Author Maria Benson is here today and we’re talking about the chick lit romance novel she co-wrote with A.L. Ford, Driving Me Wild.
Due to her attraction to adventure, Maria Benson has never met a stranger and rarely turns down the opportunity for an interesting experience. From skydiving and work in prisons to riding motorcycles and traveling the world, Maria is always on the move. Maria’s drive for adventure and increased desire for understanding human behavior has led her to her career as a licensed therapist. She has dedicated her practice to helping women find their identity and voice in the face of adversity. These experiences serve as the inspiration for her writing.
Welcome, Maria. Please tell us about your current release.
Driving Me Wild is a modern-day story about a strong, independent woman who has let the ghosts of her past inhibit her ability to find romantic happiness. Although she is smart, witty, and talented she can seem to escape the pattern of self-sabotage in her life. As the story progresses, Aimee Chase still can’t believe she is falling for Michael Blake, the sweet guy whose heart she unwittingly broke months earlier. Somehow, this old high school friend who never quite “did it for her” is curling her toes, helping her rebuild her career after a professional catastrophe, and making her tumultuous relationship with the very married, very powerful Ian a distant memory. She had to know it was too good to be true.
What inspired you to write this book?
Throughout my career as a therapist, I have seen countless men and women who are unable to get out of their own way. Each of my clients come to me because they are facing some sort of a life challenge. More often than not, the challenge is related to the individual person ignoring how the past affects their present-day lives and blasting through life on auto-pilot.
This book is a way to illustrate to readers that with a little self-examination and intentional actions, feeling happy is absolutely attainable.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t know that I can pick a single moment that defined me as a writer because I have been writing for as long as I can remember: journal entries, short stories, poetry. However, my writing has typically been largely personal and only shared with others in attempts to fine-tune my style and skill set. Driving Me Wild has been my first endeavor at sharing my work on a large-scale basis.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not write full-time. I am a licensed mental health counselor and work full-time in social service leadership. My full-time job is incredibly intense and time-consuming so reading and writing have developed as my main source of self-care and rejuvenation. Because of the importance of reading and writing in my life, it just naturally becomes a priority for me.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I love to find little nooks in the top floors of buildings with amazing views. It can be a library, a college building, a restaurant, or any other setting as long as I can look out a nearby window and see the city buzzing beneath me. Observing people from this vantage point feeds the creativity needed to make my writing come to life.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The first thing I can distinctly recall wanting to be was an astronaut. I’ve always admired the courage, dedication, and intelligence of astronauts. But for me, the clear bonus was the opportunity to explore areas of the universe that are rarely seen and share these adventures with others.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I would like to encourage the readers to really take the time to get to know and understand themselves- the good, bad, and ugly. Then I would like to encourage the readers to take that a step further and love, truly love, the parts of themselves that they get to know- even the ugly parts. Getting to know our whole self is the only way that we can break the cycle of self-sabotage and find a general and consistent sense of happiness. And I hope that reading Driving Me Wild will give some of my readers a blueprint toward how to begin the project of self-exploration.