New Jersey Exile musician’s book

PUBLISHED: 21:42 22 August 2012

Ben Markus

Ben Markus


A MUSICIAN who is battling cancer has written a book which tells the 30-year story of his band.

Ben Markus started writing New Jersey Exile in 2005 but has had the book published in various forms this year, despite being initially diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in January.

Based on funky blues group The Markus Band, the book features a number of venues and gigs in north Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire owing to the fact the 57-year-old author has lived in the area for much of his life after moving to the UK from the USA as an eight-year-old in 1964.

The former Arlesey resident, who now lives in Silsoe in Bedfordshire, was asked by publishers Just Fiction-Edition if he had new material on the back of the success of his debut novel Greta, a wartime love story.

“They said Greta was starting to get a good deal of interest and asked if I had anything else,” said Ben, who is the lead vocalist and guitarist for The Markus Band.

“I’d been working on New Jersey Exile since 2005 and had written it up until 2008 but I finished the last chapters very quickly as I’d just been diagnosed with terminal cancer at the time.”

Ben has since been told he has a treatable form of prostate cancer but said his diagnosis made him determined to finish the autobiography.

He said: “I thought I only had 12 months to live so it spurred me on to finish the book. I had been offered this publishing contract and it was something I really wanted to do.”

New Jersey Exile has been published in paperback and e-book, and has been available on Amazon Kindle since July.

Ben added: “One reviewer on Amazon described it as ‘a must for everyone trying to make it in music or a band’.

“Some people have mentioned that I’m not famous but that makes the book better.

“It’s not about turning up to a gig in a limousine, it’s cramming into a Vauxhall Astra with the bass player falling out of the boot. It’s music played in the real world.”

The book, which also includes chapters about being a firefighter and dealing with cancer, is available to buy via Amazon and retailer websites such as Waterstones and WH Smith.

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