Today, I bring you an interview with author Andrea Warrilow. Like me, Andrea is a big animal lover, and animals feature heavily in her stories. Her own animals even feature on the covers of her books. How great is that ? Andrea has a great sense of humour, and this is evident in her interview responses. The first book in her series will appeal to anyone who enjoys second chances, new beginnings and happy endings. Lets find out a bit more.
Tell me a bit about yourself
I'm Andrea Warrilow, I'm 54 and I live on the beautiful Isle of Man, a small Island in between England and Ireland. We moved here from England in 1999 for a quieter pace of life on this beautiful Isle. I live here with my husband, my elderly mother, our 2 dogs Holly and Cookie, and my 2 horses Chad and Nell.
How long have you been writing?
I started, without a plan or a real idea of what I was aiming for, about 4 months ago (May 2020). I have already written 3 novels, the first three books in the series 'At the Cliff Top'. I'm sure this will make some people think I can't be doing it very well, but I know myself and my strengths. I have had my best successes in life when I'm led by my instincts, and throw myself into a project fully. With this years lock-down, due to the COVID-19 virus, I was able to throw myself into writing the stories that were bursting out of my head.
Do you have a favourite book?
'Haki the Shetland Pony' was my first favourite, I was 8. Since then I have loved all the Agatha Christie books, anything by James Herriot or Gerald Durrell. I usually fall in love with whatever book I am reading at that moment! I will try reading anything, any genre, except proper horror - I'm a wimp! 'Riding Astride for Girls' is a book I own and love, just for the name! Its a 1930's book about horse riding for young ladies, before you ask.
Being an animal lover myself, I noticed animals are a prominent feature in your books. Can you tell me more about it?
I have always had animals in my life, from my first rabbit when I was about 6 right up to now, when I have my two horses and two dogs. Life is incomplete without animals to share it with. After my previous dog died, we were going to have 6 months without a dog to get over the shock. Within a couple of weeks, we had adopted our current two, the house was empty without dogs around. If I had the money I would collect horses too! My husband has put his foot down now I have two.
Write about what you know and love.
Can you tell me about your ‘At The Cliff Top' Book Series, and what inspired them?
I have no idea what inspired the series. The first book, 'Cleaning the Slate', was bursting to get out of my head during lock-down this year (2020). I hadn't written anything longer than a job application since school and I am now 54. Suddenly, I got the urge to write about these characters in my head and off I went. 'Cleaning The Slate' (which isn't long) was written in a week and a half! It was lock-down and there wasn't much freedom to do anything else. The second book 'Building The Dream' was just a natural progression. The third book 'Turning the Tide' took me on a darker path, but with a happy ending! I have the bones of the fourth book in my head. The only mantra I had was “write about what you know” - hence animals and emotions! The stories follow a couple meeting, falling in love and setting up an animal sanctuary. The first book is romantic, the second is more about the animals and starting a new life. The third, which is due out in mid October, has more action and jeopardy for my heroes and their animals. The fourth is still in my head and just beginning to shout that it needs writing.
Can you describe your writing process?
Chaotic and unplanned, like a series of sprints but without any rules! I do not plan, I just write. This may not be professional but it works for me, and is an enjoyable journey. It does make the editing process a total pain, but I am learning all the time and making fewer errors now.
What does literary success look like to you?
My heart says it looks like people enjoying what I write, including me. My head says it looks like making a bit of extra money so I can buy another horse without my husband complaining. It will be a very small horse, my writing's not that good!!
Who are your favourite authors, and how have they influenced your work?
Agatha Christie, Spike Milligan, Terry Pratchett, James Herriot and many, many others. I like variety, but I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I have no idea how they have influenced me, but I do enjoy a good laugh in a book and I enjoy good people facing adversity bravely. I am starting to read more books by Indie authors I have found and followed on Twitter, there is a huge range of books covering every genre, something for everyone.
Are you working on anything at the moment?
We are just putting the finishing touches to the third book, 'Turning The Tide', before it's released into the world. My sister is working on the cover, which will feature a Newfoundland dog this time. We've just been to take photo's of a local Newfoundland, 'Lord Darth Vader' (no, really, that's the dog's full name) ready to create the cover image. I hope to release the book in mid-October 2020. My fourth book in the 'At the Cliff Top' series will be bursting out of my head in a week or two.
What advice would you give a new author?
Just do it and have fun with it, don't expect too much and learn as you go. Self-publishing has worked for me and it doesn't cost anything. What have you got to lose? You will need a lot of time if you do everything yourself, writing the story is only part of the job! Editing, formatting, cover art, and then promotion, are all time-consuming. I've had a lot of help from my husband (formatting, getting the books online, promo pics for social media etc.) and my sister is doing the book covers for me. I am so grateful for all the help. I'm not sure I could have coped with the months of waiting and many rejections that come with traditional publishing, so the work is a necessary part of getting my books out there.
Always listen to and learn from other writers, but don't be intimidated by them – go with your heart.
Join the #writingcommunity on Twitter and connect with other writers, see how they do things, ask questions, it is a great resource and a great group of people.
Lastly, what interests do you have outside of writing?
Animals and family, possibly in that order! Oh, and volunteering for Riding for the Disabled. I'm a coach for our local group and it is the most rewarding way to spend time. The relationships that our riders form with their horses are precious, and hugely therapeutic for minds and bodies. Go and find your local group and see for yourselves, it's amazing!
If you would like to find out more about Andrea's books, click on the links below.