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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: James Robert Benn

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world Humans are a race of storytellers. From the cave paintings in Lascaux to the latest TikTok video, there is an unbroken chain of stories which help us understand our place in the world and our relations to others. I can’t help but be part of that.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I have no idea what true writer’s block is. But when things get muddled and the words come slowly, I have a character do something totally unexpected. The challenge then becomes one of making it work, which allows me to access creativity that had been dormant for whatever reason.

What is your favorite time to write? As afternoon stretches into evening. It reminds me that time is short and the work needs to be done. I feel as if I get 90% of the work done in the last 10% of the writing day.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? I was part of a writer’s group facilitated by the novelist Rachel Basch. Her critique one session was to remind me that “the story has to move down as well as forward.” World-changing advice. The maxim that I pass on is: Shut up. Sit Down. Write. The serious meaning is stop talking about the desire to write, which only dilutes it. And that you must get in the chair and work.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The ability to connect with readers and fellow writers. Social media has its downside, but there are times when the connection is heartfelt and inspiring.

James R. Benn’s Road of Bones is out now with Soho Crime.