Jenn: How did your journey as a writer begin?
Asa: Well, actually I started writing for myself. Daily, in my private files, I’d write poetry, prose, short stories. Sometimes, I’d also share them in my social media channels. Quite often, I’d write spiritual and uplifting wisdom to my followers, just because I loved it (I still do). But that came also because since I was a child I loved creativity–video games, science projects, writing in my diary, choreography dancing, theater, etc. etc.
J: Where did the inspiration for Benjamin Jones come from?
A: From me really. I based Benjamin Jones on me as a young boy. See, I started self-publishing spiritual books about self-love, increasing self-esteem, and increasing connection in relationships. My love to help others. And I also love fantasy, like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. So I sought a way to tell a coming-of-age fantasy story to entertain people; but also in a way help the same people, guide them, bring to light some wisdom. And that is exactly what the main character does. He is a young boy who has this spiritual teacher, and he learns much about himself and his journey with him.
J: Benjamin Jones features so many interesting, real-world cultural and religious traditions. What did research for the series look like?
A: Oh yes, I did a lot of research to understand different viewpoints and better tell the story. But in honesty I always loved researching, because I just like discovering all these amazing pearls of wisdom from around the world and from different cultures. I visited my local library many times (I still do, because I am about to start #4 in the series right now). I do a lot of research on Google. And, of course, there is the experience from family. I like learning from real people close to me.
J: Which character in the series do you most identify with and why?
A: I would have to say ‘Ben.’ Ben is based entirely on me. Well, all my characters have some of my traits, and that’s why I enjoy describing how they feel. But the main character, Benjamin or Ben, deals a lot with his own darkness and confusion. I was like that when I was a child. And, like Ben, I was very curious. And, like Ben, I was always seeking my magic, to discover my inner values, and to learn more about my own life.
J: How did you decide to publish independently?
A: Mostly it is because I like control over everything that has to do with my work. But also because in my life I am sort of the rebellious one. I never follow a set path. I like to think differently and entirely for myself. So self-publishing fits me just right.
J: What advice would you offer to someone also considering independent publishing?
A: Well, I would say ‘Do not go the independent route if you do not believe in your work 100%.’ To be independent, you must be brave, really brave; and not ashamed or shy one bit. It is 30% about writing a good book. But 70% about sharing and talking about your work with others, nonstop. Selling is the hardest part, and when you self-publish you are alone in that. You better build a system. And, if you have passion for your work, you will build your system and be successful. No doubt in my mind.
J: What project(s) are you working on now?
A: Thanks for asking. I am working on #3 in the series BENJAMIN JONES (last edit right now). It is called “The Book of 1st Witchcraft.” After that, I start #4, titled: “Shadow Ghouls of Nergus.” I’m pretty excited about it. Ideas are flowing already.
J: What books are you reading now?
A: Right now I’m reading Banished by Michael Wisehart, a coming-of-age story. I just started it, but I just love to read and expand my imagination. I think reading is very important.
Having said that, I want to thank you for the interview, and I want to also thank your readers for their time.