Character Interview with Bennett Saville from ‘Cassandra by Starlight’.

Bennett Saville is 37 years old. He’s in a relationship with a woman ten years older than him, Cassie Wallace. He’s an actor for stage and screen, living in London. Bennett is from a wealthy background, the eldest son of a businessman. He’s had a fairly traumatic childhood, with a mother who is schizophrenic and a father who is a strict disciplinarian and not averse to causing violence to his older son. He used a trust fund he had to go to Warwick University to study drama then attended LSDA –London School of Dramatic Arts to finish his training, He owns his own theatre on Panton Street in London, called The Val, with his gay best friend, Dylan Donahue. He has his own hit TV series called ‘Gabriel’ on the BBC, about a Cambridge University professor, Gabriel Lockwood, who discovers he’s descended from a long line of wizards.

1.Bennett, tell us. How did you first meet your writer?

Hmm. We first met when she was watching some BBC TV series called ‘Sherlock’ Apparently the young actor that plays the part of Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, really took her fancy and she thought he was a lot like me. So she decided to use him to ‘flesh me out’ so to speak and here we are. (Wry smile) I can’t complain. He seems a nice enough chap.  Although I think I’m better looking than he is *chuckles*

 2.Want to dish about him/her?

God, she’s a complete fan girl about this bugger Cumberbatch.  You’d think she’s eighteen instead of *politely coughs behind his mouth*.  She’s also incredibly focused, has a rather irreverent sense of humour which I like, and has a weakness for scantily clad men, as anyone can tell by looking at her bloody Facebook page.

4. Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

*Smiles slyly* I suppose I could say that most of them involve the sex scenes. I had no idea I was such a horny bastard but I like it. And having a beautiful and very sexy woman like Cassie just makes it so much easier.

But joking aside, I really like the scene outside the Val, the night of the opening of our new play, Camden Town. The play went really well, and I was on such a high afterwards. Then that tosser, Adam Brooks from Look Now! had to go and spoil it by asking about what it was like being with an older woman and did I have any bloody ‘mother issues’. *He scowls.” But I showed him. “Smiles in satisfaction* I managed to get the picture of me kissing Cassie in public in every major tabloid the next day. It was a great feeling.

6. What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

I’m a great fan of classical music, Shostakovich being one of my favourite composers. I attend some of the concerts at the various places in London where the London Symphony Orchestra play. I have a neighbour who’s a cellist in the ensemble.  I tend to read a fair bit – I have a tendency towards psychological thrillers and crime drama, but I read a fair amount of non-fiction as well- mostly historical stuff. I like getting down to visit the family in Beaconsfield and saying hello to my nephew Sean, who’s five. He lives with my dad and his housekeeper and it’s always nice to see them all. We have a bit of a bad history, dad and I, so building bridges always seems like a good idea for Sean’s sake.

8. Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?

Well, obviously, I adore Cassie. She’s my world. I knew when I met her she was something special. She’s warm, funny and keeps me on track. She grounds me. Show business can be a tough place to sustain a relationship.

My best friend Dylan- I’ve talked about him later on in the interview so I’ll give him a miss here.

Ian –Ian’s a great chap and a good friend. He’s steady, he’s clever, he is a surgeon after all. He volunteers in far flung places as a doctor with Medicin Sans Frontieres, and I really respect him for that. When I first met him we had a few issues as he was interested in Cassie. He’s also closer to her age and I thought this might be a draw for her. After all, there are ten years between her and I. But I’m glad to see I won her heart first.

Alec- Alec is my publicist and my mentor. He’s the person I rely on to keep me focused in the business and guide me where I need to be. He’s an incredibly supportive person, extremely clever (I seem to be surrounded by them, perhaps some of it will rub off) and very tough. He’s a shark in the great pond of show business and people can underestimate him at their own peril.

Bella- Bella is my ex-girlfriend. She’s pretty drive to succeed in her profession and in fact, she was the one who left me to pursue a dream she had of becoming famous in LA. I don’t blame her for that. She’s beautiful and bright and I hope she finds someone like I have with Cassie.

11. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they’ve known you for a while?

