Benjamin Roesch: Author, Musician & Podcaster – “Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze”


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Interview Details

Recording Date: Sunday September 18th 2022
Recording Location: South Burlington
Episode Length: 50:41
Episode Number: 33
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Transcript disclaimer: text generated by Artificial Intelligence and probably fraught with errors!

Becca Hammond 0:01
What’s new 802 I’m Becca Hammond and you’re listening to Vermont talks. Vermont talks may include graphic or explicit content listener discretion is advised.

Benjamin Rush spelled roe s. C. H. Benjamin Rush is a writer, a musician, a teacher, a podcaster, an award winning essayist, and he was a high school English teacher and Burling, at Burlington High for 12 years.

Most recently, you’ve had a novel published called blowing my mind like a summer breeze, and it’s out now. Benjamin, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today.

Benjamin Roesch 0:39
Thank you for having me.

Becca Hammond 0:41
So let’s talk about you before we get into your book, which I’m super excited to talk about the book, by the way. Okay. So where are you from originally?

Benjamin Roesch 0:50
So it’s a little bit of a complicated question, but I’ll try to cut to the heart of the matter. So I am from probably Indiana is the easiest answer. But my parents split up when I was quite young. And my mother is from Central New York. And so my whole childhood was going back and forth between suburban Indianapolis and upstate New York. So I would do school year in Indiana with my dad, and then my brother, my older brother, Jacob, and I would go and spend summers and holidays with my mom in upstate New York. So I’m kind of from Indiana, in New York at the same time, but I’ve lived in Burlington for a while since 2000. So I feel like I’m from Vermont at this point. But yeah, yeah, I

Becca Hammond 1:32
agree. I think there’s a if you had a decade here and you feel like this is your home, you’re you pretty much have assimilated into the culture, right. So upstate New York, or are you talking right across the border, upstate New York is massive. So I kind of have to ask you

Benjamin Roesch 1:48
know, people say that like it’s this little place like no, um, it’s this town called Oneonta, which is about an hour west of Albany. It’s kind of between Albany and Binghamton. It’s a college town. It’s a great spot. I when I was living in Indiana, it’s very Suburban. And we lived in this cul de sac and there was not even any sidewalks there was like no neighborhood feel. And then we would go to my mom’s house in this small town in Oneonta. We live right in town when I was a kid. And it was awesome for me because all of a sudden I could walk down to Main Street. There was a grocery store in a library a five minute walk away and we could ride our bikes all over the place. And it was this great like small town kind of feel. And I loved that vibe. I love that energy of like being one of those kids tearing around the neighborhood on my on my BMX and then going to get comic books, you know, in candy downtown and then being able to come home and being free to roam whereas in Indiana, we had like a bigger house because we lived in this kind of nice neighborhood. But it was really isolated. And it was just the house in the yard. So

Becca Hammond 2:47
yeah. So we were right in the suburbs of the city or more just in

Benjamin Roesch 2:51
north of Indianapolis outside of a town called Carmel. So kind of like 30 minutes from downtown, but it felt like it might as well have been two hours from downtown because it felt so removed from the city itself.

