It struck me recently that while we’ve been carrying on this merry dance, I’m not sure if my readers know of the journey (an oft used phrased but relevant here) and how I got here.
So to that end, here are some Q and As sent to my new Virtual Assistant/Author PA.
Q1. what are you working on now?
A. Shikhari Connection, book two in the Reardon Files series. I’m excited about this one because it delves more into the paranormal, and I’ve created a new world of my own creation “The Etherworld” where the two characters me (and based on feedback) and my readers love, Gypsy and Connor battle supernatural creatures to save the life of Renee, Gypsy’s niece. I think I’m finally ready to take on the more fantasy side of urban fantasy for this one. I was originally fascinated by beings that could be either guides or hunters between worlds, depending on the being. I did some research and found the ancient Indian word “Shikhari” for a hunter or guide, used usually when hunting animals
Q2. when will your next book be out?
A. Ask me that when I’m not exhausted from a full-time business, three children, a busy writing business and promoting and editing like the wind on Sentinel Rising which I hope will be my most successful release yet. Seriously though, I hope it will be sooner rather than later, although while I’m editing and promoting there seems to be little left in the tank to write, brain dead takes over. I’m hoping for Feb or March 2017 for a complete first draft when I’ll put it up on pre-order and stress myself out with deadlines yet again
Q3. Where do you get your inspiration?
A. Not sure to be honest. I’ve always had an active imagination and my mum tells me I was reading at 18 months which sounds wild to me. I very much agree with the comment from my author idol, Stephen King. He says that ideas are like a sieve, the sand goes through the sieve but the good ideas that stick around become a novel. That’s exactly how it happens for me, I know this because my first novel I gave up on and didn’t finish, the idea didn’t stick around long enough to sustain my interest to finish it, so I figured readers would be bored too. Thank goodness that title never saw the light of day. Some of the best ideas happen while I’m not writing, especially when I’m either in the shower or doing housework. Don’t think that means I’m going to do either of those things more though okay?
Q4. Do you write full time or have a day job?
A. I wish I wrote full time but I have a very busy day job, so my hobbies are pretty much sleeping and reading, in that order sometimes. Like many authors, I dream of earning enough from author royalties that I can write books a lot faster than I do now. Writing supernatural suspense thrillers is my favourite kind of playtime.
Q5. how long did it take you to write the book?
A. This one (Sentinel Rising) took me a bit longer than the other four. I spent 4-6 times longer plotting this one out as its more of a mystery where the bad guy isn’t revealed to the end, (I read a lot of mysteries and crime books) which was a lot trickier, but I wanted to give it a go. First draft took me six months off and on, as looking back I think I doubted myself a bit more due to a slight shift in genre and viewpoint. I’m confident the extra time spent means for a better book though. The reviews will tell me if my confidence was misplaced.
Q6. What inspired you to write it?
A. I really wanted Connor Reardon to have his own series. It felt at times in series 1 that he was stifled in Gypsy’s shadow, and I wanted him to break out on his own for the first book of his own series, and he’s definitely done that. I love mystery novels, and love the suspense, so wanted to try that with my own brand of supernatural/psychic/awesome abilities thrown in, so this was my first go at that. I’m proud of finishing it, if truth be told.
Q7. what was the hardest part about writing it?
Writing from Connor’s point of view, a man, and also not switching viewpoints. All of the earlier books were told in multiple viewpoints and some in first person. For this title, I wanted to write in a similar style to some of my favourite authors namely Michael Connelly, Ray Bradbury and Ian Rankin and in the process hopefully entice some blokes to read my books! I’m not sure if I’ve succeeded in understand and writing from a male private investigator/ex cops point of view, hopefully once some men read it they’ll let me know.
Q8. how long have you been writing?
A. As long as I can remember. My first ‘published’ title in the strictest sense of the word happened in primary school at the age of 7. I named it ‘the Owl that couldn’t Twit Twoo’ I couldn’t remember the word for Hoot but now I remember I hadn’t come across that word in any books at that age. Then I took a long time off due to being told by a parent that I’d starve if I became a writer so didn’t start my own copy writing business until my first child was born in 1998. In 2013 I wrote my first non-fiction book, as writing fiction and baring my soul was still too scary. I tried a novel in 2013, but didn’t finish it (crappy idea that didn’t have enough juice to carry me through to completion) but in 2014, got together with a friend, and the idea for Gypsy Hunted (which started as a short story) got me through 63,000 of my first novel. Woo hoo! I haven’t looked back from there.
Q9. do you listen to music when you write? if so what?
A. Occasionally although I get distracted by lyrics when I’m writing words, the two opposing forces of words clash and mingle and interrupt my flow. The Lord of the Rings sound tracks, or another one called “Where civilization lay” is inspiring too.
Q10. what snack do you eat while writing?
A. Salt and vinegar pringles or Pork Krackles in a pack, sold at my local Woolies store, but they discontinued the line and stopped selling them recently. If I had the time or the inclination, I’d start an online petition to get them back!
Q11. do you have a playlist for you book?
A. Yes, for series one it’s on you tube and my blog (search for Crime fiction playlist Andrea drew). Each song applies to a scene from each of those books that stood out to me. My latest favourite is Black Betty by Spider Bait as in this book I loved the idea of Connor being a bit more edgy, he was just so well behaved in the first series. So, he traded in his Australian Ford Falcon, his “company” car as a detective, and bought a hotted up muscle car, a black 1970s Australian charger. What a beast. Usually I prefer music with no lyrics when I’m writing so film and music soundtracks, but if I’m writing an emotional scene ‘The Pretender’ by the Foo Fighters always fires me up.
Q12. who did you base your characters after?
A. They start as my ideal character with some personality trait or element I love. For example, with Gypsy I wrote the abilities I wish I had, in a situation where she raced against the clock to find a killer and save her own life. CoBuy Sentinel Rising herennor of course was and is the ideal man, but I’ve written him for five books now and he’s asserted himself and become his own person now. I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing about these characters, they are so dear to me and almost as real and dear to me as my own family, embarrassing as that might be to admit. Sometimes I remember the scenes in my book so much, and get lost in there, that I forget about real life, and don’t remember what was happening at the time I wrote them, only the life I lived through my books!