So we’re inside my head, currently looking like a Victorian library. The fire is crackling away nicely and we’re both sunk comfortably into leather armchairs.
Andrew is wearing a shirt and tie but Drew is in jeans and a t-shirt.
Andrew: You might have dressed for the occasion.
Drew: I could have but the idea was to be comfortable, wasn’t it?
Andrew: True. Since we’d been thinking about doing interviews we wanted to start off with someone we were comfortable with.
Drew: And we’re comfortable with each other, are we? *takes a sip of whisky from a glass that has suddenly appeared beside him.*
Andrew: Where did you get that?
Drew: Hey, it’s our head. Still, I like what you’ve done with the place.
Andrew: Do you really need to be drinking to be interviewed? You don’t drink that much in the real world.
Drew: Maybe not but it might help me be more talkative.
Andrew: *shrugs* Fair enough. So I’ll as the questions, you answer them. And can you keep the film references to a minimum, please?
Drew: I’m not going to make any promises. You know how things are in here.
Andrew: So, it’s been an eventful year. The new home business, first attempt at NaNoWriMo…
Drew: First tattoo… *grins*
Andrew: How are things with you?
Drew: Oh, it’s all horses for courses and giddy up.
Andrew: What on earth does that mean?
Drew: Absolutely no clue. A lot of the things I say don’t make any sense.
Andrew: Let’s start again. Why are there two of us?
Drew: Simple. You’re the official version. I’m the internal version.
Andrew: What do you mean by that?
Drew: You know what I mean. I’m closer to the way we want to be.
Andrew: An idealized version?
Drew: I wouldn’t go that far. Still a long way from being the best we can be. Consider this a work in progress.
Andrew: If you like. What got you started writing?
Drew: I’m not sure you could point to any one thing. A love of books certainly helped. An aunt got me a hardback volume containing both Dracula and Frankenstein for my eighth or ninth birthday. I don’t think I could have been stopped after that. My room in my parents house had half a dozen bookcases, mostly crammed with paperbacks from charity shops. And a desire to make things up. I remember doing one of those what I did on my holidays type stories which was a complete fabrication. The teacher was kind enough not to point that out though.
Andrew: Most of your earlier work was for school and was heavily influenced by whatever you’d been reading recently. Is that fair?
Drew: Probably. It wasn’t until I was in my later teens that I was being more creative. The first piece that I can recall being worth something, was actually one of the seeds for House Valerius.
Andrew: You didn’t actually start House Valerius for several years after that though. Before that you wrote a number of short stories, some of which were your way of coping…
Drew: Yes…*takes another drink*
Andrew: I know you don’t like talking about it. But it was a fairly pivotal event.
Drew: I suppose you’re right. Dad dying did throw me for a loop and writing seemed to help.
Andrew: Some of those short stories were written as requests. Do you still do that?
Drew: Not so much. Unless you want to count the six word story prompts.
Andrew: You don’t write poetry much any more either.
Drew: Can we call that a phase?
Andrew: It still gave you your only published piece.
Drew: I have a letter saying they wanted to publish The Lady Laughs. I never actually saw it in print.
Andrew: And then, of course there was your first novel. Still unfinished?
Drew: Yes. I still think there were some good sections in what I wrote but I think I’d been reading too many crime books at the time and it just wasn’t working.
Andrew: Do you think you’ll ever go back to it?
Drew: Not as it stands. Maybe with a full do over at some point.
Andrew: House Valerius has been your main project for the past several years. But it wasn’t something you planned, was it?
Drew: Not really. But the first few chapters came pretty easily and then it was more a question of seeing how far I could take it.
Andrew: And now its become three books and a number of short stories. How did the original idea come to you?
Drew: You said no movie references.
Andrew: *sigh* Just this once.
Drew: The initial spark was watching the first Underworld and wondering what it would be like growing up in a house like the mansion shown in the film. Then I started drawing in other things( the short story from high school, my Dissertation at University.
