An Interview with: Andria M. Redlin, author of

                                                      For Her Courage

For Her Courage  , which is the first in the Holly Hollow Tales series, available in paperback or e-format on, and elsewhere.
Ok Andria lets get to it Bookroomreviews
                            Twenty Questions…
1. Where or how did you come up with the idea for this book ?
  It was 2010, and I was in the middle of reading A Christmas Carol as I do every year around the holidays, when I got the idea to write a Christmas story of my own. Five years later, after way too much procrastination, I completed it.
2. When you sit down to write do you have an idea where you are going or does it just happen as you’re sitting there? Or is it actually the Characters writing the story?
  When I sit down to write, I usually do have some kind of game plan for where I want the story to go, but more often than not, the story goes where it wants to go, and I am powerless to stop it. Sometimes I feel like the stories write themselves, and I am just the person who writes them down. I also find myself having to let my characters have their way, because there are things I would like them to say or do that they would be very unlikely to accomplish. So I let them do what comes natural to them. To me, they are almost real, with diverse personalities that direct my writing to places I have never been.  
3. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
  My favorite chapter in For Her Courage was probably Chapter 4-The Attic of Memories. This is the chapter in which one of my main characters, for her courageCallidus O’Callahan, visits his attic to retrieve the famous angel that he made for his town’s Christmas tree. The attic is like a time capsule of his 60-year (or so) life, and his visit there brings back good memories of his youth when his family was young. Callidus is a master toy maker, and his attic is filled with his early attempts at the trade, as well as some of his wife’s old clothes that she wore when she still looked as young and beautiful as the angel he had designed to resemble her. 
4. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
 Everything in my book was completely imagined, but many of the talents that my female protagonist Samantha O’Callahan possesses come from my own skills. Like her, I have a knack for giving new life to things that are broken. Also, we’re both very stubborn people who refuse to give up on our goals and dreams.
5. What is your favorite quote from a book of fiction?
 “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”—-Albus Dumbledore, from the Harry Potter series.
6. On that vein who would be your favorite Author? What writers influenced you?
 Oh boy, that’s a tough one. I would have to say that my favorite author or team of authors are Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. They are the duo responsible for an amazing book series called The Edge Chronicles. This series never fails to thrill me with its twists and turns, as well as its wonderful way of weaving the story lines from all the books together, despite the fact that some of them take place more than five centuries apart. The world of The Edge is one place I wish I could actually visit, along with Narnia, Middle-Earth, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The creators of those places have influenced me, but I try to be as original as possible in my work. However, there is one author above all others who I credit with being the very first to inspire me to write:  Anne Frank. When I was assigned her diary to read in the 8th grade, her voice spoke to me and awakened a talent I never knew I had. That was when I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing books.
7 Do you have a favorite fictional character?
 One of my favorite fictional characters of all time is Sara Crewe from A Little Princess. I absolutely adore her for her bravery, her dedication to the betterment of her fellow man, and her refusal to give up when all hope is lost. She has the qualities that I value most in other people. Her unfailing optimism is contagious, and whenever I think I’m having a rotten day, I remember Sara. I remind myself that no matter what happens to me, I will always be able to find the strength to go on, to help others along the way, and to never falter in my determination.
8. What five words describe you?
  Introverted, loyal, ornery, traditional, and medieval.
9. What if any project are you working on now?(go ahead promote away!)
  Well, I have four books cooking away in the crock pot of my mind. Two are part of a YA fantasy series, one is a humor book for women, and the fourth is the next in the Holly Hollow Tales series. 
10. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I hate it when people tell me, “Oh, you’ll never break into print; it’s too difficult.” Do you think I should invite these people to my upcoming book signing in December?
11. What has been the best compliment?
The best compliment you can give a writer is to buy their book.
12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
I’d be lying if I said no to this question. Every writer is rejected at some point on their path to stardom. Only the most determined, persistent, and most experienced writers learn how to break through the gates. When they do, it’s a feeling beyond description.
13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
 When I hear from my readers, I usually get bombarded with questions. But I love to answer them, and enjoy helping new authors in their journey.
14. What do you think makes a good story?
 Originality, complex characters, unexpected plot twists, and no cliches. Yes, at this point in history, it is difficult to be original, but for the love of readers everywhere, please try your best. Characters that are too perfect, too beautiful, and too boring need to be deleted. Make them like real people, each one with quirks, strengths, weaknesses, and skills. When perfecting your plot, keep the conflict coming; unless you are at the end of the book, when things go well for your characters, your story dies like an ice cream cone on a hot sidewalk. Put your characters through hell, and the reader won’t be able to pry their hands from the book. Put yourself in the characters’ shoes (if they’re wearing any). How would YOU react to the tragedy that just happened to them? So many times, characters are like, “Well, my parents just died. Whatever.” BORING. Let your characters react appropriately to the situation. Get inside their heads. What are they thinking? Also, stay away from cliches. All new writers use them because we don’t know any better.   
