Interview with Bentley Wells

I’m happy to welcome Black Opal author Bentley Wells. Today, Bentley chats about his writing process and shares his latest release, The Question and Other Stories.

Describe your process for naming your characters.

I do not necessarily have a process for naming my characters. Generally, names come to me. Sometimes, I will change the first or last name of a character because I do not like it or because I have another character with the same first or last name.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I would say that I am a plotter, although I will change something―especially if I do not like it or if what I have written interferes with something else.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?

I do not listen to music when I write; it distracts me.

What is your most productive time of the day?

My most productive time of the day is morning, between 8 a.m. and noon.

What motivates you to write?

I enjoy researching and writing, especially nonfiction. However, “The Question and Other Stories” is my second book of fiction that has been published. In fact, a few of the stories in the collection were published in literary magazines years ago, before these and the others were revised for the collection.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My favorite authors include Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John O’Hara, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Erskine Caldwell. Among modern writers, I read Linwood Barclay, John Grisham, and others who write mysteries or suspense. I also read a lot of nonfiction.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I do not have any writing rituals, except researching occupations of my characters and locations.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My favorite place to write is in my office, which is in my house.


The Question and Other Stories contain several tales that concern young people who have to deal with hard-nosed teachers, fickle girlfriends, and death of family members, among other topics. Other tales concern adults who have to confront loneliness, rejection, and mental illness.


Andrew Martin entered the Rogers Public Library like he had for the past five years, always courteous to those who were exiting or entering. Indeed, he would open the door for them and nod his head in greeting.

As he passed the front counter, he spoke to the employees who were behind it. He always smiled and spoke to these people. “Good evening,” he would say, and the employees always replied.

He was very well liked in the community. He gave to the Christian Church every Sunday. In addition, he gave large amounts of money to various charitable organizations. How he had become the president of the Rogers State and Federal Bank was simply through hard work on his part. The idea of him becoming president because of his marriage to the bank’s biggest stockholder never entered his mind―not for one minute―because he had worked continuously every working day, including Wednesday afternoons when it was customary for the bank to close early. He would say his “Good days” to his fellow employees as they left and remain to learn the business.

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Spotlight on The Paradise Coven

I’m happy to spotlight a new release from Bentley Wells.

I have written mostly nonfiction for academic and reference publishers most of my adult life. For instance, I have written articles for journals, chapters for books, entries for encyclopedias, and several books. All required research, which I enjoy doing.

When I wrote The Paradise Coven, which is my first mystery, I used the pseudonym Bentley Wells, to honor my late mother. I set the story in a city that I’m somewhat familiar with (years ago, I lived there for several months). Even though I remembered certain parts of it, I researched the city to make sure what I remembered was correct. Furthermore, I researched particular characters’ areas of expertise and professions, the history of cults, and witchcraft. In short, if I was not certain about something, I researched it―online and in books. Of course, when writing fiction, dozens of writers writing fiction take liberties. For instance, a writer may describe a building that’s supposed to be on a particular street. If a reader checked, that building or even street may not exist. I’m sure readers understand this when they read fiction.


The Paradise Coven concerns homicide detectives Michael McConnell and Aaron Simmons of Columbus, Ohio, who investigate the brutal murders of two women. Unfortunately, there are no witnesses and few clues, except for unfamiliar words the killer has printed in lipstick on each victim. The words have demonic connotations, making the detectives wonder if they are dealing with a serial killer or a demon from Hell. As McConnell and Simmons dig for the truth, they discover a decades-old third murder with the same MO. This victim had ties to The Paradise Coven, a mysterious club that may be responsible for all three murders.

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