Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome Andrew Lennon whose novel, A Life To Waste, follows the life of a middle-aged man named Dave. A tragic accident when he was younger caused him to give up on life. Now he spends his days drinking and mooching off his mother. One night his world is turned upside down when his mother is taken away. Dave tried to track down this “thing” and embarks on a horrifying and gruesome adventure.
Andrew, I’m so glad you could visit my blog today. Your novel sounds intriguing as well as frightening. I’m always interested in how authors find their voice. Do you remember when you discovered your voice as a writer?
I have always enjoyed writing stories, and I used to write a lot when I was younger. I stopped for a while when I reached my late teens. Not long ago I gave up drinking and found I had so much more free time on my hands. I began to read a lot more, and then thought I would start writing again. I was shocked at how easily the words spilled onto the pages. I didn’t have to stop to think about what I should write next because it all just seemed to come naturally. So now I try to do it as often as possible; it’s fun for me.
Congratulations on finding that voice again and on your new sobriety. Who has most influenced your writing and why?
My biggest influence has to be Stephen King. I think anyone who writes horror would probably agree that he is the best out there and any author should aspire to be that good. Another very big influence is Ryan C Thomas. It was while reading his book The Summer I Died that I decided to give it a go myself. I even sent him messages asking advice, and he was kind enough to respond which gave me a lot of motivation.
That’s wonderful that he replied to your inquiry. I’m sure that gave you a good amount of motivation to begin your book. Good for you and for Ryan C. Thomas. What’s going on in your writing life now?
I have a few things going on right now. I have written a few short stories which at some point I hope will go into anthologies. I also have another book which I’m a couple of chapters into.
Do you have a favorite character that you created?
My favorite character is probably Trevor in A Life To Waste. He only plays a small role, but he reminds me a lot of an old friend so I have a great feeling of nostalgia when reading about him.
What’s the best thing said about your writing by a reviewer?
One review said that I was “the Lowry of the written word.” I know that Lowry is made famous for making the simple, quite beautiful so I took this as a huge compliment!
That is a great compliment. Since another writer gave you the motivation to begin writing, what advice can you give to other writers about receiving a bad review?
The same advice I was given when I received mine. You can’t please everyone because people have different tastes, so it is impossible for everyone to enjoy your work. If you are fortunate enough that the reviewer has highlighted what it is they didn’t enjoy then take those points on board and try to improve on that in your next project.
That’s very good advice, and I agree. It’s important to learn from reviews if they’re constructive. One of the most difficult things for writers is crystallizing the topic of their book into one succinct sentence. What’s your one sentence pitch for A Life To Waste?
Dave has wasted his life away, now he has to fight an unknown horror to try and win it back.
How did you choose the title? Has it been the title from the very beginning?
No, the title was originally Out of Time but it got changed along the way. A Life To Waste seems more fitting for the main character.
Based on the short description of the book, A Life to Waste seems to be a better suited title. How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published product?
In total it was probably about four months. I tried to write for an hour each night without fail so it all came together quite quickly.
That is amazing. Is the book traditionally or self-published?
It’s self published. It is so quick and easy to get your work out to the world right now I don’t see why not.
What is the message conveyed in your book?
Appreciate what you have because one day it could all be taken away from you.
What is the best thing someone could say about this book?
That they couldn’t stop reading it and would recommend it to friends.
Explain how this book was conceived in your imagination.
I heard neighbours fighting one night. They are always fighting and screaming. I thought, one day they’ll be getting killed and everyone will ignore them.
Who is the antagonist in your book? Did you enjoy creating this character?
The antagonist is this book is a bit of a mystery character. You don’t learn an awful lot about him. Just that he is there and should be feared. I did quite enjoy creating him yes.
Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.
OK, read the book and you’ll understand, but when the ice cream van turns up. I can’t say more than that, sorry.
That’s a good teaser. What else do you want readers to know about your book?
It’s my first book so it is a relatively easy read. I think it’s a scary read and most people would enjoy it. It also sends quite a psychological message about how easy it is to waste your life away. This story goes a fair bit deeper than just horror.
If you could invite two other authors over to your house for dinner, who would you choose?
Stephen King and Ryan C Thomas, my two biggest influences. It would be awesome!
Is there one book or author with whom you identify or hold up as your standard-bearer?
Again, Stephen King. Probably The Shining being my favorite book of his.
Do you have any particular rituals or good luck charms in your writing process?
Does eating chocolate count? If it does then that is my writing ritual.
Chocolate always counts. If listen to music while you’re writing, what is it?
Usually quite heavy, I usually just put Kerrang on in the background.
Where do you write?
In bed mainly.
That’s where I like to write sometimes, too. How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?
They all are very supportive and enjoy my writing.
What do you do during your down time?
I read a lot and I spend a lot of time with my family.
What book are you reading right now?
Poe’s Children – A Horror Anthology put together by Peter Straub.
Do you set your books in the place you live?
No, I live in England. I usually imagine my writings in a suburban Amercian neighbourhood. I don’t know why, just seems to happen.
If a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?
Hmmm, I’d like to be hopeful and say someone like Brad Pitt, but I don’t know, maybe a not-so-funny Adam Sandler?
Andrew, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you today. I’m so glad you stopped by for a visit.
About Andrew Lennon: Andrew Lennon was born in Maghull, Merseyside, in 1984. He works for his father’s company based in Warrington. Having always enjoyed writing, Andrew is now trying to get his stories out to the public. With influences such as Ryan C Thomas, Stephen King, and Jack Ketchum. A Life To Waste is Andrew’s first novella. Andrew enjoys reading, camping, watching TV, and spending time with his wife Hazel and their children.
UK site for A Life to Waste
USA site for A Life to Waste