About Paul Bennett (Long version, get some popcorn!):
Paul Bennett was born to be an adventurer, or least pretend to be one in role-playing games. His first real-life adventure was to emigrate from England to Canada in 1967, the year that Canada hosted the World’s Fair in Montreal, the port they landed in. His trip to Canada was fraught with excitement, and seasickness, at least that is how his 6 year-old self remembers the one week aboard ship.
After settling in Southwestern Ontario, in his teen years he happened upon a hobby store where his interest in models began. This interest in models morphed into a lifelong interest in all things military and history oriented which, although the interest in models has waned, his fascination with the all things military still continues to this day. It also led him to join the Canadian Air Force.
At this hobby store, there was also a relatively new book called ‘Dungeons and Dragons’, by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Paul was very intrigued with the ability to create his own worlds of adventure. He took a copy home (let’s be clear, he paid for it, he did not just take it), and a whole new world opened to him. He met new friends to adventure with, joined a role-playing club at the local college, meeting another gamer named David Shaw, who introduced him to his sister, Carol, who became his future wife.
Paul’s interest in the role-playing genre only grew over the years, both as an adventurer and as a game master, creating a multitude of worlds. He has been a game master using more than 20 different systems. He still has binders from these games with hundreds of notes and stories in them. (And yes he may use these as source material for future novels)
In his 30’s, Paul started to dabble in creating his own role-playing system, using the Peninsular War in Portugal as his backdrop. His regular gaming group were willing victims, er, participants in helping to create new system that changed quite regularly as they discovered what did and didn’t work. A few years later he took his original role playing system and completely revamped it, also adding in new settings; including Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, World War II, and the all-important Fantasy Realm.
You must be wondering; now why so much information about role-playing and his own gaming system? Come on, admit it, you want to know what it has to do with his books. Well here is where it really gets interesting. Over the years Paul has created realms, worlds and adventures that pull his gamers into the story, making them role-play, not just role dice. The more they get involved, the more fun everybody has. The outcome of this is some very in-depth characterizations by both Paul and his gaming groups.
As was mentioned earlier, Paul kept all his notes, and after one of his best campaigns ended, he decided to take those notes and write a book. Now this was not the first time Paul had attempted to write. He has about 20 ‘started’ books, but he could never finish a book. He would get so far and then not know where the story and the characters were headed. This time it was different. For this world, he had run his adventures like a TV show, with seasons that had twelve episodes. He had created his world with an overarching plot; knew what characters he needed to introduce in each season, even which episode. When he sat down to write his first story, it almost wrote itself. He knew all the characters, what they had to accomplish, what needed to happen to move the plot along. 135,000 words later he was done. He had written his first book!
He then went on to write his second book, quickly realizing that he needed to create a back story for the main character. Unfortunately, none of this was part of the role-playing sessions, as the character was an NPC (Non-Player Character). Never one to shy away from a task, he started telling her tale, and in that moment he found his artistic style. His second novel was a completely different writing style than the first. He went from merely recounting what had happened, to drawing the reader into the life of the character he was creating. Before he knew it over half the book was written, and he still hadn’t begun adding the details of the second season of his game. He had an epiphany! The gaming world he had created would be a wireframe for his series, pulling major plot points, but not a simple retelling. This change in format opened his creative floodgates, and he quickly finished the second book.
While writing his first two books, Paul spent many hours researching how to self-publish, and how to write a book. One interesting item he read multiple times, was that you should write your first book, then throw it away, and write your real first book. He did not comprehend that until he had written his second book, and realized that his first book did not do the story justice. But come on, he wrote 135,000 words. How could he just throw that out? To put in all that effort and have it never see the light of day? Paul’s creativity took over once again. He decided to rework the book, adding six new chapters in the beginning, and trimming ten out that did not progress the plot along, in addition to copious revisions of other chapters. In the end, the revised book one is now 124,000 words, and could really be considered his third book with all the changes that he did.
Phew, that was a long ‘about’, but there was so much to tell to get to where he is now; working on the third book in the series, and another book based in the World of Merceria, with a whole slew of other stories just waiting their turn to be shared with all his readers!