Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?
Hmm, depends on the time of day. I start every day with a cup of coffee, and switch to green tea when I get to work. Sometimes I have a soda, though it’s a guilty pleasure. And I like to drink various Adagio tea blends in the evening when I’m winding down. I think right now I’ll take the soda, because I need the quick caffeine fix without extra calories.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I’ve been an avid reader and writer since I was about ten, and my goal in life was always to write when I grew up. My parents advised me to choose educational and career goals that would enable me to do both. At the time, I thought they were squelching a budding author’s dreams, but I’ve been discovering how practical that really is in application. I have a daytime job that pays well, and I work with good people and bosses, but it also leaves me enough time and mental capacity to write at the end of the day. In my personal life, I have a wonderful girlfriend—also a writer herself—a cat that we dote on, and many hobbies that we share.
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
I’m sad to say I don’t remember! Probably something along the lines of “Oh my god, they took them all!” I submitted three at once and they were all accepted. I like to start with a bang.
What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?
I started out in the yaoi/shounen ai fandom when I was into anime in college. It began as avid fanfic reading, and of course yaoi was so prevalent at the time that I found male/male stories pretty early on. I had an almost immediate fascination for the genre, and consumed stories by the dozen until it turned into a desire to try my hand at writing these stories as well. There was a draw to male/male relationships that I hadn’t experienced with most of the heterosexual fare out there. It’s hard for me to articulate. I started out writing relationship stories, for the most part, but turned to stories that had a foundation on plot as well as relationships.
Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.
Cake for me! I always prefer cake that is not a lie. (Sorry for the blatant GLaDOS reference.) I sure hope it’s chocolate ganache.
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
Generally an hour and a half, sometimes more depending on what my goals are, what projects I’m working on, what the deadline is, and how well the writing is flowing.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I tend to write through, then go back and tweak things. My method is to get the first draft out, and to do that, I keep myself moving forward.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I’m very much a plotter. I write such detailed outlines, especially for longer, chaptered novels, that some people would call my outlines “the story.” I am so meticulous about the plotting process that I usually have one or two people vet my outlines, by which I mean I send them for people to look at and nitpick the details, whether I missed anything, whether something in the outline doesn’t work, or to tell me things I need to keep in mind or consider when writing the story to make sure concepts are fleshed-out enough in practice when something wasn’t clear in the outline.
Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?
Oh, that’s a tough one! I have such a soft spot for many of my characters. I don’t like to choose favorites, because I love them all to an absurd degree in some way or another, especially when I’m writing them. Although I have to say, I’m missing Alex and Nik from the Appetite series, and plan to write a follow-up novella about their continuing culinary adventures in November.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
Not so much? I feel like it’s arrogant to say that. When I find myself struggling, I change it up. I switch projects, or take a break, or talk things out with someone. I put it down for a bit and read, or get back to some of my other hobbies. I generally find when I change tracks and either talk it out or sleep on it, then come back to it, I’m able to come back to it from a different angle. Sometimes, all it needs is time. Mostly, though, I bulldoze through the block until it’s flowing well again.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)
I don’t tend to write at home, actually. Most of my writing gets done on my breaks and lunch hours. Occasionally, I’ll do writing sprints at home on the loveseat in my “all-purpose” computer hangout, or go to Starbucks to settle in for a while and write with a steady supply of caffeine.
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
Most people don’t disturb me when I’m writing; they tend to recognize that I’m concentrating, and steer clear. Other times, I bring my iPod and headphones to reinforce the message that I’m not available for conversation. I’d never considered putting up a literal sign, but human nature being what it is, I think that would provoke questions about what I’m writing, when can they read it, etc. which I find presumptuous and hard to answer.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
Like a lot of things about me, I’d describe it as eclectic and wide-ranging. I can laugh at stupid things, as well as a well-turned joke. I like stuff that’s clever and not just potty humor.
What is the most frequently asked Talya Andor question?
I had to turn to some friends for help with this one, and the question is “How are you so prolific?” Consistency is key. If I’m not writing every day, then it’s nearly every day. I do take breaks, but not for long. My brain won’t let me. Anything longer than a week or so, and I’m itching to get back to it. There’s always something on my slate—usually several somethings.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m trying to expand my manuscript, The More Plausible Evil, to include more character development and build-up. I had a pretty tightly-plotted outline, but my beta reader thought it would work if I added more back story and personal interactions. This has been a bit of a struggle for me because I have to rip apart that tightly-plotted outline and find good places to expand and add to it. I’m also awaiting beta edits on Klaxon at the Core, the sequel to my first published novel, Signal to Noise; and publisher edits for The Fall Guide, a contemporary romance making its debut December 3rd.
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 find inspiration everywhere. To me, being a writer is like being a sponge: taking in ideas from everything around you, and filtering through them to get what you need and turn them into something else. A lot of the time, I find ideas simply by talking through a submission call, or seeing something in life and wanting to turn that on its head or play out what-if scenarios, or through putting a spin on something else and remaking it so completely you’d have trouble recognizing its roots. When I have my character bases, the main characters, the ideas usually come together so fast it feels like they’re gathering all the threads for me.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?
Most of what I read is m/m fiction. However, outside of that my deepest roots are in science fiction and fantasy, with occasional forays into contemporary fiction depending on the plot. I read some absolutely lovely Jodi Picoult novels a few years back. Her style is so lyrical and devastating.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-
Well, if you’re giving me the unqualified choice, of course I’m going for Astronaut! I would love to go up into space. When I was younger and cutting my teeth on Robert Heinlein stories, I really wanted to out-migrate to the Moon when that became an option. Still waiting on that.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I love to cook (and eat), play video games, watch movies, cuddle up on the loveseat with my girlfriend and our cat while we play video games or watch movies, exercise and stay active, do home manicures with my excessive collection of nail polish, and of course read. Basically I enjoy cramming all possible fun into my spare time. I also like to travel when we’re able, but it seems there’s never enough time.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Yes, Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues is coming out October 1st as part of the Rocking Hard anthology, volume one. Also, Convergence is part of the upcoming Proud to Be a Vampire collection, and it’s a different kind of vampire story—think tomb-raiders with a supernatural angle, and a pair of male protagonists who discover a lot about one another that they didn’t expect. Finally, The Fall Guide is a fun and sexy romance that has Eric Caville picking up the pieces of his personal and professional life and overcoming his pride to find the help (and maybe the right person) he needs to get him there.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
My author blog: http://dreaminginfinity.wordpress.com/
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/talya.andor.9
And my Twitter: https://twitter.com/TalyaAndor
It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!
Thank you, I appreciate the chance to answer your questions, and after the cake it’s the least I can do to help with the clean-up!
Oh, no clean up. We get to kick back and watch.