Friday, March 21, 2008

Interview with Andrew Peterson

Truth be told, I would interview every author whose books I review and enjoy if I could. Oftentimes, I simply run out of time because I am reviewing so many these days. (and I find it rather pointless to ask the authors questions when I haven't finished the book.) I do admit to feeling incredibly grateful (and at times a bit giddy) whenever they respond out of their busy schedules to share a few minutes with us.

So I am very excited that Andrew Peterson agreed to answer a few questions. I hope you will enjoy and find it helpful and that you will immediately place your order for twenty copies of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. :)

When did the idea for On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness come to you?

The idea didn't come in a flash, so that's hard to say. I had been thinking for a long time about writing a book, had made a few false starts on ideas that puttered out, and was at a loss as to where to begin. So I drew a map. I let my pencil wander all over the paper and then filled in the continents and islands and oceans with names. That process fired up my imagination and it wasn't long before I found Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby in that little cottage in Glipwood, surrounded by the Fangs of Dang. My children were part of the inspiration, as was one of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon stories, but I think the map was the thing that grounded the ideas (so to speak) in a real world. A story emerged from the world I was creating.

As a big fan of your music and now your book, I'm interested in knowing from a creative standpoint, what are some of the differences you experienced between writing a novel and writing songs?

Well, a song can take anywhere from a day to a few years to write. Most often, you get the satisfaction of having written a song relatively quickly. You still have to wade through the mire of frustration and writer's block, but the swamp is much smaller with songs. The book took years and years of wrestling, nose-to-the-grindstone work, then almost as much revision. A song is a snapshot, or a statue--something you can make and then sort of walk around and inspect from all angles as you sculpt it. A book is more like building a road, or a long fence. You can't take it all in with one glance. It stretches out into the distance, and you're operating on a great deal of faith that it actually leads somewhere.

What are you currently reading?

I'm currently reading a mystery novel called The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl, a book of poems by Wendell Berry called Entries, and a book of Lenten meditations called Ashes to Easter. I tend to have several irons in the fire. Oh, and I'm reading (again) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud to my family at night. It never gets old to me.

I enjoyed all of the interesting creatures and backstory of the world of Aeriwar included in the book, but I must know...would you rather face off with a Fang of Dang, a toothy cow, or a pack of horned hounds?

To even think of such a thing leaves me breathless and unable to psell corretctlie. I must move on with the next question before I faint outright.

I see that the book says book one. When can we expect the next installment in the Wingfeather Saga? How many can we expect?

I'm in the process of writing book two, and foresee at least a trilogy--though it depends on how I break it all up. My hope is that the Wingfeather Saga will be four books. The next book will hopefully release around this same time next year.

I have to admit, I'm a bit envious of people like you can create a whole new world in your mind. How real is the world of your book in your mind to you?

The world is very real to me, though it sometimes takes me a while to sink back into it from the world of bill-paying and traffic and leaky faucets. I usually listen to cinematic music that fits the mood of the scene I'm writing because it helps quiet the real world enough for me to enter the sub-created one. Aerwiar is still creating itself in my mind, and I'm often surprised by what I find there. Like I said before, drawing a map helped immensely. After that it wasn't hard to imagine the geography and the creatures that lived there, the cultures that sprang up, and the political landscape. Janner Igiby's world is in some ways being discovered by me right along with him. But I don't want the reader to worry that the story is meandering without any arc in mind. As Mark Helprin described his writing, I threw a stone into a pond, and now I'm swimming for it. There was a lot that I had to know about Aerwiar before I could start the first page of the book, and that informed a lot about what's going to happen to the characters before we reach the end.

What is one thing you want your readers to know?

That in book two, one of the main characters dies. I reserve the right to change my mind, but right now, it feels like it has to happen. We'll see.

Oh, and thank you. I'm grateful to be able to do this, thanks to folks like you.

Aaaargh on the character dying! :)

Ok everyone this is your last chance to comment for a chance to win one of two copies of this book, a copy of The Far Country or one yet to be determined prize.


windycindy said...

I have been following some of this author/musician's interviews and book reviews. Before that, I didn't have a clue he was a singer/songwriter. His voice is very good! Thanks for his interview. I love the cover of the book. It is very intriguing. Cindi

Gavin said...

How do you get to interview authors ? Do you send them an email and hope they respond ? Or is it a more formalized process ?
Thanks for entering me.
gavinpillay at gmail dot com

Megan said...

I absolutely loved this interview. I really appreciate both of you for taking the time to do it. I am also interested in ^gavin's question about the technical aspects of preforming the interview.

I would also like to share some of my favorite parts of the interview.
"A book is more like building a road, or a long fence. You can't take it all in with one glance. It stretches out into the distance, and you're operating on a great deal of faith that it actually leads somewhere." This is an amazing and sort of beautiful way to put this. I am making note of it for future reference because it is something that resonated inside me.

"I usually listen to cinematic music that fits the mood of the scene I'm writing because it helps quiet the real world enough for me to enter the sub-created one." I love this little tidbit into his creation process and the idea that the book started(ish) with a map! I would love to see a picture of it!

Amy said...

Yep, I send an email and pray they respond! So far everyone has...and it's been pretty cool. I'm glad you enjoyed it Megan.

Megan, I too was really interested by the map being the starting place.

Tanya said...

Lucky you getting an interview. It put such a unique spin on the Blog Tour.

Its a great book. I agree that everyone needs to purchase 20 copies.

kddub said...

I love Andrew Peterson's music, and I am so excited about that book coming out. It is something I'm definitely going to want to read it to my kids.

LisaMM said...

This was a really good interview. Your questions were very interesting. I'm quite new to the 'author interview' process and it's challenging to come up with good questions. Nice job.

KT said...

very cool interview!

Amy said...

thanks for the encouragement Lisa! I always worry my questions are lame. ;)

Ben said...

Hi Amy, found your blog through the AP forums. Thanks for this interview. It's shed some more light for me on AP's writing process. I'm already looking forward to the next book. :)

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