When not arm-wrestling her Muse over who gets to wear the stilettos, Andra can be found wielding a paint brush at her latest renovation site. She sees renovating as a lot like writing — you start with something that's rough around the edges and pummel it into submission.
Andra lives in beautiful Melbourne (Australia) with her wonderful man and hopes her adult children aren't too traumatized by having a mother who writes smutty stories.
Is there a genre you'd like to try writing and haven't yet?
Absolutely! I love a good horror story and/or thriller and would love to combine that with erotic romance. I have a (very vague) idea brewing which has my imagination churning and I'm looking forward to doing research and building a sexy, creepy story.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely not a full-blown pantser but I do some sneaky pantsing. Generally, I'll have my beginning and end and a few key scenes in my head. Joining them together to try and make the story work is where the pantsing comes in – and the most stress. I can write a scene I have already pictured, no problem. But you can't have a story just of key scenes, so I'll put on my pantsing pants and make myself write from the end of one scene, knowing that I somehow have to get to the next (already written) scene. I envy those writers who love the thrill of not knowing where their story will go but for me, that's stress-inducing territory.
If you had one piece of advice for aspiring authors, what would it be?
Ernest Hemingway said 'the only kind of writing is rewriting'. Anyone can put words on paper and tell a story. Turning those words into an engaging, well-written story is where the work is. Improving our writing is a constant, ongoing learning process. Join a writing group, preferably for your genre, and find a critique partner whose writing and opinions on writing you admire and trust. Really learn about the craft of writing, and then the craft of good editing.
Tell us more about the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild
Where to begin? My fabulous Melbourne writing group is a place to learn, be supported and motivated and make good friends. This group has such a nurturing heart and makes everyone welcome, whether you're a novice or multi-published or anything in between. It's a great place to share information, share successes and rejections and just be able to talk writing with like-minded people. We have a diversity of ages, knowledge, experience and genres written. We also have plenty of chocolate!
Do you have a favourite genre in books (to read and/or to write)?
My reading time is given to romance, especially so many of our Australian romance writers, but I also listen to audio books on my phone and in the car. I enjoy listening to thrillers/suspense and chick lit. I've discovered some great authors like Tami Hoag and Jane Green. It really makes driving go quickly (and often I don't want to get out of the car because I'm too engrossed). Even when it's not marketed as 'romance' it seems that even in other genres there is so often an element of romance or relationship (interesting how this doesn't get disparaged in the same way romance is – but this isn't the place for a soapbox). And I'll always be a huge Stephen King fan. His writing. His imagination. Brilliant.
Excerpt from 'Skin on Skin'
The next time Daniel saw her, she’d be flesh and blood. She’d be real, with the real chance that he wouldn’t recognise her. What if he was so freaked out he’d reject her, or just have some fun and move on to someone else? What if …
It was pointless building a scenario in her head. It was either spend eternity wondering, or live with whatever the consequences would be. The outcome was beyond her control. A new concept. A human concept she’d have to come to terms with.
Lilin had the urge to wrap herself in Daniel’s sheet and absorb the scent into her skin and her memory. No, she wouldn’t need the memory because she would have the real thing. She rose to her knees, closed her eyes and unfurled her wings for the last time.