Hello! Let’s welcome the author of Fall from Grace, Charles Benoit, with us today for an interview! Welcome Charles!
What were your “plans” and what were your parents’ “plans” for you?
I don’t know if it was my parents or the time I grew up in, but there were never any “plans” for me or my sisters (I’m the only boy, and one of those amazing middle children.) Neither of my parents graduated high school (they both dropped out to join the Navy in WWII and that’s when they met). Sometimes they would suggest the military, but I think they just wanted me to stay out of trouble. As for my plans, I can say that when I sat there at graduation, it suddenly dawned on me that I had none. I drifted for a few years–from job to job, apartment to apartment, girlfriend to girlfriend—then I joined the Army at 21 for something to do. Wow, looking back, I guess I really was a clueless as my teachers said.
Did you ever think that you would become an author?
No, but I did know I’d be a storyteller since that is the gift/curse of my family. It’s genetically impossible for any one of us to answer simple question, even one like, “What did you have for dinner last night?” We have to tell you a story—complete with flashbacks, foreshadowing, a few celebrity walk-on cameos, a comic sidekick, a villain, maybe a dream sequence—just to tell you that we went to McDonalds. Our family motto, given to us by the Emperor Napoleon after the Battle of Waterloo, is “Nunquam permissum a res prosterno a bonus fibula.” (Never let a fact ruin a good story)
How long did it take you to write Fall From Grace?
It usually takes me about a year to write a book. For reasons I can’t explain, I wrote Grace in about 5 months. It was like the story was already in my head and I was just typing it out. I’m a two-finger typist, so I guess if I could do that freakish type-without-looking thing with all my fingers, I would have been done in a week. The first line of the book—“I need you to steal something for me”—came to me when I was listening to the song Into Action by Skye Seetnam and Tim Armstrong. I started the book that night and before I went to bed I knew exactly where it was going and how it would end. It was kindda scary, actually.
Do you relate to Grace or any of the other characters from your book?
Most of my male characters are semi-losers with huge flaws and little clue as to what’s really going on, so yes, I’m like my male characters. I wish I had the devil-may-care attitude of Grace. Or the demonic-cool of Zack, the evil character from my first teen novel, YOU. Or the tough-guy street smarts of the main character of my third mystery, Noble Lies. But no, I have the what-just-happened naiveté of Sawyer or Kyle or Doug (Relative Danger) or Jason (Out of Order) or Eric (the as-yet untitled book I’m writing now). But at least I got the girl!
Can you share a little something from your book with us, please?
How about the first 6 Chapters? http://files.harpercollins.com/HCChildrens/OMM/Media/FallFromGraceexcerpt.pdf
Thanks for the post, Charles!
Grace always has a plan. There’s her plan to get famous, her plan to get rich, and—above all—her plan to have fun.
Sawyer has plenty of plans too. Plans made for him by his mother, his father, his girlfriend. Maybe they aren’t his plans, but they are plans.
When Sawyer meets Grace, he wonders if he should come up with a few plans himself. Plans about what he actually wants to be, plans to speak his own mind for a change, plans to maybe help Grace with a little art theft.
Wait a minute—plans to what?