Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I’m so happy to bring you from down under, author Andrea Grigg! AND – Andrea is giving away an ebook of her latest release, All is Bright, to one of you amazing readers – so check out below to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but moved to Sydney, Australia when I was twenty-five. I met my husband almost immediately, and we married fifteen months later. (Glad I switched countries!) When I was pregnant with our first child, Geoff and I decided to take a punt and move to Queensland’s beautiful Gold Coast. We’re still there! We now have three adult children (two daughters and a son), and two of the cutest granddaughters you’ve ever seen. I used to teach ten-year-olds, but I retired just over four years ago. These days I spend my time writing, mentoring writers, reading, being with my family, and meeting friends for coffee.
Tell us about your current release: All is Bright is my first novella, a Christmas one, and my first venture into the Indie world. It was released in October last year as part of a box set entitled ‘An Aussie Summer Christmas’ which unfortunately is no longer available. My novella is though!
All is Bright is about Amy, who has always been a good Christian girl…except for being in love with her brother-in-law. Josh is looking for love again, surprised to find it with his late wife’s sister. But will a mountain of guilt and an unexpected letter stop them from making it to the altar?
All is Bright is a spin-off from my first novel, A Simple Mistake. I’d always felt sorry for Josh – he got the raw end of the deal from Lainey, and needed his own HEA. It was my pleasure to give him one.
I adore my cover. My eldest daughter, Melissa, is a graphic designer and she’s created all my covers, including the ones for my two traditionally published novels. My publisher was more than happy to contract her when she saw Mel’s work.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? That’s a really good question for me. There seems to be a growing audience for sweet, clean romance, and I’m going to try it. That means I’ll be writing about characters who don’t go to church, don’t necessarily believe in God, and consequently have different morals. It’s a really big discussion point, and there’s just not time for it here, but let me say this: I don’t feel called to write so much as to encourage. If I can bring hope and encouragement through my writing, then I’ve done what I believe God is asking me to do. And that doesn’t have to be restricted to the Christian market just because I’m a believer. Debbie Macomber does it very well, so why can’t I? There’ll be challenges, but I’m excited for this next part of my writing journey.
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? David Cassidy <sigh> I was eleven, had the biggest poster you could find of him on my wall, and faithfully watched all the episodes of the Partridge Family. I still know most of the words to the songs, haha.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I used to write when I was a child. Crazy little stories, like ‘The Day in the Life of a Coin’. Oh dear. I even rewrote the ending to Little Women because I was so upset when Beth died. You could say the signs were there, right? But then music took over my life, and it was another four decades until an idea for a romance story just grew and grew and grew, and I had to write it down. Halfway through Chapter One, I was hooked!
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I didn’t know anything about self-publishing when I started writing back in 2008. I just wanted to know if my writing was good enough, and the big test was to see if a publisher liked my work. When that happened, a load came off my shoulders. Now the indie world has opened up like it has, I’ve taken the plunge and tried that too. I’m going to try it again with my next book. At the moment, I guess you could say I’m a hybrid author.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I’m a plotter through and through. I know my characters inside out and back to front before I start. Who they are and what they do pretty much shapes the plot. At the same time, I’m open to changes, just like I have to be in real life. It’s a fascinating process.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
- Just get started. You can learn as you go. I’m one of those people who likes to know as much as they can before they start something. If I’d realised how much there was to learn about writing, I probably would never have started. But, as I tell the group of newbie writers I mentor, you can’t edit a blank page.
- Join a writing group. They’ll encourage you along the way, help you keep going when it’s tough, and answer your questions.
- Read lots of books in the genre you’ve chosen to write. That’ll give you a clear idea of the style you’re aiming for.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? I learned to read on the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. Children’s stories have changed a lot since then! I also loved Madeleine L’Engle, Louisa May Alcott, and L.M.Montgomery. Also, any books with horses in them, although I’ve never wanted to own one myself, or have barely ridden. Strange but true!
Find Andrea online:
Andrea is giving away an ebook copy of All is Bright!
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I’m so grateful for your visit, today. If you’d like to receive a weekly email of blog posts and popular social media stories, sign up here. You would bless me if you added me to your feed reader or subscribed via email. You can also become a fan on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I would love to see more of you!