Becca Hammond 3:03
And what attracted you to Burlington? Well,

Benjamin Roesch 3:06
we I met my wife out in Colorado after I went to Indiana University for college and right after graduation, I really wanted to get away. I didn’t even go to graduation. I like loaded up my car and moved out to the high country of Colorado, where my grandparents had a condo that we used to go skiing when I was a kid up in Summit County in this little place called Silverthorne and the condo was empty most of the time and I just had this urge to get away. After college. I just wanted to be by myself. I wanted to I wanted to write Actually, I wanted to write a book I wanted to read I wanted to study and just kind of like be like a literary hermit guy up in the mountains and ski. You know that too. So I moved out there. And I met Shannon who adventure became my wife lived out there for a year worked in a coffee shop did some theater, I did write a novel that’s still in a drawer somewhere gladly. And we moved back east because she’s from Connecticut. And we had this idea to move to New York City. And so that was our plan. We went to my mom’s we hold it up there for a summer and then we commuted into the city to try to find an apartment. And we just could not afford anything. It was nuts. I mean, like I can’t even imagine what it’s like to move to the city. Now, this is in 19. This is in 2000. And it was insane. You know, people would want first last month and a deposit down upfront and we didn’t have any money or jobs. And so even though we were good for it in the long run, we just couldn’t do it. Like we literally couldn’t get into New York and we were super bummed. And then we were like literally flipping through an atlas one day. We’re like, well screw it. Let’s just go somewhere else. And we were gonna move to Minneapolis. I don’t know why Shannon had this friend in Minneapolis. And we’re like, let’s just put a finger on the map and just go for it. And this buddy of mine called me up and I was like, Hey, he lived in Boston, and I’m like, I’m not gonna see you while I’m on the East Coast. Sorry about that. And he was like, Nah, screw that man. I’ll get you a job at my at my company. He had just gotten the job with startup this like high speed internet sales. startup called Flash calm. So anyway, long story short, we moved to Boston, I got a job with this startup selling high speed internet over the phone, the worst job I’ve ever had. But I’m so glad I had it because it taught me that I never want to do that kind of work again, like in an office, like on a phone all day talking to strangers selling stuff.

And then we lived in this really busy part of Boston, like we’d like living there. But it was it was so busy. We live right on the green line T in Austin, just outside the city. And it was so loud and so busy. And Shannon sister went to St. Mike’s and lived up here in those days, and she had another good friend who lived in Burlington and we would come up during that year we lived in Boston, we would go to three needs and hang out and go to shows and we just liked it up here. We thought it was really nice. And Shannon wanted to go back to school to be a teacher. Yep. And I really wanted to start a band and get into the music scene. And Burlington just seemed like this perfect spot to do that stuff. It had education that had great vibe. It had a cool arts community. And yeah, 2000 we just pulled the trigger and moved up here and we’ve lived you know, kind of downtown ever since then we’ve done booth street for a while and then we’ve lived in our house on North Avenue for almost 20 years now. Very cool. And you can also see here just like couldn’t go this is true this is true. That’s a great area that I always love to hear people’s reasons for moving here if they they weren’t you know, originally from here I know I think if you went in a time machine and like met me when I was a kid and you were like hey, you’re gonna live in Vermont someday I would say like from what’s Vermont

Becca Hammond 6:24
right well that’s what’s funny even upstate New York if you get much if you get in your opening I feel like coming to Vermont’s just not Yeah, they do. If you’re from Plattsburgh, they know. You know, they know we’re proud. They know what’s up, but they don’t even come here that often. Totally be honest. Okay, awesome. So, and you also were at what point did you start? I always loved asking origin story. writer, musician, so you’ve been writing all when did you start writing? Do you consider yourself a lifelong writer from birth? Yeah,

