Sunday, December 07, 2014

Author Interview: Andrea Downing: From Historical Western Romances To Contemporary To Who Knows - A Mix

Born in New York, Andrea Downing returned in 2008 from the UK where she lived for most of her life. Having traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa and Latin America, she now divides her time between NYC and the east end of Long Is., punctuated by frequent journeys out west---the area of the USA she loves best. Her first book, Loveland, was a finalist for the 2012 RONE Award for Best American Historical. Her 2013 short story, Lawless Love, was also a finalist for the RONE Award. A novella, Dearest Darling, part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, came out Oct. 2014. Also forthcoming Feb. 2015 is Dances of the Heart, a women's fiction novel. All are published by The Wild Rose Press..

Your real name and pen name? 

Andrea Downing (both)

About your education-

I started a year early and skipped a year into the bargain so graduated with my BA at age 20—bit of a waste really.  Moved on to get an MA at Keele in the UK.

What career did you plan during your education days  

To be an actress or a writer

What languages you can speak and write?

Two varieties of English, French and a smattering of Spanish.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life  

My daughter—she's going to save the world.

What hurts you most in this world 

Stupidity-we're ruining the world so fast it's mind-boggling.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? 

Getting the nerve up to send off my work.

How did you overcome it

I realized I couldn't look like any more of an idiot than I already did, and I had nothing to lose.

What is your favorite genre and why? 

Historical fiction.  Without a sense of where we've come from, we can't possibly know what the next best move is.

When did you start writing

Around age 6 I think—I wrote a story in my notebook.  Still do…

What is the purpose of your writing? 

To amuse, entertain and hopefully educate; to take people away from their present lives and put them in the shoes of other people.

Which of your works has been published so far? 

See bio please.

Would you like to share a synopsis of your work, Dearest Darling?  

Excerpt: The mercantile was a marvel to her. A large store carrying about everything and anything someone could want out here. Barrels of apples, their perfume vying with the aroma of coffee. Rows of canned peaches and beans, brightly labeled. Bolts of fabrics and piles of overalls and blue jeans. Racks of handguns and rifles, cartons of ammunition. Rolls of chicken wire and shelves of implements, tools for farm and ranch and home. Jars of sweet candies and a stack of newspapers and books. Emily’s eyes were big with wonder and Daniel was rewarded to see it as she did, the color, the diversity, the spectacle, not just the practicality of things in a jam-packed shop with sawdust on the floor. And then he shook his head to remove the distractions, concentrate on the matter at hand.
“What can I do for you today, Dan? Not your usual day in town.”
His sideways glance caught Emily suppressing a smile.
“Dan?” she smirked.
He gulped a breath and ignored her. “Hey, Jason, how ya doin’? My cousin here is just out from New York, looking to make a new life. We wondered if there was any work going she might take up. And I do have a list, as usual.” He tried to put a cheerful, friendly note in his voice, something he was definitely not feeling.
The shopkeeper took the list and studied it, shaking his head. “No work as I know of. With summer coming, some things might open up. We always get folks moving in, mebbe starting up businesses, in summer. But nothing as yet. You might want to check back in a week or two. Or there’s the saloon. I heared Ben’s been looking for someone to clean up each morning, but whether you’d want your kin working there, well, that’s another matter.”
Emily stepped forward. “Where is it? The saloon?”
“No!” Damn woman. Daniel sucked in a breath. “You’re not working there,” he said more gently.
Jason’s gaze shot from one to the other. “’Course, I didn’t mean nothing by mentioning it. Mebbe shoulda kept my mouth shut.”
Daniel locked on Emily’s hard stare. Her anger was evident, but she stayed silent.
“Well. I’ll get this order together. Be about fifteen minutes. Can you wait?”
 “Sure thing,” Daniel said and grabbed Emily by the wrist. He dragged her outside after him, almost tossing her against the hitching rail.
“If it’s the only job?” She stomped her foot. “I don’t belong to you, you can’t tell me—”
“I can. And I am. You made yourself my responsibility...” They were shouting, and he lowered his voice, his gaze darting around. “You made yourself my responsibility the day you took those tickets and came out to me.” He let this sink in, reining in his own truculence. “You’re gonna do what I say, and I’ll make the dang decisions. You got that?” He waited for a response. “I said, do you understand?”
Emily crossed her arms. “You said, ‘you got that,’ not ‘do you understand.’” Smugness was written across her face, her lips a thin, tight line, her eyes round with the correction.
Daniel straightened. Then he laughed. And he laughed a little more. “Oh, heck.” He lifted his hat briefly, swept the hair out of his eyes, and set the hat back on his head. “How the hell did this happen to me?”

