I’m totally excited today to bring you this interview with writer G.G. Andrew. She’s fun, thoughtful, and funny – a great combo. Check out her thoughts on writing and then be sure to pick up her work (Hint, her book is less than $2.00 on Amazon RIGHT NOW)!
I usually write romantic comedy, like my novel Screwing Mr. Melty, but right now I’m writing a short horror story. It’s Halloween season, and I’m a big believer in challenging myself to grow as a writer, so I’m trying a different genre. I’m posting a blog post about it next week, Top Ten Reasons Romance Writers Should Pen Horror. Because they should. Really.
This fall, I’ve also been writing a superhero romantic comedy with my husband. He writes the chapters from the female character’s perspective; I write from the guy’s. It’s fun and the first time we’ve collaborated like this.
2. What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood?
Books and reading have always been such a source of joy for me. As an introverted, often shy kid, I read a lot. I’ve fond memories of my pop-up Mr. Pickle book, the smell of Dean Koontz paperbacks, sobbing on my porch when I read To Kill a Mockingbird–so many sensations that books brought me over the years are still very much with me. I’m a proud book nerd now, and one of the best things that happened this past year has been starting my Writers Who Read interview series at my blog (http://ggandrew.com/writers-
I’d also written on and off through the years–high school newspaper articles, funny features, the requisite terrible teen angst poems–though I had a love/hate relationship with writing until my 30s: I enjoyed it, but I felt a lot of pressure for it to be perfect; it felt like work. When I got into fiction writing several years ago, I fell in love with writing, and now almost all the writing I do feels like play
3. What is your writing practice, your writing routine?
Somewhat haphazard at the moment! Ideally I’d like to write first thing in the morning, and sometimes I do, but lately I’ve been trying to just squeeze it in when I can–at my toddler’s naptime, or in the evenings after the kids are in bed. I don’t have a particular place or much ritual around writing, and although I believe those things are fantastic, I also believe that the most important thing is to just write.
4. Who are you reading now?
I’m just about to finish Ariel Schrag’s fantastic coming-of-age Adam, which I’ve been recommending far and wide. It’s the tale of a a teen boy who stays with his sister in New York City one summer, gets involved in the lesbian subculture there, and winds up having a relationship with a lesbian who thinks he’s a trans guy–a bio girl who’s taken the male gender. It’s sweet and funny and makes me want to read more Ariel Schrag. After this, I plan to dip into some horror for Halloween, including the classic Frankenstein.
5. What are three of your all-time favorite books? Why do you love those?
Such a cruel question! This answer probably changes over time, and of course is different than which books have influenced me or stayed with me the most. My favorite genres are probably romance, horror, and non-fiction, so I’m choosing one of each: I love Jane Austen’s Persuasion because it’s incredibly romantic, more so than Pride & Prejudice in some ways (gasp!) because of Anne’s yearning, and I also love the language and punctuation of that era; all those commas put me in a meditative state. Second, I adore Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, because, well, Neil Gaiman, and also I love the darkness, the humor, and the wonderful world it holds. Last, I really dig Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos. Greene writes about string theory and cosmic science using language and metaphors non-scientists can understand. His books are slow reads for me, but mind-blowing in the best of ways.
6. How do you balance “building a writing platform” and the actual writing to set on that platform?
Writing is most important, so I try to put that first, but I do blog and send out newsletters to work on my platform. One of the best ways I found to balance both is by setting monthly goals on both projects and platform-building on MyWriteClub (https://www.mywriteclub.com/
7.What is a typical day like for you?
I try to wake up early to check email and write a bit. Then I get my two boys, ages 2 and 6, up and ready for the day. Both my kids have special needs, so my husband and I get the older ready for school, and I spend the mornings in therapy sessions with the toddler. Afternoons, we usually all chill around the house, and in the evenings after the kids are in bed, I often either devour Netflix with my husband or curl up in bed and read with as much tea as I can carry upstairs to my room.
8. Describe your dream writing space?
When I was a teen, I made a “reading room” out of my older brother’s vacated room for a time, and I think a similar setup would make a fantastic writing space. It was empty save for a big, comfy armchair in the middle–the kind with the wide armrests you can swing your legs over. Although that sort of space is also a dream napping space, so…
9. What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?
One of my friends called the hero in my gothic rom-com, “Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish,” a “douchenozzle.” If you haven’t already guessed, you don’t know want people thinking the hero of your romance is a douchenozzle. My friend had a lot of problems with that character and didn’t hold back from telling me this. Even though that feedback is sometimes hard to read, I vastly prefer negative feedback to someone simply reading my writing and saying a quick, “It’s good.” I love it when people are honest and actually engage in a story I’ve written, even if they have issues with it. Also, my friend’s critique was pretty hilarious, and that helps too. I thanked him for his feedback and took a careful look at his comments. Some of it I agreed with and made changes, some of it I didn’t. This is why it helps to have multiple beta-readers, too, so you can see which issues are coming up for multiple people and which are idiosyncratic.
10. What is the best wisdom you have to share with other writers?
Just write, and utilize small bits of time, like the fifteen minutes in the morning while you’re drinking coffee. Those little bits of effort really add up. I’m sure other writers have made these suggestions, though, so let me add another: find joy in what you write. I don’t think this gets said enough. Find something you love to write, whether it’s the next great literary work or some Smurfs fanfic. When you find that, you’ll make the time and put in the practice that will make you better–not to mention happier.
G.G. Andrew writes sexy satire—romantic comedy that’s sharp and steamy. She is the author of Screwing Mr. Melty (http://ggandrew.com/books/), a tale of ice cream, awkward sex, and the world’s worst love triangle. On her website, www.ggandrew.com, she also hosts the popular Writers Who Read interview series, which features a writer each week geeking out over books and reading.G.G. herself is an obsessive reader, a compulsive writer, and a disordered housekeeper. She loves experiencing romance in books, movies, and television, and also has a strange affinity for the following: black licorice, British comedy, kindie rock, frozen concoctions, neon pink, devil humor, and your dad. You can find out more about G.G. on her website or where she’s skulking on Twitter as @writerggandrew.