Thursday, 28 May 2015

Jolly Author Spotlight - Andrea L. Staum


I had the privilege of working alongside Andrea while taking part in the Lurking in the Deep anthology. Known for "Dragonchild Lore" and various anthologies, Andrea is a rising figure in the world of wordsmithery.
I managed to catch up with her for an interview.

Where are you from and what makes this place special to you?
I’m from Wisconsin and after a brief stay in the desert ended back there because it’s where my family is. I currently live in south-central Wisconsin not far from Madison. I like the small town feel of my current home and I’m not far from the city.

What genre or genres do you dabble in?
I write primarily fantasy and/or sci-fi. That being said, I’m up for most any challenge. I have published stories in steampunk, memoir, erotica, and thriller.

Other than author, do you have any other occupations?
I went to school to be a motorcycle mechanic and even though I don’t wrench any more I am still in that industry.

What were your top three favourite childhood books?
This is a broad question. Books that had an impact on me as a child were: Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders, The Chronicles of Narnia (don’t make me choose just one) by C.S. Lewis, and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.


What are your current top three favourite books?
Pretty much anything by Diamant ranks pretty high with me right now. Their Night Boys series has taught me a lot about an era that I was too young to understand. I’m currently reading A Writer's Guide To Persistence: How to Create Lasting and Productive Writing Practice by Jordan Rosenfeld and it is fantastic. Catherine Stovall’s Death Eater series is amazing as well.

Which writers have influenced you?
I have to give a lot of credit to Anne McCaffrey and her Dragonriders of Pern.


And what about books, do any inspire you?
Honestly, any well-crafted book can be an inspiration. There are books I stare at and wonder if I can ever match the word-smithiness of the author.

Would you like to tell us about your writing process?
I am horrible at having a process. (Hence the Rosenfeld book) I set incredibly open outlines that end up getting scrapped as the characters take over and do what they want verses what I expected to happen. I am working on setting a specific writing time, which has meant getting up earlier and forcing myself to get things done.

How do you deal with writer’s block?
Not well. I end up working on other projects then returning to the one that has me stumped or I force myself to type out some very strained sentences that can be fixed in the second draft. The other trick that caused me grief was skipping the scene and writing the next one.

Are you writing anything at the moment?
I am in the editing/formatting stage of Daughters of Kalahtaya: Book 2 of  Dragonchild Lore. I am also working on the third instalment of my Steampunk Stories.

Why did you choose to become an author?
I have all these amazing characters and stories that I want to share with people. The base story for Dragonchild Lore has been with me since high school and it was finally time to get it out. It has surprised me at every turn and I couldn’t be happier with it.

What is your long-term goal that you wish to achieve through your writing?
I want to tell the whole story. I want to get all five parts of Dragonchild Lore done and get Hestia, from The Attic’s Secret, some more page time. It would be great to be ‘discovered’ by a big time publisher, but I’m happy to say that people around the world have read my stories.

Why should people read your books?
I think my books and stories are unique in a marketplace that is saturated with a lot of the same tropes. I try not to follow any formula to the story. I’m just the messenger for these amazingly complicated characters that aren’t perfect, but have hope for their future. Even my dystopic stories have to have a silver lining. 

Do you have any quick advice for anybody who aspires to be an author?
Don’t give up on writing. Life may get in the way and writing may have to be put aside, but know that you can come back to it. Also, understand the worth of a good editor.

Do you have a favourite quote?
"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind." ~Dr. Seuss

What is your favourite mythical or fantasy creature and why?
Dragons. There’s just something about the power and beauty they embody.

Shop: Dragon Bronze Figurine with Treasure Hoard
Shop: White Dragon of Wisdom Figurine

Do you have a favourite film?
Singing in the Rain.

Your house is being invaded by homicidal dwarves riding armoured boars. You will need to combine the first object to your right and the first object you see after spinning around 10 times to make a weapon. How doomed to the empty depths of oblivion are you?
Whoa, dizzy, ok um we have a box fan and a T.A.R.D.I.S. I think we’re going to be ok. ^_^

What are your feelings about writing  or critique groups?
I think they’re great if done properly. I joined one when I was going to mechanic’s school and it helped me keep my sanity. I haven’t been a member of that group for a long time but keep in contact with members of it. I also started my own group where I live and have watched it grow. Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but having people that are going through the same thing is a big help.

What do you mean done properly?
The group should have a mission statement and a goal in mind. It is easy for strong personalities to take over in any activity and there needs to be some guidelines to keep quieter members from being overshadowed. The Sauk City Writing Circle’s purpose is to provide a place for people to get assistance with their writing; not be assaulted for it.

And now a little about her Lurking in the Deep story.

What is the title of your story in the Lurking in the Deep anthology?
Widow’s Cut

Provide us with a little interesting blurb about your story. (No spoilers)
As the village elder cuts her hair into the widow’s cut, Tori contemplates the events that led to her husband’s death.

Which fear, creature or myth did you focus on in your story?
Well, there is a dragon involved, but I’m not saying how.

Is your story based on your own real fears of the deep?
While I’m actually terrified of water and drowning, that’s not the horror in the story.

Do you plan on expanding this story in a future release, for example a novella, or is it part of an existing release, such as a prequel?
The characters in the story appear in the Dragonchild Lore series. It actually takes place before the events of Blood of the Sire (book 1) and were alluded to briefly there. If it weren’t for this anthology, I don’t think this part of Tori’s story would have been told.

Would you recommend Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing?
I’ve worked with CHBB in the past and it really is a wonderful family to work with. The differences of technique and style a reader can find in each anthology is always amazing.

Read Andrea L. Staum

Blood of the Sire
Lurking In The Deep
The Attic's Secret

Follow Andrea L. Staum

You can follow Andrea on her website (click).
And on the following social platforms:

Thank you for taking part in this interview, Andrea. I wish you the best of luck with your writing. It has been a pleasure to work with you so far on Lurking in the Deep.

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