We interviewed Andrew Nance all about his jorney of being an author. In this interview you will learn more about what inspired his work, Odd Occurrences, advice, and much more.
ABOUT ANDREW NANCE
I am a man with three passions. The first is storytelling, something I’ve done my entire life. However, writing fiction professionally is my second career. I spent over twenty years working in the radio industry up and down the east coast, from Maine to Florida. I still enjoy broadcasting, but now as a volunteer at WFCF, a radio station at Flagler College. As a professional broadcaster I worked in rock and country formats. Now that I volunteer, I play the music I love, Jazz. Tune me in Mondays from 5-7 est via iHeartRadio. My show is New Jazz Mondays, and that’s just what I feature.
I am also an amateur historian, specializing in the oldest European continuously occupied settlement in the United States, St. Augustine, FL. It was founded by the Spanish 42 years before the English settled Jamestown.
Another passion is acting. I prefer working on the stage and have worked throughout the southeast region of the United States and often have the honor to work with theater majors at Flagler College, as well as students from other colleges and universities around the country. I thought it would be fun to include some photos below of my favorite roles.
1. What inspired you to start writing?
Reading inspired me to write. When a book really moved me, I’d think, I want to do that. I think it really clicked into place in the fifth or sixth grade. Once a week the teacher would have a student bring a story for her to read at the end of the day. I brought in an Alfred Hitchcock story collection. She read a chapter from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine about a serial killer who follows a woman home at night from a movie theater. At the end of the last sentence, the classroom erupted in screams which really inspired me.
2. Tell us about Odd Occurrences, Chilling Stories of Horror.
I think of it as a novel with several imbedded stories in it. A kid named Zeus starts a podcast called Odd Occurrences, a podcast run by kids, for kids, and featuring stories by kids who have experienced scary, supernatural, and odd occurrences. But the main reason Zeus started the podcast was because a year earlier, on Halloween night, Zeus and his best friend, Tobin, went to a creepy carnival and went into a not so fun funhouse, where Tobin vanished. The next morning, the carnival was gone. Zeus includes a hotline number with his podcasts for kids to call if the carnival is in their town. He hopes to find it and find Tobin. What makes the search particularly difficult is that except for Zeus, everyone has forgotten that Tobin even existed.
3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do?
Write everyday. Figure out when you’re most creative, morning, afternoon, or night and spend as little as ten minutes writing everyday at that time. Also, don’t be discouraged. You’d be surprised at how many good writers don’t care for their first drafts, me included. But once you get it onto paper (or computer), then you start the rewrites, and that’s when the story starts to shine.
4. What are some of your goals when you write Middle-Grade novels?
I want to connect with my readers. I have a great benefit in that my wife is head of the theater department at our county’s center for the arts middle school. I spend a lot of time with her young actors building sets, chaperoning their trips to Broadway in New York, and occasionally acting in their shows when they need an old guy. We’re always talking books. Two years ago when I started this project, I talked with the cast of Oliver (I played Fagin), about what kind of scary stories they like, and what kinds of creepy things kids today find scary. I got some interesting insights that led to a story about an escape room that goes wrong, another about a group of kids who learn that their reality is really a glitchy computer program, and one of the overall themes which is a fear of losing your identity, to the point of being forgotten.
I’m a voracious reader, and I hope I can help instill that same love of reading to young people.
5. What is your biggest achievement so far?
With writing, it’s getting published. My first two kids books were Daemon Hall, and Return to Daemon Hall: Evil Roots. I also write murder mysteries for adult readers that are put out by a wonderful small publisher, Red Adept Publishing. Putting out Odd Occurrences with a publisher like Little, Brown, and Company Books for Young Readers is truly exciting. I was in the radio industry for over 20 years and had some great successes there, and I’ve had some pretty wonderful experiences as an actor.
6. Goals for this year?
Goals this year are pretty much writing oriented, maybe even start a sequel to Odd Occurrences.
7. Where can people support your work?
Odd Occurrences will be available at bookstores and can also be ordered at most online outlets as well. I hope that kids who are like me and enjoy a good scare between the pages will read it.