Name Andrew Males
Where are you from?
A little about yourself, e.g. your education, family life
I had a wonderful, happy childhood with my parents and big sister, growing up on the roundabouts and cycle tracks of Stevenage. (Not literally – we had a house). Most of the time was spent playing football and computer games. I was always good at English but computing took over and I went on to get a degree in that, which led to a career that I’m still in today. I now have my own family, having got married and becoming a dad last year.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just recently had the disappointment of finding out that 26 Miles to the Moon didn’t make the shortlist of the Costa Book Awards. Rejection is all part of the writer’s journey so I guess I’m used to it. <Sniff>
As for the future, I’m working on the plot for my next book. It’s going to be another comedy, although not a sequel to 26 Miles to the Moon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Initially, it was at school, but I only picked it up again about eight years ago when I got the writing bug and started penning short stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m not sure if I do now!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I ran the New York Marathon and had such an amazing experience thought that it would be a great subject for a novel. The challenge, the pain, the crowds – I had so much I could use. I always had the idea of a competition, and lastly I just extended the idea of what Virgin Galactic have been doing in trying to get people into space.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I seem to write short chapters. I didn’t intend it to be like that, but I think they’re perfect for the short attention span world we’ve got ourselves in.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
As far as I recall, it was never going to be anything else, as I felt it summed up the whole concept perfectly.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Take a chance in life! You never know what might happen.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Hopefully all of it! I’ve run New York twice and tried to immerse the reader into what it’s really like to run it. The whole Moon rocket sub-plot is made up, but is based on my understanding on what could be achieved. It’s not a sci-fi novel, so that part shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but I did my research and wouldn’t be too surprised if it became a reality in a few years. Maybe someone somewhere will read my book and be so inspired as to make it happen!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The marathon chapters rely a lot on my runnings there. Some of what happens to Jon in the race happened to me.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
After years of not reading anything, one holiday I borrowed The Bachman Books. I’d forgotten how much a book could get inside you, care about the characters and plot. For comedy, the novels by the Red Dwarf creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor made me realise that a book could actually make you laugh out loud.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a great thriller by a fellow Britain’s Next Bestseller author: David McCaffrey’s Hellbound.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I enjoyed The Martian by Andy Weir – I would have loved to have written that book, although I know nothing about potatoes. Other than that, all the authors from BNBS! There’s a lot of talent there.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on my second book. I also want to go back and edit a short story I wrote years ago and get that published somewhere. It has a football/sci-fi theme (seriously!), and being the first story of length I wrote, I was quite proud of it, so it deserves to be out there somewhere.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
So many to choose from! I guess outside of the people I expected to support me, I was overwhelmed by the support the charity Dreams Come True gave to my book. I donated money to them as part of my crowdfunding campaign and they’ve been great all along.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes! I’d love to write full time, if I could guarantee the money to pay the mortgage. I’d also fancy an editor role, as I like to review and critique stories. I haven’t bought a smoking jacket just yet, though.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I think that you could always improve your work, but you could also spend forever refining it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As a child, I realised the power of my writing through my letters to my grandparents who lived hundreds of miles away. They loved the many pages I wrote, and it made me feel that the effort was greatly appreciated, plus a realisation that I may have a flair for writing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
No – it’s top secret! Once I complete the plot and I know it will work, I’ll tell you. But I will say it involves two of my favourite themes combined, so can’t wait to get stuck in.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Being disciplined to actually do it. You can always find time to write, but there’s always something distracting me. Damn you Facebook, Twitter and Sky Sports…
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Dean Koontz for the fear and intensity. Rob Grant for the humour.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I went on the London Eye a couple of times to make sure the naked scene was realistic, but aside from that, nothing so far. I may set a novel in Vegas, so my forthcoming trip there could be classed as research, although I don’t think the wife buys that.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My cousin, Claire Yeo. It helps to have a talented designer in the family! She took a few basic ideas I had and nailed it almost straight away.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing it. I didn’t know how to edit, where to start or when to finish. It took the best part of two years to work it out.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
How much room have I got here?! Discipline, grammar, dialogue, editing, promoting, how to take criticism, determination, self-belief, how to do submissions and pitches, publishing process, radio interviews and an idea of what works and doesn’t work in humour.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up! Never give up, even in the darkest moments that every writer has.
Read. Writing and not reading is like trying to play football when you’ve never seen a game.
Learn the craft. I read lots of how-to and advice books on writing and they were invaluable. There’s so much more to writing good fiction than you first think.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Read. Laugh. Tell at least two other people about it. Together we can take the world!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably some Peter/Jane 1970s Ladybird classic.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Stand-up comedy, particularly Dara Ó Briain.
Being a Liverpool supporter, I’ve had plenty to cry about over the last few years.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Albert Einstein, so we can discuss time travel theories.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I want to be cremated and shot into space, hopefully many decades from now. Maybe there could be an inscription on the pod – a link to my book on Amazon.Earth.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I still run and want to do more marathons.
Other than that, my daughter keeps me more than busy.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The only TV I watch nowadays are comedy shows and sport. I love a bit of sci-fi though, and I’m a huge Back to the Future fan.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Sunday roast chicken. Or on any other day, for that matter.
Blue, although red for football.
No strong music tastes – pop, dance mainly.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Footballer. In reality, I’m barely average, but in my head I’ve won many trophies in a dazzling career.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Andrew-Males/e/B00SVCRVII