Andrea Baker has had ideas for stories and poems all of her life – as a child she would live inside stories that grew from her favourite novels, playing with these characters for hours, inventing “what happened next” scenarios. Her Mother had encouraged her love of stories, and she could read simple books before she started school, and this was further encouraged by one of her Primary School teachers, who, recognising her love of reading, challenged her to read all the “Famous Five” series in the second half of the school year. A challenge she happily accepted, and achieved. Her favourite childhood stories included “The Chronicles of Narnia” by CS Lewis, and as she grew older, she added the “Anne of the Island” series by Lucy Maude Montgomery, as well as the Bronte Sisters and Jane Austen. Each of these favourites was read several times, and she would regularly accompany her Father to the local library, as at one time she would bring home, and read, as many as fourteen books each week!
As she grew up, and left University, she convinced herself that these imaginary stories were something that she should have grown out of – that these daydreams belonged in the realms of childhood. For many years she fought against the ideas. Every time she read a different novel, the ideas would return – she couldn’t stop her mind creating these worlds and stories, but she refused to write them down.
Instead she focused on life, and developing a career for herself. As a result has worked across both the private and public sectors, and now runs her own interim management company offering support and consultancy to those same client groups.
Describing herself as “pretty normal really”, she met her husband just two months after leaving University. They now live with their young daughter in the beautiful county of Warwickshire, close to where Andrea grew up, and just a few short miles from the stunning locations of her books.
Becoming a mother seemed to fuel her imagination once more, and since the birth of their daughter the ideas returned and grew, refusing this time to be ignored. As a result, the Worlds Apart Series, an idea that has floated around her for many years now, has been created.
And now from the author herself:
Thank You Morgen, for inviting me to be part of your wonderful blog. 🙂 It was quite strange reading through that author biography, as it brought back so many memories of those early journeys into writing my own stories.
Now my daughter is of the age to read the Chronicles of Narnia, it is strange how I still get that same tingle when she reads the odd piece aloud to me, the excitement that I remember feeling as I read those books. I love the fact that she too seems as enthralled by them as I was all those years ago. Of course nowadays we’d call these stories “fan-fiction”, and there is a growing market for them, from readers desperate not to have to leave behind their favourite characters. Although my own stories are now unique, I know that every single book that I have ever read has influenced my work in one way or another. Whether helping me to understand a situation that I have never been in, but find my character drawn to, or allowing my mind to rest, in order to find the escape hatch once more, they are all influencers in their own right.
Looking back though I can’t believe how many books I used to read, and I honestly wonder where I found the time. Even at primary school I’d read seven or eight books a week while at the same time I was also attending ballet lessons twice a week, learning to play the Violin, and having swimming lessons! I remember that I never went anywhere without a book though, and would read on every car journey too. As I grew up, I recognised that ballet wasn’t for me, and switched from playing the Violin badly, to being not so bad on the Oboe, a legacy from another primary school teacher, and an instrument that gives me goose bumps even now when I hear it, although I can no longer play it myself. That was when my reading peaked, to fourteen books a week, at the age of 13/14. Many writers are creative in other areas – some of my author friends are fantastic artists in their own right too, but the only other area that I could be described as being creative in was music.
I think reading is an integral part of being a writer, don’t you? There are so many fabulous books out there, and I can still easily devour a good novel within a day, if time allows. I find now though that I actually have to plan my reading, and pace myself. Since the idea for Worlds Apart became a series, just hearing a snippet of a track off my writing playlist can trigger the flow of ideas, and my mind will drift off on a path of its own. That’s fine when I’m at home, but not so good when helping a client with their CRM Strategy, or major transformation programme and someone has forgotten to turn their mobile off!
The biggest challenge for me though has to be finding the time to write. I work full time, and when I’m not at work, my first priority is our daughter, so I rarely get time to stop, let alone think, before late in the evening. When the story is flowing, I can easily get several hundred words written in the space of a couple of hours, and in fact the bones of book one, over 30,000 words, were written over several evenings during a six-week period. That’s not so easy however when I’m struggling with where the story is going – and many times I’ve sat at our computer, or with a laptop on my lap, staring at a blank screen. I often find that happens when I’m trying to force the story to go in a certain direction, and the characters aren’t ready to do that. I don’t know about your own writing Morgen, but my characters have surprised me with some of the things that ended up on the page. The story still goes where I’m expecting it to, but there have certainly been a few significant events along the way that I wasn’t quite expecting!
I have to admit though that when I first starting writing Book One properly, and the realisation that this was a complete product, not just another idea, I found it a very isolating experience. I’m quite shy in many ways, and told less than a handful of people, including my husband and parents, that I’d started writing properly again. So knowing where to begin in terms of marketing and getting published was really difficult. By chance I came across the Authonomy website, and although I don’t use that site very much at all, I joined a group of writers called the Alliance of Worldbuilders, all of whom are fantasy authors of one genre or another. Book One would never have been published without their support and advice, and I know it is a much better book as a result of their comments. I’d highly recommend that anyone new to writing, who really wants to get support and advice, seeks out and joins a similar forum for the genre they write.
Thanks for having me Morgen. 🙂
You’re very welcome, Andrea. I’m delighted you could join me.
You can find more about Andrea and her writing via…
- Her website: www.AndreaBakerAuthor.com
- Alliance of Worldbuilders writers: http://theallianceofworldbuilders.weebly.com
- Facebook book page: https://www.facebook.com/WorldsApartLeah
- Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Andrea-Baker/e/B009P8T3S8
- Email address for all enquiries and correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: @RoseWall15
- Author FB Page: www.facebook.com/rose.wall.15
- Amazon.com book link: http://www.amazon.com/Worlds-Apart-Leah-Andrea-Baker/dp/1480083682
- Amazon.co.uk book link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Worlds-Apart-Leah-Andrea-Baker/dp/1480083682
If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/submission-information/opportunities-on-this-blog (the spotlights are option (a)) or email me for details.
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