An excellent reader question about Tenzin and Ben, and an answer (sort of).

yellow-riverReader Elizabeth Arrowood asked a great question over on the Facebook page, and I wanted to take some time to answer it here on the blog at a little more length, because this is a question I get fairly often, and I want you guys to get where I’m coming from.

“So, just wondering- how long might we have to wait for this Ben & Tenzin Series? I can hardly STAND how excited I am about it! :)”

First off, I love your excitement! I’m so glad you love these characters. I love them, too. But this is one of those questions with a short and long answer.

The short answer is: I don’t know.

The longer answer is: I don’t see myself starting on that series for at least a year. Possibly longer. And I can promise it’s NOT because I’m not excited to work on it. It’s not because I don’t know the overarching plot line of that series. And it’s NOT because I don’t think it’s important.

There are two factors at play here. One, Ben is still pretty young in my mind. I don’t know how exactly to explain it, but he just is! When I first started writing that character, he was a child. A mature, somewhat jaded child, but a child. And as the series has progressed, he’s grown, obviously. BUT, he’s not there yet, for me. I hope that makes sense. It’s not a YA or NA series. He still needs some time to mature.

The second factor is Tenzin. Ah, Tenzin. I love Tenzin. She’s awesome. She’s also a really difficult character to write. REALLY difficult. That’s part of the reason I love her. She’s a challenge. And she’s had a very dark life, which means that a series with her as a main character is going to have some very dark moments. It’s possible that I’ll be writing some of her background in short story or novella form at some point. I haven’t decided yet.

(Please understand, her life was not pretty. And it wouldn’t be a “nice” story. But it might be an important story for the overall series, so it’s possible. I know what she’s been through in my mind, but writing it all out becomes infinitely more difficult.)

Can I tell you how it’s all going to work out? Nope. I don’t see anything predictable for those two characters, so I can’t really tell you what to expect. Expect Tenzin and Ben. Being themselves. Trust me, they’re talking to me, (Figuratively, of course. Please don’t call the men in white coats.) and I’ll keep listening. Can you expect a book shortly? No. Can you expect some shorts or extras? Probably.

Trust me, their stories will be written. But you’ll have to be patient.

Elizabeth, thanks for the great question, and I hope that answers it. And thanks to everyone who has shown so much enthusiasm for these two characters.

(And if you’re a Tenzin fan, and you haven’t read Wind Speaks, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to peek into her thoughts a little.)

Thanks for reading! And thanks for the awesome reception for BLOOD AND SAND. I am truly blessed.

All the best,



15 thoughts on “An excellent reader question about Tenzin and Ben, and an answer (sort of).

  1. Deb says:

    You have given us a glimpse of him at an older point, but I would agree that when I picture his character, I think younger, as a matter of fact, I almost think of him as Small Boy’s older brother, and get all maternal. These people all are your children, some arise full grown, others develop. We can be patient. And I can’t imagine what Tenzin has lived through, so I can imagine that is going to be difficult to read, let alone write. I so appreciate this world you have created. Thank you.

  2. Janka Dustan says:

    Elizabeth, thank you for taking your time to answer this question. I am a huge fan of Elemental world and read all your other books too. You are an amazing writer. But I’m honestly not sure that a relationship between Ben and Tenzin would work. As you said he is very young and growing up in 21st century and she is much much older. Don’t know. But if you ever do decide to write a book about them I am sure it will be a great story and one that I will definately read.
    Can’t wait for your new book. Take care.

  3. Deborah says:

    I posted this on the Facebook page already, but I thought of some other things.Thanks for answering that question! I was interested in the whole Ben/Tenzin thing, but I could not make it work in my head exactly because of Ben’s maturity level. I think he is going to have to have things happen to him to put him even close to a level where he and Tenzin would have a chance. Right now, the only thing that makes sense for them is a solid friendship. I think they will have to go their separate ways for a while so he can grow and then they can see each other in a new light later. Maybe Ben can strike out on his own, meet a girl, have a relationship that ends in tragedy…

    1. Lydia says:

      I agree that it will be difficult with Tenzin and Ben but I still think it can work because Ben reaching a part of Tenzin that she has missed in herself … her youth. I think been make things lighter for Tenzen because living thousands of years surly can make you jaded but I think Ben makes things new again for Tenzen. Ok so he young now but remember Ben is alot more experienced in life then you think having to live by his wits until Gio found him and gave him a real home. I think you can make as a compelling a love story for these two as you did with Gio and B. I can wait.

  4. Bonnie says:

    As always you addressed the issues and questions we’ve shared. It amazes me that you listen and speak to your readers will so much care. Thank you!

  5. rolopolobookblog says:

    You have been very sneaky about these two characters in the last couple of books – giving us just enough to remind us that they are still around but not nearly enough to keep lovers of the series (like myself!) truly satisfied. I always want more of both characters (especially Tenzin) and am so glad you have addressed these two and their future.
    Though I am not a patient person by nature, I appreciate that you are holding off on a more in depth story about two of my favorite characters until everythig falls into place for you. Ben and Tenzin deserve a great story and I know putting it off until everything is right will produce something wonderful and amazing. Though, I won’t lie, I hope those two stop talking to you and start shouting for their story to be told 🙂

    All the best,
    Leisha O. at RoloPolo

  6. terrycw says:

    I agree – Ben is still “too young”. But I will also say this – I have one chapter left in Blood and Sand and already I am going into withdrawal………….you………………must…………..write…………more!!! Help! We’re gasping for words (your words, on paper/kindle/nook) here………..

  7. Debbie R says:

    First off, Elizabeth you must eat healthy and take good care of yourself as we need all your stories for many, many years to come. Second, I agree with Janka Dustan. I personally do not picture the child when I read of Tenzin, nor do I yet picture the mature adult when reading of Ben. I do however feel that Diedre deserves to love again. That being said, I realize they are your family and you know best. Just remember your apple today!

    1. JackieV says:

      Ben and Tenzin always were a complicated pairing because of their age and it will be great to read about them in the future. She was there for him when he needed a friend and I agree that something major will have to occur before that relationship changes from friendship to something more as they both have had hard lives.

      I agree with Debbie R, in that Deidre desrves to find love again and I think it was hinted at in Fall of Water. I would also love to hear about Deidre and Ioan – I am sure that would be another epic story.

      Enjoy your break and we look forward to more Elemental World in the future.

  8. Gladys Longosky says:

    Though difficult it will be to have to wait for more in the Elemental series, if it meant that the series continues to maintain it’s very high quality of story you have built in them, then waiting will be well worth it! In the meantime I will expore your other works and hope to be drawn to them as I you have drawn me to this series. Thank you!

  9. John Prichard says:

    I agree with what Gladys said. Take your time and maintain your very high quality. Like Beatrice and Natalie, a little more slice of human life goes a long way toward contentment in immortal life. So if Ben ends up with Tenzin, then he has to woo her and bring a whole lot more to the partnership and that takes maturity. Besides, it seems like the series itself covers about 9 years plus the extending parts of the elemental world series. The kids of Dez and Natalie need to be into high school and Ben into his 20’s with gaps away from Tenzin to bring a fresh approach to Tenzin. Of course, I’m just an old man speculating … the master story teller has to think about it and right now she has a current series getting started and a new one to launch.

  10. Michael Leonard says:

    I also think that Saba’s comment that it wasn’t Ben’s time was interesting (last book of the main series). I think Ben needs to be earth to bring balance to the main characters. I think at some time in the future he is turned by Saba then he can be a power match to Tenzin

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