Author Becca Andre joins me today. She has an interesting history: chemist, mother, wife and author. Ms. Andre recently released The Catalyst of Corruption, the fourth book of her wildly exciting, alchemy filled paranormal fantasy series.
Let me start by thanking you for this opportunity. Your series, The Final Formula has been inspirational and so much fun to read.
I understand The Final Formula series arose out of an exercise to write what you know. Your website offered a bit about your history, and it sounds like you have been writing for quite a while. Could you tell me a bit more about some of the key moments that helped you mature as a writer?
Becca: Yes, I have been writing for quite a while. Decades, actually. But for most of that time, writing was just a hobby. Something I did to amuse myself with no serious thoughts toward publication. Sure, I entertained the occasional fantasy about being a full-time writer, but I never pursued it—until I wrote The Final Formula.
As you mentioned, The Final Formula arose from a write-what-you-know exercise where I took my everyday world and gave it a magical twist. I’m a chemist, so I made my main character an alchemist, and set my story in our modern world. I really liked the finished product and for the first time, I wanted to share what I had written.
Since I live in a small town and didn’t know anyone else who wrote, I joined an online workshop. I would credit that as the best thing I did on my journey to becoming an author. By getting feedback on what I had written and learning to critique other writers, I began to see what worked and what didn’t. I also made some great friends who I still rely on to beta-read for me.
All your characters are so interesting and well crafted. What process do you follow to create them?
I’m not the kind of writer who uses character sheets or writes loads of backstory about their characters before starting a story. My characters are my story, and the two come into being by playing off each other. Often, I’ll start with a character in a situation, or a pair of characters and build the story from there. The key is to work in conflict right from the start. If I start with two characters, they’re going to be on opposite sides of an issue, or their personality types will naturally conflict. Take Addie and Rowan for example. She’s headstrong and confident, and he’s a control freak. Throw them in a situation where they both think they’re right and…fireworks!
I do think there are some necessary skills that every writer should to develop in order to create believable characters that come to life on the page. Two key components are natural sounding dialogue and portraying emotions honestly (no melodrama!). The easiest way I find to do this is to put my characters in a situation and let them react. When it feels like I’m just the scribe and they’re telling the story, I know it’s working.
How many more books can we expect in The Final Formula series?
The plan for The Final Formula Series is five novels with a novella between each. This is a slightly different take on the typical series format. The novellas are part of the overall story, but they are told from a different point of view than the main novels. Unfortunately, shorter works aren’t as popular with readers, so I can’t do as much with the novellas as I would like.
Published works require more than just an author. What sort of team members do you have to help you reach the final point of publishing a work?
Once I complete the first draft, I send it out for a couple rounds of beta-reads. The first readers are fellow writers (whose work I beta-read in turn). As writers themselves, they’re great at spotting problems with plot, pacing, and other places where I fall short in the craft department. I address their concerns, then send the draft out to a second group of beta readers. These folks tend to be avid readers and/or grammar junkies. They’re great at catching my mistakes with story details, logic, and general grammatical shortcomings. Once I fix all those problems, the book goes to my awesome editor, Shelley Holloway who fixes everything that’s left. Finally, the gang over at Streetlight Graphics does my formatting and cover art (they also designed my website).
It sounds like you have quite a team! What do you love most about being an author?
Not having to leave the house? 😉 Seriously, my favorite part is interacting with readers. It’s so cool that other people enjoy hanging out with my imaginary friends as much as I do.
What is the most important piece of advice you have for other writers and authors?
Write every day and once you feel comfortable with sharing what you’ve written, seek out feedback. And by feedback, I mean from someone other than your mom or significant other. Preferably other writers who are serious about their craft
What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Do I have to pick just one place? I love to travel. It’s been our family goal to visit all fifty states here in the USA. So far, Hubby and I have 48, and the kids have 46. Outside mown country, I would love to see some of the famous landmarks/cities the world over. Places that are geographically interesting or places that are steeped in history. The list is endless.
What is your favorite TV show or movie?
I don’t watch much TV, although my son and I watch Ghost Adventures most weekends. My favorite movie would have to be Pride & Prejudice – the 1995 BBC/A&E miniseries. It’s a great adaptation of my favorite novel.
How can readers get their hands on The Final Formula series?
The Final Formula Series is available at most online retailers. The first book, The Final Formula is free.
Last question. What is the best way for folks to get in touch with you?
Thank you Becca. It has been a pleasure getting to know you!
Thanks for having me, Catherine!
Well, that is all for now folks. I seriously recommend Becca’s books. I could not put them down. Take care out there!