By Grace Becker
Is your dentist an author? If you see Richard Benoit, DDS for all your dental needs, then yes.
On the rainy evening of Wednesday, Feb. 8, local Arcata denizens gathered in the library fishbowl for the book launch gathering of Benoit’s book “A Pinch of Powder.” The room was filled mostly with older folks, contrasted against the many college students just outside the glass room studying for their classes.
Benoit started off humorously, as he knew most of the room personally.
“Those of you who know me know I’m not a writer by day job,” he said. He was never interested in writing, studying science all through college, and remembers being intimidated by writing. It wasn’t until after he graduated from dental school and spent a year in Guatemala that the writing began. “I should write about that,” he remembered thinking about his experiences.
His first time writing didn’t exactly go smoothly. After writing 2000 pages (of which he admitted being very critical of), he put the book away and hasn’t looked at it since. He admits being naïve as he was writing “A Pinch of Powder,” and didn’t realize how much went into getting published – writing, reading, editing, marketing, and so on.
“It’s all a part of the process,” Benoit said, mentioning that he is very grateful for his editor, though he added that the two of them “did not agree” at times during the process.
Since that first attempt, however, Benoit has written several books, both for adults and children. He has nine books finished, and when someone asked him how he changed from being uninterested and intimidated by writing to having written nine books, Benoit credited being less inhibited – by being out of school full time, he has more time and more inspiration for writing.
The book is for both children and adults. It is the first book in his Pulvology Series – Pulvology being a word made up by Benoit to mean “the study of powders.” It was born from stories he told his children when they were younger, and now finds itself a full length novel. Benoit read a bit from his book during the launch. The audience got to meet the young protagonists, Jim and Carries Hughes, who find themselves in the company of the eclectic Mrs. Simonson after they move to Ohio from Oregon.
Benoit mentioned wanting to have strong female characters in his book. He’s heard about girls being uninterested or discouraged from getting into science, and wanted to show that science could be fun. He also made mention of the current political administration being somewhat anti-science, adding another aspect of social awareness to the overall writing.
This being his first book launch, Benoit was welcomed warmly by those in the room, and everyone cared deeply for the author’s effort and intent. The aspect of a small town coming together to celebrate a friend and neighbors accomplishments was present in the library fishbowl. Benoit mentioned naming the main characters of his book after close friends, one of which who was sitting in the back of the room near me. The man called Jim smiled and laughed as Benoit gestured to him, the honor of having been a namesake evident on his face.
“It’s fantastic,” Jim said after the fact. “I’m overjoyed.”
While the book had just been released, not many people were able to comment on its contents. Those present, however, had faith in Benoit’s writing ability and by the end of the event all copies the author had for sale were bought, signed, and in the eager hands of readers ready to devour them.
Benoit has the next two books in his Pulvology Series finished, so if you’re interested in giving “A Pinch of Powder” a read, you won’t have long to wait for the next leg of the story.