Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Linda Benson Guest Interview

on June 25, 2012

I’m very happy to host YA author, Linda Benson. Linda is a fellow Musa author and she first appeared on this blog talking about her book, THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES.

Today, Linda is talking about her new book, SIX DEGREES OF LOST. I was very interested in Linda’s novel as it is set in the Pacific Northwest and two character voices narrate the story–similiar to my YA, WEAVING MAGIC.

SIX DEGREES OF LOST is available at Musa Publishing and Amazon. It will be available at all online retailers soon, and also available on Overdrive for purchase by libraries.

Can you tell us a little bit about your new book, SIX DEGREES OF LOST?

Thanks for having me, Mindy. SIX DEGREES OF LOST is the story of two teens, Olive and David, who each feel like they have no control over their life. Olive’s mother is in jail, so Olive gets shipped to Washington state to live with her aunt, who already cares for a large collection of rescue animals, including dogs, cats, and horses. David is from a military family, and feels like his entire life is already planned out for him: advanced classes, Air Force Academy, follow in his brothers’ footsteps and serve his country.

Because each of these characters were rolling around in my head, begging their stories be told, I gave them equal billing, and they narrate alternating chapters. David and Olive meet because of a runaway dog, and their relationship, initially as friends and then as something more, takes them both unexpected places.

Where did you get the inspiration for this story?

It was partly inspired by where I live – in the beautiful (but often rainy) Pacific Northwest. Part of the story line, about animals finding their way back home, was inspired by a group of kind friends and neighbors who do, indeed, try and help lost dogs. And Olive and David – well, when I started telling their story, they just sprang to life and told it themselves. Even I was surprised by the journey they took.


Both of your books from Musa Publishing, THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES and SIX DEGREES OF LOST, have animals as a part of the story.  Do you have a special bond with a pet or animal yourself?

Animals have played a huge part in my entire life, and yes, they do seem to jump into every novel that I write (including my first two from Mondo Publishing – FINDING CHANCE and THE HORSE JAR.) I am not only aware of the huge impact that animals can make in a person’s life, but they also make a great backdrop to a story, by showing people’s feelings and what kind of person they really are. I don’t always consciously set out to write animal stories, but they often end up as part of the plot. In fact, I’ll have another novel out in September 2012 (also from Musa) called WALKING THE DOG.

As for animals in my own life? Well, at the moment, we have a horse, a mule, and two donkeys in our pasture. Two rescue dogs lie sleeping in our driveway, two cats (from the animal shelter) grace my lap while several more are being fed in the barn, and who knows what might end up here tomorrow? I can’t imagine a life without lots of animals, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You have a wonderful cover for SIX DEGREES OF LOST. Can you tell us a little bit about the process for the cover art? Did you have input? How did you decide which images to include?

Thanks, Mindy! One of the perks about working with a small publisher such as Musa Publishing is that we often have input on our cover designs. The cover for this novel was a tough decision, because there are a lot of story lines going on in the book, and it was hard to decide what to put on the cover. The dogs? The horses? The raft trip? The hay field? The Greyhound bus?

Ultimately, we decided that although it’s also a bit of romance, animal story and adventure, at its heart it’s a coming-of-age story: a journey of two teens to find out where they really belong. So we chose a very simple picture that might convey that. I think it worked. I hope so. (Although I often wonder if we should have had a yellow lab on there somewhere, too?) *grin*


What advice would your main characters Olive and David give to other teens who might be facing some of the same issues they are in SIX DEGREES OF LOST?

#1 If you find a dog in the road, it’s important to keep it safe.

#2 Boys from big houses aren’t always stuck-up.

#3 Sometimes it takes real courage to do the right thing.

Where can readers find you?  

My website: http://www.lindabenson.net

Blog: http://www.lindabenson.blogspot.com

On Facebook: http://facebook.com/LindaBensonAuthor

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/LinBenson

On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3421565.Linda_Benson

Thanks so much, Linda!

3 responses to “Linda Benson Guest Interview

  1. Great interview ladies. Linda, don’t you love it when your characters surprise you.

  2. Linda Benson says:

    Thanks so much for hosting me, Mindy. Sometimes I learn as much about my books when I do interviews as I do when writing them. Ha! Great questions, and thanks for the opportunity to share my book. And – from one Pacific Northwesterner to another- Think Sun!

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