"What Love Looks Like" by Kurt Bensworth

Last Saturday I met Kurt Bensworth hawking his first novel, What Love Looks Like, at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in the Amerige Heights Town Center in Fullerton.

Bensworth’s tale of first love is set in Orange County where he grew up and still lives.

“The story fell in my lap several years ago,” he said. “When I explained it to my wife, she told me, ‘Ok, honey, you have a choice. You’ve been talking about writing, and I know you do a little writing here and there, but the truth is, there’s a story here. Either write it or stop talking about it.’ ”

“There are two high school kids in Tustin High School, and I describe places in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. A lot of Orange County people would certainly recognize the places that I speak about in the book.”

It took Bensworth “a good year, a solid year” to write the semi-autobiographical love story.

“It was a very emotion-filled writing year. I think I felt everything all over again. … A lot of nights I started at 10 o’clock and I’m not finished till 2. I’m working on my second book right now, but on my first book there were a lot of late nights.”

Explaining that emotional involvement, he said, “I don’t think love ever dies. If you loved somebody, there’s always going to be that little piece of your heart, even if the relationship ended badly, even if you were divorced or something happens or somebody passes away. It’s part of who you are. It’s part of your general make-up from who you were then and who you will be. It’s all part of you.”

Although Bensworth has done other writing, his previous work was more likely to be educational material about computers and software. Love novels are a new venture. And he’s very specific that his genre is love, not romance.

“It’s a completely different genre. Seriously. There is a difference. They put me in fiction. They won’t put me in romance…. Nicholas Sparks would not be put in romance. They put him in fiction, because that’s just how it’s done.”

Bensworth expects to be at Barnes and Noble again today (Thursday, Oct. 14) from 4  to 7 p.m. for a book signing. People “can sit down and discuss their first loves to me if that’s what they want to talk about, or anything else they’d like to talk about, because, you know what? Everybody has a story.”

You might even want to by a copy of his book. You can visit the bookstore or order from Bensworth’s website.

“If you come down and you pick up the book and you read it, I promise you I’ll strike an emotional chord with you somewhere down the road.”


Barnes and Noble
Amerige Heights Town Center
1923 West Malvern Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92833
(714) 871-9855

Kurt Bensworth

You can also meet Bensworth at monthly meetings he hosts for the Orange County satellite of Independent Writers of Southern California


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