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?
- 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: