The Last Grand Master and Andrew Q. Gordon

Andrew Q. Gordon is here today.

Andrew’s book, The Last Grand Master, is available at Dreamspinner Press. Welcome!

Can you tell us a few things about your work?

  1. What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?

Writing is my favorite part – duh right?  But I mean the creative, sitting down and getting the vision of the story down on paper – or at least onto the screen.  Transferring the ideas and the images I have for scenes is the best part. I can go back and decide later if it’s any good, but just getting it out feels great.  Like I’ve created something.

Marketing what I’ve written is my least favorite.  I’m sure everyone says this.  Once I’ve gotten everything down, I just want to move on to the next one – and there are so many ‘next ones’ right now rattling around inside my skull, I don’t have the time to do them all.  Unfortunately, self marketing is a big part of the process and frankly I – like so many other authors – am not very good at it, nor do I like it.

2. Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere – For me I’m very visual. I think in images. When I write something, I ‘see’ what I’m writing – even this answer. I can ‘see’ someone reading this or the person – you – who sent it to me.  Even if I don’t really know what that person looks like, I still see an image.  Because that is how my brain works, so many things will just evoke new images and from those images, stories start to form.  After that, it’s on me to translate those images into the full story.

3. Do you like to write with music or in silence?

Both, though with a toddler in the house, I can’t really use my headphones or play music anymore. Generally I write upstairs near her room and this way if she wakes up – and I generally only get to write when she’s asleep or if I can beg a few hours free from my husband – I can hear her.

4. What is your favorite meal?

Really good lasagna with home made sauce.  My mother used to make this and she’s taught me. I love the different cheeses and I usually add ground turkey to mine. But it is the sauce – gravy in my house – that makes it. If the sauce is good, everything else tastes better.  It’s taken me a few years to master this, but I’ve learned to make special sauce for Lasagna, one that is made with cheese cooked in.  Very tasty.

5. Talk a bit about you’re new release The Last Grand Master

The Last Grand Master is a fantasy novel that is part of a series I’m calling Champion of the Gods. It’s a ‘high fantasy’ novel that allows me to do a fair bit of world building to go along with characters and plot.  The background is – and I’ll be brief – There are Seven Gods of Nendor.  Six exist in harmony and work together to keep watch over the inhabitants of Nendor.  The seventh – Neldin – decided long ago, he wanted to be supreme ruler of all and made war on his siblings.  That war – 3000 plus years before this book is set – ended badly for Neldin.  In the three millennia since, he has plotted his next attempt.  When the book opens, Farrell, a young but powerful wizard – is the last wizard of any consequence left to stop Meglar – Neldin’s servant – from conquering the Seven Kingdoms, then Ardus and ultimately all of Nendor.  Farrell knows his destiny, but the book opens with Honorus – first of the gods – sending him to rescue a group of people Meglar is trying to conquer.  While there he meets his life partner – mate – among the defenders.  What follows is their story together and how they prepare for the final conflict.  Farrell is the Champion of the Six, the one chosen to fight Neldin’s champion – Meglar.  There are several books to the series so this is just the beginning.

6.  Do you have a favorite character? Why?

I do, but we haven’t met him yet. I’d tell you who it is, but it might give away a plot line for later.  Otherwise I think I most identify with the main character Farrell. When I was writing this story, I think he was the character I could most see myself as if I had the ability to insert myself into the story. I don’t know how common that is for writer to want to be one of their characters, but there it is.

7. What advice would you give to new authors?

Two things. First is easy and everyone probably tells people this – write.  A writer writes. But it’s good advice. Only through the practice of writing do you get better.  But probably more important is, get feed back before you try to publish something.  An author friend of mine suggested I join an on line writing forum for feed back. Her advice was to post something there – not something I intended to try to publish, but something I could learn from. It was amazingly good advice.  I think we all start out thinking we’re awesome, some few are, the rest of us need work. The key is, be open to constructive criticism and not just looking for positive feed back. No one wants to be the naked emperor being told how great his non-existent clothes look.

