Writerly Wednesday Welcomes David Andrews
Ancient Mariner – Teller of Tall Tales
David Andrews in the author of Coasting and The Sapphire Sea.
“Coasting” is a finalist in the 2014 EPIC contest.”
- What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?
In late 2013 I was contacted by an old friend, the Federal Secretary of the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers. He’d read “Coasting” and wanted me to write a letter to the editor of their monthly journal, “On Watch” showing that there was more to life than just engineering. The result was gratifying. My telephone starting ringing with a succession of old friends and even sometimes enemies wanting to praise the book for it accuracy. Knowing all of them as I do, I doubt that everyone had bought the book, but they’d all read it and I didn’t begrudge one of them their economy. There was no malice in it, just a way of life. They’re all Internet savyand technology adept.
- What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?
Editors who stand to gain by making my book better.
When I retired in 1997 with a desire to write stories based on my experiences as a seaman, I understood that I would have to learn the writer’s craft first. Three short courses and a professional manuscript assessment provided a reality check that the only way to learn how to write publishable fiction was to become published. Published authors get the services of editors for free, everyone else has to pay for them. With twenty six published stories, I’ve now had the services of thirteen editors and have learned something from each one.
My road to publication was simple. I researched the industry and how it worked, then began entering competitions, particularly romance ones, for feedback. Winning two national ones was good for my self esteem and a third one gave me a contract for five category romances, to be written at thirteen week intervals.
The discipline of my working career came into its own then and I completed the five books to publishable standards on schedule and then another project suggested by my publisher in the same time frame. It was a great learning curve with a publisher/editor who knew exactly what she wanted.
One of her demands was for a female pseudonym. Her research showed that women were more comfortable reading romances written by women than by men—the theory being that men understood too little of romance to be able to write it. I complied of course, choosing my wife’s middle name and her maiden surname, becoming Amy Gallow. Amy penned twenty-one published stories before I decided that I’d learned enough to write under my own name.
My systematic approached worked because my 2012 novel, “Coasting”, is a finalist in the 2014 EPIC competition.
- What do you have under your bed?
The last fifteen years of my sea-going career were in the offshore oil industry and I’d climbed far enough up the ladder to be under constant pressure. One offshore oil facility earned over a million dollars a day profit and I was the one they turned to if it didn’t. The crew worked twelve hour days in a hostile environment, handling high pressure flammable liquids and gases. The demands of upper management and the safety of the men and women who were my responsibility were often in conflict.
To maintain my sanity, I put aside an hour a day when I wrote fiction and everyone learned that disturbing me without good reason during that hour was not welcomed.
A significant body of writing grew out of the practice and I am still plundering it.
- Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?
“Timor Phoenix”, now contracted to Eternal Press, was planned minutely using Microsoft Project.
I used the software extensively communicating with upper management, first to explain what I planned to do and then with a cost benefit analysis for the head office “bean counters”(the only language they understood). Later it was used to control progress and adapt to hiccups along the way.
“Timor Phoenix” began life as a MS Project file, complete with critical paths, manning lists, etc. My familiarity with the program allowed me to make extensive notes, analysing probable reactions and event sequences. When I came to write the story the first time, I had everything printed out on a table beside me and referred to it constantly.
“The Sapphire Sea”, on the other hand grew from a series of notes I made while serving as Chief Engineer on one of the supply boats mentioned in the story. They were more technical details, personalities, and possibilities than story. When I started the story, I read through the notes and began typing.
- Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?
In the beginning, I tried writing buddies, critique groups and the rest, but soon found they simply wasted time. Now I usually write two to three drafts, then let my wife read it, listen carefully to her comments, make any adjustments that make sense and then submit it.
- When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?
At seventy-six I have a lifetime of memories to sift through.
One story grew from an incident not long after I went to sea. I was at a dance some distance from the seaport where my ship was berthed and becoming quite friendly with the young woman sharing the a bracket of numbers. Another crew member was there and as we passed each other on the dance floor, he asked what time the sailing board was set. The atmosphere turned icy and the young woman stepped backwards out of my arms and walked away, leaving me standing alone in the middle of the dance floor. Seamen were not her favorite people it seemed.
This incident was the trigger for “A Soldier’s Woman”; a Coffee Time Romance Reviewer’s Award.
Every idea goes through a sifting process that fits the parts together into some form of storyline that I can put into a computer file. The next step is the research to gather the factual skeleton I can clothe with the flesh of my idea.
Then I start writing.
- What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?
I began with Word Perfect more years ago than is comfortable to recall, but circumstances and the demands of publishers switched me to MS Word. I need no other tools than this and my computer.
Email David firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1997 I retired from the maritime industry after forty-five years on ships ranging from paddle steamers to the most technologically advanced offshore oil rigs. I wanted to write sea stories but realized I would have to learn my craft first so I began writing romance as Amy Gallow. First published in 1999, she penned twenty-one published stories before I felt competent to turn to my preferred genre under my own name. My 2012 novel “Coasting” is a finalist in the 2014 EPIC contest.”
The Sapphire Sea
She was old, bordering on obsolescence, under-powered and small. Her crew were the last scrapings of the barrel, a mixture of drunks, old hands and new chums, yet the Sapphire Sea carried as many hopes and dreams on her last voyage in the Timor Sea as the most modern of her cousins.
Join her in Singapore as she sets sail on her final charter. The crew won’t mind and you’ll glimpse a way of life experienced only by those who had the good fortune to live it.
Buy Link for The Sapphire Sea
The Sapphire Sea.
The Sapphire Sea slid sternwards beneath the surface, snuffing out the flames. The darkness grew thick and velvety and the water colder. He could feel it leaching the heat from his body.
The effect of shock?
His mind took the escape route of examining the question rather than the broader implications of his situation. It was much easier to deal with the possibility of an unrecognized physical injury. His boots were gone and his body was battered but still whole. He ran his hands over his arms and legs, but could find no injuries.
The sudden appearance of a cluster of small yellow lights fifty metres away brought his mind to heel. Perhaps the others on deck had survived the explosion, shielded like him from the direct effect of the blast. He swam towards them.
The life jackets were empty, probably from the ready use locker on the bridge deck. The wooden lid had floated off and released them as theSapphire Sea sank. He tied them together and started towing them away from the oil he could smell breaking the surface, using the stars to swim northward across the tidal flow. He was at home in the water but they might come in useful later and their lights would guide any other survivors towards him. When he judged himself clear of the leaking oil, he found one of the whistles attached to the life jackets and blew several piercing blasts. There was no response.
He was alone.
The sea was calm, but the underlying swell of the distant storm lifted him regularly so he could scan the area for the flashing light of the EPIRB. It should have floated clear like the life jackets. Retrieving it would increase his chances of being found.
A small spark of light appeared intermittently to the south. It could be another life jacket released by the sinking, but he hesitated to swim back into the oil slick, especially when repeated blasts of the whistle drew no response.
He looked up at the stars, identifying “The Pointers”, Beta and Alpha Centauri, and used them to find the Southern Cross. It had just turned from its left side, making it after midnight. They’d missed their midnightreport to the rig and it was another six hours until daylight. It would be better then.
Buy Link for The Sapphire Sea
Email David email@example.com
Thank you David for letting me do this for you!