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Fayetteville author sees success after releasing novel

Amy Benevento is working on a screenplay for Jackel Island

Amy Benevento released her first novel in September and is currently working on a screenplay in the wake of its success.

Amy Benevento released her first novel in September and is currently working on a screenplay in the wake of its success. Allie Wenner

— After 13 months of writing, it became a daily activity for Benevento, and she said that she got so attached to the characters that she had a hard time getting used to not writing once the book was complete.

“I got to know the characters more than I know my best friends,” she said. “They were so real to me, I thought I was losing my mind. When I finished writing, I missed them terribly- I think I went through a grieving period.”

In fact, Benevento said that the people who’ve read it say the dialogue between characters is one of the strongest points of the novel because all of the characters have their own distinct voices.

There are a couple of things that make Jackel Island stand out from the rest of the books that are being published these days. Benevento said that she often will read a book and forget who a character is when they’re reintroduced partway through, so she took it upon herself to draw a thumbnail of each character and provide a brief description including their name, age and in which department they work in the front of the book. She said it’s quite rare for an author to illustrate her own book. Her artwork turned out so well that a publisher in Detroit offered Benevento an illustrating job, but she decided to turn it down.

Jackel Island is very much a book of the digital age in that it has an interactive website for fans that finish the book and want more. Jackelisland.com is set up a lot like a DVD ‘special features” section- fans can read deleted scenes and an alternate ending, find out what happened before you first meet the characters in the book and read the beginning of the screenplay, which Benevento is currently working on. She’s hoping to make the book into movie during the next couple of years.

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