With the release of his new Heirs of Destiny series looming just on the horizon (due to release on January 22nd, 2019), I thought it would be a good time to get to know more about the man behind the pages.
Andy was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for us.
Interview with Andy Peloquin
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I sprang from my mother’s womb with a pince-nez perched on my nose and a feather quill in hand!
Fine, truth time: I discovered writing in middle school, thanks to a particularly passionate teacher. I come from a very artistic family, but I have no other artistic talents. Discovering that I could write was a “light bulb” moment—I finally had an outlet for my innate artistic nature.
I wrote for a bit during my teenaged years; like so many others, I had a lot of free time on my hands, but not a lot to do (this was before the internet was everywhere).
But, honestly, it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I realized that writing was my true passion. A friend of mine who runs a publishing company read a piece that I’d written during my teen years, and they wanted to publish it. That set off the sparks in my brain and made me think, “If they liked what I did a decade ago, I wonder what I could do now.” Thus was born Andy Peloquin the Author!
- How long does it take you to write a book?
These days, I’m writing a book in about 1 month. I write about 20 hours per week, and my average word count is roughly 2,000 words per hour. At that pace, it’s easy to hammer out the stories quickly. However, I plan on slowing down a bit in the near future, to really take my time and pay closer attention to what I’m writing. Sometimes, writing fast can lead to writing TOO fast, and I’d rather release fewer books than let my quality suffer.
- What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m up at 6 AM every day, and at my desk working by 7 AM. I’ll work from 7 to 9 AM, either on the “day job” (blogging and article writing) or getting in a 4,000-word writing session.
9 AM means breakfast and time away from the computer. I’ll usually cook for myself and my wife, as cooking helps me to relax after an intense writing session.
On “business days” (Monday and Tuesday), I’ll spend the morning (10 AM to 1 PM) writing emails, planning newsletters, dealing with social media, and other business stuff.
On writing days (Wed-Fri), I’ll fit in another 2-hour writing shift sometime between 10 AM and 1 PM.
1 PM is off to cook/eat/enjoy lunch, sometimes (if I’m VERY lucky) even grab a 20-minute power nap to recharge the brain.
Then, at 2:30, it’s back at the desk for another writing session until 4:30 or 5.
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Wow, just one? Ask my wife, and she’d tell you everything is a quirk! Heh.
I’d probably say my quirkiest quirk is that I HAVE to have something hot and sweet to drink to write. Not just coffee, but tea (the French way, with milk and sugar), hot chocolate, chai, green tea, yerba mate, or anything else I can get my hands on. A little caffeine is always nice, but I can get by on just hot and sweet alone.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I pull them straight out of my…
It’s pretty difficult to say where creative ideas come from or what sparks imagination. I’ve gotten ideas from TV shows, from off-handed remarks in a conversation, from goofy images on the internet, from movies, books, or comics.
Once I have the foundation of an idea, I’ll research the s**t out of it! Everything I write, no matter how fantastic, has correlations to real life, so I’ve always got a way to research a lot to understand the characters, settings, technology, magic, or elements clearly.
- When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I STARTED my first novel when I was 15. Think Jason Bourne meets James Bond meets Mission Impossible, but on cocaine and steroids. All guns and action and martial arts. Thankfully, I had the foresight to delete it after just five chapters.
My next novel, I started at the age of 19. Worked on it until I was 20, and reached about 60,000 words. But life got in the way, so I put it down for about 5 years. I only finished it in late 2013 and self-published it in early 2014.
Reviews on the book were mixed: great story, lots of fun action, but characters left something to be desired.
So I ultimately ended up unpublishing the book, and I’ll go over it, change it to a story in my world, and re-publish it later down the line.
- What do you think is the most important part of a good story?
Character development, 100%. Plot, action, battles, intrigue, and mystery only work if you’ve got a character the reader is solidly behind. Every scene, every action sequence, every plot twist needs to showcase the character’s traits, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses in some way. The story should always reflect the character and what they’re dealing with.
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m a simple man of simple pleasures. Cooking, reading, watching TV (I count it as research), playing video games, eating out. I recently tried snowboarding for the first time—as you can imagine, it did NOT go well.
- Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
There’s no end of story-writing, worldbuilding, and marketing advice from people far wiser than I, but I will leave you with this: let hope be the message of your stories.
We live in a world that can be very dark and grim at times, bombarded by news stories of horrors, terrors, and tragedies. Fiction is an escape from real life, so it’s a chance for us to find a glimmer of goodness and hope in what could otherwise be terrible fictional worlds.
Whatever story you tell, whatever genre you write, bring out the hopefulness. No matter how dark things get in your story, make it clear that it WILL get better. That’s the sort of takeaway that will make readers feel good about the story, themselves, and their situation.