Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. 'insiders', Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
A bit of both. I have a general idea of the story before I start – most times. After that I typically talk it out with a couple people who beta read for me and/or just listen to my ideas. When that's done, I've generally got a couple pages of email notes that I can refer to if needed. Once I start writing, however, all bets are off. Things seem to change quite a bit from that 'roadmap' before the work is done.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
This sort of ties into the previous answer; yes, sometimes. And sometimes it's that the story takes it's own path and the characters follow. I've yet to be able to predict all plot twists or character traits from the start. Not yet at least.
What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?
There is the old saying–write what you know–so I went with it. I won't say I had a traumatic coming out experience, but I dated a few people who did. But coming out, trying to figure out the dating game–I knew I wasn't interested in women early on so I barely dated until I came out–and the like are things I 'know' so it's easier to make it more realistic. That and I like writing about gay characters that people like. I remember reading the Last Herald Mage from Mercedes Lackey and think how cool it was to have a main character who was gay AND people loved.
Do you write in other genres besides M/M?
Fantasy, but even there I have a M/M element. But to me, that is a fantasy novel with a gay MC, not a M/M book. I actually think much of my work is something other than M/M fiction, but with a M/M element.
What is your favourite food?
Ravioli. Mine and 'lil q's (my toddler daughter.) With homemade pasta sauce of course.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Totally a morning person. I love getting up early and letting everyone stay in bed so I can go get coffee or just sit on the porch and have me time alone.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I'd love to go to Australia and New Zealand. My worry is that I'll go and I'll never want to leave. I get that way sometimes when I go to the Pacific Northwest of the US or British Columbia in Canada. -We had that trouble in New Zealand too, fantastic place!
Do distant places feature in your books?
Yes. Aside from the fantasy book – where that place is so distant you can't find it – (Un)Masked was set in New Zealand.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Almost always – right now it's Blink 182. I can't deal with noise, but music always fades into the background and seems to keep me focused on my writing.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
I won't totally rehash what's in the blurb, but this is a darker story for me. It's not a light happy romance. Forty years before the book opens, Will's lover David is violently killed. On the same night, he is chosen by the spirit of vengeance – the Purpose–to be the spirit's human host. Coincidence? Can I say read the book?
After David's death, Will remains alone, avenging the guilty to placate the innocent. When he meets Ryan, his whole world is upended. Will is forced to confront the emotions he's suppressed for forty years – for good reason. Will must choose; let Ryan into his life and deal with his feelings, or push him away and give up any chance at reclaiming his humanity. Will isn't–on his face–a likeable character. He's the sword of vengeance so to speak. But I hope people will grow to like him.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
The two are so different it's hard to answer in one response, but here goes. Writing – I'm too wordy. I don't need to explain every little thing. The readers are smart enough to figure it out if I do my job right. So I'm working on that.
Publishing – you need a marketing degree to be successful these days. There are so many books out there I'm competing against that good promotions are a must to stand out enough for people to find me.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Start sooner. I used to write often, but it wasn't structured enough to help improve me craft. It would have helped if I had gotten feed back sooner. And the start sooner answer applies to marketing too. I wish I'd started that sooner too.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
Three people. Helen Chappell, Lorraine Fico and Anyta Sunday. Helen is an author and teacher who taught me to 'write tighter' and she gave me the single best piece of advice I've received as a writer – join a writing group and solicit feed back. That was a huge help. Lorraine is the owner of Magnifico Manuscripts Editing. In one month she helped improve my writing ten fold. She taught me how to write 'stronger. Anyta was my co-author for (Un)Masked, my first book, and she's just a wonderful writer who taught me a bit about writing 'better.'
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Practice a lot, find someone(s) to give you honest critical feedback and start building your 'brand' as soon as possible – well before you publish your first book.
What are three words that describe you?
Loyal, stubborn and determined.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant – all of them [okay so that's not 'a' book but it's kinda one.] As for an author, well that would be Tolkien. I just feel he was such a trendsetter and his writing shows the way he thought about every word he wrote.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book:
Forty years ago the Spirit of Vengeance—a Purpose—took William Morgan as its host, demanding he avenge the innocent by killing the guilty. Since then, Will has retreated behind Gar, a façade he uses to avoid dealing with what he’s become. Cold, impassive, and devoid of emotion, Gar goes about his life alone—until his tidy, orderly world is upended when he meets Ryan, a broken young man cast out by his family. Spurred to action for reasons he can't understand, Gar saves Ryan from death and finds himself confronted by his humanity.
Spending time with Ryan helps Will claw out from under Gar’s shadow. He recognizes Ryan is the key to his reclaiming his humanity and facing his past. As Will struggles to control the Purpose, Ryan challenges him to rethink everything he knew about himself and the spirit that possesses him. In the process, he pushes Will to do something he hasn't done in decades: care.
Buy link: Purpose from Dreamspinner Press
List of previous books if any:
(Un)Masked – with Anyta Sunday
The Last Grand Master
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web:
Review of Purpose coming in July at Zipper Rippers