Q&A With Victoria Benton Frank
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Q&A With Victoria Benton Frank
Another Q&A this week is with author Victoria Benton Frank. Victoria recently released her debut novel My Magnolia Summer, and co-wrote the children’s book Teddy Spaghetti with her mother Dorothea Benton Frank.
Q: So Victoria would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I about My Magnolia Summer? How did you come up with the concept for the book?
A: Yes I would! Ha! I have always been drawn to multi-generational stories about resilient women in the south. I wanted to write a book I wanted to read, a great writing tip from my momma. I went to the bookstore and realized there really hadn’t been anything that was current that reflected the stories that I loved so much as a teenager and young adult. Fried green Tomatoes, The yaya sisterhood- I wanted to read something like that and couldn’t find it. So I wrote it! I also wanted to write about the restaurant world, having worked in professional kitchens. It’s really a wild culture, and from the perspective of a southern woman, even crazier.
Q: When did you know that being an author was your calling in life? Were your parents your biggest supporters pushing you to follow your dream of being an author?
A: I think I always knew, but I fought it. It’s a lot of pressure to go into a profession where one or both of your parents have had so much success. But, my parents were all about it and pushed and encouraged me to try it and to finish it. My mother really always knew. I tried out a few other professions, but this is it. I also believe that on some level, all creative people are storytellers. Mine is on paper now, but it had been on stage, or on a plate.
Q: What was it like co-writing Teddy Spaghetti with your mother? What advice do you give to those wanting to co-write with someone else?
A: It was amazing! Kind of like a lightning strike, because it happened in ten days! We wrote the whole thing in a blink. My mom and I worked so well together, and wanted something to have for Teddy, my son who I called Teddy Spaghetti, because of my Italian husband. It was just a cute nickname that inspired a story. It was very sweet to have that project with her too. As far as advice, I would say to just give space for the other person’s ideas. Try it out both ways. Read out-loud. I didn’t have any problems with having a shared vision with my mom, but we were great communicators. Which is key in a joint project.
Q: If you are writing your second novel now, is it a sequel to My Magnolia Summer, or is it a standalone novel?
A: Yes I am and yes it is! I am writing a story about the sister Violet’s story, her own coming of age novel. But I can’t say too much because it’ll spoil the first one.
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to Magnolia Summer & Teddy Spaghetti?
A: Not yet, but if you know someone….
Q: Where is your favorite spot or spots to plot, write and edit your books?
A: Being a momma of two small kids, I sort of write when I can. But the plotting and dreaming up future stories happens everywhere. Sometimes I’ll hear a song that will create a mood or a vibe that makes me want to dive into it. Sometimes it’s another person or a tv show. Ideas come from everywhere. As far as the actual writing, I am getting better at making myself sit my fat butt in the chair from ten to two every day, but my life demands a lot of attention outside of my writing obligations. Basically I write when the house is empty, when my children are unconscious or in school. When its crunch time, I head out to my dad’s beach house on Sullivan’s Island and go into isolation for ten hours a day. I write with ambient music, I edit in total silence.