Benjamin Roesch 6:59
I mean, I’m one of those kind of like annoying like, always knew I wanted to be a artist kind of kind of people. Even when I was a kid, I always looked up to artists, like they were my heroes, you know, way more than sports people ever were. I always thought that writers, actors, musicians, were the coolest and I acted in plays, even like in elementary school, and a funny story, because I kind of like, I’d kind of like wonder, like, when did I really start writing? Seriously, I’ve thought about this, and I knew I did in high school a bit. And certainly in college, and I knew before then I had, you know, diddled with short stories and journal writing and stuff like that. But just this summer, my two kids, I have two boys who are 14 and 12. We’re just out in Indianapolis visiting my dad. And my dad still has some of my old crap in the attic, that like every time I go there, he gives me like another box of crap. Like, can I throw this way? Or will you please take it. So this time, he had a few odds and ends that he had given the kids. So when they got home, they had some random stuff in their suitcase, there was like an attendance sheet from first grade of mine or something like just like, like some pictures, like a bunch of old stuff. But there was this folder. And it was a short story that I had written in fourth grade that I had not thought about or seen like since fourth grade. But I pulled it out. And it was like this amazing like Time Machine and like sucked me back into fourth grade when I’d written this story. But I was surprised at like how long it was, right? It was like 12 pages long. And I was like, Well, I don’t remember being that serious about it. Then I remember just having fun writing the short story. It was like ridiculous conceit. It was about this guy who’s having this horrible day and he gets fired from his job. And then I forget what else happens to him, I should reread it. But then at the end, he wakes up and it’s all been a dream. But like, so anyway, I like to write even as a kid and I looked up to two artists and I started playing guitar when I was like 11 and got really into music, acted in plays. And I just always wanted to do something like that. For a while I was really serious about being an actor. And when I went to college, I was a theater major, and really, really serious about acting in plays. And you know, maybe being in musical theater because I like to sing. I did musicals in high school. And I just always thought that was kind of my trajectory in some way. I didn’t quite know how I was going to get there. And then in my early 20s, when I moved to Burlington, I became very serious about making it as a musician. I was in this band, we were like trying to get signed, and we were touring a little bit and stuff like that. And I just didn’t like the life of a musician. I didn’t like being out late. I didn’t like being in bars all the time. I just got really fatigued and fed up by that lifestyle. But all along the way, I was always tinkering with novels, screenplays, plays, and just always had this urge to create stuff. Whether I was writing songs or whether I was writing books. I just always thought that was a really fun way to spend my time and I just felt kind of like if you’ve ever done it, you know that it’s kind of like lonely work in a lot of ways. So if you if you like to do it, you have to really like to do it. Like I think a lot of people like think they want to write and then they get bored or they get tired pretty easily. And what they realized the hard way is that it’s not should take a lot of hours by yourself, like just kind of like struggling and just sitting there,

Becca Hammond 10:03
right? Putting in that effort, yeah, ends up being a slog, like most anything in life, right? Where it’s actually worth doing and you start getting into it, the initial excitement wears off, and the motivation wears off. And then it comes down to hard work and effort. Yeah. That’s where everyone starts kind of backing off the hard work and effort because the amount of people you meet, I don’t know if I’ve ever met a single person who’s ever said, I don’t want to write a book. Everyone wants to write a book, about something, whatever it is, be fly fishing, yeah. It could be absolutely anything, but it’s really hard to actually do

Benjamin Roesch 10:43
well, and then, you know, if you’re, there’s writing and then there’s writing to publish, which are kind of two different things. You know, if you’re serious about getting your work out there, then you have to face a whole other set of challenges and demons and you know, excitement as well, you know, rejection and getting feedback and putting your work in front of other people. And that’s kind of like a whole other part of the artists journey, I think is when you go from like private to public, in how you think of what you’re doing. So anyway, long answer your question, but yeah, I was just always interested in the creative stuff. I just always thought that’d be a noble, fun way to spend time and I still feel I still get amped and pumped about it. Here in my mid 40s. Just as I did when I was a kid, it still seems just as mystical and rad to me as it did 35 years ago.

Becca Hammond 11:27
So your book, I love how you’ve kind of combined because he talked about, you’re a musician and an artist you like to create this, this novel seems like a beautiful blend of topics you’re interested in, and it seems it just sounds really awesome. But I really want to read this book. I wish I’d have so many things going on in my life right now. So I’m gonna read the blurb. This was written by Benjamin blowing my mind like a summer breeze. This is the blurb on the back of the book, correct? That’s right, okay. 15 year old rainy cob, never thought meeting someone could actually change her life. But then again, she never met anyone like Juliet. It’s 1995 and the cob family band led by trainees rock star parents has arrived for a week long gig at the Midwestern resort owned by Juliet’s family. dazzled by Juliet’s Carpe Diem attitude, DIY tattoos and a passion for grunge. Rainey falls hard, and when Juliet gives Rainey and mixtape that unlocks her heart secret yearnings. Rainey start seeing herself and her Vagabond showbiz life through new eyes. If Rainey quits the band, her parents fading career might never recover. But if she doesn’t leap now, she might be stuck forever in a life she didn’t choose. And always wonder who she could have been. I love this so much. This book sounds so good. I really want to read. Okay, bedroom. So when did you start writing this book.

