Meet Andrea

 Photo by  Andrea Nagel

Photo by Andrea Nagel

When I first started this journey I wasn’t sure what would become of it all. Would I actually finish the book? Would I give up? What happened when I wrote the final words? What was the process? Would anybody buy it? Then when I began answering all of those questions (except the last) and I started building my author ‘brand’ (that’s so bizarre to me) I needed to come up with a few blog posts.

The funny thing about that? I drew a blank. Nothing. No ideas. I was suddenly out of words. What could I possibly say that people would want to know? So, instead of writing a bunch of fodder, I reached out to a friend for help. This is someone I met through books. We’ve never met but in many ways she gets me more than people I see regularly. When I went to her and said “HELP!” She did. She compiled a list of questions for me to answer that represent what a reader may wonder about me – as a person and as an author.

Describe yourself using only 5 words.

Only 5? Sarcastic, Talkative, Caring, Funny and Motivated

I am a fan of random facts. Tell me one random fact about you.

When I was little, about 2 years old, I had the chicken pox – everywhere. There was one on my eye lid, at my lash line. I ripped it out. The lashes never grew back and I spend a lot of time with my mascara in the morning evening that spot out.

Top 5 Books

I’m going to change ‘book’ to series in some instances. In no particular order:

  1. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
  2. Helter Skelter
  3. Wait for You Saga
  4. The Collectors’ Society series
  5. All Fall Down
  6. And because months later it still sits in my soul, a special listing for Lost Souls Series by Eliza Freed

 Top 5 Authors

This is an awful question for a debut author!

  1. Jennifer L. Armentrout. I will read anything she writes. ANYTHING.
  2. Ann Rule. Her ability to tell such horrific stories in such a compelling manner is amazing.
  3. Colleen Hoover. Colleen’s story is inspiring and her heart is larger than life. She gives back ten-fold to her fans. I want to be Colleen when I grow up except drink Diet Coke.
  4. Marie Force. Responsible for me no longer hiding my love of contemporary romance novels, I love everything she gives to her characters and readers.
  5. Jennifer Weiner. Every single book she writes makes me think, feel and self-evaluate.

 Have you always been passionate about reading? What started you on reading?

Always. I’m not sure what started my love of reading but it has always been my go to hobby. I am a de-compressor; I need downtime and reading is the perfect escape from day-to-day life.

 How has the transition from reader to writer been?

In a word, overwhelming. I miss reading but I love writing even more. I think one of the best things I have done for myself as a new author is reading as much as I do. What is it they say? Write what you read? Write what you love? I think doing just those two things has made the transition a little easier.

 Describe your writing style.

Sporadic, organic, not without wine. That is embarrassing to even write but it is true. My writing style is that there is no real style. Interestingly enough, in life I don’t like spontaneity. I am a planner, always have been. I like timelines, deadlines, lists and structure. However, in writing I have no plan, no outline, no real notes, and no overall concept. I just write as the words come to me and usually in the evening with a glass of wine.

 What inspired you to write?

So many things. Mostly, my kids. I wanted them to know that it is never too late to do something for you. I had a teacher tell me once that I had a knack for writing. He told me that I should never stop writing if I loved it. 26 years later I wrote a book. It’s never too late.

 How did you come up with the idea for Life Rewritten?

This is really silly but I was brushing my teeth. I had thrown around a few ideas for books the months leading up to that moment and figured I would just write some short stories and never do anything with them. Then, one morning I was brushing my teeth and as I looked at myself in the mirror (my just turned 40 self) all of these moments came to me. I saw people and storylines and conversations. What struck me the most were the feelings I had in that moment - excitement, nervousness, joy. I wrote the first dozen paragraphs that day and every single one of those words appears in the final draft. Perhaps slightly modified in context but I didn’t change them.

 Do you see yourself in any particular character that you've written?

In addition to the main character, Victoria, we also meet her sister and her best friend. I see myself in each of the three. If you take my personality and character traits, divide them in 3, you have these women – the slightly awkward and insecure 40 year old, the cynical and snarky friend, the hopeful romantic.

 Have you always wanted to write?

I don’t know that I’ve always believed I could write but yes, I’ve always wanted to write. I have always been in awe of authors and their ability to tell a story.

 What does your family think of this new endeavor?

I don’t think this surprises them at all. This is one of the first times in my life I am doing something solely for me. For the purpose of fulfilling my dream and they support that. I am very lucky in the family and friends department.

 What are you working on next?

Continuing on with these characters. I have always seen this as a three-part series of standalones. Each of these three women have such diverse lives and backstories. I want to tell them all.

 Do you have any advice you want to give for someone who's thinking about writing their own book?

Oh I have a lot but I’ll give you 3.

  1.  This is the advice that was given to me and it holds true. Write. And then, write some more.
  2. Find your tribe. I have been forever blessed by the amazing people I have met through books. Readers, bloggers and authors are never ending sources of honesty, support and the ability to ‘get you’. Find yours.
  3. Believe in yourself and the story you want to tell. The greatest thing about writing is that it is your art, nobody can take that away from you.

 Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Retired. Okay probably not but I can dream. Truthfully, I don’t see my life being much different than it is now. I will still be living in Idaho, hopefully with a large piece of land, with my husband and sending our youngest off to college. I would like to think I will still be writing.

 Thank you Amy  for questions that made me think and kind of get to know myself.

Andrea JohnstonComment