Hmm. If you’re anything like Cassie, she thought I was an arrogant, awkward tosser. *Grins* I am, I suppose, well, maybe not a tosser per se, but the other two adjective fit. I do have a tendency to rub some people up the wrong way because I tell it like it is and to be honest, because of my background and the fact I come from money, and like to dress well, a lot of people assume I’m posher than I am.

But I think once you get to know me you’ll find I’m a pretty down to earth type of bloke, who enjoys a beer in the pub as much as the next man. I’d like to think I’m a good friend, and a caring fiancé to Cassie. I was told once I was a true gentleman and someone a person could trust with anything, so I guess that’s a good thing too.

12. What’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life? What did you learn from it?

(Bennett is quiet here as he contemplates talking about something)

I can’t really go into detail here as it was far too personal. Suffice it to say I suffered a really traumatic event, one over which I had no control. It was one of the darkest periods of my life and I’ve had a few, including where Cassie was stabbed by my mother and nearly lost her life.

What did I learn from it? That being in show business, in the public eyes brings its own dangers and you have to manage them and be prepared. While I would never have been prepared for what happened to me, there were warning signs but it was too late. So I’d advise anyone out there in the public eye who feels they’re being stalked as I was – be very careful and take the threat seriously.

I also learnt that I had an incredible circle of friends and family who supported me through what could have been a much more traumatic event than it was.

13. Tell us about your best friend.

Oh dear God. Really? You want to hear about Dylan? Fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn you *Grins widely*

Dylan and I have been friends since our university days in Warwick. He won’t mind me telling you he’s five years older than me, as he doesn’t think he looks it. He’s a bit of a narcissus that way. He’s a gay Irishman, absolutely irrepressible and incredibly talented as a writer and producer of plays. He manages the theatre we own together, The Val, and writes and directs the plays that I appear in. He’s an absolute card, sometimes a little over the top and he certainly isn’t politically correct.  We’ve travelled the world together, had our fair few adventures but if there’s one person I know I can always rely on, it’s him.

15. What’s the best trait your author has given you? What’s the worst?

I suppose my best trait is the fact that I have acting talent. It’s been a long hard slog and it’s taken years of studying and actually performing to fine tune it, but it needed to be there in the first place. I love acting –beside Cass, it’s my passion and I can’t imagine doing anything else as a living. The fact I get to do what I love and earn a living is a complete turn on.

My worst trait has to be my bloody temper. “sighs gloomily*  I take after my Dad in that respect. I have learned to control it but it used to get Dylan and I into a few scrapes when we were younger. It’s a bit like a red tide that just wells up inside and I have to suppress the urge to get violent or it could turn nasty. Cassie tends to be able to calm me down better than most people.

19. If your story were a movie, who would play you?

*Chuckles loudly* I’d like to say Victor Webster, he from Mutant X fame, as he’s a great guy and I know him quite well. But Sue would kill me. Of course it can only be the infamous Benedict Cumberbatch that could play me. *Coughs politely* In fact, I think she might have written this book in the hope it would be turned into a TV series and that would be exactly what she’d do. But that’s just my humble opinion. Don’t quote me on that one.

20. Describe the town where you live.

The city of London is where I live. I have an apartment in Westminster which overlooks Trafalgar Square. It’s an incredibly diverse place, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.  I love the sounds and the sights of London, the fact you can get anything you feel like eating food wise within a couple of city blocks. Indian, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese- it’s all there. I’m a bit of a fast food junkie I’m afraid. The theatre is within walking distance, our favourite watering hole, De Hems Dutch Bar, isn’t too far either and the tubes make travelling a breeze.  Why would I live anywhere else.

22. Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?

She’s already been hard at working two other books in this series, which she calls her Starlight Series. The second book in the trilogy is already out- Together in Starlight- and the third one is with her editor now. That one’s called Starlight and Promises.  I won’t tell you too much about that one and spoil her surprise but there is a pretty romantic ending to that one, and one which I personally love for obvious reasons when you get to read it.

Bennett, thanks so much for being with me today and sharing your thoughts. Anyone wanting to read more about Bennett and Cassie and their friends, visit Sue’s website

Character Interview with Bennett Saville from ‘Cassandra by Starlight’.

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