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J Luke Bennecke | Discover Books & Novels on CraveBooks

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J Luke Bennecke
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Member Since: 09/2021

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J. Luke Bennecke is a native Californian and veteran civil engineer who has spent his career helping people by improving Southern California roadways. He has a civil engineering degree, an MBA, a private pilot's certificate, and is a partner in an engineering firm. In his role as philanthropist, he awards scholarships annually to high school seniors at his alma mater.

In addition to his first book, Civil Terror: Gridlock, an Amazon bestseller, Bennecke has written several other novels and screenplays, a creative process he thoroughly enjoys. His second Jake Bendel thriller, Waterborne, was published in 2021 by Black Rose Writing.

Bennecke resides in Southern California with three spunky cats and his wife of over 30 years. In his leisure time he enjoys traveling, plays golf, learns about innovative tech, and spends time with his grown daughters. Bennecke is a member of International Thriller Writers and looks forward to attending ThrillerFest every year in New York.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.

Amidst the concrete jungles of Southern California, a master civil engineer became an award-winning author, philanthropist, and daredevil pilot. While constructing bridges and highways, he secretly plotted high-octane thrillers that became bestsellers. But his adventures didn't end there. As a licensed real estate broker and general contractor, he built homes with the precision of a ninja, all while jetting off to exotic destinations with his wife, beating on the drums, and giving back to the community. Living in the shadows of Cherry Valley, CA, his next daring escapade is always just around the corner.

When and why did you start writing books?

In 2015, stuck in stopped, gridlock traffic on the I-210 freeway in Pasadena, I thought there had to be a better way to get people moving from Point A to B. An idea popped in my head about self-driving cars as a solution to traffic congestion. But then I thought, “What if the bad guys weaponized it?” I got home and jotted down an initial outline for Civil Terror: Gridlock and set a goal to write this book as fast as possible.

What made you decide to tackle writing as a career?

I've always enjoyed entertaining people. Making someone laugh is one of the greatest joys of my life. Making them cry, or bite their lip, or get their heart racing because of a scene, or having them stay up into the wee hours of the night, binge-reading something I've read, is pure awesomeness. I also thought I could change the world with my first book. Arrogant? Sure. But I'd rather have tried and failed and learned from that experience than not have gone on that journey to begin with. Who knows, maybe now that I have a few books under my belt and have partnered with an amazing agent, maybe that original dream might end up coming true.

Which one of your books or characters is your favourite?

Definitely my third novel, Echo From A Bayou. They say “write what you know” so I did, with the first two books having a civil engineer protagonist, Jake Bendel. But Echo From a Bayou has a completely different protagonist, so this forced me out of my comfort zone. And based on the feedback so far (#1 Amazon Bestseller and dozens of five-star blog reviews), I think my fans would agree!

Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?

My fourth book, which has not been published yet, stretched me most as a writer because I needed to get comfortable with the U.S. power grid and terrorist tactics likely to be used to take it down. It was a particular challenge to put on my “bad guy” hat and think like a terrorist. To come up with viable, real-world ideas to harm our country, then switch gears, put my “good guy” hat back on and come up with engineering-style ways to prevent the terrorist attacks from happening. I believe the story will prove a tremendous cautionary tale and help get the powers that be moving to make the much-needed upgrades to our power grid.

Who is your favourite author and book?

J.D. Barker’s The Fourth Monkey - the guy is a story-telling genius!

What book are you reading right now?

The Peacock and the Sparrow by I.S. Berry, a former spy I enjoyed meeting at this year's ThrillerFest in New York City.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

As a civil engineer for the past 30+ years, I’ve come across a variety of societal issues I wish I could fix with a magic wand. Tapping into that frustration and allowing myself to solve the real-world problems with a fictional solution is empowering, and there are a TON of problems to solve, so I’m not expecting to run short on ideas!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Play golf, bang on the drums, read, write, build houses, and travel with my wife (aka partner in crime).

Do you have any new books in the works?

Of course! I have three books I’m working on, all in various stages of editing. Two are fictional, one is a self-help book for young adults. And I have an “ideas list” of ten more stories that—with time—will all get written.