JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Ben Burgess, Jr., author of Monster
“Monster” begins with Ken Ferguson, a guy in his twenties, that is put through the wringer growing up in a dysfunctional family. As an adult, his heart and ego are ripped to pieces when his girlfriend. He thought she was “the one”, but she emasculates him and dumps him for a bad boy.
Ken begins his transformation. Fueled by anger and being tired of the “nice guy” routine, Ken drowns himself in one-night stands, threesomes, affairs with married women, and sleeping with one conquest after another. He adopts the philosophy of having no commitment and no attachments, but he meets his match with Ashley.
Ashley makes him want to stop his promiscuous ways, but she turns out to do even more damage to his ego and his heart, wounding him deeply. With his philosophy reinforced, Ken spirals out of control and becomes a MONSTER.
Sleeping with and mistreating random women he meets at bars and clubs, Ken uses sex to forget about his insecurities, his anger and his sadness. He becomes a predator that uses and abuses women to no consolable end.
Will Ken learn to let go of his heartbreaks, or will he be consumed by them and continue to be a MONSTER?
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Monster”?
Ben Burgess Jr.: The poem “Ugly” from my first published book “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange” is the poem that inspired me to write “Monster”.When I was writing that poem, I reflected on my life and felt this would be a good story that would teach and possible change people’s lives.
“Monster” is based off my life and experiences. After enduring some pretty interesting experiences, I believe that “Monster” is a story that can benefit everyone. It’s a story that needed to be told. I was inspired to write it to teach people. I feel that people can learn from my mistakes. I wanted people to learn that:
1. Every action has a consequence. It can be good or bad, but there is a result for everything we do.
2. We need to take time to truly heal emotionally and mentally after a break-up. If we don’t, we are bound to bring that pain into future relationships.
3. We need to be conscience of our actions. We never know the effects they can have on other people.
4.In order to move forward in life, we have to learn to let go of negativity and to forgive ourselves.
JP: What sets “Monster” apart from other books in the same genre?
BB: What sets “Monster” apart from others is that I try to teach people with my writings. I don’t try to make the reader lean towards one direction. Instead, I try to write in a way that people can make their own choices and learn more about themselves.
The messages that I try to instill in my writing is that, as people, we should always strive to be better. We should always want to become better versions of ourselves. I also want people to see that whether they like it or not, no one is perfect. At some point, even the “good guys/girls” aren’t so good.
I try to make my books very realistic. I write about topics that I believe we all go through. I don’t like to write “hood books” While I enjoy them, read them, and there is nothing wrong with them, I want my books to show the world that African Americans are more than just drugs, baby mama’s, crime, and gangs.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “Monster” getting out to the public?
BB: The first and most important key would be my daughter. The lesson I wanted to teach her early is that with hard work, determination, and drive, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I may never be on the New York Times Best Seller’s List, but my dream was to write a novel that I felt could change the world. I wanted to show her that if you believe in your abilities, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.
The other key’s to my success would be my family, my wife, my friends, and my fans. They have all encouraged me when I felt like giving up, supported me with my dream. I’m truly grateful for that.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “Monster”?
BB: I like to write as it comes to me. I don’t think I have a traditional process. I create stories in my head, then I write out my thoughts. As time goes on, I edit those thoughts and add to them. Most of the storyboards are created in my mind. I write wherever the urge hits me. I like to keep a notepad and pen with me, where I jot down ideas, dialogues, or potential chapters.
When I have time, I enjoy writing on my home computer the most. Because of my busy schedule, I write whenever and wherever I can. I mostly write on the train going into and coming from work.
I started working on “Monster” in May of 2010 and completed it in May of 2012. I didn’t mean for it to take two years, but being in law enforcement, being a part time personal trainer, being married, and being a father of a three-year-old, my schedule is always busy. I try to write something everyday.
JP: What’s next for Ben Burgess Jr.?
BB: You can look forward to me constantly working on new books to stimulate people’s minds . I’m currently working on my next book “Love and Happiness”, and I plan to have it published by February of 2014.
Here is my poem “UGLY” that inspired me to write my novel “Monster”:
UGLY – a poem from “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange”
There’s a darkness inside me that’s hidden deep
within my psyche; that causes me to act in a behavior
that’s unlike me. I have turned into a
lustful monster that conquers to alleviate my
emotional hunger, preying on women like a hunter
to add to my sexual numbers. Always on guard,
this side of me is a mask used to put up a façade,
disregard and protect me from the feeling of being
empty. I spent many dates gazing into eyes and
holding onto hands. My only plan was to add to
my statistic of one night stands, and becoming
legendary in women’s beds. I messed with many
heads to get them to spread their legs and relished
the feeling of being intimate. No longer into it, my
feelings for the situation become intricate while
she is still smitten by the way I caressed her. My
feelings changed the moment I undressed her.
Under no pressure, I address her with full force
showing no remorse as I tell her I felt nothing and
this was all just a fling. To me she didn’t mean
anything. I could have never been committed. I
didn’t have to wonder why I did it. The answer
was simple; I just wanted to “hit it.” I slept with
many women, some I didn’t even remember their
names, but no matter how many I slept with
I could never get rid of that initial pain.
Back then “she” had manipulated and hurt me
so I decided to show no mercy and do the same,
let women feel my pain, and become a player in this game.
Her method of deception left me suspended in a
state of depression, affecting my judgment and
affection. I was wounded with emotional scars.
From bathrooms in bars to backseats of cars, I
would just go with the flow with anything that
would tempt me. I would have sex and hop to
the next and still feel empty. After my heart was
destroyed, I felt that all of those women would
help fill that void, and make everything clearer,
until one day I didn’t recognize myself in the
mirror. What have I done? What monster have I
become? How could I ever expect anyone to love
me, with my heart being this ugly? When did my
heart turn to stone? The path that I was leading
was deceiving and would eventually leave me all
alone. What I did was wrong and was done with
evil intent. I decided to forgive myself as the first
act of atonement. I have now grown and stopped
being vindictive and trying to “get them”. I have
stopped feeling like a victim and have returned
to the man I was supposed to be, forever keeping
that evil part of me in captivity.