Monday, February 11, 2013

Meet Author Andrew Leon

Hello. Thanks for being a guest on my blog today. Can I offer you a virtual cookie?

Ooh... a cookie! Okay, since it's virtual, I'll say yes. Unless virtual cookies have sugar in them? They don't, do they? Because that would be bad.

Virtual cookie = zero sugar and zero calories. Here you go. 
Pretend for a moment that your books are your children. Please introduce us. We’d like names, ages, quirks, birth story, any details you would like to share.

Well, I don't really get into that whole "books as children" thing, but I can tell you about them. The House on the Corner just turned two last week (Feb 6). I wrote it as a bedtime story for my kids, taking inspiration from Tolkien in how he wrote The Hobbit, so that I would have outside motivation to follow through and finish the book. I also modeled the structure loosely off of Paul Zindel's The Pigman because I hadn't seen any other multiple 1st person perspective books around. At the time, I wasn't really aware of how prevalent 1st person had become in books aimed at younger readers, or I wouldn't have done that. At this point, I'm more than a little tired of all the 1st person stuff out there. The follow up novella, "Christmas on the Corner," and the sequel (which will hopefully be finished before the end of the year), Brother's Keeper, are in 3rd person.

I just finished my second book in January, but I've been serializing it for quite a while, now. Shadow Spinner should be ready for release as a complete book in the next few months sometime, as soon as I finish the editing. Parts 1-14 are available for the Kindle, though, and I make those free as often as possible. Part 15 will be out on February 18 and will be free for a couple of days along with several of the other parts.

Hmmm. Are you not into this because you're a man? That's okay. Next.
Please give us a peek into your writing life. How much time each week do you spend writing? Is your desk messy or clean? Do you have a schedule or are you sporadic? What helps you stay motivated? We want to know what makes you tick as a writer.

Oh, man, I don't even know how much time I spend writing. It seems like all of it. I suppose it depends upon what kind of writing you mean. I spend two to three hours a day, generally speaking, on fiction writing, but there's also writing blog posts and commenting and things like that, so it ends up being a lot of time.
My desk is messy but organized. Mostly. If that makes sense. (It does.)
I'm pretty scheduled, but it's because I have to be. I have things during the day that have to happen at certain times, like carting the kids to and from school, so those things keep my writing confined to particular parts of the day, since I can't really do the fiction writing when they're home. They make thought impossible.
I don't tend to have an issue with motivation. Once I decide I'm going to do something, I'm pretty good about doing it. Once I established my pattern while writing House, I haven't had an issue holding to it. Right now, I have so many projects planned that I kind of can't stop. Any time away feels like a huge loss.

It sounds like you should give us some advice on motivation. I'm sure a lot of writers struggle with that. I know I do. Perhaps a blog post some time?
Please tell us some of your favorites.
Favorite treat:Gosh, I don't know. We cut sugar out of our diets several years ago, so I don't keep that kind of stuff around much. Hmm... special occasion type stuff... chocolate from Recherche Du Plaisir. I swear it's the best in the world, and I'm in the middle of giving away a box of the stuff as a prize for a short story contest I was running. Also croissants from Cafe de Croissant. Any kind, although I might like the chocolate raspberry best.
Favorite stress reliever:Hmm... that would have to be the hot cocoa I make. No sugar. When the kids really get to me, I want to sit down with a mug of that in  the evening.
Favorite office supply:Um... paper? Or a pen? Paper and pen. Because I carry a notebook with me when I go places to work on my secondary project that I work on when I'm away from my computer.
Favorite punctuation mark:Semi-colon. Definitely. It's completely underrated.
Favorite day of the week:There are different days of the week?
Favorite movie:Well, if you've been to my blog, you'll know that I don't do the whole "favorite movie/book/song" thing. Those things are too likely to change over time. That said, Star Wars. It's been with me longer and has been more significant in my life than anything else.

Describe for us what your surroundings would be if you walked into your favorite piece of art. Feel free to be as literal or figurative as you would like.

Well, you'd need to define "art," I suppose. Do you mean, like, a painting? Or any kind of art? Because if you mean any kind of art, I'd walk right into Star Wars as a Jedi Knight. But I'd have to think about when I'd want to do that in the continuity of the movies. I certainly wouldn't want it to be during the Clone War era. That would be a short life as a Jedi.

See the resemblance? Hey, art is art. That totally works. Thanks for joining me today, Andrew! If you'd like to learn more about Andrew and his writing, check it out here.


Elizabeth Barbarick said...

What a great interview! Thanks so much for sharing! I am definitely going to check out this book!!!

Debra Allen Erfert said...

Hey, my daughter-in-law sells those robes online, Andrew. You totally need one--you look so much like the young Obewan (sp?). The cool light sabers aren't limb-slicing real, but they do light up with a battery.

I always carry a notebook in my handbag and a little carrying case stuffed with pens so if/when the inspiration hits I can write, too.

Great interview!

Matthew MacNish said...

My god you do look like a young Ben, Andrew!

And I'm reading House on the Corner right now, and it's quite good. Andrew actually does a great job clueing you in on who is narrating each chapter - instead of naming the chapter after the POV character like, for example, George Martin does.

Briane P said...

You really DO look like Obi Wan. Awesome.

As a longtime reader of Andrew's blog, I already knew lots of this stuff. But it's nice to see him in a give-and-take; his regular blog is almost like a classroom, but not any ol' classroom. A cool one. The one where the teacher didn't wear a tie all the time and he'd let you sit wherever you wanted and would call you "Sir" but do it in that mocking-half-serious kind of way that let you know he was pretty hip and didn't think much of this school stuff, either, only you learned more from him than you thought, and you've always said to yourself, "I should go back to the old hometown and look that teacher up, thank him for making me in part the person I am today," but then you don't go because it's kind of cold out and you've just started watching old "My Name Is Earl" reruns on Netflix, and before you know it, it's Monday morning and you're reading Andrew being interviewed on a blog.

Wait, what was I talking about?

Andrew Leon said...

Elizabeth: Well, all I did was answer the questions. Thanks for checking it out.

Debra: We have lightsabers all over the place. I'll have to think about the robe.

Matthew: Thanks for saying so! The decision not to include the names at the beginning of the chapters was a difficult one, but I'm glad I went they way I did.

Briane: Evidently, I am that cool teacher. My wife was just remarking the other night about all the parents of my students always coming up and thanking me because their kids talk about my class all the time and the fact that I make them -want- to write not feel like they have to.

Melissa Lemon said...

Thanks for visiting the blog everyone. Reading your comments is like getting to know Andrew even more. Writers and readers are so awesome.

Andrew Leon said...

Thanks for having me over, Melissa!