Interview with author Nicholas Andrews
Nicholas Andrews grew up in Dayton, Ohio. After graduating from Bellbrook High School in 2000, he went on to attend both Ohio University and Wright State University. He worked as a freelance video editor for various independent pro wrestling companies for three years, before returning to his first love of writing. He has been writing stories since he was ten years old.
He is also the nephew of Ted Andrews (1952-2009), award winning new age author.
Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer.
I was born and raised in southwest Ohio. I graduated from high school in 2000, and have attended two different colleges. I've been creating stories for as long as I can remember. When I was very young, before I knew how to write, my main way of expressing myself creatively was through drawing. I would draw depictions of "let's pretend" games with my friends and have my parents write the words I wanted to say. Later, around age eleven or so, I distinctly remember writing and drawing a short book for an English project, and the teacher remarked that I should be an author when I grew up. Obviously, I agreed.
Tell us about your novel and where readers can purchase a copy.
The Adventure Tournament is a comedic fantasy, with some elements of drama thrown in. It takes place in the kingdom of Bolognia, where the king is fed up with all the problems from monsters and warlords and such. So he decides to organize the kingdom's adventurers into a tourney field, using them to solve these problems with each task they undertake, with a considerable reward for the winning team. The main character, Remy, is a student at the capital city's university, but really wants to be an adventurer. Only problem is, he's kind of a doofus. He's clumsy, airheaded and is a source of irritation to everyone he knows. He knows nothing about what it takes to be a warrior, but runs into a bit of "luck" and ends up being an instrumental part of the tournament. This world has all the classic fantasy elements, like elves, dwarves, magic, treasures and monsters, but also has a contemporary feel. The people think and speak more like we do nowadays than they would in a medieval-inspired world. I always tell people it's like a cross between Dungeons & Dragons and Shrek.
The Adventure Tournament can be purchased on Amazon, my Facebook page or my website, all of which are linked at the end of this interview.
What have you had published to-date?
This is the first novel I have published. I used to write a lot of shorter fiction, and got one piece published years ago, but I decided to concentrate on my novel writing and to not run in those races. I've never enjoyed writing short stories all that much. I'm a fan of long, epic works.
Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one?
It depends on what you mean. If you mean the number of years between when I decided to write and when this novel is published, yes. Once I decided to self-publish, it all came together fairly quickly. I feel it's the right decision considering the publishing world is changing to the benefit of the writer, at least in my opinion. With the explosion of e-readers, physical bookstores and publishers are becoming less relevant, and readers are becoming more willing to try self-published authors. And with the advent of companies like Createspace, it allows you to get your paperback or e-book on Amazon with little start-up cost. Which is in contrast to vanity publishers, who for a long time were the face of self-publishing. I think it's very exciting to be here as this shifting of the tide takes place.
How much of the book is realistic?
Again, that's a question that is a little vague. On the surface, it's not realistic. You have a secondary world, magic, unlikely happenstance and other things going on. But as I said, I went for a more contemporary feel in the general attitudes of the characters, which my readers so far seem to appreciate. I think it helps reach beyond the genre a little bit, and touches a chord with any readers of mainstream fiction who are willing to give it a shot. Part of that has to do with the themes, as well. Breaking away from a boring life to follow your dream, to do what you want versus what other people want for you. That's something we all can relate to, regardless of age or gender. In that aspect, it's as realistic as fiction can get, even if there are crazy things happening and people running around like lunatics.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
They say you can tell more about a writer by his fiction than his autobiography. That's true for me in a sense too. I went to college, didn't like it, and spent five years trying to get away. I only went because that was what you did after high school, and I didn't know any other life except that academic routine. I'm positive there was subconscious inspiration drawn from that.
There were things from my life that made it into the book which were much more conscious. One of the teams of adventurers that Remy faces off with were directly based off myself and some of my friends. And a lot of comments, catchphrases and jokes came from me or people I know. There's a situation where one of the characters uses the name "Dave" to his advantage. It sounds completely ridiculous and implausible when you read it, and I would agree... except that it worked for me once.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I draw inspiration from all over. I feel very blessed that my generation is the first that grew up not only with books and television, but video games as well. In a way, people my age (I turn 30 this year) are the target audience for the novel, though I've gotten very kind comments from all sorts of different age groups. But they're the ones who are going to get all the little inside references I put in to just about everything pop culture, mainstream or obscure. To give an example, the cover of the book is a parody of the title screen from the original Legend of Zelda. Anyone who had an NES back in the '80s and '90s is going to get that immediately, because it's a very recognizable image. And fitting, since Zelda was my first exposure to the fantasy genre, or at least what I would consider true fantasy. I was playing Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy before I even knew fantasy literature existed!
How much of the marketing do you do?
Everything. I'm not under a contract to a publishing company, so I'm on my own. It's not something I shy away from either. I think your typical writer is a creative type who probably isn't keen on dealing with all that business stuff, which is a failing for a lot of self-published authors. But being a wrestling fan all my life and following the business, and even working in the business for three years producing video content for some of the top independent companies, I learned a lot about marketing an unknown product to a collective fanbase who may or may not be willing to give it a chance. I feel I'm up to the challenge. At least I hope.
Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book?
I haven't delved in much yet other than my Facebook page. I hear that Facebook ads get some good results, and I'm hoping to go to some regional conventions and sell them there, just to get them out to the fantasy readers.
Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process?
Now that I have the paperback on sale, I'll start the process of publishing an e-book. Like my Facebook fan page and you'll get all the news when that happens.
Where can readers find you?
I have a Facebook page and a sorely neglected Blogspot site. I'm trying to drive people to Facebook, since that's where the pulse of the community seems to be right now. You can leave comments or go to the website and get my email address for more intimate inquiries (beautiful women welcome anytime).
You can buy the book at those sites, which I prefer, since I get a much bigger profit if I sell them myself. And if you buy it that way, I can personalize the book for you. For those averse to that for whatever reason, there's still Amazon.
Thank you, Nicholas, for stopping by to chat. Best of luck with your novel!