Interview With Ben Burgess Jr.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 
I’m a father, a poet, an author, a personal trainer, and a 
Detective for NYPD. I wear a lot of hats because I like to uplift and help people. My mother has been a teacher in NYC for 30 years, so growing up I had no choice but to do well in school or she’d be all over me. My goals for writing are to 1. Have my books on the shelves of major bookstores and 2. To have my novels made into movies (THAT’S THE DREAM!!!!!)
Which writers inspire you? 
The first author that inspired me was Richard Wright. 

The second author that has been a big influence on me is 

Eric Jerome Dickey. In the back of my latest novel “Love 

and Happiness” I actually wrote a poem in tribute to Eric 

Jerome Dickey. Other authors that have inspired me are 

Zane, Carl Weber, and Shannon Holmes.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
I’ve written two short stories with other authors, but I 

haven’t written a novel. I would consider it, but it would 

depend on the author and the story we are both trying to 

tell. I take my writing very seriously, so I would have to 

write with someone who has the same work ethic and 

similar style in writing in order for the project to be 


When did you decide to become a writer?
When I was in 8th grade, I read Richard Wright’s “Native Son.” When I read that book, I felt that it was life changing for me. I knew that I wanted to one day write something that could have the same effect on people. 

While in 8th grade, my English teacher Mrs. Marcus gave the class a poetry assignment. My poem was on basketball. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I remember my teacher was blown away by it. She encouraged me to keep writing. She was one of my most influential teachers, and I promised her if I ever wrote a book, I would write a poem about the Holocaust for her. (She was Jewish, and had family that were survivors.) My dream was to publish a book. I continued to write throughout high school and college. My college professors told me I had talent as a poet and writer, so I decided to go to lounges that had open mics to perform my poetry. Hearing people cheer for me and appreciate my words, inspired me to keep writing. My first published book was a poetry book titled “Times Have changed and Life is Strange.” I wrote a poem for Mrs. Marcus titled “Holocaust”, keeping my promise. The poem “Ugly” from “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange”, is the poem that inspired me to write my first novel “Monster.” I reflected on my life, and felt it would be a good story that would teach and possibly change people’s lives the way Richard Wright’s “Native Son” had done for me.
Do you write full-time or part-time? 
I write part time. Because of my numerous jobs and 

responsibilities, I write whenever I have time or as soon 

as I have an idea. I have a Samsung Note 4 so if an idea 

comes to mind, I literally write it down or use the voice memos to record my thoughts and type them out when I 
get time. I try to write something every day, even if it’s 
only paragraph.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? 
My ideas can come from almost anything. I love to people watch. I can listen to or watch people in real life, imagine what their lives are like, and formulate my own story about them. Sometimes a memory or an experience that I’m going through or one of my friends or family is going through, can also spark an idea for a character or storyline. Once I start writing the story, I do not have a set storyline. I don’t have an outline. I let the story come to me as I write it.

Where do your ideas come from?
I feel that art imitates life. Being in my position as an NYPD Detective, I see a lot. Observing all types of situations and experiences from life, friends, family, and combined with my own person experiences, sparks my imagination to tell realistic stories.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

In this story, my goal was to have readers see that both 

of the main characters were flawed and the cause for 

their problems. I wanted readers to “feel” for Karen and 

Chris, and have a difficult time choosing who to root for. 

With all of my stories, I write to make readers think, and broaden their minds with situations and lessons. The hardest part was designing the characters to fit what my goal was. It’s extremely hard to write from a female perspective. While women might have some similarities, all women are different. Interviewing, listening to, and talking to so many women to get the perfect tone for my characters, was very hard. It was also fun, educational, and interesting. 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.) I interviewed close to twenty women. I asked them questions like: “What would make you cheat?” “What are your pet peeves in your relationship?” “What do you want from your boyfriend/husband more than anything?” I listened to their thoughts and philosophies. When I felt I had enough information, I worked on creating Karen’s voice and developing her character, but it was far from easy.

Tell us a little about your characters.

Chrisis a workaholic who is the son of a Marine drill sergeant. He was raised primarily by his father, his mother passed when he was young. He wasn’t raised with a lot of affection. His upbringing has a lot of influence on how he acts in his relationships. Chris is more of an “actions speak louder than words” type of guy, so he would rather show his love and affections through material goods, and by doing specific actions rather than verbally saying “I love you.”

Karenis an emotional, passionate woman. She has very little family, the only family she has is her sister Chloe. Her parents passed away in a car accident with a drunk driver which led her to grow up with her only surviving Grandparents, who have now passed. Not having a real “Mother figure” in her life has had an effect on Karen. She still has somewhat of a “party-girl” mentality, and loves to get drunk and hang out at clubs frequently.  Karen doesn’t care too much for material goods. She is more into romance and passion. She loves compliments, romantic dinner, cuddling, and being treated like she’s appreciated and desired.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? 
In order to sell your book effectively, I believe it starts with you. You have to talk to all types of people. In order to sell a lot of books, people have to know your book exists. I search for credible reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads. I also do research over the internet for other well know reviewers. Word of mouth is definitely important, but it can only go so far. I use all of the popular social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Pinterest) to advertise. I use press releases, advertise in local newspapers, and enter book contest to promote and spark interests for potential readers and reviewers.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? 
There are different strokes for different folks. There will be some that just don’t feel my style of writing or the story I’m telling. In this business, you have to have thick skin, you can’t take everything personal. I listen to constructive criticism that I feel is helpful. As a writer, I try to work on my flaws and improve with every book, but it’s impossible to please everyone. I work hard to write stories I believe a majority of people will enjoy. 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Readers can discover more about me on the following 

3.      Twitter:
4.      Pinterest:

Book Links:
Barnes and Nobles/Nook:
Google Play Store:

Google Play:
Nook/Barnes and Nobles:

Google Play:
NOOK/Barnes and Nobles:
Any Comments for the Blog readers?
If anyone has any questions or would like to contact me, I can be reached at I answer my emails personally. If you are looking for a book or books that will give you a fresh perspective at looking at real life situations, I honestly think you should give one of my books a try. There is a madness to my method, but there is also a method to my madness. I write with purpose.
Any feedback for me or the blog?
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk 

about my latest book. I really appreciate it, and if you 

have more questions to ask I would be eager to answer 


1 Comment

  1. Felita Daniels

    Great interview. I love the respect he gives his mom, English teacher, and authors he admires.


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