Interview with Ande Li

Published 2018-09-21.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing since I was in middle school, as an outlet for ideas that I wanted to express, fueled by comic books, Dungeons and Dragons, and Saturday morning cartoons.
What's the story behind your latest book?
These are characters that have grown up with me since my childhood, almost as real to me as my flesh-and-blood family and friends. I owed them an opportunity to share their stories, in the hopes that they resonate, inspire and entertain readers the way they've done for me.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After working on this book, as well as its related stories, I felt that the indie platform provided the best and fairest platform to share this work without changing its unique qualities. While there are a multitude of books written for this genre, especially through conventional publishing venues, I valued the opportunity to set this story apart.
What do your fans mean to you?
The support and encouragement from fans means a great deal. Ultimately, the stories I tell are about people and relationships, regardless of the setting, so the connections and emotions that my readers feel when they read something that I've written, are incredibly rewarding and motivational for me to keep writing.
What are you working on next?
"The Healer's Girl" was always meant to be the middle chapter of a larger tale, told in a deeply personal way but limited in scope, by design. I'm concurrently working on the bigger story, to share what led to the events in 'Fleece's story, as well as the aftermath and evolution that follow it. I'm also still working with my husband on what happens next to KL and his friends in the next phase of their adventure. Our imaginary friends lead very busy lives!
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy a variety of genres, including biographies, classics, historical romance, science fiction, fantasy, and cookbooks. As you read through my stories, you can sometimes guess at a genre that I was reading at a given time, but I often read multiple books over the same period, so it's not that easy to tell!
Describe your desk
My desk changes regularly. Today's, it's my kitchen table. It used to be our office desk. On sunny days, when the NJ mosquitos aren't swarming, it's the patio set. Usually, my dog is close by, and he encourages me to get outside to clear my head.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent most of my childhood in Brooklyn, NY, but my family moved a lot before then, so that sense of never being settled and not belonging anywhere, carried over to some of my characters. Some of them are searching for a place to call home, and some of them are comfortable in their isolation, and I used to feel both when I was growing up.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not in front of my laptop writing, I am still thinking about writing, about bits of dialog or situations that need to play out. One of my favorite ways to deal with a writer's block is to go on a long walk with my dog and talk out loud about the dilemma until a solution presents itself. Cooking is also a favorite - the sensory escape that spices and herbs provide is sometimes enough to spark some creative clarity.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the very first, but I remember flipping through Richard Scarry word books as a child, and being delighted by the images of anthropomorphic animals. By the time I was in grammar school, I was stealing into my brother's room to borrow his Asimov, Bradbury and Tolkien books, and my love of science fiction and fantasy was cemented.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest appeal and joy of writing is the opportunity to create a world for people to escape for a little while, using nothing but words, either transmitted electronically or on a printed page. To know that once the work is published, that world will continue to exist, outside of me, is both thrilling and humbling, as it encourages me to create as vivid and tangible a reality as I can, to invite visitors to enjoy and linger a while.
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