Interviewing Andrea Stanet

2017-03-13 to 17_Umbra's ShadowAndrea has released her romance novel,
Umbra’s Shadow, this week.

 

Andrea Stanet

 

 

 

 

I interviewed Andrea about her writing process, and themes within the novel.

As you were writing this work, did you have a planned outline of the plot? Or did you write “free-flow”?

How Umbra’s Shadow came together is a very different way than I normally work. Originally, it was a 20,000-word novella, and when I wrote that core of the story, it mainly flowed very easily. I had submitted it to one publisher who accepted shorter works, and they requested more, as in extend and resubmit.

The planning part came in once I had to figure out what else was going on in this world and how Merc fit into it. I’m not typically a fan of elaborate plans because by the time I finish outlining, I’ve spent most of my writing energy. I get bored. Plus, I hate being boxed into a specific path, and prefer having the flexibility to let the story go where it wants to (within reason). The stories I have tried to plan either never get completed or the first draft gets shelved.

There’s always some level of planning, and I do have a rough idea of the major events that need to happen in this trilogy. But I won’t work out the specifics until I sit down to develop each segment.

What parts of your hometown of New York can readers recognize in Umbra’s Shadow?

The two settings in the story most influenced by my “hometown” knowledge are Poughkeepsie and Manhattan. I spent most of my life in NYC, so the story version of New York is a composite of different parts of the city rolled into one area.

For the past 10 years, I’ve lived in the Hudson Valley, a bit outside of Poughkeepsie. Again, I wanted to give a feel for the place, but it’s not a direct sketch of the city by any means.
At times, the two—NYC and Poughkeepsie—merge slightly in the story in order to give Poughkeepsie a rougher edge.

You’re planning two more books to follow Umbra’s Shadow as a trilogy…any hints of what is to come?

That’s tough without giving anything away from this book, but a couple of major questions have much deeper answers than anything revealed at this point. First, who is Merc and where is she from? More of her origin will come to light in the next instalment.

Also, the Courts have a pretty nasty enemy, and that will be revealed in the next book. Characters I think will return (it’s only in a very raw draft form now) include Paris, the Winter Queen, and possibly Dúl’s mother.

What is your favourite place to write? Please describe it for us.

I usually camp out on my couch, especially in the winter. It’s right next to our pellet stove, which is similar to a wood-burning stove except that it uses a fan to blow hot air into the room. During the winter, I always want to be as close to the fire as I can get without melting my laptop. I’ve set up one of our gaming tables as a long, makeshift ‘desk.’

Even in the summer, when there’s no fire going, I just like the sofa because it’s super squashy and comfortable (it’s also where I nap before bed). Once in a while, I’ll forego the laptop and write by hand. I’m more likely to do that during the warm-weather months. Then I might take one of my five-million notebooks and do some writing down by the lake near our development, out in the blazing sun.

There seems to be a theme developing here…

What authors you have read who have defined your own style?

Kelly Armstrong has had a big impact on me because I love her characters. She writes very strong female protagonists who feel like fully realized human beings and not perfect at everything. She also has great pacing and plotting. Armstrong is one of the few authors whose work I can read repeatedly.

Tamora Pierce is another fantasy author whose female characters always stick with me.
I love Stephen King for his intricate plots, and of course, the creepiness of his work, so when I’m trying to set a dark and frightening atmosphere, I think of his work.

There’s an African author by the name of Lesley Nneka Arimah, and I love the subtle way she reveals back-story. I’ll definitely keep her techniques in mind when I start on the sequel to Umbra’s Shadow.


{That sequel… I’m looking forward to it!}

Andrea Stanet is featured at her publisher
Roane Black on White

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