MEET JEFF BOTZENHART
Jeffery Martin Botzenhart is an author of 20 published stories and lives in Northeast Ohio with his wife and sons. He was born in Warren, Ohio and raised in Southington, Ohio. After graduating from Chalker High School, Jeff enrolled at Kent State University and earned a Bachelor’s of Sciences degree in International Relations. Jeff's first published story, Clockwork Heart, a historical steampunk romance, was published by Luminosity Publishing in October 2014.
Jeff is a Solstice colleague and he's been a great Facebook friend, so I couldn't be happier to bring you my recent interview with him.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW BOOK.
Doctor Hydenberg (released by Solstice Publishing) is set in early 20th Century London and involves the occult and an unimaginable theory of the human eye. Doctor Hydenberg believes that not does only the human mind hold memories, but the eyes do as well. The unimaginable comes when he is confronted with testing his theory and the consequences of doing so.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR THIS BOOK?
I am a huge fan of the classic novel, Frankenstein, and thought it might be fun to have my own book inspired by this. So I decided to use the name of one of the lead characters, Doctor Hydenberg.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK? IS IT PART OF A SERIES?
I’d been playing with the idea of doing an occult inspired horror story. One day while driving, the pieces to how this story could be fell into place. I never question how I come up with my stories. I just go with them when they come clear in my thoughts.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR BOOK IS BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OR THOSE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW?
This is pure fantasy. No one I know has ever dealt with anything like this.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH WENT INTO WRITING YOUR BOOK?
My research covered the early 20th century and occult rituals. My suggestion is, if you are going to research the occult, do it during the daytime when someone else is home with you. Scary stuff.
WHAT CRITERIA DID YOU USE WHEN SELECTING THE COVER FOR YOUR BOOK?
I wanted something simple to reflect the time period. The picture of this Victorian-era doctor fit perfectly.
WAS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CONVEY?
I didn’t set out writing Doctor Hydenberg with a specific message. The message that came through the characters, Heathcliff and Kristina, is...follow your heart when your courage falters.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
Nothing. I was told by someone that it’s the best story I have ever written.
IF YOUR BOOK WOULD BE MADE INTO A FILM, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY THE LEADS?
For Doctor Hydenberg, it would need to be either actor Daniel Craig or Jason Isaacs.
For Heathcliff, Tom Holland (Spiderman)
For Kristina, Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why)
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?
I first began writing stories when I was in high school. They were my escape from being bullied. It wasn’t until years later, though, when I found the courage to submit a story for publication. Clockwork Heart was it.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?
When my first story was published.
DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE.
For me it’s like sitting in a dark movie theater, watching a film. I may keep a few notes around, by my style is really writing by the seat of my pants. I never really know what’s going to happen until I start writing.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU HAD TO LEARN AS A WRITER?
To find the positive out of rejection.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A WRITER?
Mostly the biggest challenge is have readers find my stories. There are thousands of books out there. It’s hard to stand out in such a crowd.
NOT INCLUDING FAMILY, WHO SUPPORTED YOUR EFFORTS TO BECOME A PUBLISHED AUTHOR?
No one. I’m kind of on my own with this. I’ve developed wonderful relationships with some amazing authors, publishers, and readers who are very supportive, but really no one else.
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
Luminosity was my first publisher. From them I learned patience with the editing process.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW WRITERS?
Write the story you want to write. It doesn’t matter if the topic has been written about hundreds of times. It hasn’t been written by you yet. Take as much positive as you can when faced with negative feedback. Read. Write every day, even if it’s just a paragraph. And lastly, enjoy being a writer.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS?
Too many to single out. I couldn’t even begin to make such a list.
WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?
I’m rereading one of my favorites, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
Sad music and watching videos of soldiers returning home to their families.
IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE WHO EVER LIVED, PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD THAT BE?
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?
13 Reasons Why, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and the Amazing Race
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC TOUCHES YOUR SOUL?
WHAT DO YOU WANT WRITTEN ON YOUR HEADSTONE?
A loving husband and father who dared to dream.
DO YOU HAVE A BLOG OR WEBSITE READERS CAN VISIT FOR UPDATES, EVENTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS?
He has his father’s eyes…
Doctor Hydenberg has a theory. Not only does the human mind hold memories of people and places seen, but he believes the human eyes have the capacity to retain these same memories. What if a dead person’s eyes could be harvested and given to a new host? And what if this new host had the unique ability to read and see his benefactor’s memories? Unimaginable? Perhaps not if the right host can be found.