Joining me today is JA Andrews, who writes epic fantasy novels … but wait, there’s more to her than meets the eye! (Settle down people, JA will reveal all shortly.) Thank you, JA, for taking the time to chat to me. Please sit down, get comfortable and let’s begin.
About JA Andrews
JA Andrews is a writer, wife, mother, and unemployed rocket scientist. She doesn’t regret the rocket science degree, but finds it generally inapplicable in daily life. Except for the rare occurrence of her being able to definitively state, “That’s not rocket science.” She does, however, love the stars.
She began writing stories and creating coloring books because these sorts of things need an outlet. And now good markers are a deductible business expense.
She spends an inordinate amount of time at home, with her family, who she adores, and lives deep in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, where she can see more stars than she ever imagined.
What’s the name of the book you’d like to talk about?
A Threat of Shadows
Tell us a bit about your book
Once Alaric was a Keeper.
Once he advised the queen.
Once he was a good man.
Until, in a futile attempt to save his dying wife, he delved deep into dark magic.
One last chance for a cure, buried in a magical Wellstone, drags Alaric back into his old life. With the help of an enigmatic elf, a disgruntled dwarf and an inept wizard he is close to finding it.
But he’s not the only one looking for the Wellstone, and if his enemies find it first, they will use it to awaken a terrible evil.
Fighting this growing darkness requires the strength and power of a Keeper, not the broken man Alaric has become.
Can he overcome his past? Or will it be the shadows within himself that destroy everything?
If there was a film or TV adaptation of your book, who would you like to see play your characters?
I don’t know who would play the characters, but I’d love Joss Whedon to produce it!
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Ugg! Naming characters is really hard for me. (Don’t ask how hard it was to name my real life children!) There’s no real significance to any. I’m just pleased when the name fits the character!
Give us an insight into your main character. What makes them unique?
Alaric struggles with something that I think a lot of us do – the question of whether the worst things we ever did somehow define us.
I think it’s very easy to become stuck in a negative place because we’re letting bad choices from our past still control us today, when in fact each day we have the chance to make new decisions. We may still suffer the consequences of things we did in the past, but today we have the chance to pick something new. And I love the hope that exists there. It’s what I wanted Alaric to figure out in his story.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do, but I try to keep a good attitude about them.
I like to see what people liked in good reviews to make sure I keep that sort of thing going in my writing.
For bad reviews, I try to look at it impartially and decide whether it was written by someone who just doesn’t like my sort of books, or whether they have legitimate complaints that I can work on fixing.
But mostly I remember that reviews are very personal and individual.
For instance, I recently had this book reviewed publicly. The reviewer didn’t really like it and pointed out exactly why. But then a week or so later, due to a mixup, another reviewer on the same site reviewed it again. This one did like it, and pointed out exactly why. It was a great reminder to me how much each individual person brings to books and how much that influences whether we like it or not.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the sequel to A Threat of Shadows. It’s currently title-less, but I hope to release it in 2017.
Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.
A cozy cabin in the mountains that comes with a perpetually filled coffee pot and a beautiful view.
Why should a potential reader buy your book(s)?
My fantasy books have been described as classic tales that twist all the expected characters into something new and fun.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your book?
What fires started with dried dung smell like. 🙂
Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?
I stay home and homeschool my kids (10, 7, & 5). I do love that, so it’s not like I’ll be quitting my day job to write full time any time soon!
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
My favorite is the elf Ayda from A Threat of Shadows.
She’s funny and passionate and flightly and was a lot of fun to write.
Are your characters based on real people, are they imaginary or a combination of both?
When you’re writing, do you listen to music or do you need silence?
Or brain.fm, which is a website that plays these crazy auditory rhythms that increase your focus. For me, it helps me get into ‘writing mode’ quickly, and lets me forget, for a while, the grocery list, the to do list, and all the normal daily mental distractions.
What’s the best thing about being an indie author?
Picking my own covers!
Well, that might not be my very favorite thing, but it is pretty great.
I also love the indie author community. I’ve met some great people and everyone is really generous and encouraging.
Available formats: ebook and paperback