8. Do you set writing goals?

No – I figure this isn’t my job so if I miss my goal, I don’t need to feel like I’m slacking and if I hit my goal I don’t want to feel I can stop, especially if I’m on a roll.  I will do deadlines for things like edits back to the publisher or editor, but not self imposed ones.

9. Why the M/M genre?

Why not? No seriously, I didn’t set out to be a M/M genre writer. And, frankly I think what I write could find a home in ‘straight’ genres. I don’t do a lot of sex scenes – mostly because my stories aren’t as much about the sexual relationship as about something else.  Not that I won’t or haven’t done sex scenes, and I get that in most M/M fiction it’s sort of expected, but it’s not me.  So back to the question, why this genre, well for now, it’s my target audience.  Hopefully I’ll expand outward sort of like Mercedes Lackey did.  Which is to say, her books have gay characters and some are MC, but they are not per se m/m literature. That is where I aspire to go.

10. What is your favorite movie or book?

I really don’t have a favorite movie.  I don’t tend to watch movies over and over. I guess if I had to choose a movie it would be Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Stupid, low tech, low budget, but it reminds me of when I was 12 so I guess that’s not a bad thing.

My favorite book is really a series. The Last Herald Mage.  I like all of Lackey’s books, but I felt some ‘tried’ harder than others and all seem to try to recapture the magic of this series.  I think these book are what inspired me to want to write.  I could read these every year and not get tired of them.

11. Pet peeves?

Do Goodread Trolls count as a pet peeve? But seriously, I think of GR trolls as both reviewers and writers.  The reviewers who give objective criticism, without being nasty or demeaning are not trolls.  People who get snarky and sarcastic when criticizing are.  But just as bad, and maybe worse are those authors who expect only good reviews and any negative feed back gets lumped into the ‘GR Troll’ category. Someone I know who is published by a small publisher asked me to read for her because she knew ‘I’d give her honest feed back.’  The story – like most of her stories – was a mess.  Multiple perspectives, ‘convenient’ plot resolutions, unbelievable character reactions, totally telly, very little showing etc.  I pointed all these out as nicely as I could – I got back the expected, ‘thanks, but you’re an idiot, this is really good’ response.  Fast forward a few months.  The book came out and people trashed it for most of the reasons I gave and a few I missed.  That prompted a blog post from her on why it was ‘wrong’ for people to criticize someone’s ‘hard work.’ To me that is worse than the haters because it’s part of why criticism ends up so snarky. Reviewers who want to be honest and give constructive criticism get slammed as haters and trolls and told, if they can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.  So there you are-  I don’t like trolls of any stripe.

In life my pet peeve is ill mannered people – for instance, this morning, I took ‘lil q- my daughter – to get breakfast [she’s 16 months] we stopped to get coffee at Starbucks – there are no other coffee shops in the area :-/ – the line wasn’t long but it wasn’t short either.  Two young women walked up past everyone else to ‘talk’ to their friend and then they stayed and ordered – basically cutting in line. Lack of decorum, courtesy and consideration get no slack from me as they tend to make people cranky and irritable.

12. What is an ideal day for you like? What would a horrible day be like?

My ideal day would involve no day job and time to write. Followed by lunch with the husband and an free afternoon to take the baby and dog to the park. I’d like to have time to do both, write and be a dad/husband.

A horrible day is pretty much most of my M-F. I see ‘lil q for about 10-15 minutes in the a.m. when I change and feed her.  Then I’m off to work. I get home it’s about 6:30 and I have to cook. We feed her and eat, clean up and it almost time for her to go to sleep.  So I get less than two hours a day to see her and most of that I involves feeding, cleaning or changing her.

