Interview with G. Andy Mather

So what’s the book about?
In a word, passion. Not just romantic love, but the hard kind of love, like where you have to sacrifice something you hold dear - even your ideals - for the benefit of others. To truly love someone with your whole heart is the greatest risk you can take in life. It leaves you totally vulnerable to every powerful emotion from utter joy to bitter betrayal to ruthless grief. And the deeper the love, the greater the price can be.
The book shows the love between a man and wife, and a parent and child, but the main focus is on the teens. Is that an important theme to you?
I've been very lucky in my life to be loved by my parents, my son, and my wonderful wife, Caylynn. Teen love, though... that's a very special thing. It’s different from adult romance, but in no way inferior. That’s why I hate the term “puppy love” – it’s so condescending. I’m not young anymore, but I have vivid and powerful memories of being in love for the first time, and I know how that joy and agony changed my life for the better.
Why a brother and sister?
It’s star-crossed lovers on steroids. It’s Greek tragedy, and Cory has been cursed by the gods. He has the bad luck to have a romantic and physical attraction to his adopted sister. He can't control how he feels, just what he chooses to say and do about it. That thin line between thoughts and deeds will define who he is and determine his fate.
Is that what inspired you to write the story?
Incestuous attraction is almost exclusively treated in a pornographic way, and I wanted to step outside of that. I tried to imagine what being in that situation would be like in real life. How would it make you feel about yourself? What would you do to cope with it, how would you hide it? How would it influence other parts of your life? I found the answers compelling, and knew it was something I wanted to explore.
Why on earth would you want to write a YA book about incest?
First, it's not written just for young adults, though I would've found the book really interesting as a teen. Second, incest is a really important topic, one that's rarely dealt with in young adult fiction, even though teens are most often the victims. It's a horrific thing that happens every day, so I think it's worth discussing. That said, this isn't a novel about enduring rape by a family member. "House on Fire" is more about how we each need to sacrifice for - and sometimes fight for - the people we love.
Are you worried about young readers and all the sex in the book?
I encourage parents to read what their kids are reading and to talk about it. I suspect that any kid too young to handle what's in the book probably won’t be interested in the story. Just like young teens in real life, the characters think and talk a lot about sex, but there’s not much action. Where it exists, it’s presented honestly but not graphically, and in the context of its emotional, legal, and physical consequences. In general, I tried to "keep it real", but if someone’s looking for erotica they’ll be disappointed.
I love the scene where Cory and Dad have “the talk”. Was it like that for you?
No, it wasn’t my dad’s style at all, and I’m not sure I did much better. I believe that all children, and teenage boys especially, are sexual beings. There’s a natural curiosity that only becomes more intense if sex isn’t openly talked about. When adults are nervous discussing it, that sends the message that sex is something to be nervous about. My hope is that it’s entertaining, but also that someone reads it and it helps them talk to their kids, or maybe helps a younger reader understand some of the aspects I think are most important, like giving and getting consent, and how to act responsibly even when your body is flooded with hormones and adrenalin.
What parts of Cory are closest to yourself?
Cory’s an introvert. He's modest and kind. Most of all he's very passionate. What he wants more than anything is to do what’s right, no matter the consequences. That can be hard to do and pretty painful, so he and I sometimes only act on it as a last resort.
What are your hopes for this novel?
Of course I hope a lot of people will enjoy the book. It's a great story and I think it will be fun to read, but also that it could start some conversations. I'm not expecting to get rich or famous off of it; I hope more than anything that it touches or helps someone. That would please me immensely.
What are you working on now?
I'm new to on-line publishing, so I'm still working out some kinks. I've just released a new edition which includes some additional narrative and dialogue, and corrects a few errors. If you see any typos, please drop me a note at corymlaine@comcast.net. You can also write with comments and questions, or suggestions for the sequel, which is in the works. I am so fond of the characters, I'm hesitant to let them go. Hopefully the writing will go much faster the second time around!
Published 2016-05-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

House on Fire
Price: Free! Words: 120,270. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Drama
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Cory and Jessie were only twelve, but it was love at first sight. They vowed to marry when they grew up. It was a perfect plan, except his parents adopted her! Now 15, Cory clings to that dream, but his passion for her is dangerous. Incest in another family has the town on edge, and a friend has guessed Cory's secret. If it gets out it could destroy the family. But Dad has a few secrets, too.