I met with Benny Blow on a Sunday afternoon at Buzz Café right as he arrived back from his December holidays…the man had just come from the airport but agreed to meet with me. That’s just one example of what a great guy he is and how as a creative he is always willing to participate! We sat down together for my “freestyle” interview, which was more of our usual banter and conversation that we have shared on twitter.
You might have already guessed but like any great writer Benny Blow is a nom de plume much like J.K. Rowling, Mark Twain, Voltaire, Lewis Carroll and Stan Lee to name a few. I’ve always admired his choice of “Benny Blow” as it makes me think of mob movies or comic book detectives and superheroes.
How did you get the name Benny Blow?
Benny Blow was an alias for one of my rap personas back in high school. And no, I don’t rap anymore. The word Blow played on me feeling that I was destined to blow, or that I blew through a room cool as a breeze, or that I blew minds. Benny personified all that. Like how mob guys would have a Jimmy Two Shots or something like that because a guy whacked his marks with only two bullets. The name stuck even after high school. Since I was a budding accountant, I wanted to separate my professional work stuff from my writing so Benny Blow was my pseudonym
How did you get into writing?
I used to read a lot when I would go visit my cousins, we were meant to be playing but I would be reading, looking at pictures and comics. In actual fact I wanted to be a cartoonist but that’s a long story…it didn’t work out. I did art in high school but you know Zambian parents won’t let you pursue that so I decided to study accounting instead. I would write short stories on my phone and save them as notes and I would show my friends, a friend of mine in the United States told me to start a blog.
Despite being encouraged he felt that he didn’t really have content for a blog, so he turned to Facebook where he published his short stories as notes. It’s important to note that Benny is one of the few writers I know who writes serialised fiction, something I admire and that I find hard to do.
Why is your blog called “If I should die?”
If I died today I would like people, if they were looking to learn about me and what was going on in my mind to go to the blog. I wonder what happens when we die, what people will say when we are gone or what happens on the other side…if there is one, if there is purgatory, heaven or hell or if you come back as a ghost.
At this point the conversation becomes a debate about if coming back as a ghost and haunting people is all it’s cracked up to be, Benny says, “I don’t know do you get revenge then you rest?” Needless to say we are both over thinkers and have wild imaginations…
You are diverse in your writing style, writing for multiple platforms and publications but your first love is fiction right?
I originally thought all I would write would be fiction, I wanted to write comics and then it’s hard to make money off that here. I started blogging then started to write for Best of Zambia and then I started to write for Nkwazi, I’ve been writing for them for two years.
Short fiction is my first love though; I like adventure and stuff from my imagination.(This is very clear in his writing for the comic series The Mundane Kid) I’m influenced from my past, growing up I watched a lot of cartoons and movies, I love superheroes and villains and I like to write stuff that I would like to read…let’s say something about a superhero that wants to take over the world, a character that doesn’t realise he is a superhero and villain at the same time!
What are you watching ?
I got back into watching The Knick, I’ve been downloading old 90s cartoons and getting back into that like Roccos Modern Life, Freakazoid and Pinky and the Brain. I used to watch Adult Swim Cartoon Network, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Adventure Bros.
How did you get involved in Twitter Fiction?
My girlfriend sent me a link about it essentially it’s a festival for short fiction…you tell a story using tweets. It’s a three-day long festival, you can either tell your story over three days or over one day. You can apply to become a featured author or you can just take part, the first time I applied they turned me down. The second time I submitted a story they liked it but again I didn’t make the final cut, but it’s a really cool platform. I like the 140 characters to tell a story, it’s a good way to get ideas across. If you can do that in 140 characters that’s something!
It goes without saying that Benny Blow is a talented writer with a fascinating mind, I can’t wait to see what he does in the future. Perhaps he will one day be known as one of Zambia’s most beloved fiction writers…to check out more of his work visit his blog and check out the comic The Mundane Kid or follow him on twitter @Benny_blow