Posted on January 24, 2019 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Authors will often say that the best advice they’ve received or can give is simply to write.
Now, we didn’t ask Andy Peloquin that particular question in our interview with him, but his writing journey seems to bear that advice out nevertheless.
Peloquin began writing in middle school, started his first novel as a teenager, and finished his first novel (a different one) in his mid-twenties.
While adult life had somewhat limited his writing productivity, it hadn’t dampened his enthusiasm for it.
A friend who ran a publishing company happened to read a piece Peloquin wrote as a teenager and offered to publish it.
Peloquin’s reaction was not to laugh derisively, but rather to wonder what he was capable of writing as an adult, if his adolescent work had held up so well.
The answer, as it turns out: produce award-winning and bestselling epic- and dark-fantasy novels.
We spoke with Peloquin right after the launch of his new series, the Heirs of Destiny, about his nearly lifelong writing journey.
SADYE: Did your friend end up publishing that piece you wrote back in your teen years?
ANDY: Sadly, that piece has not yet seen the light of day.
It was a beautifully dark piece, set on All Hallows’ Eve, when an evil demon-worshipping cult plans to sacrifice a young child.
One day, I will find a way to write it into my books, and when I do, it will give readers the same shivers it gave me as I wrote it out at 2 A.M. on a cold November night.
SADYE: How did you go about becoming a professionally skilled writer?
ANDY: Let’s say that I’m still working on the “skilled” part.
No matter how long you write, there is always more to learn about the craft of writing, storytelling, and weaving narratives that are subtle yet impactful, clever yet full of heart.
It’s one of the best parts of being an author — challenging myself to overcome some new hurdle in the art of putting together an awesome story that connects with readers on a far deeper level than just “something fun to read.”
As for the professional part, that comes from working from home for more than seven years as a copywriter and blogger.
I’ve gotten the hang of sitting in my chair for long hours and putting in the work, as well as organizing my daily and weekly projects to make sure I get everything done that needs doing.
Now that I’ve found something I’m truly passionate about, it’s so much easier to be “professional” about it.
SADYE: What has been the most rewarding moment or theme of your writing career?
ANDY: I’d have to say it has been sharing the truth about myself — an author, parent, husband, and man who struggles with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive compulsive tendencies — with people.
It’s breathtaking how many people also struggle with some sort of mental, emotional, neurological, or psychological issue just like me, and it’s wonderful to be able to connect with people on a deeper level than just the standard author-reader relationship.
Plus, being able to weave these things into my stories makes them so much more real.
SADYE: What’s the toughest part of the writing process for you?
ANDY: Being patient! Stories take time to develop, and each scene needs to “breathe” like a fine wine in order to really hit home.
Sometimes, I want to rush through the slower bits to get to the “good stuff” or to finish the book quickly so I can release it.
So it’s hard to sit and keep putting in those minutes and hours every day until I finally see the finished result in my hands.
SADYE: Which of your heroes/heroines would you most like to trade places with, or at least channel in a modern setting?
ANDY: I think Aisha from Heirs of Destiny. She has the ability to see/hear/speak with the dead, and I think it would be such a fascinating ability.
Although I’d have to say Ilanna from Queen of Thieves would find herself loving all the new and creative ways to steal, so it could be fun to be her in a modern setting.
SADYE: What’s your role with the Fantasy Fiends podcast, and what do you find most satisfying about it?
ANDY: The Fantasy Fiends podcast is a show created by myself and Stevie Collier, a fellow fantasy author.
We wanted to create a platform where we could discuss fantasy, but not just the story parts, but the deeper, human elements that drive each story.
Instead of getting into the writing process, marketing, or the other subjects common to book-themed podcasts, we take a deep dive into the emotions, characters, religions, politics, psychology, thoughts, feelings, and sexualities of each fantasy book we include in the show.
I’d like to think that every episode has something viewers/listeners can take away, and we want them to feel inspired, educated, and motivated with each show.
Plus, Stevie and I have a ton of fun re-enacting our guest authors’ novels, and it’s a showcase for our (admittedly limited) voice acting talents.
But it’s so enjoyable to read the authors’ works live on air, especially with the author themselves there to share in the fun.
SADYE: What message do you want readers to glean from your books?
ANDY: I want everyone who reads my works to walk away feeling hopeful.
Every story I write is dark — characters go through all sorts of difficulties and challenges that seem impossible—yet, by the end, there is a ringing note of hopefulness that, no matter how bad things get, the world will eventually be better, happier, and brighter.
Take my new Heirs of Destiny series as an example. Six young characters (ages 12 to 17) embark on very different missions: one to steal a priceless relic, one to seek vengeance against the cultists that attacked his city, one to understand her strange and impossible magical abilities, one to escape a life of confinement, one to return home to her father, and one to join the ranks of her city’s elite warriors to make a better life for her grandparents.
They are all on their own, with only their wits, skill, and courage to keep them alive in a dangerous, harsh city.
Eventually, they find each other, and their common interests cause them to work together to fight evil in the city. And there is A LOT of evil. ...
That’s what I want readers to take away: Working together, pooling our skills and resources, is the only way to improve the world.
And our actions, no matter how small, are what will improve the world.
It’s up to us to usher in that brighter, happier, better future one tiny good deed at a time!
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Categories: Author Interview