Friday, July 29, 2011

Author Interview Series - "Romancing the Reader"

This will be a great couple of weeks on A Book Inside Blog because I will be interviewing several new authors whose books were published in a wide-spread array of genres. If you’re working on your first or second book right now, you should find these interviews to be full of good information. I will attempt to post one new interview each week.

This initial interview is with first-time author, Andrew Fitzmorris. I chose this one to start because Andrew has published a “literary fiction” novel with a touch of Romance; a very common genre. In this interview I will be asking Andrew about the actual “writing” and editing process of his book, Love Beyond The City.

Carol Denbow: Welcome Andrew, and thank you for participating in our interview extravaganza!

Please start by telling us a little about your new release, Love Beyond The City. What’s it about?

Andrew Fitzmorris: Thank you for having me, Carol! I’m excited to be here today. Love Beyond the City is about Leopold Roman, an artist, who’s struggling journey to find purpose in life through a rollercoaster of emotions. He begins with an art block, detesting the town he lives in. He decides to leave behind Kennebunkport, Maine and his current unstable relationship with Sara Perkins to travel to where he used to live, New York City, for a spark of inspiration. While in the city, he gets together with old friends and meets the girl of his dreams. Leopold struggles for her love as well as making sense of life. Love Beyond the City touches upon emotional upheaval and one’s desperate plight to once again find peace and simplicity that lies within reach.

Carol Denbow: Did you always dream of writing a book, or was this written “on a whim” so to speak?

Andrew Fitzmorris: When I was in college, I figured writing a book would be a hobby, but it turned out to be a gift I wanted to re-open every single day. Like many writers, I had my up’s and down’s with writing in general. Some mornings I’d wake up feeling great, head filled with creative ideas, then lose them for no reason, not feeling it anymore. At the end of some days, I may have ended with five thousand or more words, other days, perhaps only a few hundred, maybe only a sentence. Those were the ones that I’d look at the following morning, see it differently, and write more on it. For this particular story, the dream or idea of writing it surfaced after visiting my friend in Jersey City. We had explored New York City for days and I was in awe. One day, in February 2010, the idea became a dream, one full of literary possibilities. I realized I could write something profound, deep, real, and honest.

Carol Denbow: What do you suggest new writers do to prepare before picking up the pen (or computer nowadays!)

Andrew Fitzmorris: I suggest writing what it is you’ve been yearning to write down your entire life, even if it’s not the greatest thing in the world, it’s something. And that something will give you more experience down the road. I’ve learned that I needed to fail over and over to get it right. Writing fiction takes patience. You have to be willing to give yourself time for the words you want. Best advice I received was from my father, who told me to keep writing. Don’t let your dream and passion be taken away from you. To this day, I am still learning and strive to be knowledgeable in the field of fiction.

Carol Denbow: Your book sounds like an interesting story. How many pages is your book?

Andrew Fitzmorris: 80,000 words, 274 pages.

Carol Denbow: Wow! That must have taken some time to compose. How long did it take for you to finish the book?

Andrew Fitzmorris: It took me about five months to write. I handled each sentence and each chapter with care. I wanted it to be perfect when it came to the overall book and the way I envisioned it.

Carol Denbow: How did you decide when and where to end one chapter and begin a new one?

Andrew Fitzmorris: Most of it was pieced together by fragments. I put them together like a puzzle. So with each fragment, some were designed for a beginning chapter, middle idea for a chapter, or an ending to a chapter. I’d run with that fragment and build off of it. The tricky part was finding a home for these fragments, but after that, composing the chapter was fairly easy for me.

Carol Denbow: How did attending writing classes and participating in writer’s groups help you?

Andrew Fitzmorris: They helped motivate and excite me about the idea of being a writer. My professors molded the structure and basics for writing. After college I did a lot of reading and studying techniques from the Beat Generation. I loved Jack Kerouac’s style and how beautifully he put sentences together. William S. Burroughs blew me away with his technique of the cut-up method, a literary technique in which a text is rearranged to form new sentences and circumstances. These two great American authors shaped my writing. I wanted to embody Kerouac’s style and rhythm of words. I wanted to add Burroughs’s cut-up method. In, Love Beyond the City, you’ll see glimpse’s of both.

Carol Denbow: Do you suggest (I know I do!) that writers have their work critiqued by other writers or anyone for that matter?

Andrew Fitzmorris: If writers are serious about having their work published, then I highly recommend joining a critique group. If you check out different literary magazines or do an extensive search online, you’ll come across many. It’s a lot of hard work and very tough. You have to have thick skin. I am part of two groups and I take their feedback and comments to heart, whether it’s positive or negative. I really like having a mix of both because they’re the readers and audience who one day may read my work; having another perspective helps. You may think it’s great, but they’ll see it differently. The tricky part is how much do you change. If three people read a current chapter and all three points out that they didn’t understand the main characters motive, then you have to go back and re-think what you’re trying to say. But if one person finds the flaw and the other two don’t, then that’s ultimately up to you whether your character’s motive works.

Carol Denbow: What was the editing process like for you?

Andrew Fitzmorris: The editing process was time consuming, but having a critique group helped. Just when you think it’s good, it’s not. On and off, I must have spent about six months editing, then I sent query letters to literary agents and publishers. I sent a total of eighty or so. Each one was a rejection. You can’t take it personal. It’s actually a good thing and will help you in the editing phase. You’ll want to go back and figure out why they didn’t like the first five to ten pages you submitted.

Carol Denbow: This is all good information Andrew and we really appreciate your taking the time to do this interview with us. Is there anything you would like to add?

Andrew Fitzmorris: I just want to thank you for the opportunity to showcase my novel. I really enjoyed our interview and hope my book goes over well with readers.

Carol Denbow: Thanks again Andrew. Folks, Andrew Fitzmorris’ new release Love Beyond The City can be seen (or bought) at the following links and is also available wherever fine books are sold:


Nook Book

Please drop by Andrews Website at
As always, comments are welcome and I’m sure Andrew would be happy to respond to any questions left in the comment section. Thanks for dropping by the Blog.


Mary Deal said...

Andrew is a writer that not only takes time to write the novel well, he surely took time to learn what's involved in the process of publishing overall. The story sounds wonderful.

J.R.Poulter/J.R.McRae said...

Great interview! :)

Carlene Rae Dater said...

That does sound like a very interesting novel. I'd be interested to know why you chose self-publishing over traditional publishing or e-publishing?

Plain & Simple Books said...

Thanks for your great comments!
Andrew published with Plain & Simple Books Publishing, an "author assisted" publishing company. They accept only well-written and edited scripts. Technically, Andrew did not self-publish his book.

Anonymous said...

Nice interview. And yes, 'keep writing' is the best advice any writer can follow!
Create, Collaborate, Publish