Andy Peloquin is, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist. Fantasy is his genre of choice, and he loves to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. He’s also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about his fascination for the worlds he encounters in the pages of fantasy novels.
1.Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
I think I’ve always had stories inside me to tell. Since reading The Chronicles of Narnia, I loved being able to escape my mundane problems by diving into the “yesteryear” of medieval-era fantasy fiction. When I started writing, it gave me an outlet for my innate creativity, and all the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and emotions I’d bottled up for so many years came spilling out. Every new story has another piece of me on the page, and that’s what makes writing and storytelling such a special art form!
This short story collection shows what it’s like to fight your own body and mind to survive and have a happy life. Though the stories are fantastical, they showcase the truth of what many people—myself included—live with every day. All the characters fill me with that same hope: no matter how different we are from those around us, we’re not damaged.
3.When you are writing, tell me about the emotions that are running through you and what it takes to work alongside them.
I usually try to sit down as a blank slate, and let the story pull me into the emotional journey. I have a hard time “feeling” my emotions in real life, so I try to delve into what the characters are really feeling as they go through the trials, tests, and hardships. I, the author, disappear, and my emotions are replaced by what the characters are feeling. In a way, it’s an outlet that helps me to cope with my own feelings.
4.How do you police your production? Do you have a word quota, or a page goal, maybe you work for a set amount of time? Do you place demands on yourself when you’re working? How do you meet those demands?
I only have a limited amount of time to write (2 hours a day), so I’m pretty disciplined at sitting down at the same time and writing until I hit around 2,000 words or 1 chapter. I’ve got my music, my coffee, and all my distractions eliminated. As long as my kids don’t need anything (I write in the PM, after they get home from school), I can get pretty focused writing time every day.
5.Everyone has at least one specific challenge that holds them back. What is that challenge in your work and how do you overcome it?
I think my biggest challenge is that I am a perfectionist. I try to make my first drafts as perfect and clean as possible, with zero typos and mistakes. I never succeed, but it’s hard not to try. This makes it harder to just let the story flow—I’m always going back to correct mistakes or improve sentences as I write them. I’ve gotten better at letting the words flow onto the page, but it’s a daily struggle to keep up a steady stream of consciousness rather than agonizing over everything.
6.If you could change any one thing about your work, what would it be?
I just wish I had more time and could write faster. I have so many stories to tell, but I never have enough time to get them all out.
7.Let’s talk about tools. Do you have a word processor that you would tell us to use? Is there a certain computer that has become your favorite? What do you look for in a keyboard? What would you absolutely have to have if you were to sit down and write your next book?
I LOVE writing in Word. I’m very organized, so I don’t really need the Scrivener tools.
I’m very particular when it comes to my keyboard—the keys have to be a certain space apart, and there has to be a certain tactile feel for me to be comfortable.
To write, I need three things:
- Music (I have my YouTube playlist)
- Something hot and sweet: hot chocolate, coffee, chai, etc.
- Chewing gum (helps me concentrate on writing)
I have an L-shaped office desk. My computer, mouse, headphones, and other work accoutrements are on one arm of the L, with all the “clutter” on the other arm. I try to keep my line of sight as clear as possible to avoid distractions.
9.Describe your muse.
I don’t have a muse, per se. While there are stories that just pour from me with a force beyond my control, for the most part I see it as a WORK of art. It takes dedication and discipline to write a story, especially when dealing with the more “boring” parts of the story (descriptions, backgrounds, etc.). I need to get into the heads of my characters in order to write them, so I study the psychology of the specific character I’m writing. However, I don’t need inspiration—I’ve been writing long enough that I can just work hard and get it done.
10.What piece of art, that is not writing, moves you?
I’m moved by music more than visual art. While I appreciate beauty and color, it’s the rise and fall of music that really makes me feel. I’ve got a 300+ song playlist filled with songs that bring out some emotion in me—from anger to hate to violence to happiness to sorrow to nostalgia to peace.
11.If you could live anywhere other than where you are, where would it be?
My perfect place to live is the cottage where Colin Firth’s character goes to in Love Actually. I’d love to have a writing desk overlooking a mountainside or lake, someplace away from the noise of the world around me. I’m a bit of a hermit in that sense.
12.A publishing house gets ahold of you and wants you to take over writing an established character. For instance, DC Comics calls you and tells you they want you to take over writing Batman. What is the dream? What established character would you love to write?
DEADPOOL!!!! He is my favorite character (and the reason I started reading comics in the first place), and I’d love to write his story.
However, I don’t think I have the humor chops for him, so I think the Punisher would be a better choice. Anti-heroes are where I excel, so I would love to take a crack at writing a truly dark, twisted story for him.
13.If you could choose any other writer, living or dead, to be your mentor, whom would you choose and why?
Either Scott Lynch or Brandon Sanderson. Brandon Sanderson’s worlds are so rich, and I’d love to learn how he builds everything so completely. For characters, Scott Lynch is as good as it gets. His characters are as complex and dynamic as any I’ve read, and they are some of the few who have actually made me ugly cry (while washing dishes—true story!).
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