Interview with short story writer Bentley Wells

I’m welcoming
today with a new focus – his short story collection, The Question and Other Stories.

His June 2017 interview about The Paradise Coven is here.

Bentley Wells
has written a few short stories that have been published in literary magazines
and The Paradise Coven, a mystery
that was published by Black Opal Books in 2017. The Question and Other Stories is published by Black Opal Books as
Welcome back, Bentley. What do you enjoy
most about writing short stories?
I believe it
is the attempt to depict authentic characters in a realistic situation or
situations in fewer words than typically found in a novelette or novel. Of
course, an author doesn’t necessarily include as many characters or situations in
a short story as in a novelette or novel. Still, a short story―like a novelette
or novel―should have a logical conclusion.
Can you give us a little insight into a
few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
The title
story, which was published in a literary magazine before it was revised and
published in this collection, is a slice of life and depicts a young man in
college who has seen the campus queen and wonders what it is like to date
someone like her. He expresses as much to his roommates who are playing cards. They
tease him about asking her out on a date, which he does, and she accepts. Another
story, which is longer, concerns a veteran of Vietnam who encourages a young
woman enrolled in college to leave campus to go with him across the country. The
young woman doesn’t realize the veteran will do almost anything to get
attention until it is too late. Another story concerns a president of a small
town bank who enjoys reading ads in a local publication’s personals column. Although
he has never responded to any of the ads, he decides to respond to one that has
caught his attention. A week or two later the woman responds. He responds. With
each letter, the two learn about the other. Eventually, she agrees to meet him
by having him come to her home. She has cooked a wonderful dinner. However, as
the evening passes, he realizes the woman is not like his late wife. The woman
realizes that he is not the man for her.
What genre are you inspired to write in
the most? Why?
My first
novel―The Paradise Coven―was a
mystery. This book is a collection of short stories. Only two or three of the
stories are mysteries, however. Other stories in the collection are examples of
romance, humor, etc. I am working on another mystery, but it doesn’t feature
the same detectives as the first. So, to make a long story short, I would say
that I enjoy writing mysteries or suspense. I suppose I enjoy writing in this
genre because I enjoy reading mysteries and suspense by other writers. Mysteries
allow authors to pit bad people against good people. Mysteries also allow
authors to provide justice to those characters who deserve it. And this justice
can be swift or drawn out.
What exciting story are you working on
I am writing
a mystery set in a fictitious town in Oklahoma. After earning a graduate degree
in business, Frank Williams returns home in time to attend his father’s
funeral. James Williams was a successful businessman and pillar of the
community. He was revered by those who knew him, but someone killed him. The
authorities have few clues and no suspects. Frank investigates. Eventually, he
uncovers evidence that leads to the governor’s office. Unfortunately, the
evidence also reveals his father’s unscrupulous activities. If the evidence is
presented during the trial, Frank realizes his father’s reputation will be
tarnished. Yet, he can’t allow those responsible to remain free―can he?
When did you first consider yourself a
I considered
myself a writer―at least, a professional writer to a certain extent―when I
received my first royalty check. This was for a book of nonfiction. (I have
written several books of nonfiction over the years. I enjoy researching and
writing nonfiction, especially brief biographies and history.)
How do you research markets for your
work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
I do most of
my research on my computer. For instance, if I’m looking for publishers of
mysteries, I will type “publishers of mysteries” or something to this effect. In
addition, I will consult Writer’s Market
and/or Literary Marketplace.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I don’t
believe I have any interesting writing quirks. At least, I can’t think of any.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
That was many
years ago. However, I know I wanted to write―or have a career that included
some writing―when I was in high school.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I believe
readers will enjoy The Question and Other
Thanks for chatting with me today!

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