Author Interview: Dennis Milam Bensie

About the Author:

Dennis Milam Bensie grew up in Robinson, Illinois where his interest in the arts began in high school participating in various community theatre productions. Bensie’s first book,  Shorn: Toys to Men was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award, sponsored by the American Library Association. It was also a pick in the International gay magazine The Advocate as “One of the Best Overlooked Books of 2011″.

The author’s short stories have been published by Bay Laurel, Everyday Fiction, and This Zine Will Change Your Life and he has also been a feature contributor for The Good Men Project. One Gay American is his second book with Coffeetown Press and it was chosen as a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the Indie Excellence Book Awards. He was a presenter at the 2013 Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans. Dennis lives in Seattle with his three dogs.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

I let the story flow. You can learn so much by listening to the story. Often, the most wonderful moments of writing are spontaneous.   

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I can be either/or. Not good at trying to be both at the same time. Sometimes when writing I lose all track of time. 

Do you listen to music while writing?

No. I write best when it is silent. 

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
One Gay American came out last September. It is my second memoir about growing up gay. The book is vignettes about my life that tie into gay history in America. 

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Live your life like you are already the writer you hope to be. Don’t wait for the validation. 

What are three words that describe you?

Sincere. Conflicted. Sharp.

What's your favorite book or who is your favorite writer?
Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar 

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

For One Gay American:
“The bitch has been through it, and she (he) has no problem telling you ALL about it, WITHOUT sugar-coating the shadiest, dishiest bits. BIG SNAPS for Bensie!” ~~~Jinkx Monsoon, Winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 

List of previous books if anyShorn: Toys to Men was released by Coffeetown Press in 2011. 
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web

One Gay American
by Dennis Milam Bensie
Coffee Town Press
Available in ebook and paperback

Dennis Milam Bensie is One Gay American. Born in the 1960s and raised with traditional values in Robinson, Illinois, Bensie desperately wanted romance, a beautiful wedding, and a baby to carry on the family name. He denied his sexuality and married a woman at nineteen years old,  but fantasized of weddings where he could be the bride. The newlyweds "adopted" a Cabbage Patch Doll and ironically witnessed a Cabbage Patch Doll wedding (a successful fundraiser staged by a local women's club) where the dolls were granted the type of grand ceremony off-limits to gay couples.

In search of his identity as a gay man, Bensie divorced his wife and stumbled through missteps and lessons that still sting his generation: defending against bullies, "disappointing" his parents, and looking for love in gay bars, bath houses and restrooms. He helped his straight friends plan their dream weddings and mourned his gay friends dying of AIDS. Although true love has not yet come his way, Bensie has learned to love himself.

Bensie is the author of the much-lauded memoir, Shorn: Toys to Men, which recounts his battle with paraphilia. One Gay American tells the rest of his story and draws parallels to gay history, decade by decade, with newspaper headlines and quotations. Bensie is the gay neighbor that you either love or hate. Either way, he's got a lot to say and says it with no apologies.


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