Ben Spies is a young author living on the beautiful Kapiti Coast in New Zealand. Ben’s passion for writing led him to become a published author at the young age of nine with his first book, Weirdo. The Magic Pencil followed soon after at age ten, and The World of Greek Mythology at age eleven. Ben is thirteen years old now and is not showing any signs of slowing down. He has just finished writing his fourth book and first sci-fi novel – 2020 – which will be published at the end of the year.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
At the moment I don’t dislike any authors, but I think when I was little I didn’t really like the Australian children’s author Andy Griffiths. I guess I thought the title names of his books were a bit strange, but then I read the books and I absolutely loved them!!!
Do you try more to be original, or to deliver to readers what they want?
I guess it’s a bit of both. My reader audience is generally children so my books have lots of stories with action and adventure which is what I actually love writing about, but I also believe this is what they like to read.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Sometimes they come naturally when I’m writing and sometimes I have to use a name generator from the internet. I do a lot of research on the internet. There’s just so much information easily available just at our finger tips, right?
What was the first book that made you cry?
I don’t think a book has ever made me cry, yet I’ve felt very sad and upset from characters deaths. I remember one of the first ones was in a Harry Potter book.
Have you Googled yourself? Did you find out anything interesting?
Yes, I’ve been googling myself a lot recently. Sometimes I find myself in the results, and sometimes I find Ben Spies the motorcyclist. LOL.
Are there any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Can you tell us one? Or give us any hints?
Yup! There’s a nod to ‘The Magic Pencil’ in my newest book called ‘2020’. I hope my readers will get it.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Why?
No. I never considered this. I think I will stick with Ben Spies
How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
I published my first book, Weirdo, when I was nine years old. I was very young and now I realize that I had a lot more to learn and I needed to start writing longer books. Weirdo is only 56 pages. It’s great though for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books with easy language and lots of images. I guess as I grow older, writing longer books comes more naturally as my vocabulary expands, my emotions mature and my experience improves.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Around ten half-finished books… I think. I stopped counting. But I will take Joy Cowley’s advice and finish all of them! I met her when I was at the Featherston Booktown festival in 2017 and I was so happy I had the opportunity to talk with her for a bit. I told her my passion was writing and asked her some questions. I mentioned I had too many ideas in my mind for stories and had all these half-finished stories. She advised me to focus on one story at a time, and if I had an idea for another one to write it down on a piece of paper and keep it for my future book. Since then, I’ve started doing this.