The Friday 13 with Andy Graham

Andy Smaller

Andy Graham is a British author living in the Czech Republic who will now stop talking about himself in the third person because it’s odd.

I have two main collections of books: The Lords of Misrule is a series of dark, morally ambiguous, political thrillers set in a world based on life in 21st Century EU/ US. I also have an expanding collection of creepy reads and supernatural horror stories that explore the darker side of life, death, and the undead. There are a few unfinished stories rattling around in my hard-drive and some unstarted ones knocking around in my head. They range from disposable airport fiction and YA sci fi to dark fantasy epics. The former will have to wait their turn, as I can hear the grimdark sirens calling louder every day. (Unfortunately for my wife, who is waiting for me to write something ‘nice’, preferably with sparkly vampires.) Outside of reading and writing, I’m a musician, qualified osteopath, seasoned insomniac, and father to two young kids who have too much energy to let me grow old gracefully.

 

1.What is it about your genre that speaks to you?

I write across a few genres: dystopian sci-fi, dark fiction/fantasy and horror. These all live on the same spectrum and a touch more or less gore or grimness can push a book one way or the other.

I find the grit and moral ambiguity of this type of fiction fits with my world view better than a lot of other genres. Recently, more humour has been creeping into my work. People like Terry Pratchett, Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence do this incredibly well and it balances out the ‘darkness’ nicely.

 

2.Without giving any spoilers, what is your favorite thing about this book?andygraham2001_anangel_1

An Angel Fallen is a tale of divine retribution. That, plus the title, kind of gives the plot away. I don’t want to say anymore other than I found the end satisfying. (In a messy way.) Whether you agree with what happens is up to you to decide.

 

3.What character from your book fills you with hope?

Maria. What she does and why she does it. She represents what humanity could be if only it would stop knee-capping itself.

 

4.What character from your work frightens you, makes you feel dirty to write?

Raph. He’s a vile s**t. I tried to drop hints as to why he may be this way, but even so, he’s unnecessarily nasty. Unfortunately, people like him exist and occasionally make the news. One such story inspired An Angel Fallen.

 

5.Your main character walks into a bar. What happens?

Probably nothing! Mike’s anodyne. A human leaf being battered, sometimes literally, through life by whichever wind is blowing the strongest or person hitting the hardest. If Mike did walk into a bar, he’d probably spend his Dad’s money, feel guilty about spending the money, then blow even more of his Dad’s money in an attempt to outspend the guilt and resentment.

If Raph walked into a bar, though, I’d probably leave.

 

6.When you are writing, tell me about the emotions that are running through you and what it takes to work alongside them.

Much as I enjoy writing, I don’t find it easy. I have to wrestle the words onto the page and at times that is incredibly frustrating. Occasionally I get moments where the words just seem to write themselves. As pretentious as it sounds, that’s the way it feels. More often than not, however, it’s a battle. I wonder if the final satisfaction comes from having beaten the words into some kind of readable format, i.e. having actually written something rather than just writing words, but you can’t have the former without the latter.

 

7.How did you find the time to write this book with your busy life? What ideas do you have on how others can make time in their lives?

I’m not sure I can tell someone I’ve never met what to change in order to find time to write. We’re all different and we all have competing and varied demands on our time. Some are more important than being creative. But, if you really want to write, you have to make time for it, e.g. give something up, organize your life differently, scale something back. That’s what I and any number of other authors have done. How you do that is up to you, not me.

 

8.Everyone has at least one specific challenge that holds them back. What is that challenge in your work and how do you overcome it?

Advertising and Marketing. Without a doubt. I’m not a natural self-publicist and come from the Bill Hick’s School of Marketing. (Look up the sketch on the ‘net if you don’t know it.) To succeed as an author, especially as an indie, you either need that proverbial lightning strike or a shed load of hard work. A lot of the hard work needs to be promotion. It really doesn’t matter how good a book is if it wallows in the back of a virtual drawer somewhere.

 

9.You’re going to go back and visit yourself when you first started writing, at whatever age it was, and you can give yourself one piece of advice. What would it be?

I first dabbled in writing when I was around eleven. Those ambitions stuttered to a halt soon after as other things took over (like hormones). That ‘hiatus’ lasted about twenty years. I also drifted away from reading fiction for a long time and replaced it with ‘worthy’ books. It was about ten years ago I started reading regularly again, and only five or so since it has become the compulsion it was when I was a kid. So, if a younger me would listen to a greying bloke with a dodgy knee, I’d tell myself: Read. Write. Repeat.

 

10.Describe your muse.

Usually cantankerous. Occasionally in need of a good coaxing. Generally hard working. Sometimes inspired.

 

11.What piece of art, that is not writing, moves you?

Music. I’ve played various sorts of music for as long as I can remember. I toured Europe with a blues/soul/Americana band for many years. I’ve played gigs ranging in size from a man and his dog (one deafer than the other) to festivals of 150,000. I’ve performed on and in TV, radio, clubs, pubs, fields, cellars, church halls, even on a floating stage where the crowd was all in boats. And, on the whole, it was great. I still play bass guitar in a local band but there’s much less travel involved. That suits my life better at the moment with my family.

 

12.If you could live anywhere other than where you are, where would it be?

A castle. With a moat. And a functioning drawbridge/portcullis. With an apocalypse-proof bunker. On a desert island. With a helipad. Just in case I changed my mind.

 

13.If you could choose any other writer, living or dead, to be your mentor, whom would you choose and why?

Mark Lawrence. Why? Beautiful prose which leads rather than force feeds you. Inspired world building. (The way he drops in references to our current world in particular.) Humour that ranges from dark to slap-stick. Believable, ambiguous characters without a ‘token flaw’ to try and make them realistic, and a grim take on life. His two overlapping trilogies have each of these elements in different amounts, and Red Sister was my book of the year for 2017. Mr Lawrence, if you’re listening, and interested in taking on a student, I’ll give it a shot.

 

Find Andy Graham online at:

Website

Twitter @AndyGAuthor

Facebook

 

Book Links (A supernatural horror novella)

An Angel Fallen (Amazon US)

An Angel Fallen (Amazon UK)

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