School Time Author Q&A Series: Ben Hinson
Hello Beautiful People,
Our featured author this month is Ben Hinson. Ben Kodjó Hinson-Ekong is the product of many cultures and varied experiences. He has lived in Nigeria, Ghana, England and numerous locations throughout the United States. After spending three years at the Carson Long Military Institute, he took both undergraduate and master’s courses in business at Montclair State University. His love for creating stories was evident while in college, where he wrote and directed two well received comedic theatrical plays based on African culture.
Ben is a poet/lyricist, and published his first chapbook of poems entitled Chapters of Me: Deep Thoughts vol.1 (2011). He has performed his poetry at notable venues in New York City, such as The Nuyorican Poets Cafe and The Bowery Club.
Ben is also passionate about martial arts, having trained in Capoeira, Karate, Boxing and Combat Sambo. While he’s engaged with these art-forms from both recreational and competitive aspects, he is a master of none and aims to master at least one art thoroughly before he gets too old!
Professionally, Ben has developed digital marketing strategies and created custom analytic solutions for some of the world’s most well-known brands in the consumer goods, insurance, financial, pharmaceutical and luxury automotive industries.
Ben’s current project, entitled ETEKA: RISE OF THE IMAMBA is a literary thriller that is part historical fiction. It is based on mercenary activity during the Cold War era and the 1990s, and spans 14 locations around the world. You can learn more about this project by clicking HERE.
MM: First things first, did you always want to become a writer?
BH: No. Writing was nowhere on the horizon for me initially. It took certain key events in my life to bring out the writer in me. But I’ve always been a dreamer. And I’ve always been determined to make my dreams reality.
MM: What do you hope readers take away with them after reading ETEKA: RISE OF THE IMAMBA?
BH: I want them to be treated to an original experience, unlike anything that’s been done before. I want them to read my work and be blown away by the story’s plot, the great character illustrations that my team and I have been working on, and the amount of research that has gone into this novel!
MM; Just for fun, if you had to describe yourself in a hashtag, what would it be?
BH: #Thinking Man
MM: Just for fun, what books are permanently on your bookshelf?
BH: I’ll give you a few: The Alchemist and The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho; The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison; and Michael Crichton’s Next.
MM: Just for fun, if you were stranded on a desert island, what movies would you want to have available?
BH: If the island is deserted with respect to only humans, I’ll want to have Scarface around to stay aggressive, in case any wild animals on the island get any ideas. If the island is completely deserted, as in no life whatsoever, I would want to have The Matrix available. No reason in particular for The Matrix, it just seems like the appropriate thing to watch on a deserted island.
MM: If you had to offer a piece of advice for an aspiring writer, what would it be?
BH: Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Developing your writing craft, molding a solid story, creating a good book and getting published requires time and lots of patience. In today’s world which becomes more and more digital and connected by the minute, it is more necessary than ever to have entrepreneurial skills if you wish to pursue writing, and especially if being an author is your passion. As with any labor of love, pursue writing for pure reasons. Editing is everything. Be open to constructive criticism. And be happy!
MM: What’s next for Ben Hinson?
BH: My energy is currently focused on wrapping up ETEKA: RISE OF THE IMAMBA. A lot of work has gone into this project, and the key is finishing strong. A fundraising campaign for the project is in the works, which I hope you and your readers will support by visiting my website at www.benhinson.com. Beyond that, we’re just taking it one day at a time.
MM: Arts education programs are often the first to get cut within public schools. What reasons would you give to a principal and/or school board in an effort to preserve the arts curriculum?
BH: The human mind is not one dimensional, and our brains are designed to process all manner of inputs across both quantitative and qualitative spheres. Education should be holistic and focus on both left and right side brain development. The arts are absolutely necessary in school curriculums to develop wholesome members of our society who can think critically and celebrate diversity of thought. Now, sometimes budgets do have to get cut for a variety of reasons: political, economic or both, and art programs are usually the first to get slashed. But before we slash the art budget let’s take a deeper dive into our overall school budget, and see if there are any other areas of unnecessary spending that we can curtail or eliminate altogether. Let’s also invite all the parents to invest monthly into an arts fund which can be used to help fund arts programs in the event government funds are not available. For economically disadvantaged districts, perhaps the state can be encouraged to set aside a rolling emergency fund to help “cushion” the impact budgetary cuts have on the educational system.
MM: Who is/was your greatest teacher?
BH: Not sure if I have one set answer for this question. I learn something new every day from a variety of sources. My life experiences, both good and bad have been a great source of learning for me.
Thank you, Ben!
Live, Love, Learn,