Sunday, March 15, 2015

Author Interview: Andrea Weir: I Remember The Smell Of Lilacs Outside The Backdoor @AndreaEWeir



She is an accomplished journalist whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country and around the world. Born in Boston, she grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area then completed a degree in English literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She and her husband continue to live in Santa Barbara, where they raised their two daughters, Rebecca, and Catherine. An avid reader and writer since childhood, Weir composed her first stories in grade school notebooks and has filled upwards of 30 journals since she received her first one as a gift at age 13. She has led writing workshops for high school students and seminars on journaling for people of all ages.

Among the highlights of her writer’s life is a trip to the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth Village in West Yorkshire, England, where Charlotte Brontë created Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë penned Wuthering Heights.

A Foolish Consistency is Weir’s first novel. She is currently working on the sequel.

Welcome! Andrea.

Your real name and pen name?
My married (and legal) name is Andrea Estrada.
My real name is Andrea Weir (it’s also my pen name). I consider it my real name because it represents my true self, the person I was as I came into being.  

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
During my early childhood, before my mother died, we spent most summers at the home of my maternal grandparents. It was wonderful to be surrounded by family — aunts, uncles, and cousins. I still remember playing outside in the hot summer sun and then, with my cousin — who is a year older than I — exploring the cool, dank basement. I remember the smell of lilacs outside the backdoor, and the taste of black cherry soda, which we were allowed to drink only at our grandparents’ house and only during the summer.



About your education
I studied English literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara

What career did you plan during your education days
Until the middle of junior high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian. But I was not a stellar math student, and my algebra teacher suggested I focus my attention on writing. So I did.

What languages can you speak and write?
English and some Spanish.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
I think I’d have to say my two daughters are my greatest source of inspiration. They help me continually rethink and re-imagine the world.

What hurts you most in this world?
Injustice, unkindness, intolerance

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
That’s easy — the answer is, anyway. Losing my mother when I was a child is the greatest challenge I have faced. Her death has impacted every aspect of my life and every choice and decision I have made. As I noted on the acknowledgments page of my novel, her absence has been the strongest presence in my life.

How I overcame it, I can’t really say. And in some ways, I’m not sure I have overcome it. I’m not sure that’s even possible. But I am a survivor, and it seemed I just didn’t have a choice.

What is your favorite genre and why?
I love to get lost in historical fiction and fiction that explores universal human emotion and experience.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I started writing short stories when I was 11 or 12. A family friend who was also a nurse gave me an old edition of the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. I’d use it to identify diseases and then write stories around them.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work? 

“A Foolish Consistency” is my debut novel. However, I have been a journalist for many years, writing magazine and news features.

What are your forthcoming writings?
I am currently working on a sequel to “A Foolish Consistency.” (No working title yet.) It addresses some of the unanswered questions that remained after “A Foolish Consistency” ended and explores a new set of themes. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first draft.

What genres you write in and why?
I write in the same genres I like to read, although I lean toward contemporary storylines and characters.

What keeps you motivating towards writing?
Writing enables me to delve into both my own experiences and those of others, particularly experiences that tend to be universal. We all love, we all grieve, we all have fears and regrets and remorse. And we all have joy. Writing enables me to ask, “What if?” and then explore the possibilities.

If writing a book is taken as a project, what are the key essentials you take care of in Project Management?
The most essential element is giving it priority over everything else in my life. Work, family, and other commitments fight for my time, attention, and energy, so I consciously have to make the act of writing my highest priority or it simply doesn’t get done.



How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments?
Well, my feature writing usually has strict deadlines, and that takes up a big chunk of my day. I generally do my fiction writing in the evening when the house is quiet and I can think without interruption.

However, I generally write without an outline, and I never know where my writing is going to take me on any particular day, so planning and scheduling can be difficult. I am not the kind of writer who sits down and works for a set period of time each day or produces a set number of pages each day. I might go a week without writing anything, and I might write 50 pages in one evening. But whether or not I’m actually putting words to paper, I am contemplating the plot, the characters, the dialogue — it’s always going around in my head.

What are your future plans?
To continue writing novels.

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?
When I’m traveling, I read e-books because I can have many with me at one time. But when I’m at home or staying for a while in one place, I read only paper books. They are very sensorial. I love the feel of the pages and the rustling sound they make when they’re turned and the smell of the paper and ink. Also, paper books have a long history. I love to think of where they’ve been and what they’ve seen.


How much real life goes into fiction writing?
For me, a lot. I like to dive into universal experiences and emotions — love, loss, grief and sadness, joy and contentment. I often use an actual situation or event as a starting point and then push it out in all different directions to see where it goes.

Is a high level of imagination important to have for an Author?
Yes, imagination is critical. One cannot make up stories without it. It’s necessary both for creating new worlds and for exploring the worlds that exist.

Your dream destination on Earth?
I’m still figuring that out.



Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but spent most of my childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to the nearby countries of Canada and Mexico, I have visited Germany, France, England and Scotland.

Your favorite time of the day?
Early, early morning. It’s ripe with possibilities.

Your zodiac/sunsign?
Zodiac sign: Leo, but on the cusp of Virgo.

Your favorite color and why?
Violet — any shade. It’s a very rich color.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?
The book I finished most recently is “Stoner” by John Williams. Currently, I am alternating between “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt and re-reading classics — Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, the Brontë sisters

Your favorite book and why?
Favorite children’s book: “Becky’s Birthday” by Tasha Tudor. I wanted to be part of her family. Favorite adult book? Don’t have one. Lots of books I love, but what I particularly like on any given day depends on my mood.

Your favorite movie and why?
I don’t know that I have an absolute favorite. The original version of “The Women” is one I particularly like. It’s clever, intelligent, and funny. I also love “Midnight in Paris” (who wouldn’t like being able to party with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and with Ernest Hemingway and to have Gertrude Stein review your novel?).

Your favorite celebrity and why?
I don’t have a favorite celebrity.

Your favorite food?
It’s a tossup between dark chocolate (always) and watermelon (when it’s in season)

Your favorite sports?
To watch: American football and baseball.

What is the force that drives you?
Passion, and the sense that wonderful things exist beyond any given moment.

What comes to your mind when you think of India?
The Taj Mahal — it’s beautiful and romantic.

Some quickies: Sun or Moon — Moon; Laughter or Smile — laughter (can’t have laughter without smiles, can you?); Morning or Evening — evening; Coffee or Tea — coffee; Mountain or Sea — sea; Long Drive or Short Drive — depends on who’s in the car with me; Silence or Conversation — depends on the person with whom I am conversing; Water or Fire — water; Air or Earth — Earth; Mars or Jupiter — Jupiter; Tulip or Rose — rose; Red or Blue — blue; Left or Right — left; Glance or Stare — depends on who’s glancing or staring; Fame or Money — fame; Boy or Girl — ?; Day or Night — both and either; Tree or Plant — tree; Love or Passion — can’t have one without the other.

First thing you do in the morning after waking up?
Feed my dog

Last thing to do before sleep?
Read at least a few pages of whatever book I have on my nightstand

If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to opposite, what will be your first reaction?
Well, I would say, this is an interesting turn of events.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
“Sometimes you have to risk being wrong in order to be right” and “How deeply you have loved, so deeply will you grieve”

The last line of your autobiography would be…
And above all, remember this: “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” (Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2)


Links & other relevant details:
ISBN-10: 1936672731
ISBN-13: 978-1936672738
ASIN: n/a
Publisher: Cedar Forge Press

Twitter handle: AndreaEWeir

Facebook page:


Amazon link:

Any other links:
www.andrea-weir.com and www.afoolishconsistency.net




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