Jason Bennett is best known for his novel The Dynamite Room, which was published under his pen-name Jason Hewitt. Writers Charlee and Jess sat down with Jason to get the inside scoop on the author and playwright.
Jason has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where he now teaches, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in both History and English from the University of Winchester. He also trained in drama to become an actor. He has appeared in several plays, including Pericles and A Christmas Carol.
“I chose the pen-name Jason Hewitt, as Bennett was already taken by a previously established actor, and I needed a unique name,” he explains. When asked why he chose to write stories focused on the Second World War, he says that for him, it was a way of escaping into another world. He also finds that writing suspenseful contemporary novels is much harder, as new technology broaches more problems in his storylines.
“In The Dynamite Room, Lydia gets kidnapped. If the book was set in the modern day, she could just text or call someone for help”
Jason’s love of history is partly what inspired him to write these novels – Agatha Christie’s books were one of his first loves. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks and Atonement by Ian McEwan are also key influences. “Although, as an author, this is not enough to be able to write a novel,” he says. “You will find inspiration in everything around you.”
The Dynamite Room was long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Authors’ Club First Novel award. Critics claim it to be ‘Ambitious and often gripping, with a tense and dramatic climax…’ (The Observer). His books are popular in both the US and Canada, as well as the UK.
Sticking to the 1940s, Jason’s latest novel in the works is a haunting ghost story, centred around a small sheep farming community in Cumbria.