MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ANDI LAWRENCOVA❤️
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
I write under the penname Andi Lawrencovna. When I decided to start writing, I knew I was going to be working under a lot of genres and wanted to keep those “authorships” separate and distinct since the stories will be separate and distinct, but still wanted to honor my family, so, since I’m of Russian heritage, it made sense to take “Lawrencovna” (granted, that would be an Americanized spelling of it), as my surname as it means “Lawrence’s Daughter.”
As to genre? Whelp, I write fantasy and fairytale re-envisioning’s…or, more accurately, stories of fairy tales if they were given the full scope of a novel, with intrigue and danger and emotion and not so much the light happily-ever-afters of childhood. I try to bring a little bit of reality into fantasy, or make fantasies a bit more realistic, while staying true to the magic and epic of the stories themselves.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Well, my first series was based off of Cinderella. She was always just so bright and beautiful and nice and it always made me angry that she goes to the ball, falls in lust with the prince, and marries him without a second look. And then Disney made her all about the good stuff, and kindness, and I wanted a kick-ass heroine, not a too-sweet-to-meet young woman. Give me grit, and a little bitterness, some mayhem!
So, it just sort of made sense that, in reality, the story that the Grimms and Mr. Mouse failed to tell the world, was that Cinder-soot the Housemaid, was just a cover for the Queen of Assassins to try and take out the prince…
And of course, that simply can’t happen, but it’s fun to see what lust can do to spill trouble into the mix.
Throw in a curse about the world-ending, some hard-core elves who are intent on making sure they’re the dominant race overs humans, a little intrigue, some family feuding, hope, loss, love…yeah, that’s how Ella and Kit came to be.
My next big work is a new take on Beauty and the Beast…you know, if the only similarities happen to be a rose, a beauty, and two contenders to take on the crown of most beastly to believe.
What if Beauty wasn’t a bookworm? What if she wasn’t so whimsical or led by love but more by desperation? What if she didn’t go to the forest to save her father, but rather to save the world instead?
Throw in that dynamic, and tensions ramp up all the higher!
And add to it a handsome prince who’s more, or less, than he appears, and a beast whose curse was because of his own spell misfiring, and not an old witch wandering in the woods…
Shakespeare said that “A rose by any other name…”
Sometimes, So Sweet a scent hides the sharpest of thorns.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I have always loved fantasy. And I feel like you really can’t have fantasy without the addition of romance to it. Not necessarily the “lovey-dovey” romance, but that language, the extravagance of the scenery and the settings, the emotions and characterizations that go beyond the mundane and become part of the magic of the story just as much as the “magic” is.
You can’t be so enamored of a genre and not want to write like it.
I look at Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Anne Bishop and her Black Jewels Trilogy; Sara Douglass and The Wayfarer Redemption.
In fantasy, you get to become a creator. I have no illusions that I’m a god or anything like that, but for a little bit of time, I get to know what it’s like to build a world, to watch characters roam around in it, to maybe create a place where my readers can escape to when reality becomes a bit too much to bear.
I think that’s what drew me to fantasy.
Or it was The Jedi Apprentice series I read when I was a kid and couldn’t put down.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Well, it’s funny, because a lot of my research usually revolves around weaponry and medieval medical practices and so forth like that.
I knew, when I created The NeverLands, that my world was a parallel to our “real” world. We’re run on similar timelines, except where the inhabitants of the NeverLands live thousands of years compared to our more succinct lifespans.
One of the big things I did was compile a World timeline. So, I looked at the history of Earth, our universe, and wrote out the big events, the “bangs” and so forth, from our history, and had to chart out where those “bangs” fell in the NeverLands. I know it’s weird, but I can super-geek out over timelines…it’s like a sickness for me.
Can you tell me about your Series?
So my series is actually more so a cumulative world. I started with “Charming,” which is my nickname for the Crown and Dagger series (Charming, The Captain, and The Prince), because of the prophecy that begins that work. If Kit, the prince, dies, the walls will crumble, which is to say the world will perish.
Well, why? It’s all well and good to say don’t do something without asking why not, and, I won’t lie, I’m not gonna tell you the answer, but each book in the series answers that question. If Kit had died in the first book, the books that follow would never have come to pass!
It’s all rather wibbly wobbly, timey wimey…
Doctor Who, anyone?
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Oh wow, I hate and love that question because it’s totally like asking a parent if they have a favorite child, which they vehemently deny having, but we all know the truth…
In answer, it honestly depends on my mood. I love rereading my books. I think that’s important as an author. If I don’t like what I’ve written, why should you? But in enjoying rereading them, I see something knew each time I turn the pages, so my favorite changes every time I find that new spark…which I totally intended to write like that and knew I’d included in the story…yeah…
Currently, I’m digging The Captain. There are some parts of it that break my heart…but in a good way! Anytime I can find the really deep emotion in a scene, it just makes me fall all the more in love with it!
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Oh fine, wanting to thwart Disney’s take on the pretty-pretty princess routine!
And wanting to figure out what the hell was wrong with the Grimm brothers, because damn…some of those stories…
I fully admit to being a dark fantasy writer, but even I’ve got nothing on them and their twistiness.
Though I try…
Was it always meant to become a series?
Actually no. “Charming” was originally going to be a single-novel, and I’m actually playing with putting it together into one whole, but I liked breaking it down into three because I felt that it gave me a bit more time and space to play and get to know my characters. Three arcs, rather than just one!
But I don’t really write thinking about series or single titles. That usually comes to me halfway through the process!
