I am so thrilled about the release of Summer Feels: a #romanceclass Anthology, not only because I am one of the authors, but because we have a couple of author newbies who contributed!
One such newbie is H. Bentham. He also goes by Ben or Bentch.
Bentch was born and raised in the Philippines, but now resides 1,487 miles away from home (although at the moment, he is home!). He battles homesickness with his various hobbies and (mostly) by procrastinating on the internet. When he’s done being bored, he writes stories and, when he’s feeling particularly profound, poems. He adores turtles and bettas, enjoying the slow, quiet companionship they provide.
And get this, Bentch’s contribution to the anthology is an M/M story that is not your normal coming-of-age one! There are actually 2 in the anthology, and this is also why I am so proud of this book. But, back to Bentch. Check out the story description and quote below from his story, Guide for a Day:
“Guide for a Day” by H. Bentham
Delivery boy Jun meets vacationer Ricky at his hometown’s only hotel. It was an instant attraction for Jun, and when the city boy offers to hire him as a tour guide for a day, the provincial lad agrees. They go around town together, discovering more than just the town’s history, but each other’s as well.
So, are you ready to get to know Bentch better? Here we go . . .
Ysrealm (YS): What drives you to write?
H. Bentham (HB): It used to be enough for me to just put down into words the stories I daydream about (I’ve kept journals with fics since I was 12, and drew figure stick comics before that) but now that I’ve read a bunch of quality books with Filipino representation, I came to understand how fulfilling it is to read about familiar themes. All these feel good vibes and ~kilig I get from reading Filipino romance, I want to give back. This time in the form of my own stories, my own words.
YS: What is the first piece of writing that you have done that made you believe that you are destined to be an author/writer?
HB: I don’t think I’ll ever think about writing as my destiny (it is such hard work and I am such a lazyass! Haha) but the moment I knew I wanted to write professionally was when I posted ‘Danse’ on Wattpad in April 2014. A week after I hit the ‘Publish’ button, my story wasn’t being read by anyone, the counter was barely going up and I thought I would I would feel so bad about it. It was my baby being released into the world, after all, but I didn’t. I was surprisingly okay with it. I was able to do my own thing and it didn’t matter if people responded or not, I did it, I took the plunge.
Of course people eventually found it (thanks to my friend, Chenley, who promoted it to her fans in the first week!) and read it, flaws and all, and gave positive feedback. It felt wonderful, but that was only secondary to the happiness I felt just by allowing myself to finally do what I’ve been afraid to.
YS: Do you write more (or better) when you’re sad, happy, angry, or calm?
HB: I wrote a short poem exactly about this (https://www.wattpad.com/129181366-thoughts-on-the-train-untitled-6837) and justified why I write more when my insides are in turmoil. Haha.
I’m trying to change this now, because writing romance must have more positivity, more hope for the future, but I still find myself writing about stress and loneliness from time to time.
YS: What is the perfect situation or environment for you to be able to write productively?
HB: Chaos! Haha! I learned this recently about myself. Back when I was working 6 days a week, every night I’d have an hour or two where I felt like writing and the words came easily. I always wished to have better conditions (more time, less distractions) and when I finally got that, I found I could no longer write as much as I thought I would.
I got so used to using writing as an escape from the stresses of work that when I lost that, I no longer have anything to escape from. LOL. But I have to learn to write in whatever condition I’m in, good or bad. That’s what writers do.
YS: What’s your poison of choice when you write–coffee, beer, tea, wine, food, etc.?
HB: ALL OF THE ABOVE. Hahaha! I wish I was kidding but unfortunately, I cannot sit still in front of a computer without anything to munch on. Too bad for my health and figure, wahaha. *I’m devouring a giant pack of Iced gems as I am writing this. LOL
YS: What do you wish people will write more of?
HB: Filipino LGBT Literature has a gap that badly needs to be filled. I’m not the first one to say this but quality queer lit in the country is either very difficult to have access to, and those readily available are lacking range (it’s all sugar-pop cutesies or lava-hot erotica). We need more of Agay Llanera’s Another Word for Happy, Brigette Bautista’s Don’t Tell Your Mother, CJ Edmunds’ Take Me Home and Ronald S. Lim’s Yours is the First Face that I Saw.
YS: What is your dream writing project?
HB: “I want to write about hot witch boys fighting supernatural evil in the streets of Manila, while falling helplessly in love with each other.” -taken from my 2015 June-year Resolutions. J
YS: Will there be a sequel to “Guide for A Day?” Steamy perhaps?
HB: You, Ms. Yeyet, were the very first one to ask for this! And since the book launched, more and more people are requesting for it! Haha! I can’t say I’m 100% sure I will be able to write it (because I’m a lazyass, what did I say?) but I’ve daydreamed about a dinner scene with Lola Rosita a couple of times now, so there’s that…Hahaha!
***End of Interview***
The thing I like about Bentch is that he is really a very pleasant and engaging guy in person. I met him first at the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) late last year, and although we really didn’t talk, we did have some pictures together! After that, we mostly communicated online. I had a chance to meet him in Singapore when I went there for business a few months ago and we had after-dinner drinks and just talked about writing, reading, the #romanceclass community, and of course, the upcoming (at that time) Summer Feels anthology launch. He is very passionate about his writing and he is very open about supporting other writers out there. I really hope Bentch really gets to write his dream projects, as well as the sequel to A Guide for a Day. He is currently busy with other WIPs at the moment, so we will all surely read more of H. Bentham in the near future.
Follow him on Twitter @bentchbites
Like his Facebook page, facebook.com/Mr.H.Bentham
Follow him on Amazon at amzn.to/2nZO6eo
Follow him on Goodreads at bit.ly/2oIysCK
Summer loving happens so fast, as you’ll find with Summer Feels, an anthology of 23 stories of love under the summer sun by #romanceclass authors. Savor the candied thrill of firsts—first loves, first kisses, first solo vacations—and the bittersweet triumph of second chances. Tour the Philippines as the stories take you to mountain retreats and island paradises. Let the magic of the hot sun, clear blue skies, and lots of love take you on a roller coaster ride of feels. With stories ranging from sweet to sexy, there’s sure to be something for any fan of romance.
Featuring stories by:
Elea Andrea Almazora • Erleen Alvarez • Ella Banta • Rachelle Belaro • H. Bentham • Halina Cabrera • Charlie Dio • Mina V. Esguerra • Elizabeth Galit • Georgette S. Gonzales • Ami Granada • Irene Jurado • Catherine Lo • Arlene Manocot • Bianca Mori • Eris Peñaluna • Farrah F. Polestico • Kit Salazar • Miel Salva • Fay Sebastian • Kate Sebastian • Yeyet Soriano • Marian Tee
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y51NJ9H
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34817829-summer-feels
- Print copy preorder links (Philippines only): http://bit.ly/summerfeels-pof
- International: Amazon gift card worth $25
- Philippines Only: Print books from some of the authors:
- My Dutch Billionaire by Marian Tee
- Kate, Finally by Yeyet Soriano
- Old Enemies Make the Best Lovers by Kate Sebastian
Click here to join: