Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Author Interview: IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS - Andrea Downing

Andrea, I'm so pleased to have you visit with me. I loved reading your interview answers and know my blog readers will enjoy this too. We all wish you the best of success with your new release, DANCES OF THE HEART

Lynda, thanks so much for having me here today—right before my new book comes out! It's really interesting to think about the facets that make us individual as writers, what makes us different. Surroundings certainly play a part and where we were raised or lived for a long period will resonate in our voice—the writer's voice as well as the one we use to speak. Our likes and dislikes, and the way we spend our spare time, all of it has an effect on our writing. So, as I'm sitting here and looking out on a snowy New York grey day, let's start the interview, and let me think a bit about these things.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would my writing space look like? 

(Andrea) A mess! To put it bluntly. I'm attaching a photo so you can see how I work: organized chaos. I keep piles of papers that are in constant use by me, especially my promo schedule of guest spots so I don't let anyone down. I have to have a full month calendar so I can keep track of my appointments both daily and with an eye on my week and month. I keep books I may need close by, mostly research and reference, and you can see my cup of tea, which might be replaced by coffee, water, hot chocolate or wine depending on the time of day and season. Finally, there's a tv on the wall above to check in with the news if I'm doing something that doesn't require a load of concentration—not writing. For that I need quiet.

Lynda: I'd be completely at home at this desk. My somewhat organized clutter seems to match yours quite well.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Where would I live? 

 (Andrea) I'm a very lucky little girl and live between New York City and East Hampton. The latter is my primary address and it's a property I've owned a very long time. No writing desk there; everything goes on the dining table, which is as messy as my NYC desk. But I love the west and I love traveling so I get away as often as possible. My daughter has been living in Colombia for the last three years working for the U.N. so there have been many trips down there or to places we can both get to easily, but I remain happiest out in Wyoming in the Jackson area. If home is where the heart is, then that's home.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I speak a different language, dialect, or local slang? 

(Andrea) Uh…after over forty years living in the U.K. you'd definitely have a strange accent but there would still be, what? A different English? Here are some examples that, now I've moved back to the good ol' USA, I still have a problem ironing out of my vocabulary: car park instead of parking lot, lift instead of elevator, pavement for sidewalk, boot for trunk (of car), bookshop/bookstore (and other shops and stores), underground/subway, spanner/wrench, loo/bathroom, ladies' room/restroom, handbag/purse and so on… 

Lynda: I understand territorial lingoKinda (that's a word in Texany dialogue), along with goin, comin, and fixin. 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I eat for a typical


(Andrea) Salad! I have a very healthy diet for the most part; even check-out people in the supermarket have commented on that, noting the amount of veggies I buy. Typically, my salad is based on arugula, which I love, although I do sometimes buy other greens. Then I add English cucumber, cherry tomatoes (the little orange ones are a particular favorite when I can find them), olives, avocado and nuts. The latter two reduce cholesterol, by the way. Sometimes I add smoked fish or tuna or salmon, good for the brain. The trouble with this is, it gets boring after a while and so I move on to toasted cheese and cuppa soup, and if I'm eating out for lunch, everything flies out the window and I eat whatever Temptation puts in front of me.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What things would inspire me? 

(Andrea) Just about anything. Here's the list of things that have inspired books I've written: an historic biography was the start of Loveland; Lawless Love came from Oxbow Bend in the Snake River; Dearest Darling was inspired by the Cunningham Cabin in Grand Teton National Park; and finally, Dances of the Heart, which comes out tomorrow, blossomed out of the Texas Two-step.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I have any critters that keep me

company while writing? 

(Andrea) If by critters you mean pets, I don't have any pets since I thought it would be cruel with all the traveling I do. However, I do keep a number of strange objects by me: Shiva Lingam stones, which come from India and are supposed to increase your energy and creativity; a Zuni Turtle fetish which promises protection, creation, and longevity; and finally, something I just found while traveling in the Dominican Republic: a clear rubber ball with a plastic fish floating in it that lights up when you bounce it. With that one, I figure if I come to a block in my writing and bounce the ball, maybe when the ball lights up, a bright idea will come on in my brain. 

Lynda: Now these are the companions of a true creative soul!

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I also read a lot, if so, how do I fit that into my schedule and why is it important? 

(Andrea) I don't think you can write unless you read. Not only is it a source of huge enjoyment, but it is a constant learning experience. By reading the books we admire, and learning what it is we admire, we emulate and become better writers. I cannot be without a book. I always read for a least a half hour before bed to make sure I read something each day, but I always carry a book with me to read on public transport or in waiting rooms. Recently, I was in hospital waiting to have a small procedure, and while waiting I had my eReader with me. Well, something went wrong with the patient before me and so an 11.15am appointment became a 3.30pm. Needless to say, the battery went on my eReader as I'd had to be there at 9.45am, so by noon the thing was dead. I hadn't planned on that much reading. The staff had to find a charger for me to plug back in, otherwise I would've gone bezerk.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, And I was stuck in solitary confinement, what five items would I most want with me?

(Andrea) My laptop, my Kindle, my phone (all with chargers of course), a large box of chocolate and a very thick duvet…

And, on that note, many thanks again for having me here today, Lynda. It's always a pleasure to chat with you.

(Lynda:) My pleasure, Andrea. I encourage my readers to visit Andrea's other sites of interest and don't forget to check out her new release, DANCES OF THE HEART, now available for Pre-order.

WEBSITE AND BLOG: http://andreadowning.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerAndreaDowning
A​mazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Downing/e/B008MQ0NXS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
​My publisher, The Wild Rose Press: ​http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=991
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndiDowning


  1. Lynda, thanks so much again for having me here today. It was a great interview.

  2. I've learn a lot about you. I love the light up fish ball. Got to get one. Good luck on your book

    1. Funny thing about that little rubber ball--everyone wants one! Thanks for your good wishes.

  3. if i took a picture of my desk it would break the camera. and smoked salmon never gets boring, just expensive. the Texas two step i guess you know is the fox trot. enjoyed your interview. good luck with your new novel. always exciting.

    1. Ah, I had to scroll back to see what you were referring to as far as the smoked salmon goes. Very rare for me to have smoked salmon; it's actually canned salmon I have and smoked trout though, admittedly, that's no cheap item either. As the saying goes, you pays your money and you…. And isn't Texas Two-step a much nicer sounding name than foxtrot? (I wonder where that came from?)

    2. I'm a very big fan of the Texas Two Step and I think the major difference in it and the Fox Trot is the attire. You just got to have those boots or it doesn't work right!

    3. I've got the boots, Lynda--several pairs in fact. Now what I need is the dance partner!

  4. Wonderful interview, Andrea. I love your Shiva Lingam stones. I collect not only stones from my travels, but crystals, too. Wishing you all the best with your new release. :)

    1. Ah, great to collect those items, Mary. Just remember, if you have crystals for the power, you mustn't let anyone else touch them, or so I'm told. Thanks for your kind wishes.

  5. Enjoyed your interview! Love the way you travel. Good luck with sales on your new book!

    1. Thanks Ilona. My daughter and I are currently planning a 2 month cross country trip for next summer all being well--it may be our last before she does her PhD and gets involved with her significant other. Stay tuned for news on that!