Welcome to Author Samuel Ben White
Samuel Ben White (“Sam” to his friends) is the author of the national newspaper comic strip “Tuttle’s” (found at www.tuttles.net) and the on-line comic book “Burt & the I.L.S.” (found at www.destinyhelix.com). He is married and has two sons. He serves his community as both a minister at a small church and a chaplain with hospice. In addition to his time travel stories, Sam has also written and published detective novels, a western, three fantasy novels and four works of Christian fiction.
First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch Interview with Samuel Ben White:
If a movie was made about your book, who do you picture playing the lead roles? Why?
As long as I’m daydreaming, I’ll say a young Tom Selleck as Garison Fitch. Rugged, athletic, that twinkle in the eye, and–in the 80s–the World’s Greatest ‘Stach.
For modern casting, Zachary Levi. I know he’s very different from Selleck, but I think he would bring a quirky innocence to the role (and I just really like him as an actor).
For Heather Fitch – Rachel Hendrix. Not only is she one of the most beautiful actresses I’ve ever seen, I think she could play the multi-talented Heather and hold her own alongside whoever plays Garison.
For Sarah Fitch – she’s such a special character to me I don’t know that I could ever see anyone who would really ʺfitʺ her.
Please tell us in 20 words or less, why we should read your book.
It’ll make you wonder if the history we live in is really the right one.
People who are late.
What book is on your night stand now?
“Riders of the Purple Sage” by Zane Grey. One of those novels I had always heard about and finally started reading a couple days ago.
If you could have a first edition signed copy of any novel, what would it be and why?
“That Hideous Strength” by CS Lewis. My all-time favorite work of fiction. Seems like every word in it is perfectly chosen.
Do you have plans for a new book? Goals for future projects?
I have plans for several, with varying degrees of likelihood that they’ll ever get written. I just finished the first draft on a murder mystery, so that’s pretty likely. One of my goals, though is to write a novelization of one of the Old Testament stories (I won’t say which one right now) that both turns the story on its ear but remains faithful to the source material. It’s just in my mind, now–with a few written notes–but I think when I can write it, it’ll blow people away.
Describe the cover in 10 words or less.
A flash of light that shows what Garison shouldn’t see.
How did you come up with the title of the book?
Wrestled with many different iterations of the word “Time” for months, then was talking with my wife one day and she used the phrase (talking about something else entirely), “First time.” I knew that was it instantly and as soon as I told her what I was smiling about, she agreed.
Did you lose any characters along the way?
Only partly. The character of Tex was once a much bigger character, but I realized he was taking up too much space to not be advancing the plot any more than he was. I didn’t lose him entirely, but he got “boiled down to his essence”, you might say.
Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?Garison Fitch is not much like me, except in his initial shyness. By the time he gets over his shyness, he has left all vestiges of me behind.
At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Many of my earliest memories are of my parents reading to me, so I grew up being fascinated with the idea that a person could tell a story that other people would want to hear or read. So, in first grade, as soon as I started learning how to write words and make sentences, I would try to string them together into stories. Before that, even, I would drawn cartoon stories and get my sisters to write in the wording.
What is your favorite Quote?
“I wish that I had been clever enough to have put into my writings some of the things that people have found there.” ~CS lewis
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I am a minister for a small church and a chaplain with hospice.
If you could get front row tickets to watch any performance live, who would you like to go see?
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Draw cartoons. Play board games with my family. Go skiing (again, with the family). Watch old shows like Andy Griffith & Dick Van Dyke.
What’s your ‘guilty pleasure’ TV show?
Facebook or Twitter?
You’re hosting a dinner party for a famous writer, dead or alive. Who’s on the invite list and who’s your guest of honor?
CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Agatha Christie, Tony Hillerman, Charles Colson, Max Lucado, Jimmy Stewart, Andy Griffith, George Lucas, Roger Staubach, Craig Biggio, Charles Schulz, Nolan Ryan and my grandfather Henry King and my grandmother Una King. Guest of Honor: Louis L’Amour
If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be?
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?
Yes. Try to get creative in other ways. I draw the comic strip for the local paper, which means I have a deadline three times a week. If I’m having trouble with writing, I’ll draw to try and get the creative juices flowing. If I’m stuck for a cartoon idea, I’ll try to write. Sometimes, I can’t get either going so I’ll grab some wood and try to build something.
What book(s) or author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
Louis L’Amour for his focus on telling the story. He’s great with scenery and setting the mood, but the main thing is that he just tells the story, like a guy around a campfire at night. You’re right where he is. Part of that comes because L’Amour walked the paths his characters walk, so all of my novels are set in places I have actually been, physically, anyway (I haven’t been to the future, yet). Agatha Christie for her attention to detail. CS Lewis for his ability to weave his faith into his writings, being faithful apologetically but not preachy.
If you could jump in fairy tale, and live in that world… which would it be?
Narnia. To run further up and further in.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. It’s important to work on improving (from the meta-story all the way down to the particular word) but most of all just keep writing. Like anything, it takes practice and part of that practice is just the repetition and making yourself keep doing it even when it’s not going as well as you like.
Do you skip around, peek at the ending, or do you read straight through a book?
Start at the beginning and don’t even peek at the ending until I get there.
Do you have any suggestions to add to my reading list?
“That Hideous Strength” by CS Lewis “Shoeless Joe” by WP Kinsella. “Mustang Man” by Louis L’Amour
Favorite places to vacation?
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Mine. I want every reader I can get.
What were your favorite books as a child?
“The Chronicles of Narnia” by CS Lewis and, as a small child, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” by Bernard Waber.
Where do you like to read?
Anywhere there’s something written. I’m not at all picky. Don’t even have a favorite chair.
What’s the last truly great book you read?
The Bible. As for fiction, probably the last great book was “The Lord of the Rings” which I read every few years.
How do you react to a bad review?
I just figure they were looking for something I wasn’t trying to provide. Everyone has different tastes and my writing ran counter to that reviewer’s. If the criticism is something concrete–like grammar or a plot hole–I take an honest look at the writing in question and see if they’re right. Usually, they’re not, but they give me ideas on how to strengthen future writings.
What’s your favorite holiday?
Cable, Satellite, Antenna or Netflix?
None. DVDs of complete seasons.
What does your workspace look like?
A tribute to Snoopy.
What’s your favorite thing about Fall?
Getting to have fires out on the back patio (in a firepit) again.
What are 3 of your all time favorite books?
“That Hideous Strength” – CS Lewis “Bendigo Shafter” – Louis L’Amour “The Lord of the Rings” – Tolkien
Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
“What if history didn’t happen the way we think, the ‘first time’?”
Where did the idea come from for the book?
A conversation with my father from when I was a teen about ‘what if someone from the modern era were to trade places with someone from the past. Would we make the same choices?
Tell everyone where they can go to stay up to date on your latest news! else you’d like to share with us?
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I love to hear from readers who have read my books!
First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch
“What if history didn’t happen that way … the first time?”
Garison Fitch was one of the most revered scientists in the Soviet Americas until he left fame behind to work on a secret project in his log cabin in the mountains of Marx.
But something went wrong. Instead of traveling interdimentionally, Garison has traveled through time … twice.
Now, he’s in something called “The United States of America” and a woman he’s never met before is calling herself his wife. It it a hoax? Or, has he somehow changed history?
If so, can he return the world to what he believes is “normal”, or must he live in this strange world he created?
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