Name: Andrea Michelle Perno
Where are you from: I was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in both Pennsylvania and Florida.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc :
I am a new mom to a six month old baby boy. Right now I’m a stay at home mom/artist/author/illustrator. I was an Art Education teacher for 11 years prior to deciding to stay home with my son. I currently have no aspirations to go back to full time teaching in a school district. However, I do teach private lesson and the occasional sip and paint party.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news…well, I’m currently writing the final installment of The Last Drop trilogy. I anticipate being finished with that at the end of the summer depending on art commissions and mommy duties. One of my books is published through Paper Gold Publishing and is in a box set titled: Visions of The Fall
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in 2013 because I had a story to tell. Characters appeared in my head like a bad dream and they had a story worth writing. I’ve been writing ever since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I first considered myself a writer when my first book, The Last Drop, was published. I’ve always liked writing and I took a bunch of AP writing classes in high school and college, but it’s real when you get the acceptance letter from a publishing house.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was inspired to write my first book during a particularly trying time in my teaching career. I was teaching fifth grade and it was the end of May. A particularly hot day in May. Our school building didn’t have air conditioning and we ran out of water. (At our school, water is served at cooling stations because the pipes in the building are all lead.) What ensued inside of an hour was pure mayhem. Middle school children particularly fifth graders are barely human on a good day let alone being stuffed in a classroom that was about 104 degrees. Add lack of water on top of that? Chaos. The characters in my book appeared in my head that evening. Thus, The Last Drop was born.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve only written professionally in first person perspective. I love the gritty, personal view that books written from first person have.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Last Drop focuses on war that rages over the scarcity of water. The Last Drop just seemed like an appropriate title. I will say it was harder to come up with the title for the second book in the trilogy. It’s hard to go from the last drop to the last last drop.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want readers to grasp the gravity of what life without water can be. It will be our reality if we don’t get global warming and over consumption under control. Add in a new president that doesn’t believe in global warming? Scary times are coming. My book could very well be a reality.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The book is realistic in that events in the plot involving water scarcity could happen in our near future. However, the majority of the book revolves around the concept of traveling to another planet to survive. Space travel could happen, but on the scale portrayed in my novel, it would be a very distant reality.
I do pull a lot of my own life experiences into my novel though. People always say you write best what you know.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The books that have most influenced my career are, The Hunger Games, Where The Red Fern Grows, Enders Game, and Harry Potter.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I really like the writing of Linda Watkins. I discovered her by chance doing a review exchange. I really like her spooky style of writing. My favorite author is Suzanne Collins. What strikes me most about her writing is the voice she uses for her characters. She also uses a first person perspective in most of her writing and I find that to be strikingly haunting.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Lots of people have helped me in my writing. I had the help of my students for one. They always thought it was great that I was writing a book. They even wound up reading the novel and critiquing it in a small book group after the book was published.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes and no. I think to really make writing a career you have to be picked up by a large publishing house. Right now I see my writing as more of a hobby than a career. I liken it to students who have a minor in college. Teaching and artwork is my major/career and writing is my passion/minor that I hope will someday grow into a full-fledged career. I have to continue to seek out the big publishing houses and connections to those to make that happen.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Without giving too much information away I would have not killed off a fairly crucial character. As I write the last book in the trilogy I keep thinking, darn, I killed that guy off and he could have really helped my main character here. It’s a challenge, but I like it. I also think it might be worth it to have written the entire trilogy before putting any one book in the trilogy into publishing. I might have liked to tweak a few small details in the first book.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My interest in writing originated from my first grade teacher Mrs. Hess. I still have all the journals and short stories she made us write. I also attribute my interest in writing to my parents. We would take several yearly camping trips and my brothers and I would all be tasked with writing short stories to read around the campfire at night. It was a great tradition I hope to keep going with my own son. When he’s old enough to write.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My current work is the last book in The Last Drop trilogy. The series is going to come to a close in a dark and chilling way. That’s all I care to say about that. Any more and I would spoil the suspense and mystery.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
TIME. There is never enough time. I really did think that I would have a little more time to write now that I’m a stay at home mom/artist/author. Fortunately I have been blessed with lots of artwork orders that eat up a huge chunk of my time per day and I have been doubly blessed with a son who does not know how to sleep. He likes to help mommy with…EVERYTHING…so we write during naps, however short they may be.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Most of my book travel right now is to and from local signings and small events.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The amazingly talented, Elizabeth Mackey re-did the covers for The Last Drop and Change of Tides when I was picked up by Paper Gold Publishing. I designed the cover for Remotely Unplugged.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part is keeping all the characters straight and remembering what was written in the first two books so that the third book is accurate.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot more about water and global warming and I wanted to. I also learned a lot about the bio-chemistry behind growing plants. It’s incredibly interesting and eye opening. I tried incorporating some facts in the books without brow beating world issues.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I’m all about seeking new talent for movies. Originally I pictured Josh Hutcherson for the role of Avery, but he will be a bit too old now.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
My best advice would be to write every single day. Even if you write only a few words it’s still something. I would also tell other writers to keep READING. The best way to learn and grow as a writer is to stay current and read other people’s work.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would say thank you to the readers. Without them I wouldn’t dream of having a writing career.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Girl on A Train.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t remember the first book I ever read, but the first ones I can remember that left a lasting impression were Hatchet and Where The Red Fern Grows.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Anything to do with children. Babies are innately hilarious but can also make you cry hysterically into your cup of tea while listening to them wail because they’ve decided to simply not sleep. Again. For the 50th night in a row.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
In the present I would love to meet Tom Hanks. I think he would just be an interesting person to talk to and get to know.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I don’t want a headstone. I want all my organs and body parts to be used by whomever or whatever can use them and then scatter what’s left of me in unique places all over the world.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I enjoy painting and horseback riding, hiking and shooting.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a huge Code Black enthusiast right now. And I watch Big Bang, Modern Family, Scorpion, The Last Ship and Designated Survivor religiously.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
After researching for my book, horticulture and bio-chemistry seems right up my alley. I’d need a lot more math though…not my fav.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?