Andrew: Did you expect it to take as long as it has?
Drew: To be honest, no. I’ve tended to meander through my writing without much in the way of planning. This past year I’ve been trying to remedy that.
Andrew: Do you think you’ll succeed?
Drew: I think it’s important I try. And also that I not get discouraged when the real world gets in the way.
Andrew: Where are you on getting the books out there?
Drew: *makes a face* Well, years ago I did make some submissions which ultimately went nowhere. Since then, I’ve not really done anything except give it the briefest thought.
Andrew: What holds you back?
Drew: You do.
Andrew: *Looks offended* What do you mean by that?
Drew: You’re the voice that says we can’t or we shouldn’t or that it’ll fail. You can be bloody hard to ignore.
Andrew: I resent that implication. You can be just as guilty of that as I am.
Drew: At least I’m trying to change though. That’s why I’ve been posting short stories, writing reviews, trying to find what needs work.
Andrew: *clears throat* I think we should move on.
Drew: Works for me.
Andrew: You mentioned writing reviews and you’ve posted a list of books you intend to read. Do you have any kind of schedule or system for that?
Drew: Not so much. I try not to review two books of the same genre back to back but otherwise it’s just whatever appeals to me next. And I usually estimate how many reviews I want to try doing at the beginning of the month when I’m doing my monthly goals.
Andrew: The monthly goals, even when you don’t make them…
Andrew: They seem to have been well received by several people who follow us on Twitter.
Drew: Yes. Some have been kind enough to say that it’s inspired them to do their own goals. I’ve found, and said several times, that other writers on Twitter are very kind and supportive.
Andrew: Is that why you’ve been working on your online presence?
Drew: Partly. People have been kind to me, seems only right to be kind in return.
Andrew: That seems like a good point to change tack.
Drew: We’re stopping?
Andrew: Not quite. But we’ve been going for a time and I thought it would be nice if we tried a few random questions.
Drew: Oh, random is good.
Andrew: What are you currently reading?
Drew: Darkland by M.L. Spencer. I had read and reviewed her book, Darkmage so was kind enough to give me an advance copy. I’m acting as a beta reader for her. It’s my first time doing that so I’m curious to see how I do. Based on what I’ve read it’ll be worth the wait.
Andrew: If you could visit any fictional place, where would it be?
Drew: Hmm, just the one? The easy answer would be Middle-Earth but I think I’d enjoy seeing Ankh-Morpork.
Andrew: You get to bring one fictional character to life for a day, who do you want to meet?
Drew: How does dinner with Hannibal Lector sound? He can pick the restaurant but he can’t cook.
Andrew: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Drew: The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord. Not sure how old I was.
Andrew: If you could have dinner/drinks with any author, living or dead, who would it be?
Drew: Dead, it would be Terry Pratchett. I’ve been reading his books for the majority of my life and I still find new little gems in them. Hunter S. Thompson would probably make for an entertaining evening as well. Alive, probably Neil Gaiman. I haven’t been reading him nearly as long but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read.
Andrew: Have you ever met any authors you read & admire?
Drew: I met and spoke with a few at Bubonicon earlier this year. Joe Lansdale, Melinda Snodgrass, George R.R. Martin.
Andrew: Favourite Muppet?
Drew: *laughs* “Wocka Wocka Wocka!”
Andrew: What kind of music puts you in the mood to write?
Drew: Pretty much anything by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Something about his lyrics just seems to click with that part of my brain.
Andrew: Tell us two lies and a truth.
Drew: Do I have to say which is which?
Andrew: Not if you don’t want to.
Drew: More fun to let people guess?
Andrew: As you say.
Drew: Okay. Here goes.
1. I once broke in to a neighbour’s house to find their dead body.
2. I played Eeyore in my first every school play.
3. I have a scar on my lip from getting drunk and falling face first onto a gravel path.
Andrew: And I think we’ll leave it there.