Hello, Andi, and thank you for spending a bit of time with us at Top 2 Bottom, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m a forty-two year old southern girl who lives in the middle of nowhere. I used to work with mentally ill children for almost 20 years until I had major surgery and burned out of my profession. Now, I’m a stay at home wife and write full time.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
My first book is a book called Got Mistletoe?. I decided to dip my toe into writing professionally, so when I noticed a call for a Christmas story at Dreamspinner Press, I decided to give it a whirl. It took me three days to write and submit it and was accepted less than a week later.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
I started writing m/m romances three years ago. I decided to write this genre because I’m addicted to reading gay romances myself and I want to write what I love.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
It didn’t take me long as all once I got brave and actually submitted a book. Otherwise, it took me thirty-plus years to take the plunge and try it. So far, I’ve written nine books and I’ll have another published sometime in September.
Do you write full time?
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
I don’t know if there was anything specific that helped me decide to write. I’ve always loved to read and writing came naturally for me. I honestly can’t see me doing anything else but write anymore.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
I write exclusively at nights unless I’m under a deadline. My husband works end of the week nights, so I’ve changed my schedule to fit his. I guess you can say that I’ve got vampire tendencies because I don’t see much sunlight anymore. LOL!
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I write through and then go back and revise.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I usually have an idea of what I want to write before I start the story. But there have been many times the characters take a different turn than what I had planned, so basically I do write more freely than plan the story out.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
A lot! I really try to write what I know and I work hard to make sure any facts that I use are actually correct.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
I think there’s a little of myself and everyone in the characters I write about. I really try to know my characters inside and out. I pretty much obsess about them and what kind of people they are as I’m writing their story. So far, I really haven’t had to draw the line on any of my heroes, but I can promise you that I’ll never write about a hero that makes me feel uncomfortable in any way, so I guess that is where I’ll draw the line.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
Most of the time I write straight through before I allow someone to read it. There have been exceptions to this though. For instance, when was in the middle of writing, Angel’s Redemption, I wanted to make sure that both of my heroes were coming across how I envisioned them being. I ended up sending the book to my friend, Freddy MacKay, and she was generous enough to read it and give me some pointers. I’ve also been blessed enough to have a good friend that I’ll bounce an idea or two off of and believe it or not my mother has been a great sounding board for me if I get stuck with something.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
Yes! Ugh! I suffered from it last year and for several months I couldn’t write a word. I think the reason I was able to get past it was the undying support of my family and friends and my determination to work through it. Finally, after many frusterating weeks, Eros, from No Greater Love was born and I haven’t had writer’s block since.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
First of all, I want them to really like and connect with my characters. I want them to really feel the deep emotional connection between them. I want to be able to give them several hours of escape from their everyday lives. It’s very important to me that all of my books have a happy ending and give my readers a smile on their face as they read and at the end of my story.
Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
1. Never give up. Keep writing no matter what.
2. Always be gracious. You must remember that not everyone will like what you’ve wrote. If you get a negative review, don’t attack the reviewer because they didn’t like your book. Whether or not you agree with them, it is still their opinion and they have a right to tell it. I think it’s very bad manners for an author to attack a reviewer. It gives writers a bad name and I think it’ll lose you readers in the end.
3. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. If you get stuck on something you’re writing, or need advice, always feel free to ask your friends or even reach out to writers. We’ve all been there and we’ve all needed help in one time or the other. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten is from branching out and talking to readers and writers and for that I’ll always be eternally grateful.
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
The title is usually one of the last things that come to me. Once in a blue moon I’ll actually have a title almost immediately after I start the story, but most of the time I’m not able to come up with a title until the last minute.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
It doesn’t take very much to make me laugh and I love it. My husband says my laughter and sense of humor is one of the reasons he fell in love with me. Believe me, he keeps me in stitches all the time.
What is the most frequently asked Andi Anderson question?
There are two:
When are you going to write a sequel to Got Mistletoe? and when are you going to write Daniel’s story in the Men of Charlestown series.
My answer to both of those questions is: hopefully within the next year.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the next book in the Men of Charlestown series called, Chandler’s Hope. I’m also working on two Christmas stories. (which isn’t very easy to write in July)
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
UGH! I hate promoting my work. I think there’s a fine line in good promoting and being pushy, so I don’t promote as much as I probably should. I blog and Facebook a lot, so that’s where I do most of my promoting.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
I do write full-time, so I’m lucky that I don’t have to worry about an EDJ.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I exclusively read M/M romances.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
I honestly don’t know. A fry cook on Mars?
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
They come from different places. Usually when I’m about to go to sleep, something will come to me. I’ve been inspired by pictures and songs and just plain ole people watching!
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
I’ve loved almost all of the covers of my books. The cover artist at Silver, Reese Dante, has done an amazing job with all of them. My least favorite cover is: A Realistic Romance because the cover artist couldn’t find a Native American model that resembled my hero, so we had to compromise. Otherwise, I really like the cover.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I love to hang out with my husband and my five year old niece. I love to read and cross-stitch and I’m a sucker for a good movie.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
I will have a new release in September called, A Hold on His Heart and hopefully at least one Christmas romance in December.