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Well, I hold down a 9-5, so my working day is pretty sporadic. But I do my best to write or read or edit something every day. For me, it’s not about when, where, why, or how, but “do.” I don’t need a goal, because sometimes, all you need is one word to make something complete, so I let it go (not to quote Frozen). I write what comes to me when, and try not to stress when it’s not there, because that usually means there’s something else that needs my attention even more!
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
So, I’m super excited because this begins the release of my newest novel, So Sweet.
I talked about it a bit earlier, but it’s the story of Amarice, a seamstress who is the daughter of an elfin priestess in hiding. Her mother dies before passing on the knowledge of who and what Amarice is, and so when her call to action comes, Ama is completely unprepared and unwilling to go.
But there are beasts lurking in the forest, and when the one person who should be sent to take care of the trouble can’t go, who ya gonna call?
(Hint: it’s not the Ghostbusters!)
That’s a bit lighter than I intended, but this retelling of Beauty and the Beast doesn’t have enchanted teapots and candelabras dancing over dinner tables. The Prince isn’t hideously mis-formed though he’s more beastly than the greatest of villains. And the Beast hides in the shadows, because when the curse ends, and the final petal of the rose falls, it’s not just his world that will be lost.
Not all fairy tales can have happily-ever-afters, and sometimes, the heroine has to fail to save the world.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Oh my gosh, YES! Super important!
When I use real names, and don’t make them up…
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Getting it down on paper after it appears in my mind. I love dreaming and daydreaming, and a lot of my stories come to me at the oddest of moments. Remembering what I’ve been dreaming about when I finally have a chance to sit down at a computer…
Let’s just say that, while most people would use post-it notes, I’ve got a magic marker and those are not tattooed novel versus on my arm…
What’s the best thing about being an author?
A good friend from college contacted me the other day to get back in touch. It was super sweet and so exciting to hear from her. And when she asked what I was up to, I told her I had just released The Prince, the third book in my first series, and that I was working on a stand-alone follow-up to come out next year.
Well, there was this weird pause in the conversation, and then she said: Wait, so, you’re Andi Lawrencovna? Oh my God! I’ve read all your books! I love them!
That moment of recognition, of approval and enjoyment…yeah, being able to make someone feel that way with what I’ve written, that’s my favorite part of writing.
Have you always liked to write?
Nope! When I was a kid, my mom signed me up for reading classes because I hated books so much! Which is, like, totally a crime.
I didn’t start writing until she forced me into a bookstore on a layover plane ride and made me buy a book.
The Jedi Apprentice was the first book I’d ever read in one sitting, and when we reached our destination, I made her stop with me in the bookstore in the airport to pick up the second one, and then was the brattiest child the next day because I stayed up all night reading book two instead of sleeping.
For me, a love of writing comes from a love of reading, wanting to inspire people like that book inspired me…that’s why I write, and why I love writing now!
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Look, it’s super tough to get recognized out in the publishing world, whether traditional or indie. Don’t panic if you’re not the next Stephanie Meyers. I know it sucks, but remember, write to impact one other life first, and that one life will become two when they pass that story along, and two will become four, and four sixteen, and if I do any more math, I promise I’m gonna get it wrong, so I’m stopping there.
Fall in love with your writing. It might take time, but the world will fall in love with you when you show them your heart.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do, and I look at them for how they can help me grow as an author. Having published both traditionally and indie, I understand how important and how harsh reviews can be…because, let’s be honest here, every rejection letter a traditional author gets is the same thing as a bad review.
But, if you’re lucky, and same goes for the reviews on Amazon, those negative reviews won’t just be “It’s not for me,” or “Thanks, try again later” (wait, that might be the Magic 8 ball response…), but will have something to work on in them, and even a negative review that says: I didn’t like the flow of how the narrative moved, or the sentence structure was too stiff, or the word choices were static, is a positive, because that means whoever is writing that review has read your book and taken the time to offer a suggestion to make it better.
But, when we try to see that positive, it doesn’t make it easier…but at least it gives a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
What is your least favorite part of the writing / publishing process?
Asking for reviews.
It’s such a huge deal, and it’s a huge imposition, and they’re hard to write!!!
But the literary market has made getting reviews of your book such a big deal, that if you don’t have enough, you fall to the wayside, and it sucks. A lot of amazing authors are being forgotten or ignored and/or missed because they don’t have enough reviews to top Amazon’s lists and algorithms but their writing is amazing and deserves the publicity.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
If you’ve not checked out Sara Douglass or Anne Bishop, those would be the first two on my all-time-favorite list. Passion, romance, fantasy, magic…the worlds that those two authors have created…
And let’s just say that, as a lady, I may or may not have fantasized about being swept away by the heroes in the pages of those novels…
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Netflix…need I say more?
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
This is gonna sound dickish, but I try to write what I would want to read and stay true to myself, and hope that my readers will like what I write in the end.
One thing I always try to talk about with young writers is that not everyone is going to like what you write. And if you only write what readers are going to write, are you really writing what’s in your heart?
I write because without putting pen to paper or fingers to keys, I wouldn’t know who I am.
SO, that might not be an exact answer to that question, but, honestly, neither, because I write for me, with the prayer that you’ll like it and want more after I’ve shared my work with you.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I laugh, only because for a while, a long time ago, I had this awesome blog titled: S.L.U.T.
I can’t exactly remember what it stood for, umhummm, but it was an acronym that was supposed to be for: Single Lady Under Thirty, and about my life as, you guessed it, a single lady under thirty. Except I just turned thirty, so I guess that title won’t work anymore…
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
If you were a mermaid, would you prefer squid flavored or seaweed flavored ice cream?
To which I would respond: neither, I’m lactose intolerant, but abalone tortes sound divine.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Amazon Author Page:
Facebook Fan Page:
Owl Branch Book Promotions:
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️