Here’s my conversation with Andrew. If you’d like to know more about him, check out his blog at http://adoptingjames.wordpress.com/.
1. How would you describe The Man in the Box to someone who has not read it? It’s fun and fast. It’s like a rolling snowball that starts off kind of like, “I wonder where this is going to end up,” and next thing you know, the story’s picked up so much speed that you’re just having so much fun you don’t care where you end up. At least, that’s the impression I’ve gotten from several reviewers so far.
2. How did you get the idea for the novel? I love stories where fantasy and real life merge. But most of those stories – at least the good ones – are written for kids. So I wanted to try writing one for adults, one where grownups with pasts and regrets can relate to the main character who discovers a fantasy world.
3. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of and why? As much as I love the action scenes (and there’s a lot of them), it’s really the scenes where Robbie is interacting with his family that I look forward to reading the most. A lot of the book’s humor comes from these scenes, and I feel they really do their job in revealing what’s really in Robbie’s heart – that deep down inside, he really does love them.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about The Man in the Box? It’s funny you ask that. If the book does well, I’m going to be writing up the screenplay for it. There will be many changes from the book to the movie because some things just aren’t as funny or exciting on paper as they would be on the screen. Plus, I think it will be a fun surprise for fans of the book to see new things. But, as far as the book goes, minus the typos and errors, I’m very proud of it the way it stands.
5. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite? Hearing what people think – their excitement, their awe, their sudden interest in my abilities as a storyteller. It’s fun building an audience! My least favorite part would be writing the book itself. Honestly. I wish I could just open my brain up for people to explore and be entertained with all the stories I have floating around up there. Writing is tough work, even for an author. I’m pretty sure that if I had the means and money for a film set, I’d be filming my stories.
6. What genre have you not written but really want to try? Romantic comedy. I wrote The Man in the Box partially because I can’t stand most “suspense/thriller” stories. Honestly, many of them bore me and are easily predictable. So The Man in the Box is my challenge to that genre to step it up. I don’t like many romantic comedies, so I want to see if I can pull it off. I’ve been trying, and it’s a lot harder than I thought!
7. What book are you reading right now? Mine, of course, in print. Also, 1776 by McCullough because it’s Christmas, and it ends with Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. Life as We Knew It by Pfeffer because The Hunger Games showed me that teen books have a lot of potential. And Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis for the second time because it’s just awesome.
8. What’s up next for you? I have just finished my second book, I Am the Lion, about a widowed father who is struggling to raise his daughter in the aftermath of his wife’s death. And I am currently working on one more to the tune of The Man in the Box about a couple’s marriage that is falling apart, but they are trapped in a house together as aliens are rumored to attack earth. It’s funny and spooky. Think Signs meets The Breakup.
9. Do you have advice for other writers? Sometimes you have to trash your best ideas. I’ve learned that you can’t sacrifice enough of those ideas in order to stay true to the story as a whole. And, if they really are that great, they’ll find their way back into the story somehow.
10. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Yes! Review my book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads…anywhere. I’m pushing for this to be a bestseller. And, while you’re reading it, have fun and hold on tight!