Saturday, September 27, 2014

Society of Literary Ladies: Naomi Bennet

  Hello friends! To start off our Society of Literary Ladies series, I have the great pleasure of interviewing my very dear friend Naomi! I'm guessing many of you probably know her, and if you don't, it's likely you've heard me mention her name on here before, seeing as she is a particular good friend of mine. ;-) Anyhow, I will stop blathering now and let her introduce herself!

Introduce yourself! Tell us your name, your age (if you don’t mind sharing), three of your biggest passions and one thing you love about September.

  What-ho all in sundry! Thank you Emma-sweets for interviewing me (Yes, I know I’ve thanked you on email, but readers will think I’m ungrateful if they can’t spot a ‘thank you’ somewhere in this interview and I don’t want to be prejudiced. Yes, yes, you understand.) Well, my name is Naomi Bennet to the blogging world, just Naomi to my family, and lots of other things to Emma. I am fifteen, going on sixteen, and I’m loving every bit of my young life. :-) Practically every bit, anyway.

My three biggest passions? That’s easy. First, spot on, is writing. Love it with a capital L. Secondly, it’s reading… mainly Lucy Maud Montgomery, Lynn Austin, Jane Austen and my own scribbles. Thirdly, I should say “children”. I absolutely adore playing around with little girls and boys (if they’ll let me – little boys often don’t) and holding a little baby in my arms is just something amazing. I have many younger siblings, so yeah – that’s good for me. If “children” doesn’t count as a passion, I’m going to say that my third passion is “Period Drama”. If that doesn’t count as a passion… well, don’t be so fussy. :-P

One thing I love about September is the fact that colder days are arriving… days for snuggling under blankets and cosily writing at my desk with the wind whistling behind the window-panes. I love cold days. One thing I hate about September is that school starts. Oh, you didn’t ask me that did you? Sorry.

Where is home for you? (Be as vague or specific as you like.)

   Home is our house. Seriously… I don’t feel at home in some sort of holiday house, even if all my family is there. I want my house. I want my room. With my family, of course. So, for me, ‘home’ is ‘our house’ together with ‘my family.’

  What is your current situation academically? (For example, what grade are you in, are you home-schooled, out of school, go to public school, or take lessons from an elderly spinster aunt?)
  Haha, take lessons from an elderly spinster aunt. Funny girl.

I’m a home-school girl and (love it by the way)… um, what grade? I can never answer that question. In American terms it’s different, in British terms it’s different, in Belgian terms it’s different – very confusing. Let me answer this question differently – I have three more years before finishing ‘school’. You can work out what grade/term/year I’m in yourself now. :)

  Is there one author who has particularly influenced you in your writing?

  Yes, Lucy Maud Montgomery, mainly. Her writing is so unique – so crafty – so special. For instance, she would describe her protagonist as ‘honey-like’. I just love that. I know of no other author who describes things in such beautiful ways – Montgomery does, and that’s why I love her to pieces. I myself love using unusual words or metaphors to describe people, nature, views or whatever, and it’s Montgomery who’s started me doing that. (In fact, I love her so much I’ve started a new blog about her and her books/film adaptions.)

  Another author that really influences me is Lynn Austin – it’s not as much her style as her plots and surprising story twists. I love how she dives into the storyline – decides what not to tell her readers and what to reveal. She stuns me.

Favorite book series?
FavoUrite, darling.

Favourite book series? Well, had you asked me this question several years ago I would have promptly answered, ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ whilst clutching my beloved books close to my chest. (Right, I’m not that melodramatic.) Now I still like the Little House on the Prairie Series, but as I know them pretty much by heart, I’ve sort of worn them out.

I love Lucy Maud Montgomery’s ‘Emily Series’, and, of course the ‘Anne series’. I also worship the ‘Refiner’s Fire’ Series by Lynn Austin. It’s a trilogy, but I’d say it counts as a series – so it’s probably that.

  A, yes, of course. FavUorite childhood book?

