Q&A with indie author Ann Livi Andrews
Give us the tl;dr of your life.
I’ve been writing since I was in first grade, but had parents who wanted me to be realistic and so I never expected to be an author. When I met the man who would become my husband, he told me he was going to publish my books, and he did!
How do you think your writing style has changed over the years?
I’d like to say that I’ve grown as an author. I used to feel that the full story was swimming around in my head and I was simply netting it out of the water as I wrote it down, but now I take a much more in-control approach to my writing. I try to be more thoughtful as to what will make for great storytelling instead of, “Well, this is how I imagined it initially, so this is how it HAS to be.”
Which famous author’s work would you say your writing style resembles the most?
I would love to say Ray Bradbury meets Agatha Christie … but I think that’s probably just wishful thinking, as they’re my favorite authors. I’ve also been inspired by the work of Terry Brooks — especially when it comes to dialogue and world-building.
Do you feel it’s most important to have strong characters mind-blowing plot twists, or epic settings?
Strong characters, for sure. If readers can’t connect with your characters, it’s near impossible to immerse them in your plot. As a reader, I need to feel strongly connected and empathetic with the characters or else I lose interest quickly.
Is there a genre or style of writing that you can’t stand?
ROMANCE. Hands down.
I read a lot of Christian romance growing up — my mom had a lot of it on hand, and even the Christian romance genre provides poor examples of relationships, in my opinion. It’s rare to find a book that promotes healthy relationships, and it’s part of the reason I entered into a bad marriage at far too young an age. It’s rare that I find a romance book that I would allow my daughter to read. My husband is not my Prince Charming, but he is my soulmate/best friend, and that’s a very different and far more important thing.
Do you have a day job, other than being a writer?
I do. Besides being a full-time stay-at-home mom who homeschools, I design websites and assist my husband with his marketing job during the day. It’s all work that I enjoy, but it keeps me very busy and often interrupts my writing time … okay, I’ll be honest, it leaves NO time for writing unless I choose writing over sleep.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been?
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It’s my favorite murder mystery and as close to perfection as you can get, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve read it so many times.
Is there anything you would have changed?
I wouldn’t change anything about the book, but I would have raised a HUGE stink about how they changed the ending in the movie. They completely butchered the whole point of it.
Tell us about your latest book.
It’s the finale to my superhero series and it’s told from the antagonist’s point of view. I’ve been working on it for more than two years and it’s ALMOST ready. Although, I’m not sure my readers are quite ready for what I’m about to offer them.
Is there anything you edited out of it?
Originally, I planned a much lengthier and more complicated timeline and plot for each Superhero within my work. But when I really sat down and thought about it, I determined that a streamlined and more straightforward approach was better for everyone involved. I simplified the plot and I believe the entire book benefits from it.
What is the main thing you want readers to take away from the book?
That we need to stop looking at people and situations in black and white. We don’t always know the full story or know what it is that motivates a person, so we should be compassionate and considerate.
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Finding the time to write. My family comes first, web design comes second (as it pays bills), the Support for Indie Authors group comes third, and my writing comes last. I wish I had more time in each day, but by the time I get the kids to bed at night, I’m so exhausted that I can barely get words on a page. Someday I will be better at time management, but for right now, the struggle is REAL.
Do your stories carry a message?
They do. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious; sometimes it’s not obvious. But along with that, I usually have a mindset or emotion that I want my readers to feel once they’re done with my work. I write in emotional states in an attempt to convey what I’m feeling to my readers.
Have you ever written about a dream or a nightmare?
I dream in plot typically. Each of my books/series are based on a dream I’ve had. Sometimes it’s just a simple scene, like Rehab for Superheroes: Crimson Mistress, for example. That whole series stemmed from a dream I had where I was in a closet hiding from someone, but knowing they were seconds away from discovering me.
If someone is brand-new to your work, what book do you think they should start with?
It depends on what genre they prefer. Generally I would say Rehab for Superheroes: Crimson Mistress. It gives a good example of my current writing style and introduces some fun characters.
Katherine Luck is the author of the novels The Cure for Summer Boredom and In Retrospect. Her latest book, False Memoir, combines the high stakes of a gritty psychological thriller with the guilty pleasure of a sensational true crime tell-all. You can read more of her work, including the “Dead Writers and Candy” series, at the-delve.com.