Author Interview with Benjamin Fassbinder

I am is an office drone from the Pacific Northwest who loves writing and storytelling. I have a lifelong love of anime, manga, video games, science fiction and fantasy, and I love blending genres in my works.

Where are you from?

  • I am from Washington State, near Seattle.

Why do you write? 

  • I like to entertain people, and I love coming up with characters and scenarios. Sharing stories and ideas with other people also a great way to get to know people online.

What do you write about? 

  • I write genre fiction, usually with a comedic or satiric bent. My Confessions of the Magpie Wizard series is like a more adult Harry Potter with an unreliable, misanthropic, half-demon narrator, for example. I’m in love with redemption story arcs, in particular.

Do you have a specific writing style?

  • I like first person narration best. It lets me really explore a character’s personality, and it makes writing descriptions more fun, since you can see what they think of others around them. I’ll probably write something in third person someday, since some types of stories really don’t lend themselves to first person, but for now, it’s comfortable.

What are obstacles that come in the way of writing? 

  • Time and energy are the big ones. I have a day job, so it can be a challenge sometimes to block out enough time to keep on my writing schedule. 

What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work?

  • It was one of my readers on Patreon. I had been posting the first draft of my third Magpie Wizard book for a year while I posted it a few chapters at a time. Somebody who had rarely commented before described it as “This series has absolutely lived up to and exceeded expectations!” It really made the hard work seem worthwhile, since that draft is going to be two books on Kindle once I’m done revising, so that was nearly a year of constant work!

How long have you been writing?

  • I’ve written on and off since high school, but I never really finished anything. I finished my first full book in 2017, and have been obsessed ever since.

  When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?

  • I won a poetry contest in elementary school, but I don’t think it sank in until I started writing fanfiction in high school. I loved talking with people about my ideas and getting them down for others to read.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

  • I use a process called sprinting. You write with distractions turned off (I still listen to music, some say you don’t have anything on at all) for 15-20 minutes on a timer, take 5 minutes off, then repeat. I usually aim for 1,000 words on days when I’m able to write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

  • I’ve read a lot of older British authors, like G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis (you can see The Screwtape Letters all over how the devils work in my books) and George MacDonald Frasier. It means I have I commonly use a few older turns of phrase that can throw off my beta readers sometimes.

How long does it take to write a book?

  • I write pretty long books (around 100,000 words), so the first draft can take me about 4-6 months. I usually write around 15,000-20,000 words a month, depending on how busy I am in real life. Keeping my Patrons reading keeps me working at a steady pace.

Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer?

  • Keep writing, even if you end up tossing most of it out (I’m sure I’ve discarded 300,000 words of Magpie Wizard material over the years, at least). Think of your writing skill like any other muscle. You don’t lift a 50 pound weight over and over again at the gym because it’s accomplishing anything, it’s so you’re ready when you have to lift something heavy in real life. 

Also, read more published books and less webfiction if you want to work on your style. Fanfiction and other online-only writers can have bad habits, since they don’t go through as much editorial control. I had to unlearn some quirks that were just grammatical and punctuation no-nos.

What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story?

  • The planning can get away from me sometimes. I know points A and C, but sometimes B can elude me. The characters can take on a life of their own and do the driving sometimes, which can make me have to rework C. One time, I had one character pat another’s head in a sort of patronizing matter, and I swear I heard her voice scream “NO” in my head, which completely changed how the scene went.

What do you think makes a good story?

  • Well developed, engaging characters in well constructed, plausible scenarios. I don’t mean realistic, since I’m writing about a half-demon at a wizard school. I mean settings and characters that keep to the rules established for them. Once you have that, you’re most of the way there.

What does your family think of your writing?

  • Since my Magpie Wizard books are about a sarcastic, womanizing half-devil learning how to be human, I tried to hide it from them for a while. I think I made them worried, since they thought I was just sitting alone in my apartment all the time doing nothing. They were extremely encouraging when I finally told them what was going on, which was a relief. 

Do you see writing as a career?

  • For right now it’s a side hustle, but I’d love to eventually make it my only job.

Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers?

  • I write under a pseudonym that’s an inside joke to me, a leftover from when I thought I’d never tell my family about my books. Hint: look up what a Fassbinder is in German.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

  • When I finished my very first book draft to completion. I had always thought I was just dabbling, and that I’d dabble forever, but I finally found a project that inspired me to see it through to the end, and then keep going with sequels. I ended up having to revise and toss most of it out, but it ended up being the basis of my main Magpie Wizard series.

Here are my main pages: 

I have a Substack, which functions as my newsletter: https://dbfassbinder.substack.com/ 

My Patreon, where patrons can read stories earlier than anyone else: https://www.patreon.com/dbfassbinder 

My WordPress page, where I announce when stories are launched on the free sites or published on Amazon: https://dbfassbinder.wordpress.com/ 

My Amazon Author Page: 

https://www.amazon.com/D-Benjamin-Fassbinder/e/B08CJZ4GKC/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1 My Twitter: https://twitter.com/dbfassbinder

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