   Little House on the Prairie. Definitely. I practically tore them to pieces. I also loved the books about Laura’s mother as a girl ‘The Caroline Series’ and about Laura’s daughter, ‘The Rose Series.’ I still do – but yes, we just talked about that.

 I know it can be hard sometimes for us bookish personalities to pick a favorite author, but if you had to choose just one, who would you pick?

   It’s not that hard. My three favourites are Jane Austen, Lynn Austin and Lucy Maud Montgomery, and I think I can pick my utmost favourite of the three.

Lucy Maud Montgomery. I know, I really do love her. Her books have made me laugh out loud, sob like a baby (Rilla of Ingleside, especially) and they’ve just changed my life. If you haven’t read her books you missing out!!!

What’s your favorite book that’s been made into a movie? How do you feel about the film adaptation as compared with the book?

Pride and Prejudice time! I really, really like Jane Austen’s most famous novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and I think the BBC miniseries did a fantastic job creating a book-faithful movie adaption. I watch P&P95 every birthday of mine, and I’ll never, ever tire of it.

The only thing I feel they could have done better is make Mr Darcy smile a tad more. In the book you can surprise yourself by noticing how many phrases such as, ‘…said he, smiling,’ you can spot! In the movie, Mr Darcy is portrayed a trifle more sullen than he appears in the book. But for the rest? Spit-spot perfect.

Who is one literary character you feel you are most like?

Anne Shirley and Alice Grace Ripley.

Anne Shirley – we all know who she is, so I don’t have to explain. I have her vivid imagination, love for children, love for writing and romantic spirit. Also, I adore puffed sleeves and wish they were in the fashion. :-)

Alice Grace Ripley (one of my nicknames, by Emma) is the heroine of one of Lynn Austin’s books, Wonderland Creek. In fact, I named my blog after that book. Just like Alice, I read tons, I whine now and then and I have the most unfading scare of animals!

Where is your favorite place to read? What about writing?
   Both in my bed. The end.

 Do you normally write first drafts on a computer, or do you prefer old-fashioned pen and paper? (I say, three cheers for pen and paper!) :-)

   I can’t really answer that question now because you just wrote ‘three cheers for pen and paper’ and I – well – I… I use my laptop. Yes, even for my first drafts. Naomi! Unashamedly modern thing! Yes, I know, but it’s true. I’ve gotten very accustomed to being able to type fast, think thoughts better when my fingers are ready and steady on the key-board, and when I use pen and paper I get very easily distracted.

 Several months ago, though, I was trying to get through a rather challenging scene in the novella I was writing, and I find myself just staring at the screen, my mind having gone blank. It was then that I thought this scene would be wiser to write outside, with the breeze on my face and my back leaning against a tree. And it did work better.

  So yes, normally I do use my laptop, Jane, for first drafts. But sometimes I’ll take things easier and work out a tackling scene in the old-fashioned way.

 Be honest: what is your handwriting like?
  Heehee. Emma’s is the prettiest handwriting in the world, people – she’s too nice to admit it, but it’s true.

Anyway, my handwriting? It’s been described as ‘a cute handwriting with great personality’ and I must admit I like that description of it. Sometimes I tend to write rather messily, especially when I have too many ideas to cope with at the same time. Which often happens.

 How long does it generally take you to read a good book? (Of course I know it depends on just HOW good it is, but in general.)
   Two days, if I have enough time. One day if I have a lot of time (rarely, nowadays). About five days if it’s a normal school-day.

 What’s your record time for finishing a book?
   Love this question. You’ll be shocked. When I was young I once read four Little House on the Prairie books in one day. FOUR. Like four quite thick books in six hours. But then I had read those before, so I managed to flip through the bits I didn’t really like.

  Normally I’d maybe manage to finish a book in an hour – if it’s not too long and if I’ve read it before.

