A conversation with Benjamin Hall, Author of 'The Rainforestness Monster' - Coming Soon...

We are pleased to introduce Ben Hall, our latest debut Author under Magic Mouse Books, with his beautiful story, The Rainforestness Monster, illustrated by Happydesigner.


Ben Hall presents a touching and educational story to Partnership Publishing, about the continuous deforestation of the Amazon. This children's books dives into the affect deforestation has on our wildlife, and their loss of habitats. With gorgeous illustrations, this is a great story to educate and inspire children about the treatment of animals and nature.


Benjamin’s aim is to create stories which will stimulate and inspire the reader to learn more about the world around them, whilst at the same time instilling in them a sense of wonder and awe which will stay with them for life.


We caught up with Ben to discuss how his experience of travel inspired this story, and his advice for new writers. Read below for more!


You can find Ben at:


www.benjaminhallbooks.com


The Rainforestness Monster is available for purchase from our bookshop!

 

What inspired you to start writing?

Writing has never been far from my heart. I used to write fiction stories as far back as primary school, taking inspiration from historical events upon which I would put my own twist. This continued into secondary school, where I took English literature at both GCSE and A-Level. It was really a toss up between doing Law or English at university. I often wonder how my life would be different if I had taken the latter instead of the former.


What advice would you give to a new writer, someone just starting out?

I had a very good English teacher at secondary school Mr Deery, who had a quote pinned to the wall next to the whiteboard which read “the limits of your language are the limits of your world…” When you stop and think about it, it’s absolutely true. Our ability to use language defines us. I would therefore say to any inspiring writer that you must focus on your words and find a unique voice in which to tell your story.


What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of a good story?

Find something you are passionate about. Your passion will come through in your writing and make sure you engage your readers with the characters you create. Above all, make your story original and interesting!


Where do you get your inspiration?

My wife and children constantly inspire me. The original character sketch of “George the Rainforestness Monster” was dreamt up by my eldest son Dylan who is autistic. The fact he couldn’t explain to me where the idea came from led me to come up with a whole story based upon his drawing. I hope he likes it. The story is dedicated to him.


What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

On an intimate level, “The Rainforestness Monster” is the story of two lost souls from very different backgrounds who find each other and become friends. Each saves the other. Of course, the bigger picture of the story concerns deforestation and greed, which has to stop.


Your story is set in the Amazon jungle. Why did you choose that as the setting for the book?

The Amazon is a place I visited in 2001 when I was 23 years old. I hired a guide and we travelled upon the Amazon river in a canoe, visiting families who lived on stilt houses on the river. We would fish for our dinner and would sleep in hammocks strung from trees about the canopy floor. It was impossible to sleep at night because the jungle would come alive with sound. The experience never left me and felt like the natural setting for the story, particularly given the way that the present Brazilian government seems hell bent on deforestation to the point of extinction.


What was the highlight of writing this book?

It took me a long time to begin the process of writing the prose once I had the concept of the story and the characters worked out, but once everything clicked into place everything began to flow. That feeling was fantastic.




What are you reading now?

When I am not reading stories to my children, I love reading historical fiction. I am a big fan of CJ Samson and Robert Harris. I am currently reading “V2” by Robert Harris.


How many bookshelves are in your home?

I am a massive fan of paper books. I love their smell and the feel of having a book in your hands. We spent enough time on our electronic devices as it is. You can’t beat the feeling of sitting down in your favourite comfy chair with a book you love. The downside of loving books is that you can run out of space to store them! Our living room and children’s bedrooms are full of books. I can’t bear to get rid of any, so storage will become an issue in the future.


What do you do when you are not writing?

Where do I begin? My day job as a solicitor takes up a lot of time and I sometimes have to work evenings and weekends, but fortunately not as much as before. I am currently trying to teach my youngest son to ride his bike, and we love going out in the fresh air for long walks, usually ending up in a country pub with a log fire. My wife and I made the decision to move out of London before we had children, and I don’t regret that decision. The countryside where we live by the Thames nestled by the Chiltern Hills is beautiful.


What was your dream job when you were younger?

To lead the England cricket team out in a test series. Alec Stewart (the former England cricket captain) went to my school and was an inspiration for all us budding young cricketers. Unfortunately, although I was a good cricketer, I was never at the level to take it further. These days, I enjoy going to matches with my youngest son, who is cricket mad.


What’s your favourite spot to visit in your own country, and what makes it so special for you?

We love the north coast of Cornwall. Some of my earliest memories are of my parents taking me on holiday to Cornwall. The beaches, the waves, the light, and the ice creams…. If only you could guarantee the weather, you would never want to leave.


What is the best part of the day?

It’s a toss up between that moment around 8.45am when both children have been successfully deposited at school, and 8.45pm, when both children are in bed, and peace reigns once more in the house….


If you could only have one season, what would it be?

Spring, as the world slowly comes back to life after the cold depths of winter. Feeling the warmth of the sun again on your face after months of cold and gloom is incredibly invigorating. The promise of new life and things to come.


If you could cure a disease, what would it be?

If ignorance is a disease, then ignorance. Everything that’s wrong in the world stems from it. If people were just a little bit more tolerant of each other and the world around them, then we would live in a much better place.



 

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