Interview with Andres Mann

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to read just about everything - Novels, History, Science Fiction and the classics.
Whenever I can, I travel. I love to immerse myself into local cultures and to make friends with people all over the world.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I subscribe to many book services and web sites. I also scour the web for little gems.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a story about a big wooden boat that I bought and refit with my wife. We had no idea of the commitment we were making, particularly because we had never had a boat before. We had to learn from scratch how to run and maintain a 48-foot yacht. I wrote stories for our local boating club, mostly confessing our misadventures. Eventually we came to love the beast. I will probably write a book entitled "The Tale of the Boo."
What is your writing process?
Chaos, pure chaos. I am incapable to start with an outline, because I start with a theme and I don't have a clue where I am am going. I just write and let the story grow organically. I know this sounds incredibly inefficient - and it is - but I can't just fill in the blanks. I go with my characters as they traverse the story, I become part of them. I even like my bad guys, and I hate to have to kill them off.
How do you approach cover design?
I go to the best designers I can afford, because I am very aware of my limitations. I like dramatic images and metaphors for what the book is about.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My all time favorite is Herman Melville's Moby Dick. I was always a sucker for epic adventure.
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, a brainy whodunit.
Stephen King - The Stand. A magnificent saga with a supernatural twist
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. An entertaining story with enough history to keep you captivated.
Shakespeare's Macbeth. Masterly depiction of guilt and disillusionment.
What do you read for pleasure?
I mostly read history, although I also read novels to keep in touch with what's going on in the market.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like using Kindle because of its size and ease of use. I also use a Microsoft Surface tablet. My absolutely favorite device, however, is a real book. Old habits die hard.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
So far, I am still experimenting. The key is to get noticed.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and grew up in East Africa. My parents were Italian and took me all over the place. Eventually we settled in the US, but I was never satisfied staying in one place. Early exposure to exotic places created a wanderlust for travel that never quit. My writing always involves the characters traveling to great places - Istanbul, London, Paris, most of Italy, Argentina and even the Middle East. It enables the character to breathe in a diversity of places and learn about our wonderful diverse world.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing business books and I was successful at it, but I didn't have much fun. Now I enjoy writing adventure novels with strong women as protagonists. It unleashes my imagination even though the stories are staged in places that I have actually lived in.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Tess - Valkyrie Awakening is the story of Tess, a beautiful military pilot that runs into Amir, a wealthy, fascinating and complicated Iraqi General. His obsession with her leads to confrontations in many places in Europe and New York. Tess is aided by her love interest, Jake who is a brilliant CIA agent. The situation leads to violence and tragedy, only redeemed by a poignant resolution. The novel is a platform to explore the obstacles faced by professional women, and cultural norms that are both positive and exploitative. I inject humor, sensuality and travel to many places, hopefully entertaining readers with diverse locales and people.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I always wanted to write fiction and I explored traditional publishing. I found the industry rigid, stuck in the past an unlikely to produce what I wanted in a short time frame. The indie approach is flexible and allows complete control of the product. This does not mean that the books will succeed, but at least I would have no one to blame but myself.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans mean everything to me. I crave to hear what they liked and what they learned from my novels. I want to give them a cosmopolitan experience and to expose them to the world. I need to hear what worked and what didn't so I can use this information to delight my readers when the pick up my next book.
What are you working on next?
I am working on the fourth book about Tess and her team. This time, they address human trafficking and the behavior of people in high places that are the main exploiters of vulnerable victims.
Published 2015-08-17.
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