I came across Andrew when reading a blog swop he’d done with the sainted . I’m delighted he’s here today.
So Andrew, what did it feel like watching your first book fledge and leave the nest? Did that change with subsequent books?
I was pretty much debrained from the excitement of my first book hitting the stores. There was such a sense of disbelief that it really happened, and it was such a novelty being able to google the title and see retrievals come up. I think I did that twenty or thirty times a day for the first few weeks.
That was when The Rearing (Werecat: Book One) came out in 2013. I still felt a thrill with my subsequent releases, but it definitely lessened with time. Now I’m down to stalking my books online just six or eleven times a day, which is not a behaviour that I advocate by the way.
Banished Sons of Poseidon – why this particular setting?
I’m a bit fanatical about the Atlantis legend. That’s a conversation starter that generally clears the room, but since you asked, sure I’m happy to talk about it!
I’ve been writing about Atlantis for the past nine years, and I’m still working on instalments of the story. The initial draw for me was to write a new version of the conspiracy that kept the “truth” distorted and hidden from history. I was inspired by the idea that the gods who were written about in ancient times were once real people whose stories were embellished or villainized to serve a moral or political purpose. For me, the downfall of Atlantis, a cautionary tale of impiety and hubris, was very exciting to explore.
I had to disentangle a knotty, lumbering, many-years-in-the-making narrative to bring to life individual books on that theme. Somewhat unexpectedly, the first turned out to be The Seventh Pleiade, which released in 2013 and is the story of the last days of Atlantis told from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old boy of noble birth, who also happens to be gay. Disaster happens. That’s a spoiler that can’t be avoided pretty much as soon as you read the back cover blurb.
Banished Sons of Poseidon, which just came out last month, is a follow up to that story and picks up on what happens to the survivors. It’s told from the point-of-view of a supporting character from The Seventh Pleiade named Dam who has his own adventure in the aftermath of Atlantis.
Through a different publisher, I’m working on a series of books that explore the early years of Atlantis. That series starts with the title Poseidon and Cleito, which is due out in early 2016.
If you were in a tight corner and had to rely on one of your characters to save you, which would it be and why?
The main character Dam from Banished Sons of Poseidon has a love interest named Hanhau who is a warrior from the underworld. He’s fearless and virtuous and pretty much everything I would want from someone who’s willing to come to my rescue. Hanhau is also from a foreign race that grows scale armour and scars their arms for every enemy that they kill so he’s not a bad tough guy to have around. And he’s easy on the eyes.
If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what book would you write?
Wow. I think you’ve debrained me again. I tend to overestimate both my time and the guarantee of publication such that I have many projects in my head spinning around like plates and the question of saleability hits me way too late.
Having said that, I’d love to work out a fantasy series with an epic cast of characters, à la George R.R. Martin and Frank Herbert. I tend to work with a large number of characters, and I really admire authors who have the ability to create engrossing stories while alternating multiple, intersecting narratives. Let’s give George R.R. Martin a break: it takes time.
Is there a classic book you started and simply couldn’t finish?
I’ll go out on a limb with a horrible confession. I could not finish Jack Keroauc’s On The Road. That’s particularly embarrassing for me as an American child of the 80s who prided himself on an affiliation to all things counterculture and anti-establishment. Maybe I’ll pick it up and give it another try.
What’s your favourite gay fiction book? And why?
Gosh, that’s tough because there are so many that I love for different reasons! I’m tempted in this case to go with a title or two (or three) that are a little obscure but ‘stayed with me’ as they say.
I’ll always remember reading John Weir’s The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket, because of its humour and its sadness and altogether how it captured what it felt like to be a gay man in New York City at the height of the AIDS crisis.
Then, my very favourite gay young adult novel is probably Ben Neihart’s Hey Joe, which was really quite groundbreaking for the 90s in dealing with gay teen characters who weren’t horribly damaged or prostituting, yet it didn’t shy away from sex and drugs and felt satisfyingly authentic.
I have to sneak in a title from fantasy/retold myth since that’s overlooked so much, and well, it’s rather transparent that I have a stake in it. Douglas Clegg’s Mordred: Bastard Son is one of my very favourite myth/legend retellings, bringing to life the villain from the King Arthur legend as a misunderstood, young gay man.
What’s your next project?
Poseidon and Cleito comes out in early 2016, and later in the year I have an ancient world alternative history novel releasing called The City of Seven Gods. That’s sort of a gritty story of survival in a world that combines ancient Egyptian, Sumerian and Babylonian sensibilities.
I mentioned earlier my tendency to have a lot of plates spinning at one time. Right now, I’m finishing the last instalment of my Werecat series. After that, I need to get straight to work on the follow up to Poseidon and Cleito as well as a continuation of the series that starts with The City of Seven Gods.