Rich Boys is a suspense/thriller novel, and though the characters are in their twenties, it deals with very mature issues. Although I’ve written comedy, as well… sometimes I find it easier to write dark stories. They always have some kind of silver lining to them, but I like to feel raw emotion when I write. It makes my work come to life more, and therefore creates a more vivid read.
Can you describe the story in one or two sentences for our readers?
During a drunken party, aspiring dancer Autumn Wright is stolen away by one of the rich young men she grew up next door to, and finds herself on a luxury train under the guise of a impromptu joyride. After realizing it is actually her kidnapping, and taken to a remote mansion lodge in Manitoba, Autumn realizes she will have to decide: kill someone she cares for… or be killed.
Tell us the story behind the story. What influenced you to write it and how long did it take you?
When I wrote Rich Boys, I had already completed five and a half novels, but couldn’t seem to keep the inspiration going on that last half-completed novel. I needed to find my “mojo” again, so I wrote down settings, conflicts, character types, romantic subplots, and tension that intrigued me. Within about 10 to 15 minutes I had the basic plot of Rich Boys, and wrote the entire first draft in two months.
Autumn is a realistic female in her early twenties (at least in my opinion). She’s driven, ambitious, though afraid to trust her gut at times. She swears, has a touch of O.C.D. and anxiety, but loves deeply. She’s special to me among the many characters I’ve written in that she is often afraid, but when it’s necessary, does what’s needed to help those she loves, and is willing to risk greatly when cornered. She’s a fighter.
Is there a part of you in any of the characters?
There is a part of me in virtually every character in all of my books. Even the antagonists. We all have dark and light within us. I draw from within and amplify it on the page.
What is the message in your books that you want your readers to grasp?
Naturally, there is a different message to each of my books, but in Rich Boys, I suppose it’s that we often put up blinders when we should listen to our intuition, and that even after trauma the light will come back. The light always comes back.
If you assigned an actor/actress to the characters in your novel, who would they be?
I actually do this for almost all of my stories, envision specific people in the roles. For Autumn, I picture a girl who looks like Erin Moriarty, and for Alex, definitely a Hunter Parrish type.
Are there other writers that inspire your own work?
Most of my favorite authors do in some form or another. Maggie Stiefvater for her delicious prose, Stephen King for his suspense, Hemingway for writing so raw, tragically, but lovely. There are dozens.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Nearly a decade ago.
How do you find the time to write?
Will power. These days, I have so many things to juggle I have to force myself to sit down and get rolling. But once I get warmed up, I’m in the zone.
How can readers find you online?
My books are on Amazon, and I’m also on:
And, of course, my website: www.HeatherBentonBooks.com
Excerpt from Rich Boys
When at last I felt confident he was in a deep sleep, I slithered out of that bed with more stealth than any of the previous attempts. I’m becoming an expert at this.
I set my own bag close by so I could grab it in a hurry if needed. Then I moved to his bag and searched through it painstakingly slow. So slow. Where are you, stupid drugs? I investigated each item in the weak light of the fire, squinting to see what it was. Finally, finally, I found a bottle. I lifted the prescription bottle, read the name of some drug I didn’t recognize, and realized this must be it. It had to be the sedative. I glanced back at him, making certain he still slept. Sleeping beast. Then I raised the white-topped orange bottle up to the light of the embers in the corner to see how many pills were inside.
It was empty.
I bit my lip hard and let all of my antagonism contort my face into pure terrible irony. For the love of all that was holy, the bottle was empty. End this! My heart sank, because I searched again to make sure I had not missed another bottle or plastic baggy, but I knew I hadn’t. And I knew there was only one other option in there, an object my hand grazed over a minute before. When I found no other evidence of something containing any kind of drug, I went back to that object. I sighed, closed my eyes for a moment, and mustered the toughest, darkest, most ruthless part of me. End this, Autumn. End it now. I swallowed, opened my eyes, wrapped my hand around the handle, and pulled out the knife.