Today I'd like to welcome Ben Burgess, author of “Love and Happiness” to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the award-winning novels "Monster", "Wounded", the poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and the new novel "Love and Happiness" He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their dreams. His poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and his novel "Monster" are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management and an MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
If it’s to save a loved one's life, I say yes. The purpose of law enforcement is to preserve human life.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Some people just exist and never take risks in their lives. To truly live, I believe a person must experience new things, meet people who have different philosophies in life than you to keep you open-minded, and you have to take risks. I feel if you fail to do those things, you’re merely existing. As people, I believe we should always want to evolve and become better versions of ourselves all the time.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
My biggest inspiration/motivation is my daughter. As a parent, I want nothing but the best for my child. I look at her as an extension of myself. I didn’t have a great childhood. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, I was insecure about myself, I lived in poverty, and I missed out on opportunities due to a lack of funds. While my childhood wasn’t the best, I had a great role model, my Mother. I watched my Mom struggle to pay bills, work two jobs, put herself through school all the way up to her doctorate, and moved us out of the dangerous neighborhood we lived in into a house in the suburbs. She did all of these tasks on her own. My Mother did the best she could to push for me to have better opportunities than she did. She drove me to want more out of myself and to become the best person I could be. That is exactly what I wish to do for my child. I want to instill in her that strong work ethic and will. I want her to realize that with hard work and dedication, she can do anything she puts her mind to. I want her to see how I juggle being an NYPD detective, personal trainer, Father, and author. I love her, and I want to be that positive role model she looks up to like my Mother was for me. Every achievement, every award, every acknowledgment I receive, I want her to understand that I put 100% into everything I do. I pray that it pushes her to be a great person.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
I can’t speak for everyone but I know for me, I wanted to have children to continue my goal of improving the world. Like I said earlier, I look at my daughter as an extension of myself. I want to raise her to be a great person, someone who will help to make the world a better place. If I instill that work ethic and strong will in her, a piece of me will always live on even when I’m eventually gone.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "Love and Happiness"?
It’s incredibly hard to write from a female perspective. While women might have some similarities, all women are different. To interview, listen to, and talk to so many women to get the perfect tone for my characters, was very hard. It was also fun, educational, and enjoyable. By listening and researching women, I feel I have a better understanding of how some women think, and approach life (Just to be clear, I am in no way shape or form claiming to be an expert on women’s thoughts LOL. I know for a fact there is no way to master that.)
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
Ten two letter words: If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.
No.7 How did you come up with the title "Love and Happiness"?
For me, it was a play on words. Sometimes you can love someone, but you aren’t necessarily happy. Sometimes we sacrifice our happiness because we love someone. I wanted to show that irony in this novel.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
As a writer, you have to have thick skin. Some people will love your book, some will hate it. Some people will be jealous or spiteful and say things just to hurt you. Some people will criticize to make you better. As an author, my job is to understand this and know where everyone fits in those categories. I’m not perfect. I know I can always improve, so for those who offer me meaningful criticism I listen to it and use it to grow as an author. For those who just spew negativity out of jealous, I wish them well and move on. I can’t dwell on negativity. I have to grow and get better.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
When I write, I try to create stories that haven’t already been told. I don’t want people to think that my books are just smut. I don’t want to be similar to another author. I feel if we all read the same, then what would set us apart? I write about topics most people can relate to and understand. I think it’s always good to see things in different perspectives to stay well versed and open minded. I want to be an inspiration to other authors and readers—to encourage them to think outside the box. I pour my heart and soul into everything I write, and I feel when readers give my books a chance, they will see that also.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
There is something rather than nothing because, with anything, you can always create something out of the least amount of material. For example, if you weren’t given a lot of tools or equipment, you could still create art. If you weren’t given musical instruments, you could still make music. When it comes to people, even if you weren’t given as many opportunities in life as most, you can still be a great person. “Something” will always exist even when it might appear to be nothing.
Thank you Ben :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out "Love and Happiness" on
Karen has it all:
A handsome husband, beautiful twin daughters,
a lovely home and a great job.
Karen also has a secret;
She’s cheating on her husband, with not one man, but two.
Chris is doing all he can to hold his marriage together. He loves Karen but she grows more distant every day. When she starts coming home later and later, he suspects she is being unfaithful. When Chris accidentally takes her cell phone what he finds changes their lives forever. When tragedy strikes, Karen must decide if she should sacrifice her happiness for her husband’s love, and Chris wonders if he should stay with Karen because he still loves her despite her infidelity. But if they do stay together, will they ever find love and happiness again?
Sexy, and relatable, insightful and inspiring, Love and Happiness shows us both sides of Chris and Karen's story, and reminds us that sometimes to have it all, you must first lose it all.