Benjamin Roesch 12:49
So this book had a particularly long sort of like gestation period, I’ve actually, this is my debut novel, meaning it’s the first one I’ve published. But it’s not my first novel, I have a drawer full of other books that I’ve sort of written over the years, and some may see the light of day, some probably shouldn’t. So I tell the story just with a grain of salt, because I don’t know if it’s representative of like, all of my stuff, necessarily. But this book had an interesting sort of journey. So I was a teacher for a long time, I became a teacher in the mid 2000s to 2006, I got a job teaching English at Bronson High School in Burlington. Not really having expected to become a teacher. But one of the cool things about being a teacher is that the school district here in Burlington, and I think many school districts will help pay for some graduate school, you can get like one credit, or three credits, like one class a year the district will pay for. So if you are interested in continuing to learn and continuing to take classes, they will support you in that endeavor. And I didn’t really want to study education anymore, because I love teaching, but I hated studying education, I just find it really, really kind of tiresome to read about. It’s way more interesting to do it. Anyway. So as a way to continue my learning, I decided to get my MFA in Creative Writing, instead of my master’s in education. Most of my colleagues got advanced degrees in education in some way, shape, or form. But I thought, well, you’re here can be a cool opportunity to deepen my path as a creative person, but also, you know, as a teacher, and just as a human. So I in 2014, I enrolled and started working on an MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. And when you are working on an MFA, you have to do a thesis, you know, and they usually guide people towards short stories as the focus of a thesis because it’s easier to wrestle with, it’s shorter. Most people who take on novels often don’t have time to finish them when you need to. And then part of the novel is kind of hard to critique if you’re like a mentor. So even though I thought of myself as a novelist, and not a short story writer, I was like, well, maybe I’ll try short stories because I’d been reading a ton of short stories. And during my program, I’d read a lot of work. I’d like linked short story collections, which I don’t even have to think that people know about that much who don’t read like short story collections. But it’s basically like a story collection where the stories are not sequential, but they inter weave with each other. And sometimes they’re about the same set of characters. Sometimes they jump around in time, like all of sort of connected linked story collections do it in a slightly different way. But it adds up to this idea that when you’re done with the book, you’ve read a sequence of short stories that could stand by themselves. But you also kind of feel like you’ve just read a novel, in the sense that like, the characters sort of speak to each other, they all sort of like live in the same, you know, collected universe. And it adds up to more than the sum of its parts, even though the stories could be read by themselves. So I’d like to this challenge. I also love music, as we’ve talked about, I’m kind of obsessed with it. And I’ve always been sort of searching for ways to get music as an interest into my fiction, because I find that if I’m writing about a topic that I’m really interested in, I find myself drawn back to the page more quickly. Like for instance, I have another long novel about tennis. I’m obsessed with tennis. I love tennis. And I wrote this book, really just to write about tennis. I just wanted to spend all my time thinking about and writing about tennis. So I just read tons of books about tennis, I just watched matches and like, anyway, I really wanted to write about music. And so I sort of imagined this group of characters that were musicians. Then originally it was really centered around this kind of aging blues musician guy whose name was loose Cobb and I pictured looses this kind of like worn out grizzled, heavy smoking hard drinking kind of like down on his luck, like a formerly abusive to his family, kind of like what I think now is like kind of like an archetypal like maybe even like stereotyped vision of how we might see that character like in the Hollywood. Yeah, I think I described that. And people like, oh, it’s like that Jeff Bridges movie, I forget what that one’s called. Anyway, so I wrote this group of stories, and I had a lot of fun with it. And there was loose and there was his wife, Tracy, and I imagined that they had been like a famous singing duo when they were younger, kind of like a Sonny and Cher ish sort of thing. But with more like an r&b kind of flair. But then he they also had these two kids who were also musicians. And so I imagine this group of people who had been sort of like on the road together, and these kids who had this sort of weird, non traditional upbringing, then the stories kind of jumped around in time. Some of them were when Luce was younger, some of them was when he was way older. And in the universe, there’s a daughter, this girl named Rainey. And she was always part of the story, but she was not the main character. Right. So anyway, I’ll fast forward a little bit. So I wrote this collection of stories, fine, whatever. A couple years later, I revisited these stories. I didn’t have luck publishing them the way that I had hoped to. I just some Yeah,

Becca Hammond 17:48
short stories. I think Amy actually said that short stories don’t publish Well, unless you’re already someone who people know.

