Ben grew up in the once rural county of Kent, spending as much time as humanly possible with his mates causing mayhem in the nearby countryside. Later he spent three years as an undergraduate in the altogether different environment of what was then the recovering metropolis of Manchester. A fabulous place for a student.
It was as this idealic phase of life came to an end, and the depressing world of work began to take its place, that Ben's urge to give vent to his creative side started to seep out in a growing stream of bits and pieces writing. A disjointed and eclectic mix for a long time, this eventually morphed in to complete pieces of work, covering novels, poetry, song lyrics, plays and even a few pieces of non-fiction. Having completed what felt like an excessively long apprenticeship, Ben chose to focus on the world of crime, in particular drawing on his experience of that whirlwind of a decade, the 1980s.
Humour is an important and frequently present element of Ben's writing. Although primarily there to entertain the reader, it also helps Ben avoid the trap of taking himself and his writing too seriously.
Ben Westerham in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?1987 Maidstone, Kent
What do you love about short stories?There is the obvious attraction that you can get from the beginning to the end of a story in a very short space of time, which has its own rewards as a writer. In addition, sometimes you come up with an idea for a story that simply doesn't provide the necessary scope to write a novel and you don't want to let it go to waste. I also like the tight focus that you get with a short story.
Do you write in other forms?Yes, I write novels and novellas. I don't like to stretch a story beyond it's natural size, so it's good to have the option of writing in different forms.
What distracts you from writing?Since I'm an outdoors type of person, decent weather can draw me away from my writing, but that's hardly something I can complain about.
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?Love a bit of gardening.
What is your favourite book?Just the one?! That will probably vary depending on the mood I'm in when you ask me. Perhaps it might be Erskine Childers' â€œThe Riddle of the Sandsâ€. Action packed, the forerunner of today's thrillers and spy novels, the way it captures the experience of in-shore sailing is absolutely fabulous.
Who are your favourite writers?Again, this will probably vary by the day, but let's go with Thomas Hardy., Salman Rushdie and Rudyard Kipling
Where is your dream location?Home
What one item would you put into Room 101?The drums and trumpets some fans take to football matches.
Do you have any advice for new writers?Like most things in life, the more you practice the better you get, so if things don't seem to be going the way you want, then hang in there and just keep at it. If it's a pleasure, which it should be, then that should be easy enough.
Work by Ben Westerham:
The Strawberry Girl
Meet, for the first time, David Good, Private Investigator. Plying his trade in 1980s South London, the PI with pliable morals, a taste for blondes and a full-on sense of humour, turns out to be a big softie as he takes up the challenge of sorting out yet another domestic mess. Having discovered that one Alice Jones, a young woman with a well-developed taste for strawberries, has a varied and not entirely honest life, he quickly finds himself wrestling with emotions heâ€™d prefer would go away. As it is, they leave him confused and struggling to work out what he should do with the woman. Join Good on this little jaunt through South London and ask yourself what you would do next.
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