Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I’m a bit of a Robin Bennett fan, so when I spotted he’d published an autobiography, I was first in line for a copy, and I wasn’t disappointed. If you like autobiographies and are prepared to peek inside a very eccentric English upbringing, give it a go. Anyway, he very kindly agreed to answer the million and one questions I had. Here’s what we chatted about …
With your rather eccentric background, I’m picturing you writing in a treehouse or a bunker. Please tell me you don’t write at a very boring desk in a very boring office!
Out of necessity, I’ve trained myself to write pretty much anywhere and everywhere: airports, trains, pubs and, once, three days at Reading Crown Court. A large chunk of my writing is currently carried out lying full length on the backseat of the car whilst I wait for children to finish clubs.
Given you hop between fiction and non-fiction, kids and grown-ups, what should we expect next?
I’m just finishing up on a (mainly) rhyming book inspired by Boewulf and Hunting of the Snark (it is called ‘Lief the Lesser and Hell’). It’s set about 10,000 years ago when the land mass between modern Europe and the British Isles was swept away by a tsunami. It is about the journey a boy and a girl take when they end up on a log together and wash up in what would be today’s Kent. Neither like each other much. Until they do.
Any plans to do an audiobook? Would you narrate it yourself?
I was asked but scheduling was tricky over the summer, so it might be for early 2020. I’d love to have a crack at narrating myself.
Some of your fictional characters are a bit bonkers. Are any of them inspired by your family? And if so, do your family know!?
Ha ha! A lot of my characters are based on family, but I honestly don’t think they would notice. I think the thing is most of them see themselves as very normal, which is what makes it so funny (some of the time).
Would you share a childhood photo of yourself, ideally in a sinking fishing boat, clutching a rather unfortunate duck? I know this might require a trip to the attic so you may be gone for a while but I’ve got my fingers crossed you reappear eventually.
I’ll do my best, although a combination of boarding school and parents who did not go in for pictures much means I have very little. This is me with my big brother, Charles ,who is holding Judy, the Cairn terrier who was partner-in-crime (and often instigator-in chief) for most of the things we got up to.
I have to say, I approve of his dog – here’s my Cairn terrier looking like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.
If you’d like to check out the book, here’s the details …
Blurb: If life gives you lemons, add gin
Life’s a Banquet is the unofficial but essential ‘guide book’ to negotiating your way through life – through education, family life and business, to relationships, marriage, failure and rejection.
Aged 21, Robin Bennett was set to become a cavalry officer and aged 21 and a half, he found himself working as an assistant grave digger in South London – wondering where it had all gone wrong.
Determined to succeed, he went on and founded The Bennett Group, aged 23, and since then has gone on to start and run over a dozen successful businesses in a variety of areas from dog-sitting to cigars, translation to home tuition. In 2003, Robin was recognised in Who’s Who as one of the UK’s most successful business initiators. Catapulting readers through his colourful life and career, Robin Bennett’s memoir is an inspiring tale.
Robin Bennett lives in Henley on Thames, Oxon. He is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children and books on the swashbuckling world of business. His documentary, Fantastic Britain, about the British obsession with magic and folklore, won best foreign feature at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.
Robin says, “When the world seems to be precarious and cruel, remember that the game is to never give up – there’s everything to play for, and it will all be OK.”