Hi Dayo, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hi, LaToya. Thanks for having me on your blog. So, a little about me. I love to tell stories, and have always had a pretty vivid imagination. If I didn’t write my wild imagination would just go to waste so I view writing as a necessity for me J Despite the fact that most of my books are set in America, I live in North West England with my lovely husband and our two daughters.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
There are the obvious goals of hitting bestseller lists and having books turned into movies and all that. But my priority is to continually improve so that I can consistently put out awesome books. I want to blow people’s minds with my stories.
Which writers inspire you?
There are so many so I’ll just choose one. C.S. Lewis. I read his books as a child and I think he’s amazing.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m currently writing the final book of my ‘The Dare’ trilogy. It’s called The Gamble. But I’m also plotting about six other books so that once I finish The Gamble I can immediately jump into writing another book. I never feel quite right unless I have a work in progress.
What genre are your books and why?
I write in so many genres within the inspirational fiction umbrella: YA, contemporary romance, romantic thrillers and supernatural thrillers. I’m so lucky that my readers don’t mind my genre-hopping.
In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
Fast-paced, edgy and addictive J
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
This is a tough question. I think I’d like Jessica Alba or Yaya Dacosta to play any of my female leads from any of my books. Nathan Owens can play any of my male leads.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always wanted to write, but didn’t finish a full length book until I was 19. When I finished that first book I decided that writing was the thing for me. It was what I wanted to do.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I’m full time, yay! It took a lot of hard work to be able to get to a point where I could go full time. It’s such a blessing to be able to do what I love every single day.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I have two young daughters so there’s no structure at the moment. But I do try to write every day, or at least edit something I’ve already written. It’s chaos at the moment, but I’m making it work for me.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
It depends on the day. My minimum target is usually 3000 words. But I sometimes target 5000 or 10,000 words. 10,000 words in a day sounds crazy but it’s totally doable, especially if I’m excited about what I’m writing.
Where do your ideas come from?
I have an overactive imagination. Plot and character ideas are constantly popping into my mind. Also, storylines are everywhere: conversations, news items, songs. Everything is inspiration.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I outline very extensively. I can’t imagine working any other way. My outlines are often over ten pages long. I think writers who just ‘see where things go’ as they write are especially gifted.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Something I realized recently is that I’m not as afraid as I used to be of tackling sensitive issues, or even of just being ‘real’ with my writing. I used to censor myself a lot. Now I’m a little braver.
LaToya: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Editing. I really don’t enjoy editing my books. I love the writing part, but once a book is written the work has only just begun.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book, The Dare?
Some of the themes of the book were tricky. It’s a contemporary romance, but the main character finds out that her mom is not the role model she thought she was, and has a hard time dealing with that. I work as a mentor to young people so I wrote this book to encourage young people and hopefully portray the destructive behaviors that they need to avoid.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
I find brainstorming a new book so much fun: coming up with the plot and generating ideas and cool ways to twist things and entertain readers while also weaving in some moral or inspirational message.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
My first book took me nine months, but I’m on my 27th book now and I’ve steadily gotten faster. I’ve written a book in as little as two weeks, but that’s not the norm. The norm is about a month for me these days.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I’d like to have at least 50 books out and I’d like to be serving a wider audience. More books and more readers, that’s it for me J
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Good question. I’d tell myself to calm down about all the things that I think are big issues, because they’re not. I’d also tell myself to focus God and on writing. And I’d tell myself to study something to do with writing, creativity or Literature in university rather than Molecular Biology with Genetics (which, sadly, is what I studied).
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I would love to meet Enid Blyton and pick her brain about productivity and being prolific. I know she wrote well over 700 novels which is just incredible. I’ve read her Famous Five series and some of her Secret Seven books. They kept me up late into the night as a child. She was amazing.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
I would love to be the author of The Chronicles of Narnia because they’re just awesome books that have layers of deep meanings. So cool.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Writers write, so write often. It’s the only way you’re going to improve. And be patient with yourself. You’ll make mistakes and you’ll have off-days, but don’t let that stop you. Keep your eye on your goals and keep gunning for them.
Connect with Dayo:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Dayo-Benson/e/B005CI7H06/
Dayo’s next book, The Dare, is releasing on 26th January 2017. Pre-order at: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo & Smashwords.