Benjamin Roesch 17:55
Yeah, it’s a tough game. Getting short stories publishes a lot of journals out there. But it’s very competitive. And even good stories can have a tough time getting through. So I revisited this material because I really felt drawn to it. And the last story that I’d written in the collection was unfinished. And it was really just like a couple of pages. But for some reason, it really caught my eye. It was called Juliet’s room at that point, and it was just like three pages long. And it was just a really simple image. It was this girl Rainey when she was 15. And she’s standing outside of a hotel room. And on the other side of the hotel room door is blaring blasting grunge music, like she’s never really heard before. And on the other side of the door, inside that room is this girl who she has a crush on. And she’s been invited to this room and she’s about to knock on the door. But she’s too scared to knock because she doesn’t know what she’s gonna say she’s like enticed by this girl who’s cranking her music so loud. And it was set around this idea that this family band ended up at this resort, this Midwestern resort for like a week long gig like a residency that they would do for a whole week. And that was all I had, I just had this idea of this band at this resort for a week and Randy’s like, interested in this girl. She’s mad, but she’s too scared to interact with her. And I just thought it was kind of an interesting setup for a story. Like what if you put these musicians in a place for a week? See what happens? What if you had kind of a kind of a crush first love kind of story? That was kind of interesting, too.

Becca Hammond 19:21
Because it wasn’t like you came up with just that singular idea that you already had the whole universe, right? Like her history, her family was already like she existed already. Totally.

Benjamin Roesch 19:30
And so some people have asked me like, how did you end up writing a book about a teenage girl, especially one who’s queer? And um, you know, it’s like, it was a bit it was like an interesting Odyssey to get to that character.

Becca Hammond 19:40
Like I invented this universe, and she was in. Yeah,

Benjamin Roesch 19:43
and it did kind of happen that way. And so I learned this interesting lesson about stories, which is that like, they actually kind of changed over time. And so revisiting this material was like, kind of exciting, and so I rewrote, I rewrote the story, but I wrote it as a novel. And first I tried it as an adult. novel that was about Randy and her mom. And it kind of went back and forth between those two experiences, because I realized that it was actually the female characters in this family that were way more interesting to me. This kind of mid 40s, kind of formerly famous musician, Tracy, who was now kind of down on her luck and really frustrated with her life, and the crowds aren’t there anymore, and they’re not making money. And music has been her whole life. She didn’t go to college. And it’s like, what do you do? What do you? What do you do when you’re 20? When your dreams don’t work out? What do you do when you’re 45? And your dreams don’t work out? Like that’s a whole different question. But then I also thought this character of this girl is really interesting. She’s a musical prodigy, she’s grown up on the road. So what do you do when you’ve lived life that your parents have set up for you one way, but then you finally get old enough to realize that it’s kind of unusual, and you’re not like other kids. And what would happen if you met someone that made you start to wonder like what else your life could be like. So that’s these two characters. Anyway, fast forwarding again, I rewrote it a third time, a couple years later, as a young adult novel told from the perspective of Rainey. And it was at that point that I felt like the story finally, like clicked into place. And so it took a while it took a while to get to this story to this character. But the journey was really interesting and totally worth it. So like, I think there’s a cool takeaway for writers, which is that like, don’t ignore the stuff in your drawer. There might be some really interesting stuff in there that could send you in a different direction. Like, don’t be afraid to like, try a story from another perspective, don’t be afraid to find a minor character and make it the main character. Don’t be afraid to go back to stuff because there can be some really interesting stuff there.

