Author Interview - Andy Peloquin
Hey, folks! One thing I love about doing what I do is getting to know other indie authors! My next guest is a kick-ass fantasy author, and a very interesting guy. Introducing...Andy Peloquin!
"I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist--words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I'm also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.
Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle--it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!"
1. When did you write your first story? What was it about?
Tally the Tigermaster. A real “come to Jesus” sort of story about a ringmaster who gets mauled by his tiger. That’s about all I can remember—it was total rubbish. Heh
2. What do you use to write; pen and paper, computer, table, or maybe a dictating device?
Computer. My handwriting is absolute rubbish! Though, I do use a notebook to write down ideas while I’m out and about.
3. When did it dawn upon you that ‘this writing thing’ might be for you?
When a friend who owns a publishing company read one of my short stories and said, “I want to publish this!” That was the moment I thought I could do it.
4. What inspires you to write?
The stories that need to be told. Each story is very personal to me, something I want to explore through the context of fiction. Being able to put them into words is the driving force. That and continuing to eat and sleep in a warm bed.
5. What is a typical writing day like for you?
I’ll put in anywhere from 6 to 8 solid hours of writing per day, broken up into three shifts in the early morning, morning, and afternoon. Evening is time to unwind and let my poor brain recover from over-creating.
6. Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?
I’m at my best when sitting at my desk, but I can write in airports, on the bus, at a café, or anywhere.
7. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
Chapters. My chapters are roughly 2,000-ish words long, so I shoot for two chapters per writing shift.
8. How much of your story do you know for sure when you start writing? Are you ever surprised by plot twists that emerge during the process?
I’ll usually have a pretty clear idea of where the story is going, but I’ll discover a lot of new themes and elements as I write. I’d say it’s about 70% outlined, 30% raw creativity.
9. What are some of the most unlikely things that inspired ideas for story elements?
Characters from Criminal Minds (TV show), one-off lines in movies and books, billboards I see driving down the highway.
10. What, according to you, is the most challenging aspect of writing?
Finding new ways to say the same things. All stories have been told, and it takes a lot of effort to find creative ways to re-tell the same old struggles of human nature in an interesting and engaging way.
11. What would you say is your favorite part of being a writer?
Being able to find new ways to say the same things. Human nature is always growing and shifting, but there will be constants that we need to deal with and fight against. Being able to look at “age old” problems in a new context is always a true thrill.
12. Have you ever been stricken with Writer’s Block? If so, how did you deal with it?
Writer’s block is one curse I haven’t yet been struck by. I outline fairly heavily, so I always know what’s coming before I sit down to write.
13. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I try to read, but sadly I don’t get anywhere near as much reading time as I should. I love reading Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, and some of David Weber’s books.
14. Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?
Start writing sooner! If I’d started writing at 18 instead of 25, I’d have a lot more books. Even though many of them would be rubbish, I’d still have more experience under my belt.
15. Was there a particular book that inspired you to begin writing?
Brent Weeks’ Night Angel series. I loved his character of Durzo Blint (older, more mature assassin), but the story focused more on Kylar. So I decided to write my own version—and thus, the Hunter of Voramis was born!
16. Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?
That’s an excellent question. I’d say that I tend to focus a lot more on the characters’ emotional journeys. As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of ASD), I often struggle to relate to people. So walking my characters through an emotional process to reach a specific decision is a way to help myself understand people better.
17. Do your novels carry a message?
Always! There are many messages, but I’d like there to be one important takeaway: hope. No matter how dark my stories go, I always want things to end on a hopeful note. The world will always get better!
18. How much of yourself do you put into your books?
I try to make each character as unique as possible, but I find that little bits and pieces of myself filter into each one of them. From small character traits to specific characteristics, I try to make the characters real, and all I’ve got to draw on is my own experiences.
19. Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Definitely, both the good and the bad.
For example, I used a real-life story of mine in one of my upcoming series, tweaking it slightly to fit the character’s narrative. It just works, and it’s nice to have real-life experience to draw on.
20. How did it feel when your first book got published?
Like the most glorious thing in the world, and nothing at all. The book sold a few dozen copies, got a few middling reviews, and garnered next to no attention. That was when I decided I needed to do this thing right and go big!
21. Was there a point when you really felt like you had ‘made it’ as an author?
When I could finally support my family through my book sales. I’d had many “made it” moments before—when I got my first super fan, when I hit 100 5-star reviews on one book, when people started mentioning my name outside my circle of friends—but this was the one that I feel really made it all sink in.
22. Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it?
I work at writing about 80% of my time, with the other 20% dedicated to the “day job” of copywriting and blogging. It’s more to keep the clients as a back-up plan in case sales plummet and I need a quick infusion of cash.
23. Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?
Not as much anymore. In fact, I find myself missing the day job a bit, because it gave me a break from the very brain-intensive act of creating. But it’s still a real thrill to be able to spend so much time writing.
24. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
Hell yeah! I got turned down by a half-dozen small presses before I decided to self-publish one series, and I was ignored by dozens of agents for another.
25. Do you enjoy book signings?
I LOVE them! I’m good with people (for a few hours, at least), and it’s a thrill to be able to see and talk with like-minded people who just love a good story.
26. What was your favorite interaction with a fan?
So many! I can’t point to one favorite because I have so much fun every time.
27. Which of your books would you most like to see adapted as a movie?
The Queen of Thieves series would make a hell of a movie! Like the little girl from Kick-Ass with the epic feel of the Assassin’s Creed movie, with an Ocean’s 11 feel to it.
28. Have you ever written a character based on yourself in some part? Someone you know?
The Hunter of Voramis is definitely based heavily on me. Not the assassin/demon/murdering part, but the isolated, lonely outcast trying to find his place in the world. That’s really an “everyman” problem and a struggle we’re all familiar with. It was so cathartic for me to put it down on paper, and it’s made me feel a lot more at peace with who I am.
29. Are you working on something new at the moment?
Always! In addition to the new Heirs of Destiny series (releasing between Jan and May 2019), I’m writing an epic fantasy military series—special ops soldiers in a fantasy army—to be released later in 2019. It’ll be at least 3 or 4 novels in the main series, plus two shorter companion novels.
30. What advice would you like to give all those aspiring writers out there?
Cling to hope! Everyone wants to believe that things get better, that terrible situations eventually work themselves out. Cling to that hope in your life, and let it guide you through the dark times. And infuse it into your writing. Readers will connect with that spirit of hopefulness on a deep, emotional level—that’s what will turn them into superfans for life!
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