 Name five of the best books you’ve ever read that you recommend to other fellow bluestockings.
  1. The Refiners Fire series by Lynn Austin. (Right, I know that’s three books, but it counts as one. Yes? Yes.) I learnt so much of these books – they really touched me in a personal way.
  2. Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery. Will make you cry. Promise.
  3. The Blue Castle by Ditto. I tare this book to pieces – it’s one of my all-time favourites.
  4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It’s really long, but it’s packed with interesting words and… oh, I just love her style. And she has the most scrumptious dress-descriptions! Chapter five is my favourite chapter because it describes Scarlett’s whole Pre-war wardrobe! Oh, just buy the book for chapter five. What I don’t like about GWTW is the ending. It just spoils everything.
  5. Remembrance by Theresa Breslin. I was trying to think of a different author. If I didn’t, I’d have used another Lynn Austin book. But seriously, ‘Remembrance’ is a darling book – a World War 1 romanice. Very sad, but beautifully, soulfully sad.
Of course there’s also ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and ‘Wonderland Creek’ and ‘Hidden Places’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and so many others… it’s impossible to limit the number to five.

Tell about the things you think are most important in a good novel.
   I always like an attractive opening chapter. I like it when I open a book at Chapter one and I want to read it by just glancing at page one. I love it when it starts with someone talking rather than describing the front garden, or something – that can come later. I just want to get on with the story immediately.

   I also love good characters – chatty ones, especially. Characters with great imaginations and a funny personality trait… or just something unique.

  And, of course, I love a good ending. The ending is allowed to be a good, beautiful, soulfully sad one – like someone thinking back about a loved one dying, or something like that. But it’s not allowed to be like- really, sad. Or weird. Like with GWTW – there we have Scarlett O’Hara hoping that ‘tomorrow’ would solve all her many problems. No, just no. I love happy endings.

About what age did you start writing stories? Do you still have your early works?
      Oh, I've been writing down silly little things here and there ever since I managed to. My earliest “story” is about a girl who married and had twins, Lisa and Sara, and it’s about ten words long, only one of those spelt the right way. I must have been very proud of it.

  Luckily I do still own quite a few of my old stories – great stuff to read when I’m down. Hilarious.

Are you currently working on a novel/story/project?
  Ems, I'm always working on something. Don’t ask that.

So yes, I am. I’m now working on two stories. One is for my brother’s birthday – he’ll be nine – it’s about a boy who thinks of silly plans in order to get revenge on a flock of school-bullies – a ridiculous story, but nevertheless fun. The other is about a girl called Whitney Spears who goes back-in-time (to the Edwardian era). The story is different than stories/novels I usually write – very mysterious, a little creepy and very unrealistic – but I’m really enjoying it.


    Thank you for sharing some of your bookish fancies with us, Naomi! I'm guessing most of you
probably already follow Naomi and her online scribblings (which I mean in the best sense of the word ;-P), but if you don't and you'd like to read more of her writing I highly recommend paying a visit to her darling blog Wonderland Creek, where she writes about period dramas and books and writing and all sorts of lovely things.



  1. "which I mean in the best sense of the word" HAHA. Haha.

    Anyway, thanks for all your flattering words - and for writing Bennet with one T and adding all the pictures I bossily told you to... and for letting me be your first interview-ee!!!

    Love, Naomi xxxxxxx

  2. Great interview, Emma! Can't wait for the other interviews to come out!

  3. What a fun idea for a blog series! I very much enjoyed reading this -- though clearly not nearly as much as you both enjoyed writing it :-)

  4. Wonderful interview!! I am greatly looking forward to more of this idea! :)

  5. I love this!! I can't wait for more. :)
    Naomi, I totally agree with you on Rilla of Ingleside. The first time I read it (quite a long time ago) I thought it was boring (mostly because of the war) but I just read it recently and it's now one of my absolute favorite Anne books-actually one of my favorite L. M. Montgomery books!
    I've heard such good things about The Blue Castle from your blog and now this interview. I hope I can find it soon to read! I'm dying to! :)

  6. I love these bookish posts (I have been reading them out of order :P)
    L.M. Montgomery is so underrated I think. Everybody is obsessed with the movies (which are poor as movies and poorer as adaptations), but pass lightly over the books it seems. I love both the Emily and the Anne series, and the most recent one I read, Story Girl is lovely also. I think L.M. Montgomery may have had synesthesia which is why she wrote so beautifully.


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