This is an exciting day because today, wait for it … I have an interview with BONUS info! Ben Mikaelsen sent me the answers to his interview questions as well as some additional fun facts. (The 5 Fun Facts are my favorite part of the TBF website, by the way. Well, that, and getting to hit Terry over the head with a large wooden mallet …)
So, without further ado … Ben Mikaelsen!
C: A spin on an age old question: what came first, Buffy (your bear) or your interest in bears? How exactly did you come to acquire Buffy? And where does he stay when you go on vacation?!?!
BM: My interest in bears came first because I watched “gentle Ben” on TV when I first came to the United States. He stays in a pen that has a lots of room with a pond but I try to take my vacations & work when Buffy is hibernating.
C: I was very intrigued by the ideas of Circle Justice in “Touching Spirit Bear.” How did you come to hear of Circle Justice originally and do you believe that Circle Justice could, or should, be used in our American justice system today?
BM: I heard about it from a friend of mine that was a prosecuting attorney. Yes, this should be used. The success rate is nearly 10 times the rate of traditional punitive justice.
C: Where do you draw inspiration from when writing your novels? Are any parts of any of your novels rooted in your own life or experience?
BM: My life, from others, and from my imagination.
C: What was your favorite book as a teenager?
BM: Jonathan Livingston Seagull
C: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Fifth Annual TBF?
BM: Not sure I want to pick a favorite.
Fun Facts About Ben!
One of my favorite [books] that I have written is “Petey.” It is about a man I actually adopted as my grandfather. If you put me in place of the character, Trevor the story is about 90% true.
Buffy is my black bear I adopted. I adopted him when he was very young because he was going to be killed. He had been de-clawed and couldn’t be put back out into the wild. He is 25 years old now. That is old for a bear.
All my animals get along. I have 3 cats and one dog. Buffy gets along with all of them. I truly love all animals but I don’t think having a wild animal as a pet is the best thing for them. I think they need to be out in the wild. Buffy didn’t have that choice so that is why I have him. He has had a good life and we are best friends. He has taught me many things about life more than I have taught him.
There are 4 ways I get my ideas for writing…
1. My life experiences so I go out and live the most exciting life.
2. From others so I have learned to be a good listener.
3. Research ... so I try to read and learn as much as I can so my stories are authentic
4. and of course from my imagination and boy do I have an imagination.
My hobbies are flying my airplane, motorcycle riding, hiking and traveling. I love to do and try just about anything. I would love to go up in a hot air balloon someday. I love life and new experiences.
My favorite song is “What One Man can Do” by John Denver.
My favorite place to go is the Inland Passageway of S.E. Alaska and British Columbia.
My favorite movie as of this year is 3-D Avatar. Great movie!
In one of my books titled “Stranded” I got to swim with the dolphins for my research… boy was that fun! I went to Space Camp and Africa for research for my book titled “Countdown.” So you see, I make writing fun.
You do make writing fun, Ben … and that makes reading your interview fun, too! Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions for us!