Interview with Andrew Szymanski

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first ever short story I wrote was about a fish and chip shop in Hong Kong. The assignment was set by my English teacher in secondary school and she asked the class to use our imagination. So I did. It was a work of pure fiction and fantasy as a) I've never been to Hong Kong 2) I knew nothing about fish and chip shops and d) I wanted it to be different.
What is your writing process?
I am a deep thinker and like to ponder over things I have read, seen, or experienced and my writing comes from what makes me laugh, cry, whoop for joy, or just think.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was growing up I never had many friends so I escaped into books and their stories. I became the adventurer, the pirate, the wizard all from loosing myself deep within the covers of the book. I remember reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and for weeks afterwards I kept opening up my parents wardrobes hoping that at the back of the coats hanging there, there would be a snowy path to Narnia.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have read many books and I average about 4 to 5 per week but I do have books that I will re-read over and over.

1. Magician by Raymond E. Feist - If you ask anyone that truly knows me they will tell you that all my paper books are in pristine condition. I don't bend back the covers, I don't scribble on them, and I never bend corners. Magician, I have re-read hundreds of times. The spine is wrinkled, the pages are loose, there is a slight yellowing on the page edges where I have used my thumb to hold it, and it still smells the same as when I first bought it in Devon back in the 1980's. And I love and treasure it. The story of Pug, who over time becomes Milamber, the most powerful sorcerer in Midkemia (well almost as powerful as Macros), unfolds from humble beginnings to a powerful tale of adventure, new lands, races, empires, and invasion. I've lost many hours standing on the battlements of the Crydee looking out over the forests.
2. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett - Of all the tales of Discworld, the 8th book in the series, makes me cry with laughter. Many a times I have been given odd stares by fellow commuters as I launch into a mighty laughing fit. Captain Samuel Vines of the Watch is a very down-to-earth (or should I say Discworld) bloke who has a very flat sense of humour. And as for Corporal Carrot, well you can't just help wanting to be a fly on the wall everywhere he visits. I also have this as an audio book too. Pure genius.
3. Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding - I fell in love with this not long ago and have already read it 7 times! The exploits of Cap'n Frey, Silo, Jez, Pinn, Harkin, Malvery, Crake, and not forgetting Bess onboard the Ketty Jay is a real adventure in would-be piracy and how not to do it. The sequels are brilliant too.
4. Ratcatcher by James McGee - This book and its sequels has captured me, literally by the throat! An early London when the police had just formed brings adventure, mystery and murder to the shores of England and beyond.
5. Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel by Pip Ballentine & Tee Morris - If you want an introduction into the fantastic world of Steampunk then you could do no better than reading this book and its sequel. Steam-powered madness filled with guns, explosions, macabre murders, automatons, and secret societies abound, and a Queen Victoria unlike the one we have come to know through our history books. Pure unadulterated bliss.
What do you read for pleasure?
When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I was introduced to the fantastic world of Asterix the Gaul and since then I have been a loyal follower. I have all the books which I have re-read countless times. I learnt a lot of history through them and loved all the adventures and characters especially Asterix, Obelix, and Dogmatix.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Sony e-reader PRS-350 which I bought a couple of years ago. Not only can it read a multitude of different formats but it also has a notepad too (which I constantly use). And because it reads a multitude of formats, I am not tied to or committed to only one e-book supplier and can pick and choose and also find the best price.

I also have a Kobo Mini which I recently bought for my daughter. It also reads multi-formats, has WiFi (disabled), and not tied into only one e-book supplier.
Describe your desk
Organised but in a cluttered way.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have so many thoughts rattling around my head that if I don't write them down I will burst, or worse still, loose them. Writing gives me the pleasure to put words to my thoughts. A written voice as sometimes a verbal voice just says it wrong.
What are you working on next?
I have a couple of things in my head that have been up there for ages while I have been working out plots, characters, and cool stuff to write about them. It's that opening line that's always the hardest.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Apart from writing, my world revolves around my daughter and ferrying her to her various activities or helping with homework. I work 5 days a week so that also keeps me busy. Hobbies are when I get a moment but like any working dad, there are so many other priorities that have to take precedent.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I love bookshops because I can browse and see books on other shelves that you would never even notice or consider if you were shopping online. Then, having done my research, I will then search online. Don't get me wrong, I buy both paper and electronic but not the same book. That would be madness - or would it?
Published 2013-09-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Am I Me?
Price: $2.98 USD. Words: 4,490. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » U.K. Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
An eclectic collection of poetry, words, thoughts and feelings about life, food, creatures, and family.