For someone who has only been a member since Oct 2011, Andy021278 has become a well-valued member of the community and especially helpful to those of use here at the GA News Blog. For a great in-depth look at who he is, here is an interview of him that Comicfan did for us. Enjoy!
Interview with Andy021278
You’ve been with GA since last October. What brought you to this website?
- I read a lot on Nifty (in retrospect, probably far too much) and I came across the story Attack and Response by Ghostryder15 and Jamie Haze (which was the follow up to Kombat Kids, but it stopped after chapter 7), and it included a link here. So, here I am.
Anyone who reads your blog knows you have been involved in cancer research. As someone who has lost family members to cancer this is an important subject. What was the attraction to such research by you?
- I have also lost family members to cancer (my grandad and two aunts to bowel cancer, and my nan to breast cancer), but I also have friends and family who are cancer survivors thanks to the work done by organisations such as Cancer Research UK.
My nan lived for several years with her diagnosis, so I came into contact with a number of medical professionals, but I was really impressed with the cancer Macmillan nurses.
I have friends and family who wouldn't be alive today without the work of cancer research, and I decided I wanted to be a part of making as big an impact on other people's lives as cancer research had on mine.
Since joining you have done some prompt writing. What do you find you like about them?
- I can go in any direction with them. Even when you get one which seems to lend itself to one particular genre, I enjoy seeing if I can write it in an unexpected way or throw a curveball at the end. They also quite often force me to write outside of my usual comfort zone.
Speaking of the prompts you did have an ongoing story, The Ddraig-Cyfrinachau which was inspired by one. When you began writing your story, what was it that you felt you needed to expand on which became this story you are telling?
- It's still ongoing, I recently posted chapter thirteen.
As with most of the prompt stories, they tend to be focused on one very specific aspect of a story or a world. My prompt story had Thomas in his role as guardian of the last dragon egg, it had the last remaining dragon egg, it had the dragon skeleton (all of which was given in your prompt) and it had the Council; but there was such a large part of their world missing.
Who was Thomas and what was his life like? What happened to the guardians who came before Thomas? Why is there this Council? Where did the Council come from? Why are the dragons extinct? Even more basically, where did the dragons come from? The more I've written of this story, the more questions I find myself coming against.
You also have a story that you are now working on book two of. For those who haven’t found this story can you give us a little information on Kyle and Kodi?
- Kyle and Kodi was actually my first real attempt at writing MM fiction (well boy/boy is probably more accurate as they are thirteen in the first book).
They have known each other all their lives, and both know they are gay, and their friends and family accept them for who they are. They realise they are in love with each other and become boyfriends. The first book deals with them getting together and then having to tell their friend's families; something they are not looking forward to.
Kyle and Kodi is in general, the way I wish things were, instead of how they actually are. One reader, and I can't remember for the life of me who it was, once described them as "too cute".
Every author seems to have a story they feel is over looked. For you which of your works would this be?
I've only been posting my stories for seven months, so I think it's a little soon for me to answer this one.
If I had to pick one, it would have to be School Dance (my first flash piece) which was posted late last year. It was quite popular when it was first posted, but feedback on it has long since died. It is only a short story (about 1200 words), but it was my first story that went way out of my usual writing genre.
You are fairly active in the GA forums. What do you enjoy about them?
- Stealing the shiny from you I enjoy the interaction with everyone on site, whether its having a laugh in the games forum or a slightly more serious discussion in the soapbox.
For me, they are a great way to get to know the people behind the name; especially in threads such as "Where is it from?", which reveals a lot about the literature we read away from GA.
Living in England, you are now in the prime position to see the whole world as they come into London for the Olympics. Do you plan to take this opportunity and allow it to influence your writing?
- I don't know to be honest. It's not something I've ever particularly thought about working a story around. You mentioned Kyle and Kodi book 2 earlier; they have the right idea, get out of London and run far far away
But who knows? I've had stranger things than the Olympics influence me before.
Outside of writing, what is it that you enjoy doing?
- Cooking mostly. I'm not one to use jars of sauces and boxes of cake mixes; most of what I cook is from scratch. I love my homemade chocolate cake with homemade dark cherry jam filling, but it's oh so fattening.
I also travel a lot. I prefer taking short breaks as opposed to long holidays, so I usually go on about ten or twelve long weekend breaks a year. I've already got weekends booked to Prague, Barcelona and Cologne.
You have begun to look over the topics for former Anthologies. I noticed you did the one on Christmas. Do you plan to do more?
- That was my intention, and still is. Unfortunately, life and work have stuck their oar in. I just about have time to focus on my two in process stories, and new chapters for those have already slowed down to monthly.
Once the summer is over, I'll have more time and will be writing a few of the former Anthology topics.
Are you planning an entry in the Fall Anthology?
- I am. It's already had its first beta read, and is now running at just over 9k; which is a mammoth achievement for me considering my record for a chapter or short story stands at about 4k.
What are some of the things you have learned since you have begun to publish on GA?
- The two main things are the right way to punctuate speech tags, and to listen to criticism and not take it personally (which is a lot harder to do than it sounds).
I've also learned that I don't just have to limit my writing to one particular genre, I've actually enjoyed branching out of my traditional comfort zone (which is the happy-happy, everyone-loves-everyone genre).
What is something about you that you feel your readers should know?
- It would have to be that I always finish what I start. Whether it takes me a week, a month, a year or even longer, it will get finished.
There are a lot of Americans on GA. Do you feel that it has been inclusive to writers from other parts of the world?
- I think it has. GA certainly doesn't feel like an American-dominated site, it is a site dominated by writers and their readers, no matter where they come from.
What final thoughts would you like to leave the readers of this interview?
- Those of us who are here, write for the pleasure of writing and our only reward is your feedback. So with that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has read my stories and provided me with feedback. Without all of your continued support, I know I wouldn't be half the writer I am; and with your continued support and feedback I hope to be able to improve even more.
So please, read and review.