Andy Southall

Andy grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, spent too many years in the fog of London, then followed the long white cloud – and his wife – to Wellington.  Always wanting to write, he completed an Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing (Novel) at Whitireia in 2015, followed by a Graduate Diploma in 2016.  He writes contemporary fiction, science-fiction and travel blogs.

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Charles Dickens, Italo Calvino, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Do you try more to be original, or to deliver to readers what they want?
Both, good readers appreciate innovation, a little bit like dining out at one of Heston Blumenthal’s restaurants and sampling egg and bacon flavoured porridge (not that I ever have).
How do you select the names of your characters?
A well chosen name can say so much about a character, before they do anything or even open their mouth. Would you trust James Blackthorn to give you a good redundancy settlement? Or Ted Seagull to look you squarely in the eye? And you have to feel sorry for the new Bond villain – I mean who wants to be called Ernst Shatterhand?
What was the first book that made you cry?
Hans Christian Andersen – Collected Stories
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Read more widely.
Have you Googled yourself? Did you find out anything interesting?
Yes, I am a factory-produced model-S – there are many others with my name.
Are there any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Can you tell us one? Or give us any hints?
There are lots of secrets – hell, I don’t even know most of them myself. What’s expressed in the writing, stays in the writing. Maybe Ted Seagull will overcome his love of discarded chips and become prime minister of a much diminished England? Or Teresa Seagull a new head of state? And the statue in the square in Meredith still has me puzzled – who was this guy really?
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Why?
Yes and no. Maybe I am already writing under a pseudonym? (See answer to question 6).
How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
Not sure it has – or I want it to. Writing has to be its own thing. If you imagine people reading what you’re currently writing, it’s like putting brakes on a bobsleigh.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Heaps. Enough to fill a mattress – and this is probably what keeps me awake at night.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
Having members of the opposite sex read what you’ve written.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Sometimes. But it’s best if you know the reviewer and where they are coming from.