Becca Hammond 21:38
Yeah. And the fact that excuse me, the fact that you reworked it multiple times. Like that’s a huge amount of effort and work and just time to put into the same concept rethinking versus, oh, I wrote two pages, like I’ve done with it, I’d say, you know, you didn’t give a time to flush it out, which I think a lot of people struggle to write. That’s, that’s they don’t give it the time and the effort, what things flush out, see how it’s actually play out? Yeah, I’ve

Benjamin Roesch 22:05
never been afraid of the work part of writing. And I think it’s the part of writing that actually ends up stopping a lot of people from actually doing it. I think people often might claim that they just don’t feel inspired, or they’re not creative enough. But I think sometimes what people are actually saying is that, like, it’s scary to sit down and do the work, right. But it’s scary to live in that place of uncertainty. It’s scary to do it every day, it’s really hard to do it every day. But for whatever weird, freakish biological reason, I’ve like, never been afraid to just like, sit and just do it. And so rewriting it like sounds like this big deal. But to me, it wasn’t that big a deal. It was just the next thing I was working on. And so I’ve just I’ve never been really shy about just starting over, and just doing a whole new thing. So it felt a little scary. But it also just felt like well, here’s the next thing I’m working on, and it worked out.

Becca Hammond 22:56
And you think it’s done now, like you’re happy with the story?

Benjamin Roesch 23:00
Well, it doesn’t matter because it’s published. And so it’s you know, it’s a weird thing to have it be out in the world. Now. It came out on July 22. So it’s been out almost two months. And so it’s I’ve published a lot of essays and short stories and stuff. So that’s that’s a sense of finality. But this feels like a whole different level of like finality, like seeing, you know, people post on social media that they’re reading the book, or it’s at the bookstore, you can buy it on Amazon or whatever. Like that level of finality is really intense for someone who does a lot of revision and editing, because I can’t change it anymore.

Becca Hammond 23:33
Right? And what how was that process for the actual publishing process? Got your, your third version done? And now did you start sending it to different trying to think of the right name here? I’m not gonna remember the right man. Representatives that show off your book for you,

Benjamin Roesch 23:50
Agent agents? Yeah, I did. Yeah. I mean, I think everybody’s, the more I talk to people, the more the other writers, I mean, the more I find that, like everybody’s publishing journey is really, really different and really distinct and kind of unique from each other. But there are some central sort of themes in this grand story of publishing anyway, the first, like the overture and like, most important thing about the story is that it’s so hard. It is so hard to get your work published. And I wish it wasn’t so hard, because I feel like that could be discouraging to people who want to publish, but it’s just brutally hard. It really just is. I think, even if you’re a good writer, the odds are so stacked against you. And I think the takeaway from that is that you just really have to want to do it. And you have to love doing it. And I think if you do love doing it, and you keep doing it, like your work will find its way anyway, I tried for a long time to go through a more traditional route attracting the attention of agents, because I think I’d sort of like that’s just this thing you hear, you gotta have an agent. I had embraced that ideology for at least a decade by that point. And I just had accepted it as gospel that like without an agent, like your work is never gonna get out there and there is some truth to that. However, there’s actually a lot of other ways to get your work published and seen and independent smaller presses is another avenue. And this is traditionally run on a smaller scale. Traditionally, the authors on these presses may or may not have agents, but a lot of them don’t have agents. And the difference is that you’re dealing directly with the publisher, way more, and you don’t have this agent as an intermediary. And so I’d never submitted to small presses before. And it was actually my friend, Amy clinger, who’s been on the show sent me a link one day and she was like, oh, you should check out this small press. And it was a small press called departs why a, that publishes LGBTQ plus young adult fiction. And they were kind of new, they’d only been around for a couple of years. And I was like, well, that’s kind of cool. Maybe I’ll give it a shot. So you know, I reworked my cover letter in that stuff. I mean, at that point, I’d been sitting on the book for a while, and I felt good about my submission materials, because that’s the other thing about the publishing journeys, you have to have all this other stuff in place, you have to have a query and you have to have a synopsis of your book. And you have to have this little like teaser snapshot, like the back cover stuff you have to all these other like peripheral materials just to like, get people to consider it. Because

Becca Hammond 26:08
it’s, it’s like the marketing game more than I feel so bad for authors. Because it’s, it’s, it’s that it’s the marketing game, like, how are they going to sell the book before? Is the book Good? And when really is the book Good should come first. And they almost approach it. From a marketing standpoint, what’s

