By Lucas Vader
Since early July, the Pioneer Town Museum in Cedaredge has been hosting an event called “Pioneer Town Talks” each Thursday since it opened for the season. These talks have featured early settlers of the area, a Ute historian and tidbits on locations and structures in the area that have a historic backstory.
This last Thursday, things looked a bit different for the event, as Don Paul Benjamin, Cedaredge resident, published author and Delta County Independent contributing writer, talked about the modernized process of publishing a book.
Benjamin’s book, “The Road to Lavender,” came out last month and notably features a fictional town that is based off of Cedaredge, its natural scenery and a bit of its heritage.
Benjamin’s book also immediately features a journey from Arizona to this town which represents Cedaredge, as it’s a journey that Benjamin used to commute regularly.
“Advice from [novelists] is to write what you know,” Benjamin said. “And one thing I definitely know about is the Road to Lavender. For six years before I moved to Cedaredge, I commuted every July from the fiery desert of Phoenix, Arizona to the cool mountains of Western Colorado.”
He had a job where he could work remotely during the summer months. He had time during those months to go fishing in the morning or after work, alone with his thoughts.
He wrote during those times as well. He realized at the time that his journey may ultimately have some details he’d want to remember.
“I took a handheld tape recorder along and I began recording a sort of travel log,” Benjamin said. “Sights along the way, people and the places, the weather and the road itself. Once I had the context of the environment firmly in mind, I began to plot characters, so I was very place oriented to begin with.”
Benjamin had to follow up that geographical novel by asking what would cause a fictional character to take such a journey. That’s what he needed next.
The main character of “Road to Lavender” is a girl in her early 20s by the name of Anne. According to Benjamin, she’s based incredibly loosely off of a real life person by that name.
He had a sister as a child who had died before she was born. Her name was going to be Anne. Benjamin said the fictional character in his story has shared personality traits from each of his own parents, noting that the feistiness is homage to his mother.
After character development, it was onto the plot and the overall mystery that would bring it all together and use those traits in an engaging manner.
Finally, Benjamin completed the work of fictional mystery and went on to publish it with Kindle Direct Publishing, a self-publishing service through Amazon which allows users to easily upload the pieces of the book, particularly the manuscript and cover, for it to be published immediately.
It’s a free service up front. It takes a share of each purchase and prints paperback orders on demand so there’s no upfront publishing cost or overstock.
Benjamin and the fictional town of Lavender still have a road ahead of them, however, as Benjamin plans for his published book to be the first of a trilogy. The sequel is already underway.