What are your forthcoming writings?  

Dances of the Heart, a full-length women's fiction novel, comes out Feb. 2015.  I am also working on another full-length novel—or 2…

What genres you write in and why?  

My first three books are all historical western romances but I seem to be moving away from that a bit as the next one is contemporary, and after that, who knows—a mix!  It's just whatever comes into my head story-wise; I don't set out to specifically write in one genre or another.

What keeps you motivating towards writing?  

Escapism and a need to get the characters who are talking in my head down on paper.

How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments?  

I don't.  I'm at an age where family, health issues and other commitments get in the way.  I do what I can when I can.

What are your future plans? 

To keep writing for as long as possible, interspersed with as much travel as possible.

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?  

When I travel I now find an ereader very convenient because I certainly can't stuff my bag with 9 paperbacks the way I used to, before they brought in all the airline regulations.  But I prefer paperbacks in general; I like to be able to easily refer back to earlier scenes, I like the feel of paper in my hands—although I have to say I occasionally miss the ease of the ebook dictionary to look up the occasional word.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book? 

GMC, characterization, plot and language.

How much real life goes into a fiction writing? 

You cannot create characters in a vacuum; they have to come in bits and pieces from people you know, people you've observed, events in your life or ones you know about.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author? 

Where else would the story come from?  Even if it's based on history, you have to have the imagination to implement the tale.

Your dream destination on Earth

I'm happiest out west, particularly in Wyoming.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. 

Born in NYC but if I listed every country I've been in, I'm afraid this would be a very long interview.  Let's just say I've covered virtually all of Europe, a lot of Africa including Nigeria where I lived for a bit, a good chunk of South America, and, at last count, about 24 states in the USA—which number I hope to increase next summer.

What best things you liked in these countries around the globe? 

The diversity of cultures, being educated and enlightened by the differences in people.

Your favorite time of the day?  

I'm an evening person.

Your zodiac/ sunsign? 


Your favorite color and why?  

Black—it looks good with everything.

What is the last book you finished reading?

The Lie by Helen Dunmore

What is the current book you are reading? 

American History Revised:  200 Startling Facts that Never Made It into the Textbooks by Seymour Morris, Jr.

Your favorite movie and why?  

The Blind Side because it makes me feel good about the world

Your favorite food?  

Chocolate, what else?

Your favorite sports? 

Horseback riding

What is the force that drives you?  

Love for my daughter

What comes to your mind when you think of India?  


Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Moon
Laughter or Smile, Laughter!
 Morning or Evening, Evening
Coffee or Tea, Tea early morning and late afternoon, coffee mid-morning
Mountain or Sea, Mountain
Long Drive or Short Drive, Long road trip
Silence or Conversation, Depends on time of day and mood
Water or Fire, Fire
Air or Earth, Earth
Mars or Jupiter, Neither—Earth again
Tulip or Rose, Peony actually
Red or Blue, Blue
Left or Right, Both
Glance or Stare, Glance
Fame or Money, Neither--Happiness
Boy or Girl, Girl
Day or Night, Both
Tree or Plant, Tree
Love or Passion Love

First thing you do in the morning after waking up? 

Look at the clock

Last thing to do before sleep?  

Look at the clock

If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to opposite, what will be your first reaction?  

Oh, shit

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

  "What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from."   T.S. Eliot

The last line of your autobiography would be…

And so I went off on my last great adventure

The title of your autobiography would be…

The Reinvention of Life

Links & other relevant details:  
Twitter:  @andidowning

Amazon:  (print)


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