13. What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on a couple things.  The second book in the Champion of the Gods series is written, but I’m revising and reworking it. I’m also trying to work on a new, modern paranormal story that I’ve tentatively titled Archangel.  There are no excerpt ready for prime time viewing so I’ll keep it to myself.  I’d like to find time to finish the Champions series, then finish Archangel so I can start a new series, set in a different world from any I’ve written about so far.  But, as I’ve said before, I don’t have the time to do everything right now.

Thanks, Andrew! You can find more information on the book here:


19 thoughts on “The Last Grand Master and Andrew Q. Gordon

  1. What a great interview! I totally agree about marketing – it’s hard to focus on a project when it’s “done” in your mind. The Grand Master sounds very interesting. I’m looking forward to checking it out!

    • Yeah, they ought to hand you a booklet before you type/write/draw in crayon the first word to your book. If you can’t stand the marketing, don’t write the book – hey wait – that’s my idea, no one steal it. :O

      Thanks Aidee hope you enjoy it. [the book, not marketing]

  2. Great interview, Andrew! I sympathize with your experience critiquing someone’s else’s work. Personally, I love getting honest feedback. I look at it as an opportunity to improve what I’ve crafted, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I want anything I put out there to be the best I can possibly make it. I’d much rather be slammed in private and have an opportunity to fix things than to release something subpar and be slammed publicly! But I know some people are really sensitive to criticism. They should know that about themselves and not ask for it in the first place.

    Your lasagna sounds yummy. One of my personal faves, too! But alas, I’m converting to a Paleo diet in a couple weeks, so no more pasta for me. Good thing I love spaghetti squash!! Feel free to share you secret sauce recipe on your blog *hint, hint*!

    Congrats on the new release!

    • Criticism is – as I’ve learned at work – the hardest thing to accept and the best thing anyone can give you. It’s hard now that everything is on line. There are valid points to be made when people complain about trolls. I’ve read a few books by authors, some here, some not that I don’t like – but it’s not because they book sucks – well occassionally it is, but mostly not. That said, I could easily go through most of them and find things that could be ‘better’ and trash them. It’s not fair, because the reason probably had zero to do with the things I’m ‘finding’.

      Anyway, yes sauce – hmm sounds like something I ought to do for a fund raiser for a good cause. I’ll teach everyone, then we’ll all sit and eat the result? Yeah?

      Thanks MP 🙂

    • Thanks Susan,

      I can’t say there isn’t a strong High Fantasy element in the book, but I also tried hard to make it character driven as much as I could. I think you might be surprised [hmm maybe not, there is a lot of ‘magic’ in the book. So take that comment with a grain of salt.]

      And yes, there is nothing like good Lasagna on a cold winter day. Even the baby uses two hands 😛

  3. Congratulations on losing your cherry! 😀 Though you sound busy with your home life and work, you still manage to turn out amazing books. And cook.

    • Cooking is like writing – I like to do it so I find time to do it. That and it’s my italian grandmother coming through, you gotta feed the little ones and the hubs can’t cook. Nothing worse than a hungry baby.

  4. Congratulations Andrew. Your book sounds really intriguing. This was a great interview. I especially agree with your views on Goodreads. There are definitely some awful people on there, but for the most part, it’s a review website. You have to take the good with the bad and learn from it.
    ‘Lil Q sounds adorable, and if my experience with kids is anything to go by, the best is yet to come!

    • Well Cate you’re either the first person to lie to me or the first person who isn’t trying to scare. Everyone says I’ll need a shotgun to keep the boys away and I should start saving to send her to boarding school. I think I’ll stick with the answer I like – yours 🙂

      Thanks for dropping in, Skylar did a great job with this so I really want to thank her for letting appropriate her site for the day. And I thank y’all for coming by. I tried to be on my best behavior. 0:)

      • Haha I think parenting always has ups and downs, but my nephew is almost five and he is pretty much my favourite person ever. He’s smart and we have so much fun together. I loved hanging out with him when he was toddling around, but now that he’s verbal and we’re able to do more things together it’s great. Plus, he has this stegosaurus song he sings with actions that is just hilarious.

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