Benjamin Roesch 26:27
brutal about it is that it really messes with your head because most work gets rejected. Okay, so fine rejection is part of the process. But like, you need to put your work in its best light. And so how do you do that? Okay, you get feedback, you ask for help you maybe even like might contract like a freelance editor or like someone who can give you feedback on your query, you might pay for that service, you could do all that stuff, you could still write the best possible query letter on the planet and still get rejected. And so like, the information you’re getting from the publishing side of things, is it like your work isn’t good enough, right. And yet, like, as an auditor, as an artist, you’ve always thought you also have to kind of trust yourself, and you have to believe in what you’re doing. So like how it’s really hard to like, reconcile those two forces, because like, as you’re getting masses of rejection, you develop a thick skin, and you really do learn how to let it go, right. But when your work isn’t getting bid on, eventually the takeaway is going to be that something’s wrong with it. It’s hard not to feel like that. So you know, I remember with this book, I reworked the opening pages so many times, because most agents will only ever look at the first two pages, maybe five pages, maybe 10, at the very most. So you’ve got a couple of minutes to attract their attention. And so if all of them rejecting it, it must be because your opening pages suck. Like what other information can you take away from that. So then you go get feedback. And the feedback is that actually, these opening pages are really great, or might tweak this one little thing. So you keep tweaking, you keep improving, you keep trying. Anyway, it’s just a tough process. It really is. So anyway, by the time I submitted to deep hearts, I felt like I’d sharpened my package to like a razor point. Like, I felt like I had a great query, I was really excited about it. Like, I was genuinely like, I was so frustrated by the process, because I felt like I’d written a pretty good book, I felt like my submission package was strong. And I just couldn’t get over the hump. And so it’s just very frustrating. But luckily, this small press said, yes, there was a first one I sent it to, and they were like, we’d love this and we want to put it out.

Becca Hammond 28:25
It sounds like it was a match made in heaven. I guess it kind of was yeah, it

Benjamin Roesch 28:29
was just like, it was such a weird thing. You know, when they said yes, and they were just amped about the work, you know, it was just like, you just that feeling is just really nice. You know, like, it reminded me like how infrequently I’d had that feeling over the years, you know, I love writing but like when you come to like, try to put it out in the world, it’s kind of a cold process. And so when you have any kind of warmth from other from other people, especially people you don’t know that want to help you. It’s kind of an amazing thing. So that was like a year and a half ago. And they were great to work with. You know, with a small press, you’re always gonna sacrifice some visibility, you’re gonna sacrifice some promotional funding, you know, they don’t have the range to promote work. Does pockets Yeah, but what they do have I think is like the ability to commit on a more human personal level with every author. So I got a real personal touch in the process and made friends that I feel like I you know, will have forever they’re interested in doing a sequel, and the book has been successful for them. So it’s been you know, happy ending now that it’s been published.

Becca Hammond 29:34
Yeah, that’s wonderful. And I’m sure for the kid finds books. And you know, these are the books they’re looking for. It’s nice to see the same publishers logo that speaks to the customer speaks to the authors they’re working with. I love independent anything any any independent business that’s cutting through the red tape.

Benjamin Roesch 29:53
Yeah, that’s the coolest thing by far like any any like struggling artists knows that like when you’re in not able to get your work out in the way you would like to, you have to like develop like internal resources to keep your flame alive. And it’s, I think in that process, you can almost forget that, like, art is at its best when it’s like being appreciated by someone else. Like that’s, you know, you almost forget, like, that’s the whole point here. Like, that’s the whole goal. I think I actually forgot that with this book. At a certain point, I, it had been rejected so many times that I think I almost forgot that, like other people could potentially read it and really get something out of it. So now that it’s been out, and, you know, some people have really been touched by it. And I’ve been able to connect on a human level with readers, it’s been this like, amazing thing. It’s like, I feel like it’s really refreshed. My creative energy and like, kind of opened up this door that was always just kind of like, like, closed, you know,

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