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Questions for Ben


What was your experience in Guatemala Like?

It was sobering.  On one hand I made life long friends.  On the other hand, I ran up against powers I couldn’t fight.  I saw people whom I had come to love living in fear.  I didn’t like feeling helpless to bring changes.  That was when I decided to write a book about that time and place.


How did you write about all the places these characters went?

I had traveled throughout Guatemala over the years.  That was why I chose Guatemala instead of some other Central or South American country.


Some people would say it is the same as any other place on earth.  It is a time of discovery and growth.  I would say it is much different because most indigenous Guatemalan kids grown up being taught they are lesser humans and don’t deserve anything better than their poverty.  These people are not lazy.  They deserve much better than they get.

What is it like to be a kid in Guatemala?


How did you come up with this story plot?

I had two goals.  I wanted to bring awareness to the genocide that took place in the early 1980s, and I also wanted to bring a face to boat people.


As an author, what was the most challenging part of writing Red Midnight?



I’m not sure anybody ever escaped the genocide by taking a boat up the Yucatan coast.  But I did want to make sure the story was possible if not probable.  I spent a lot of time making sure the trip could be made.


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