Since I love learning about other people and I get bored talking about myself, I thought what better way to kill two birds with one stone, than to start interviewing folks.
Yep, you heard me. (Read me.) While my special interviewee did give me permission to cut, change, flip, and flop any of his answers, as an author, I couldn’t bring myself to change his words. Besides, his answers are fantastic.
Buuuuuuuuuttttttt . . . I will tell you, there is a slight Stop! spoiler in one of the answers.
Snap Chat: benton_s
Readers always ask if the characters in my books are based on real people. The answer is yes . . . kind of. Usually I take bits and pieces of myself, people in my life, or those who intrigue me to develop a character.
Although, my latest novel, Stop!, is fiction, I drew a lot of inspiration from my life as well as one other person.
While doing research for the book, I came across a young man’s YouTube channel. I watched the entire afternoon every single video he had posted. I quickly became a huge fan, so much so, that I changed the character’s name from Brice to Benton.
What is it about Benton that caught my attention? His bravery, his honesty, his generosity to help others, his openness, his positive charm, and his fantastic sense of humor. He also has that intangible quality that draws you in and makes it impossible not to like him.
I’m very excited and honored to have as my first interview on the blog, Benton Sorensen.
Benton, I hope my gushing didn’t scare you off. I appreciate you taking the time to answer a few questions for us today.
- When and why did you start your YouTube channel?
I’ve been making videos on Youtube for nearly 6 years! Across several channels, I began uploading videos with my friends, and it soon turned into a full time hobby. I remember watching YouTube videos as a kid and wanting to be just like the big YouTubers at the time. I decided to get serious when I started my ‘Benton’ channel. I’m finally pursuing the dream I had as a kid, and I think my hard work is paying off!
- I saw on a recent post you mentioned that you hit 40,000 followers. Congratulations! Do you ever get overwhelmed by your reach and feel a huge responsibility? Thank you! I’m still blown away, and I can’t believe that number is real. Whenever someone is listening there is always pressure to say the right thing, but speaking to 40,000 people is different. You can’t please everyone, so it’s easiest to be yourself and hope that the majority is on your side. There is a responsibility that comes along with having an online following, almost an invisible contract promising that you will deliver content. I love it, I love the challenge, I love the people who support me, and I love the people who push me.
- Who was the most difficult person to talk to about yourself and who was the easiest? The hardest conversation I had to have was with my Mom, for obvious reasons. The easiest conversations were with my friends, even though many turned on me after. Your parents and family are forever, but friends come and go. It didn’t bother me, it wasn’t mandatory, but the approval from my family was.
- In some of your videos you discuss dealing with depression. We all have times in our lives when situations feel impossible to move on from. So many young people don’t survive. What got you through those times? I started to tell myself that I wouldn’t be someone who gives up, I would keep pushing no matter what. The one thing we are all pushed down by is time. It’s a blessing and a curse. As long as time keeps moving, our lives keep changing through our worst, and our best. Nothing is forever, so I make the good times last.
- Do you feel people expect you to always be a spokesperson now? And if so, do you ever wish you could just be Benton, the guy that lives down the street? This is always what I wanted. I wanted to be watched, but only if it was for a good reason. I wanted to have a voice that made an impact. I wanted people to watch my films and give me feedback. It still blows me away that people take time out of their day to watch what I make, it’s crazy.
- In Stop!, the character Benton has to deal with different forms of bullying. Were you aware of the potential of cyberbullying when you first started posting your videos? How do you handle it? You seem to have an incredibly positive attitude. There are a lot of people who don’t understand, and because of that they leave nasty comments. Cyberbullying is definitely a very overlooked tool of harassment. Ever since I posted my first video I’ve had to talk myself into ignoring hate comments, it’s all you can do. When I was a girl they would comment “looks like a boy, but talks like a girl?” Now they comment “you’re just a girl who sounds like a boy.” They will always find a way to pick on you, so don’t take it personally.
- What does the future look like for you? Do you want to go into film making? I’m only 18 years old, and the pressure to plan my future has always been very overwhelming. I got a taste of what the film industry was like, and after one year I decided that it wasn’t for me. Film is, and will always be my passion, but not within the industry. With that said, I have no idea what I’m doing now. I need to travel, learn, and give myself time.
- What was your reaction when you read the email from this US author who said you were the inspiration for one of the characters in her latest book? I was thrilled! I never could have imagined this happening. I’m so excited to read Stop!
The next couple of questions/comments are from members of my readers group, Bailey’s Broads. ☺
- Sarah asked, “How hard was it for your friends and family to truly accept your authentic self?” Hi Sarah! A select few had a harder time accepting my transition, but I focused on myself, and let them continue hating until they finally understood.
- Christie asked, “Were Benton’s parents supportive? Who does he consider his inner circle of supporters? I just think he’s incredibly courageous, and I send him my love and well wishes!!!!” Thanks Christie! I’ve been very blessed with a supportive family and a great group of friends who love and accept me for who I am. Not everyone has the same experience so I never take mine for granted.
Favorite Fast Five:
- Favorite movie? Like Crazy
- Favorite band? ODESZA
- Favorite time of year? Spring!
- Favorite place? Vancouver
- Favorite food? Sushi
I want to thank Benton for taking time out of his busy schedule to spend with us and for being such a positive force in the world today. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this inspiring and talented young man.
Read Stop! for FREE!
Stop! is now exclusively available on Amazon.
“If ever there was a thought provoking book that makes you put your life in perspective, this is it! But it’s also sweet, with gentle humour that this author does so well. There is also angst, emotion, and heartfelt story telling. I enjoy this author’s style of writing immensely. She makes it such easy reading that it truly is a pleasure to pick up her books. I was 30% into this book before I even realised! I devoured this book within a day! I can’t wait to see what Alison G Bailey comes up with next.”
~Sian Lewis, Amazon Reviewer