written.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 
I am part-way through writing the sequel – Pike’s ReQuestI hope to have that out (at least on Kindle) by the end of this year. I have a less child-friendly novel called Rathbone Kydd, which is a thriller of sorts.  It’s ready to go, but I can only spare so much time to promoting my books, and having that out while I’m still plugging Pike could be difficult.  Also, Pike’s Quest has just been released in paperback, so I have to double my promotional efforts. I’d love to write full time, but so far my income from writing won’t support me.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?


As a child I was always lost in books. They detracted from some of the less savoury aspects of my childhood. I had no money, no mother, poor education, and we were constantly moving from home to home across various parts of England, so my friendship groups were regularly shattered. The only constant was reading. I could rely on books to help me escape. They fuelled my imagination.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Before trying to write the next big blockbuster, read. Lots. Then read some more. Analyse what makes you read on, and try it out.

What is your favorite Quote?

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” (Thomas Eddison)

I’m already 99% there.

How did you know you should become an author?

When, aged 14 years, I started writing a story in an English lesson, and had to ask for two more exercise books to finish it off.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Always, even the female ones!

Hidden talent?

I’ve hidden many thinks in my life, and I honestly don’t think talent was amongst them. Actually, some who have read my work suggest that my talent as a writer remains well hidden.

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?

First off, I’d prefer one million pounds, sterling – it’s worth more! I’d by a diamond ring for my wife, as she’s never really had any expensive jewellery and would dearly love one.

Which authors have influence you most, and  how?

Stephen King, Colin Bateman and, although more a screen writer, Joss Whedon. They all have great talents in using suspense, humour and character to drive the plot. I am of the opinion that the plot can be wafer-thin, as long as the characters are engaging and drive the story along, picking up as many passengers as they can.

What do you do in your free time? 

When I get some, I’ll let you know.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

Very quietly. I looked at my Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account and said to Theresa, my wife, “Oh look, I’ve sold a copy.” Then we washed the dishes. However, I celebrated the release of Pike’s Quest in paper form by taking my wife out for a French meal. I’m still trying to figure out how many copies I have to shift to pay the bill.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Writing. I always feel that I should be doing other stuff, and that writing is me being selfish. But I’m driven, so I can’t stop.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?

Colin Bateman. He’s an Irish author who writes comedy crime thrillers and he’s simply brilliant.

What is one book everyone should read?

Without any doubt whatsoever, everyone should read Pike’s Quest. But I only say that because this is all about self-publicity. If you have any cash left after buying Pike, read Driving Big Davie by Colin Bateman. It’s in the middle of a series of books featuring a character named Dan Starkey, but it got me hooked on Bateman’s writing. I caught up on the back catalogue and enjoyed Driving Big Davie all over again but in a different way.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

November 27, 2011: I received my first Amazon review from someone who I’d never met. FIVE STARS! It was a form of validation that convinced me I was writing something people might appreciate.

If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be?

Now we’re back to rhubarb. The stuff is vomit-inducing.

Pike’s Quest

In a future where horses are revered as gifts of the gods, and sheep and hounds are the beasts of burden, ancient magicks have been rediscovered. But there are those who wish to uncover the technology of the past and take control of the world for their own evil ends. Now, more than ever, the world needs a hero.
In the hamlet of Ooze, a fish-faced, flaky-skinned youth commences a quest: to win the heart of the fair maiden at the Pit of Zidor, and to release Moorlock the Warlock from captivity. Accompanied by a garrulous sparrow and a belligerent horse, Pike is captured and employed by the lisping Lord Nairey du Well and then pursued by the deadly huntress, Scarlet Deadnight.
Pike discovers:
– that fair maidens are not always female,
– that they can prove to be deadly foes, and
– the true value of a good moisturiser!
This comic fantasy turns the genre on its head and is a must for readers of all ages.

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