Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:22

Bennett’s passion for writing will ‘everlast’

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When one meets Virginia Bennett, one thing is quite evident — she has an undeniable passion for writing.


Residents will have the opportunity to meet Bennett at a book launch and signing March 28 at the Inspire Cafe (675 2nd St. S.E.) in Medicine Hat for her debut fiction novel Everlast: the Everlasting Trilogy Book One.
The storyline is compelling. A teenager who enlists to fight in the First World War becomes part of an experiment which goes awry and inevitably the teen stops aging. The book tells how he adapts to physically staying 17 while he lives through generations of life.
The 35-year-old’s love of history, passionate, vivid writing and wanting to connect and have something for young adults to delve into is what has pushed Bennett to succeed.
While it is described as a teen genre book suited for those 16 and older, Bennett feels adults can get into it as well.
“I did it write for young people in mind,” explains Bennett adding it was completed in a year. “But, one of my best friends from Edmonton drove from Edmonton just to read it once it was done. I really want people to get that excited, have that obsession with reading. (I told myself) I’m going to write this book for young people and get them excited about reading fiction.”
She says the idea for her book, and all of her literary plots come to her in dreams. In Everlast, a 16-year-old boy named Phoenix Wilder enlists in the army in 1916. Unknowingly he signs up for a program which is a secret government experiment to create an army of super soldiers. The government decides it wants to end the experiment by killing all those subjects involved. The location where the experiment takes place gets destroyed, but Wilder — the focus of the story — manages to escape. He discovers over time that he is not aging and lives life on the lam as government officials try to eliminate him.
The crux of the first book is his meeting others like him who have also escaped the experimentation. The book follows his trials from that point over a 100-year period.
A mom of a young child and a former Medicine Hat high school teacher, Bennett had a love of books and writing right away. Her father worked with the Medicine Hat Public Library and so her love of literature came naturally.
A graduate of the University of Alberta in 2005, Bennett taught secondary education, mostly teenagers. She learned of their daily struggles and wanted to write something they could identify with yet, learn from while at the same time still entertain.
“I was a social studies major. I adore history,” explains Bennett. “My love of history is evident in this. I took specific classes on World War I and II and with this book I sneakily teach kids about it.”
She says she needs to write and get them out now. She adds can always go back to teaching later. Bennett last taught in Medicine Hat high schools a year and a half ago.
Bennett has another book “sitting in her desk drawer” which was actually the first book she wrote. However, it’s unedited and considers it “way too big” for her to currently undertake.
She is halfway done the second book in the trilogy and has yet to start the final one, but she is confident all of her ideas will be effectively used.
“I was told once that great writers know their characters will do certain things. To me, you need to feel like a psychic and you just put the pieces together,” explains Bennett. “The start is what actually stops most people ... you can edit bad writing; you can’t edit a blank page ... You have to stop being your own worst critic.”
What has been an adjustment for Bennett’s writing career has been the outside, non-writing realm. The editing, the production and promotion have all been a challenge.
She was thrilled with the work of graphic designer Roger Williamson from Saskatoon who created an eye-catching book jacket and spine.
One of her friends co-authored the nationally award-winning best-selling The Big Cook Book, so she was able to get some help with the publishing side. Her family, including her husband, has been extremely supportive and her sister has been there to offer constructive criticism and it was her encouragement which kept Bennett on track.
“You have to be prepared and I have a wonderful support team. I have been so grateful during this journey.”
She is confident her second book will be completed by January of the new year.
Bennett’s book is in both the Medicine Hat and Redcliff public libraries.
During the book signing at Inspire Cafe visitors can also enjoy the music of  Medicine Hat country-folk singer Jocelyn Hodel. Festivities begin at 7 p.m. Bennett says the plan is to do a reading from the book halfway through the event, enjoy some complimentary wine and cheese while still being able to purchase off the Inspire Café menu.
EverLast: The EverLasting Trilogy Book One is available on Amazon, kindle and Kobo. Also check out her website at: www.virginia-bennett.com, twitter: ginnie_22 or on Facebook at: Virginia Bennett. For a more in-depth book review see our website at: www.prairiepost.com under our arts section link.

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