I’m running a lot later this post than I am- life somewhat ran away for me and I apologize for that. Without any further delay I must say it is my pleasure to introduce author, Andrew Lawston.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name’s Andrew Lawston and I’m a 30-something writer, amateur actor, and publishing professional. I live and work in London with a little black cat. I’m a keen fan
of Doctor Who, which inspired me to start writing from an incredibly young age, and the old Doctor Who novelisations kept me reading at a blistering rate while I was
growing up. I used to be a French teacher, and I have degrees in French and Film Studies. I enjoy cooking, going to the theatre, long walks by the Thames, and a nice
pint of beer. I’m basically a very silly person, if I’m being completely honest.
2) Where can we find you on the internet?
I’m all over the place! I’ve just started a new blog at http://andrewlawston.blogspot.com, I’m on Twitter as @alawston, and Facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/andrewklawston. My Amazon profile can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Lawston
3) Why did you chose the genre you write in and how would you describe your writing style?
I don’t really have a fixed genre, though I’m drifting towards a sort of magical realism, I suppose. I have an idea for a story, and I write it, whichever genre that story
needs to be. I’ve written a bit of horror, a bit of fantasy, a bit of science-fiction, a bit of humour. My writing style is often described as ‘quirky’. I don’t know, really. I enjoy
writing, and my style tends to vary according to what I’m working on. I’ve done everything from silly short stories to formal academic writing, so it can be hard to pin
down. My short story voice has become fairly defined though, as a playful, readable style, but I’m not afraid to use a few long words. Especially now everyone’s reading
on digital devices with built-in dictionaries!
4) Tell us about your latest book.
Story of My Escape is a very special project. It’s a translation of Giacomo Casanova’s 18th Century classic “Histoire de ma fuite” which was his published account of
his escape from prison in Venice in 1756. It’s an amazing book, but it’s never been published widely in English before! It’s taken me four years (not working on it
solidly though). Casanova is living the high life in Venice when, quite abruptly, he’s arrested and locked away under the lead slabs of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. He
doesn’t know why, and he doesn’t know how long his sentence will be. So he sets about escaping in a most audacious and ingenious fashion.
There are two ways to look at the book, really. On the one hand, it’s a rollicking adventure, gradually accelerating as Casanova becomes more and more desperate to
break out of his cell. On the other, it’s a great way to learn more about the man himself. There’s a lot more to Casanova than his romantic exploits; he was a writer,
philosopher, musician, scholar, soldier, spy, confidence trickster and more. This book showcases the breadth of his character: his wit, intelligence, resolve, and
ruthlessness, and it hopefully gives readers a more balanced view of one of the 18th Century’s most notorious figures.
5) If you could live in any world from a book or movie which would it be and why?
I think it would have to be Middle Earth, probably in the Shire. In the film version, where nothing bad happens, and all the hobbits wander around in waistcoats, stoned
off their furry little toes, and writing their quaint little life stories by hand in giant leather tomes. I think I’d make a good hobbit. *wistful sigh* I need to wear more
6) What was your favorite book growing up?
Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett. The high-concept idea of the Grim Reaper retiring, with all the chaos that entails, is offset by the rather charming adventures of the
human Death on a little farm in the hills. It was one of the first Discworld novels I read, and it got me really excited about writing fantasy and humour (though not
necessarily together, I think Pratchett has that sewn up).
7) The infamous question- what advice would you give to any aspiring and new authors out there?
Just keep writing. And ignore all the nonsense. There’s a lot of posturing at the moment from ‘indie’ authors about the death of ‘trad’ publishing, and the death of ‘dead
tree’ books, and the rise of this, and the opportunities of that. They’re all selling something, and the bottom line is this: they don’t know, and neither do you. And neither
do I, come to that. The future of publishing is ALWAYS uncertain. Amazon and e-books are just the latest twist in the rambling saga of an inherently unstable industry.
It really needn’t have any effect on your writing. Just keep your head down and write. Worry about macro-economic trends in literature another day.
8) What are your preferred method to use while writing and environment?
I write first drafts mostly with a cartridge pen and notebook, before typing up later. I view the act of typing up a handwritten story as a ‘free redraft’ because I can edit on
the fly. When I’m a fair way into the story, and it’s all settled, and I know its shape, then I may start typing before the first draft is finished – it depends entirely how I feel.
As for environment, I write in the pub, on trains, at the dining table, wherever really. It used to be almost exclusively in pubs and bars, but I’ve grown up a bit since
those days. I started writing in bars because I was the only non-smoker in my social group, so I needed something to do when my friends all went outside and I was
left to hold the table. Then it became a genuine writing habit, and then it became an affectation, at which point it immediately stopped being useful.
9)What are your favorite games (tabletop and/or video)? If you’re not too much into gaming (even monopoly counts!) what are your other hobbies?
I’m very much a video gamer! My favourite game tends to be ‘the one I’m playing at the moment’, but enduring favourites include the Max Payne series for being just
tongue in cheek enough about their unremitting misery, the Half Life games (because of the awesome), We ❤ Katamari for sheer lunacy, and Doom II: Hell on Earth.
This last because I spent quite a chunk of my first year of university modding it to include 8-bit graphics from 1980s Amstrad games. At the time I thought it was the
most ironic thing ever to retro-fit this super-modern game with ancient graphics. Now you look at Doom II and it looks old enough to be the game Noah played on the
Ark while waiting for the rain to stop!
Other hobbies? I touched on the acting – I’m an actor with a community theatre group that donates profits to local charities in our corner of London. That’s amazing fun,
and one day I hope to write a play for them or something.
10) What can we look forward from you in the future?
I have a second collection of short stories that I think is about half-done. There are four complete stories, with lengths ranging from 500 to 8,500 words, and a clutch of
drabbles. I’ve also got a bunch of half-complete stories to finish off the collection. It really depends how quickly I can get them polished to a decent standard, but I’m
hoping to have it out shortly after Easter. Also on the short fiction front, I’m going to go back to my roots, scrub up all my old Doctor Who fanfiction, and post it on
Wattpad. You’re welcome, Internet 😉
In the second half of the year, I also have two professional appearances lined up in anthologies: a Christmas-themed adventure in Sanity Clause is Coming, and a
science-fictionfied fairytale retelling in the ongoing Grimm & Grimmer series. Both from Fringeworks.
I’m also still developing an idea for a whodunnit with a friend of mine. We’re very excited about it, but we’re also both very busy, and when we do see each other, we
tend to get carried away talking about what a brilliant idea it is, and then we get drunk congratulating ourselves on our genius, and then the next day we realise we’ve
still not actually written very much. At some point we’ll get ourselves organised, and it will be a three act play and a fantastic evening’s entertainment.
I should also really write a novel at some point. The problem is, there are so many stories I want to tell, and I find short fiction the most efficient way to get them down
on to paper.