Today we’ve got another great interview to share with our readers, this time with Andrew Joyce, author of Redemption and Molly Lee. You can learn more about Andrew Joyce and his books by visiting andrewjoyce76.com, or by clicking on any of the links at the bottom of the page.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how many books you have written?
I don’t really like to talk about myself. This is my standard bio: Andrew Joyce lives on a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny. I may be wrong, but I want my writing to stand alone. I want people to read my books because they derive some pleasure from doing so. Not because they find me an interesting character.
My first published novel was entitled REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. I’m here today to promote MOLLY LEE, my latest. I’ve also written an unpublished (to date) historical novel of 142,000 words entitled YELLOW HAIR, and 140 short stories that eventually will be packaged into a two-volume set called BEDTIME STORIES for GROWN-UPS.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The book is entitled MOLLY LEE. What inspired it is a rather long story, but I’ll be as succinct as possible. Here goes: Molly just came to me one day and asked that I tell her story.
Perhaps I should start at the beginning.
My first book was a 142,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing, and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.
“So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!
I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months; then sent out query letters to agents.
Less than a month later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in New York City emailed me that he loved the story. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count is 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status on Amazon twice, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But not quite.
My agent then wanted me to write a sequel, but I had other plans. I was in the middle of editing down my first novel (that had been rejected by 1,876,324 agents . . . or so it seemed) from 164,000 words to the present 142,000. However, he was insistent, so I started to think about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I had tied up all the loose ends at the end of REDEMPTION, so there was no way that I could write a sequel. And that is when Molly asked me to tell her story. Molly was a character that we met briefly in the first chapter of REDEMPTION, and then she is not heard from again.
So you see, I was not inspired to write MOLLY LEE. I was cajoled into writing it by Molly and my agent.
What was the biggest challenge you faced with your latest book?
Writing about Molly was a breeze. If I have any bitch, it’s the marketing when all the writing and editing are done with. I’d much rather write.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really. I prefer to write in the early morning hours when things are quiet. I usually get up around 2:00 a.m. and go to work. The commute is not long . . . only a few steps to my computer.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
That’s a good question. I can’t remember ever being advised by anyone concerning my writing. I kind of refined my craft over time. When I read my early short stories, I cringe at the lack of my editing skills. I’ll tell you the best advice that I can give to aspiring writers, and that is: Read, read, and then read some more. Read everything you can lay your hands on!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The first three Conversations with God books and The Collected Works of William Shakespeare.
Do you have another book in the works?
Yes I do, but right now my attention is riveted on a big, tall, frosty glass of vodka and cranberry juice (with extra lime). So I’ll have to go now. It’s been a pleasure, Johanna. Thank you.
View Andrew Joyce’s Guest Blog Post On Epic Book Quest HERE.