15. I think I know your answer but , what’s more important to you Characters or plot?
Characters, of course. They are the ones who are your ears and eyes as you experience the story. A good character will take your story to levels you never knew you could reach. But keep in mind that they are like real people. Sometimes they don’t do what you want them to, and that’s okay. I know this sounds crazy, but listen to your characters. They sometimes know how to tell the story better than you do.
16. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
 I am into so many different (as well as unusual) hobbies, that my home is on the verge of tilting. Among them are:  spinning (as in making my own yarn from wool, cotton, silk, etc), weaving, knitting, crocheting, pattern designing (one of which was published in the October 2013 edition of Crochet World Magazine), paper-making, multi-media art, and various other crafts. I also adore reading, and I have so many books that my bookshelves are holding up little protest signs to stop me from cramming more books into them. If I’m not staying up all night reading, I can usually be found lost within the realms of a video game. My favorite game series are:  The Legend of Zelda, Fable, and Dark Cloud. I also really love ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, Journey, and I am really looking forward to The Last Guardian. 
17. How about a snippet from your book that will hook a prospective reader and make them want to read your book.
If I give away any more, it would create a spoiler, and I have no wish to do that. This is an excerpt describing what followed after the tragedy that befell the master toy maker. Unbenownst to him, hope is on the way, though I won’t spoil it for you.
Chapter 8-Dark Days
     When the first day of the New Year dawned, it became clear to the old toy maker’s family that he was a changed man, and not for the better. Without warning, he closed his toy store, locked up his workshop, and he stopped making toys completely. He did not sell the property, but he might just as well have, for it could no longer bring in money while it was closed. His astonished sons did not know what to do; the store was their livelihood. When it became clear that their father was not going to re-open any time soon, they were both forced to find new forms of employment in order to support their families. Callidus, it appeared, had now finally retired.
     A few months later, the arrival of spring finally melted the last traces of snow from Holly Hollow, causing the nearby river to swell and roar as it thundered past the houses where people were busy with spring-cleaning. Rugs were shaken out; windows were thrown open to invite the warmer breezes inside. Outside, gardens were planted, and the thought of waiting a few months for the fresh produce they would bring was quite a torture to a people who had lived on last year’s preserves stored in jars.  Children put away their sleds for the year, polished their bicycles that had just come out of storage sheds, and were now busy planning picnics and other outings to the surrounding woods and hills. Everyone was busy. Everyone was excited about the coming of spring and the going of winter. Everyone, that is, except Callidus.
18. What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
 For the answer to the first question, see my answer to Question 14. As far as tools go, however, I cannot stress how important it is to have the following: 
 –A good support system. Writers need to support one another, whether it is in person, through social networking, or by passing on helpful information to other writers. You will also need the support of your family, friends, church, and community. Create and maintain strong, healthy relationships with others. 
 –The Internet. We now live in an age in which information is immediately accessible. Use that information. Use your search engines every day. You may be surprised at what you’ll learn.
 –Your local library. Get involved in library events such as meet-the-author days. You should never pass up the chance to chat with another author at a book signing. Learn from them. Be polite, be brief, and thank them. They were once in your situation.
 –Social Media.  Get on as many social media networks as possible and create detailed profiles for yourself and what you write. But please leave out any personal information. Start a Youtube channel to win followers. You want to market yourself, NOT your work. If people like you, they will certainly check out your books. They might even buy them. 
19. How did you get into writing? Is this what you always wanted to do?
I got into writing when I was given a diary for Christmas or my 13th birthday (can’t remember which,since my birthday is four days after Christmas!), and about five months later I just picked it up when I was having a rotten day and began to write. I continued to journal until I was about 18, writing the occasional short story during those years, but began writing books at 19. I haven’t stopped since. My desire to write was inspired by Anne Frank. Because my 13-year-old self related to her and wanted to be like her, I threw myself into writing and recording my daily life. To date, I have twenty filled journals, which will be helpful one day when I write my autobiography.
20. Any last thoughts for our readers?
If you’re a reader, never lose your love of books. Some stories can save your sanity. If you’re a writer, write something every single day in your current project. Even if it’s just a few sentences, it can add up a lot faster than you think. Other than that, I just want to give my thanks for the opportunity to answer these questions, and I hope you will check out my work. Thanks for listening!
   Andria M. Redlin, author of For Her Courage
andria Redlin  Has been an avid writer for the last twenty years, and is currently working on a young adult fantasy series that is being edited by her friend and fellow author Deborah Glaefke Gilbert, a former professional editor and Cleveland State English professor. The two of them are also writing a humor book together. In addition, she is nearly finished with the next Holly Hollow Tales book, which should be finished before the end of this year. Her favorite genre to read and write is YA Fantasy, but she also reads true crime, history, biography/autobiography, and how-to books.
 Visit her on Twitter and Facebook

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