The Thursday Throng welcomes Ben Stevens, author of Buddha’s Breakfast: Adventures at a 16th Century Japanese Temple

I couldn’t resist this intriguing title when Ben contacted me about it. I mean, what does Buddha have for breakfast every morning? Are we talking about THE Buddha or something else entirely? This book is written by someone who has been there, done it and got a metaphorical tee-shirt to prove it. Meet Ben Stevens, the author and a working member of the community at ‘Daionji’ (the name of the temple in Nagasaki City).

Buddhas breakfast coverThe Review

Buddha’s breakfast is a fast and easy read for anyone interested in life in Japan. It’s written ‘from the horse’s mouth’ and the details he includes demonstrate his deep and abiding interest in life in a foreign culture. The tales and observations he makes from the standpoint of being the caretaker/janitor are probably best served with a dash of outsider observer. Without that distinction it is unlikely Ben would have been able to ‘see’ things that those born to the culture probably don’t notice. Excellent.

ben stevens photoThe Interview

What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

I am the great-great-great-etc grandson of Captain James Cook.

What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?

‘I really can not recommend this book too highly…. Five stars simply are not enough. Well done Mr. Stevens, Well done….’ – One comment I was quite proud of for a ***** Amazon review for my novel ‘Big Sound Temple’, by bestselling author Lloyd Tackitt (‘A Distant Eden’)

What did the worst review you ever had say about you and your work?

‘BORING, BORING, BORING… ugh…’ was one line from a 2-star Amazon review of my book ‘A Gaijin’s Guide to Japan’ (HarperCollins)

Are the names of your characters important to you?

Sometimes… especially for my main character in ‘Big Sound Temple’, Hiro Matsumoto. ‘Matsumoto’ can be translated from the Japanese as something like ‘the base of the pine tree’ – and Hiro is a Japanese temple gardener. Kind of fitting, I thought.

How did you choose a title for your book?

For my latest book, ‘Buddha’s Breakfast: Life at a Japanese Temple’, it was a mixture of the breakfast we prepare at the temple (Daionji, in Nagasaki City) to place in front of the statue of Buddha each morning; the second part is just because I want any potential readers to ‘get’ what this book is about as quickly as possible.

Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?

Some occasional ‘misunderstanding’ from your spouse/significant other that you might just be wasting your time, all those endless hours you sit in front of a computer screen…?

Have you ever written naked?

Not knowingly… although I find writing just in my boxers strangely liberating.

Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?

Take on board all constructive criticism – esp. If it’s from someone who knows what they’re talking about. They may be giving you excellent advice, even if they’re not really praising what you’ve written. Maybe they see you have potential. Also have the thick skin to ignore any ‘hate’ that occasionally occurs on Amazon reviews, etc.

How do you remain sane while working?

Prozac

What has been the best experience you have ever had in your life?

Actually 2 – holding my daughters (now 4 and 1) shortly after they were first born.

Are you jealous of other writers?

No, what’s the point? Love or loathe their work, they’re still doing it. Respect.

Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?

Beer and coffee – though I really shouldn’t… Makes me write faster, but not always very… well

Are there any habits you wish you didn’t have?

Should probably quit my ‘social smoking’

If you could commit the perfect murder where would you hide the body?

Visit my apartment and I’ll show you.

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Where can you find out more about Ben and buy a copy of Buddha’s Breakfast?

You can contact Ben through Facebook by emailing him at ben.stevens.37@facebook.com and he can be found on Twitter with the handle @benstevens1976 .

You can find ‘Buddha’s Breakfast: Adventures at a 16th Century Japanese Temple’ on Amazon in the UK and on Amazon in the US, and on Goodreads too.

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Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?

These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/

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