PD: I’m delighted to introduce our Featured Friday segment with Andrew Joyce, who you may remember as guest posting for Zealot Script in the recent past.
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and fifty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, Yellow Hair. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mick Reilly.
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
The commute to work is not long . . . only a few steps to my computer.
What made you start writing?
One morning, about six years ago, I went crazy. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story. And just for the hell of it, I threw it up on a writing site. A few months later, I was informed that it had been selected for publication in an anthology of the best short stories of 2011. I even got paid for it. I’ve been writing ever since.
Is there an Author that you consider your inspiration?
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
Read, read . . . and then read some more. Read everything you can get your hands on! Reading to a writer is as medical school is to a doctor, as physical training is to an athlete, as breathing is to life. When one reads stuff like the passage below, one cannot help but become a better writer.
“The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight. The bay became bluer and dimpled with shore-wind ripples. Those lonely fishermen who believe that the fish bite at high tide left their rocks and their places were taken by others, who were convinced that the fish bite at low tide.”—John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
AND: Never, ever, ever, ever respond to a negative review!!!
What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
I read most genres. My novels are all historical fiction, but my short stories range from detective stories to science fiction to children’s stories and everything in between.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Check this out. It’s pure poetry.
“The concrete highway was edged with a mat of tangled, broken, dry grass, and the grass heads were heavy with oat beards to catch on a dog’s coat, and foxtails to tangle in a horse’s fetlocks, and clover burrs to fasten in sheep’s wool; sleeping life waiting to be spread and dispersed, every seed armed with an appliance of dispersal, twisting darts and parachutes for the wind, little spears and balls of tiny thorns, and all waiting for animals and the wind, for a man’s trouser cuff or the hem of a woman’s skirt, all passive but armed with appliances of activity, still, but each possessed the anlage of movement.”
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
As I’ve matured as a writer, I’ve discovered that “less is more.” I relish taking out extraneous parts of my books. For Yellow Hair, I edited out 26,000 words and loved every minute of it. And don’t worry. It’s still 139,000 words.
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
What’s exciting you about your next project?
It’s about three generations of Irish, whose patriarch immigrates to America in 1840. I haven’t written it yet, but I hope to keep the reader interested enough to stay with me until the end.
And finally, you have one quote to be remembered by, what is it?
“I want to die with my boots on and no money in the bank.”