Celebrating Texas Writers Month with us today is Edgar Finalist Ben Rehder (Dripping Springs).
For a chance to win a signed hardcover of Ben’s crazy sixth novel called Holy Moly, leave a comment below by Sunday, May 15.
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Giveaway for U.S. residents only.
If you ask Ben Rehder what precipitated his becoming a writer he will tell you that it was being dropped on his head as a toddler. As he grew into a young adult and the vertigo gradually dissipated, Ben’s passion for literature grew. He longed to craft the type of soul-stirring prose that would touch people’s lives and help them explore new emotional horizons.
Throughout his rewarding and fruitful career in the ad business, Ben has been known to write such imaginative and compelling phrases as “Act now!,” “Limited-time offer,” and “Compatible with today’s rapidly changing network environment.” However, there eventually came a time when, as unbelievable as it sounds, writing brochures and spec sheets simply wasn’t enough to satisfy Ben’s creative urges. It was time to write a novel.
Fate played a hand one day when Ben’s father-in-law tossed him a copy of a Carl Hiaasen novel and it hit Ben in the forehead. When the swelling went down and Ben read the book, he discovered a type of fiction he had never experienced before—the comic crime novel.
After many grueling minutes in front of a computer, Ben was proud to present his debut, Buck Fever. Like many best-selling classics, Buck Fever has lots and lots of verbs, prepositions, adjectives, and the occasional gerund. Next came Bone Dry, Flat Crazy, Guilt Trip, Gun Shy, and Holy Moly, which features a televangelist who knows a thing or two about marketing Jesus, a fossil collector with a rather unusual fetish, and a backhoe operator who’s dug his last ditch.
We’re talking about an author whose blog’s stated mission is to waste your time and get you in trouble at work, folks. Enjoy the interview.
Q. Are you a native Texan or did you get here as soon as you could?
A. Yes, I was born here, in Austin, although I understand Donald Trump has been asking to see my birth certificate.
Q. How did you end up writing fiction?
A. When I was in college, I got a job as a runner at an ad agency. I started watching the writers and art directors in the creative department and it looked like they were always having a pretty good time. When a position opened up for copywriter’s assistant, I asked if they’d let me give it a shot. I had no credentials other than being an English major and having a brief stint as an iron-fisted dictator in a small South American country, but they took a chance and gave me the position. I didn’t realize what a great opportunity it was—writing ads while I was still in college. I was essentially doing work that a lot of graduates would’ve killed for. After quite a few years cranking out TV and radio spots, brochures, direct mail, websites, etc., I decided to write something that was all my own. After many grueling minutes, I had written Buck Fever, the first novel in my Blanco County series.
Q. What book marketing activities made you a bestselling author?
A. Uh, well, you’d be stretching the meaning of “bestselling” quite a bit if you apply it to me, but I’ll take it. I guess I’ve done a bit of everything—hundreds of signings and other events, website, postcards, bookmarks, radio interviews, reviews, human sacrifices, blog—anything to get word of mouth going. But nothing ensures success better than obliterating your competition with a giant death ray.
Q. Tell us about your latest release. Is it set in Texas?
A. The Chicken Hanger will be published by TCU Press in the spring of 2012. It’s set along the Texas border, near Laredo. It revolves around an illegal immigrant who works at a poultry-process plant. Also, there are zombies.
Q. Where can we pay you a virtual visit?
A. www.benrehder.com or on Facebook. You may also notice that my name is featured on a lot of other websites, except the letters aren’t always in a row.