I grew up as one of four brothers close together in age in a time before computers and the internet, so we spent hours entertaining ourselves and each other. We all loved to read, but we also put on plays and made up stories, and that was when we weren't being fierce pirates or intrepid explorers. My parents would read books aloud to each other and to us, and I loved the breadth of worlds and characters in books about Oz or Narnia or far away places like England and India. I soon started writing my own stories about the islands of Nova Scotia where we lived or about worlds beyond that I imagined visiting.
After the four of us boys scattered to different colleges and lives, I still had my love of reading but mostly kept my stories to myself. Soon, marriage and children distracted me and I stopped writing, though I entertained my children with silly stories and poems as they grew.
About ten years ago, I decided to start writing my stories down again. I joined a supportive community at
, which I highly recommend for new writers. I wrote poems and short stories, at first simply to share with the community. Eventually, I dared let myself dream I could be published and started submitting stories to magazines and anthologies. It took time and a lot of effort to hone my skills, but after a while, I was getting stories and poems published fairly regularly.
I find that inspiration comes from unexpected places. I had written a short, comic poem from the point of view of a sympathetic but hungry troll, and I decided I wanted to write a children's book about a pair of troll friends. Bernie & Tish, the main characters iof
Danger Tastes Dreadful
, are young trolls who aren't terribly brave or heroic, but who have to find the strength in themselves and each other when their parents are stolen away by giants.
I read about a fiction group forming to meet every other week at Mac's Backs on Coventry, a delightful little independent book store a few miles from my house. Our group quickly formed a close bond (we have been meeting together for five years now!), and it was these supportive friends who helped as I polished and expanded my very rough draft until it was ready to go out into the world.
After looking for an agent for a while, a Twitter pitch of mine was tagged by a publisher who specializes in wholesome but not religious books. I submitted my manuscript and they loved it! After several rounds of editing and polishing,
Danger Tastes Dreadful
was published about thirteen months after I signed my book contract.
Since my debut launched, I have written and polished another book called
Jacob and the Sky Monsters,
and am querying to find the right agent. There has been quite a bit of interest, so I hope to soon have representation and start the process all over again.
Copyright © 2018-2020 Ben Langhinrichs. Some images courtesy of