New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
Never give up and always be gracious to your readers. It’s because of them that we’re able to do what we love.
What future projects do you have in the works?
I hope to have at least two more Men of Charlestown books, the next book in the Sons of Aphrodite and the Kissed by an Immortal series and I’m starting a new series called the Circle of Friends that will all hopefully be published within the next year.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
I would love too! I love having followers! You can reach me at:
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/andi.anderson.372
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?
Absolutely! Thanks for having me here
Excerpt from Angel’s Redemption:
“Angel, I’m out of cigarettes and beer. I’m just going to run up to the store for a few minutes. I’ll be right back.”
His boyfriend, Ken’s, deep voice resonated through the closed door. Angel couldn’t bring himself to answer, although there really wasn’t much to say.
Angel honestly didn’t have much to say about anything anymore.
When he heard the front door close, Angel slowly slid off the bed and walked to the bathroom. This was the opportunity he’d been waiting for. Ken didn’t trust him and he wouldn’t leave him alone long, especially since Angel tried to escape a couple of weeks ago.
Angel was tired of the hell that that had become his life. Everyone he knew–from Ken to his so-called friends–wanted something from Angel, and he was sick of it.
For years, he had been used and abused by everyone in the porn industry. Even the man who claimed he was his boyfriend, and who also happened to be his manager, really didn’t give a shit about him. Ken had proven that time and time again by his refusal to allow Angel to leave the industry. Ken also took every opportunity he could to abuse Angel in some way. His physical abuse and the vile words he would call Angel didn’t even hurt that much anymore, because Angel managed to disassociate himself from it most of the time. Now he was numb.
As long as Angel did what he was asked and was fucked by anyone Ken saw fit, everyone that pushed themselves into Angel’s life was happy. It didn’t matter that he hated it and often begged for it to stop. As long as he remained the most popular twink and continued to bring in the money, Ken and his goonies were happy. He was nothing more than a cock and ass to everyone he knew. The fact that Angel had a young and innocent-looking, pretty face was just a bonus to all of them.
Angel thought back two weeks ago, to when he tried to run away. He had saved up enough money to buy a bus ticket to the middle of nowhere. He remembered shaking with fear and excitement while he waited in the dirty bus station. Just the thought of getting away from all the ugliness in his life and starting over made him feel hope for the first time in eight years.
But just as he boarded the bus and had finally begun to believe he might achieve the freedom he so desperately wanted, he had been caught by Ken and some of his posse and was practically manhandled back into the life he couldn’t escape from.
So they thought.
He was going to show them once and for all.
Angel was determined to get away, and this plan would ensure no one could stop him from obtaining freedom again.
Angel turned on the bathroom light and deliberately avoided looking at his reflection in the mirror. Many people would say his face and body were his fortune. At the moment, he hated both. He grabbed the large container of body wash off the shower shelf. As he unscrewed the top, he smiled at his ability to actually fool Ken and the cronies who surrounded him. They knew he had been going through a depression and thought they were so fucking clever when they removed the sharp objects from the house.
Or so they thought.
Little did they know he had been preparing for this moment. He managed to sneak a small paring knife from the kitchen without anyone noticing. It had been hidden safely out of sight for over a week, and now it was calling Angel’s name.
He dumped the contents of the body wash into the sink. He shook it until the small knife fell out with a loud clank. Angel hummed his favorite song as he turned the water on and washed away the thick soap that coated the knife. Soon the soap was all washed away, and the knife wasn’t as slick to the touch.
Angel wanted this to be perfect. He had been waiting to do this for so long. It was time to leave all of the pain and suffering he had in this life and sink into a blissful nothingness for eternity. His hands shook with nerves as he firmly grabbed the wooden handle of the knife and raised it over the greenish-blue vein on his wrist.
Taking a deep breath, he pressed the blade against his skin. The sharp pain felt good as he scraped it down his vein, and warm, wet blood quickly eased out of the wound.
In the distance, he heard the front door slam.
“Angel! Where the fuck are you? I’m hungry; fix me a sandwich, will ya?”
Ken’s voice sounded as if he wasn’t that far away.
Angel clumsily switched the knife to his other hand and swiftly slid it across his skin. He tossed the knife into the sink and leaned his back heavily against the door. His legs suddenly didn’t have the strength to hold him up any longer, so he slowly slid down.
It’s happening. I’m finally going to get some peace.
“Angel! Is that blood? Fuck! Open the goddamn door!” Ken’s voice sounded angry and frantic as he banged against the door, but Angel didn’t care.
It would be over soon, and that was all that mattered.
As Angel drifted in and out of consciousness, a smile formed on his face.
They couldn’t hurt him anymore.
He would be free at last.