Tags: Ben's Challenge, book review, Brenda's book reviews, Goodreads
It was lovely to receive this review from Brenda on Goodreads
4 of 5 stars
Read from August 09 to 10, 2013 — I own a copy
Ben lived with his Mum, Dad, brother Peter and sister Helen. At thirteen he was in first year high school in a small town in country Australia, where his German descent made him the butt for racist taunts and comments from a few members of the community. He was called “kraut” and “jerry” so often it bounced off him. His friend Joe fared no better, as he was a refugee along with his family. Even though they were hard workers, the common name-calling taunt was “reffo”. It hurt, but they were used to it.
The day which was to change Ben and his family’s life forever started the same as any other. But when Ben was waiting for his dad to return from work, waiting for the usual sound of his motorbike to come up the drive; the one which arrived caused him to frown in confusion – it had a completely different noise. The policeman at the front door spread terror through them all; their Dad had been hit by a car on his way home – it was a hit and run, and his Dad had not survived.
As the family struggled through their grief, Ben was frustrated by the efforts of the police. So Ben and his best friend Joe decided to take matters into their own hands. Ben started working in the small shop in town, delivering groceries and stacking shelves for Mr Fraser. As it was school holidays, the wonderful six week Christmas break, they had free time to explore, swim in the billabong and search for answers to questions that were always there.
Will Ben find the answers he is so desperate for? What will happen to the young friends in the heady days of summer in the 1950s when Elvis Presley was all the rage and racial prejudice a fact of life?
A thoroughly enjoyable novel of a young teenager’s strength, determination and courage in the face of terrible adversity. Highly recommended.
Tags: Ben's Challenge, creative writing, journal writing, memoir, writing
I have been writing a personal journal on and off for a long time – probably about forty years.
When I was a girl, I had one of those little diaries with a clasp and a key, a special gift I received one birthday when my parents had a little extra money. But you can’t write much in a few small lines, and we couldn’t afford more exercise books than we had to get for school. So, during my teens, I didn’t write much at all.
I wrote a little during my twenties and thirties, but my latest stint of journal writing has been a constant for the last ten years or so. It has been a great help in keeping me sane and in helping me sort out what my life is about. Now, it also helps me work out my writing problems.
I had always wanted to do more than write diary/journal entries. I was great at writing essays, reports, analyses, but I lacked the confidence to try writing stories or poetry.
Then, in 2005 when in my mid-fifties and with my husband’s encouragement, I undertook a short creative writing course. That course opened a door for me that had been stuck since my childhood.
Short stories flowed from my pen. I tried writing poetry to improve my imagery and to cut down the word count in my stories – it worked. I even did well in competitions. I wrote more short stories. Then I did what I had never believed myself capable of – I wrote a novel. It was good – my writing group said so, and so did others who read the drafts.
I am sure it could be improved, but I cannot afford to employ a professional editor. There is also no chance of a writer like me getting either an agent or a publisher. The only way I could get it ‘out there’ was to self-publish it. Thankfully, self-publishing has become more acceptable today, though there is still a taint of amateurishness and vanity publishing to it.
My novel was originally written for middle grades and young adults. The main character is thirteen-year-old Ben who, with his friend Joe, tries to find out who killed Ben’s father. One of the main reasons I wrote it was to show today’s younger generation what life was like in an Australian farming community back in the 1950s.
However, nostalgia has become a strong drawcard for my generation. So much has changed since we were young that it has been difficult at times to come to terms with this new world. Many of us hanker for the more simple and innocent times we knew as children and teenagers. As a result, Ben’s Challenge has found its main readership among the Baby Boomer generation.
I am working on a follow-up, using the same main characters, but with a different theme to the story. I still would like youngsters to read it and compare their way of life with that of kids like Ben and Joe who grew up in the 1950s. But if the Baby Boomers take to it, then that’s all right with me. Anyway, it is the writing itself that is really the most important to me.
© Linda Visman
27th may 2012
Tags: Amazon, Ben's Challenge, children's novel, CreateSpace, e-book readers, e-books, LM Visman, publishing, writing
My novel, Ben’s Challenge, has not drawn many customers from CreateSpace. In fact, only one copy of the print book has been sold since it became available in August. I don’t know how to track the sales, if any, on Amazon or other outlets. However, it doesn’t look like print is going to sell, and if I want to get people buying it, I will have to get into the e-book market.
I see there are now many different e-book readers being put out by different companies. Many of them appear to be limited in the variety of formats they will operate. But I suppose you pay less for them.
Kindle is still the leader in e-book readers it seems, with Kindle 3 and Kindle DX. They operate a good range of formats, in fact more than most other readers. So, Kindle is probably the best e-reader to get my book into.
So, I am now in the process of converting Ben’s Challenge to a kindle e-book, through CreateSpace. It will be available on Amazon and on CreateSpace in a few weeks, and I will put up the link to it when that happens.
In the meantime, if you would like to have a print copy of Ben’s Challenge, just click on the book cover and you will be taken to the Amazon page where you can purchase it.