I’m happy to welcome author Bentley Turner. Today, Bentley chats about his creative journey and new release, The File on Thomas Marks.
Q: Why do you write fiction under a pseudonym?
A: I use a pseudonym for my fiction and I use my legal name for my nonfiction. Besides, I wanted to pay tribute to my mother as well as my grandmothers’ maiden names, which were Bentley and Turner.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: In a small town in northern Kentucky. My wife and I left about a year after we married. She was teaching elementary school and I was completing two masters’ degrees at the time. Over the years we lived and taught in Arkansas, Illinois, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. We retired from teaching several years ago.
Q: You mentioned writing nonfiction. Have you written a lot of nonfiction over the years?
A: Yes. I’ve written articles based on research for academic journals, chapters for academic books, entries for encyclopedias, and several books for academic and reference publishers.
Q: Do you still write nonfiction?
A: Yes. Although I don’t write as much as I used to, I still write an occasional academic article or review of a book.
Q: How does writing mysteries compare with writing nonfiction?
A: I enjoy reading mysteries. Several years ago, I thought I would try to write one. Well, I tried, but it was extremely difficult. I had to change gears, so to speak. I was used to researching and writing nonfiction―not fiction. In fact, I had not written anything remotely resembling fiction in decades. To say the least, I struggled. I found myself asking all sorts of questions as the plot moved along. Were the characters real or authentic? Would they act this way or that way? Were the situations in which the characters found themselves realistic? Etc., etc., etc. Now, I understand what writers of fiction go through―at least, to a certain extent. I haven’t written that much fiction, so I’m certain I haven’t experienced as many hurdles as other writers of fiction have. Unlike writers who have been writing fiction for years and who seem to have it down, I’m still learning the ins and outs of the craft.
Q: How many years did it take to write The File on Thomas Marks?
A: I believe I wrote the first draft in a year. Then I went through it again and again. After that, I had another person go through it. When I thought the manuscript was ready, I sent whatever numerous publishers desired. Generally, most wanted a synopsis and three chapters. After months and months of rejections, a small publisher accepted it, but for some reason―I don’t remember what―I didn’t sign the contract. After that, I sent several chapters to other publishers. Eventually, another small publisher offered a contract. However, there were one or more clauses in the contract that I didn’t like, and the publisher wouldn’t budge. Needless to say, I didn’t sign the contract. I sent several chapters to other publishers. Finally, another small publisher accepted it. I signed the contract.
Q: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
A: Considering that was decades ago, unfortunately, no. However, the first story that I wrote that was published was “The Question.” It was published in a literary magazine in the 1960s.
Where to find Bentley…
In this suspenseful thriller, Thomas Marks, a young, intelligent man, admits to being with two women just before they were murdered. Though detectives don’t believe him, he claims to be innocent. The only problem is none of the evidence corroborates his story nor confirms the guilt of anyone else. When another suspect surfaces, Thomas thinks he’s in the clear, but appearances can’t always be trusted. Will an arrest stick? Find out in this mystery mayhem of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end.