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GRNW Author Interviews > GRNW Interview - Andrea Speed

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message 1: by ttg (last edited Jun 18, 2013 10:32AM) (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
Welcome to the GRNW Authors Interviews! We’ll be interviewing GRNW Attending Authors all summer as we prepare for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up on September 14 in Seattle.

Please feel free to join in and ask your own questions for the authors!

GRNW interviews Andrea Speed!

Our first interview is with Andrea Speed, author of the Infected series, Josh of the Damned, and other works.

GRNW: Congratulations on the publications of Infected #7, Undertow! I know this series has grown to be very popular (and well loved.) Can you tell us how you started with the Infected world?

Andrea: Well, it’s such a boring and yet weird an answer. I read an article in the Science News about the use of dead viruses in gene therapy, and made me wonder what someone who was really up to know good and smart enough might do to screw this up. I always wanted to write some kind of werewolf story, and to me, making it a virus seemed natural. But as I thought about it, I thought werewolves had been done to death, and switched to werecats. There was a first draft of this novel that I wrote and set aside for a while, because while I liked the idea, the finished story didn’t work for me. When I finally came back to it, I realized I had the wrong lead character. When I rewrote it, Roan just showed up, and I realized I had it. He was the key to the story.

It’s super cool that you’ve kept to the “roots” of Infected and publish the new chapters for free online at your blog. I know many authors decide to not keep publishing their work for free after they make the jump to selling their books. Could you tell us more about why you decided to keep the new chapters free?

I probably shouldn’t, since I know a couple of authors have had their works openly plagiarized, downloaded and sold as someone else’s work, but I feel I’m not popular enough to worry about that. Many of my readers followed me from blog to published product, and a fan is the reason I’m published in the first place. I owe much of my success to them. I am continually amazed anyone wants to spend money on my stuff.

You’re now at book 7 of Infected (published through Dreamspinner), and chapters in Book 8 are online. When you started the series back at the first story, did you ever think that it would grow this big? How do you feel about how the story has developed?

No, I had no idea where the story was really going to go. I had some vague idea, but when characters take over they can spin you off in different directions. I knew the virus and Roan’s relationship to it was different than others. What I didn’t know was how much it was going to bleed into him and vice versa. It’s having impacts beyond the physical, although those are bad enough.

I think the story has become my stealth superhero saga. Of course, he’s the superhero no one wants, and it costs him more and more dearly to use his abilities. That should stop him, but of course it’s more complicated than that. Isn’t it always?

(I’m going to try to ask this question without including spoilers for new readers.) Roan and the Infected characters have lived through a lot over the series, and readers know that there are a few “milestones” in Roan’s life that were incredibly sad for him. I’m sure you’ve probably heard from fans about these events. What was their response like for you? As a writer, is it difficult when you meet or talk to fans that were very affected by your story?

I know you probably think I’m joking when I say I should simply wear a nametag saying “I’m Sorry”, but I am not joking. I am really sorry, as writing that passage got to me too. It was awful. But I also knew it was a vital part of the story, and I thought I dropped in enough hints that it wouldn’t take readers completely by surprise, but in retrospect perhaps not enough. So just know I’m really sorry.

Can you give us any tidbits about what you see next for Roan and the series? And do you know how long you want the series to be?

Well, in theory, Infected: Undertow is, I believe, the penultimate book in the series. Inevitably, it will be a choice that Roan has to make, and it won’t be as simple as it should be. That’s probably all I can say without spoiling anything. But I’m not sure this is the end of the Infected universe. I am working on a Paris prequel, and I really want to write a Holden solo story.

You also have the Josh of the Damned series (published through Riptide). Are there more stories coming out for Josh? And are there other writing projects on the horizon that you can talk about?

Whether there’s more stories in the Josh of the Damned totally depends on the readers. I’d happily write another Josh story tonight. But you need to tell the publisher – by buying the books, and emailing them “Where’s Josh, damn it” – to convince them it’s worth their time. Please note that I’m not painting Riptide as a bad guy. They totally are not! I can’t imagine anyone else would publish such a weird, weird series. There’s a good reason there isn’t a lot of m/m horror-comedy series.

Speaking of Riptide and them indulging me in my weirder impulses, this September/October they should be publishing a fantasy novel called Strange Angels. It’s all about a guy who finds out his deadbeat father was a death god in the worst way possible, and how most gods are pretty much insane, overpowered children. It might offend some people, or just make them wonder what the hell I was on while writing it, but I’d like it to be known, I’ve never done hallucinogens in my life. I just seem like I’m chronically addicted to them.

I know you’re a big cult movie fan. What are some of your fave flicks?

Hmm. I think I’m very conventional in most of my favorite movie tastes (you know, Aliens, Dog Day Afternoon, The Road Warrior, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, etc), but there are some weird outliers. Like, if you’ve never seen John Woo’s The Killer, I strongly urge you to do so. Not only is there a really good unexpected moment of comedy (the tea scene), but the ending church shootout is one of the most awesome/ridiculous things ever committed to screen.

And as a huge Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, I have seen more than my share of really bad movies. I have a weakness for old Godzilla/Mothra films, as they’re just ridiculous in the best way possible, and I will happily watch a cheesy ‘80’s action film, if they’re incredibly ‘80’s and bad. I don’t mean big budget ones starring Stallone or something, because those are just cynical cash cows. I’m talking something like The Stabilizer, which I encourage all cheesy movie fans to Google. It’s terrible, and kind of offensive on a couple different levels, and yet, it’s so utterly ridiculous, and clearly made by people who wanted to make an American action film and yet didn’t really know how to do it, that it’s strangely kind of marvelous in its horribleness. Although my favorite part might be the photo of the hero with his awful hair, posing in a see through mesh shirt and holding a big, phallic gun. This is a photo that appears in the background of a couple of different scenes for no reason. It makes me laugh every time I see it.

(We found the photo!)

The Stabilizer

You mentioned that in the past you’ve interviewed people at comic conventions (and asked some crazy questions.) What kinds of questions did you ask? (And how would YOU answer them now?) :D

Let’s see. I’d go up and ask them if they wanted fries with that? (Yes.) In a fight between a dog with Hitler’s brain and a monkey with a jet pack, who would win? (The audience.) Do you have any fruit to declare? (If I told you, I’d have to kill you.) If you were a kitchen appliance, what kind of appliance would you be and why? (I am a talking toaster that will drive you insane with my constant badgering for better bread, and cryptic forecast of coming apocalyptic doom. If I could at all manage it, I would also leak red food coloring, and let out ungodly shrieks when you least expect it.) Who would play you in the movie of your life? (Eddie Izzard, in full drag.)

Last question (from me. GRNW followers can jump in after this.) We’ll have a lot of readers at the September GRNW Meet-Up in Seattle, and it’s always interesting to hear what authors like to read and would recommend. What gay romance titles are some of your favorites?

Hmm. I love Aleks Voinov, although I almost hesitate to say that because it sounds like I’m being a kiss ass (as he’s involved with Riptide Publishing). But believe me, if I was going to be a sycophant, I’d be much better at it. Everyone who hasn’t read his Incursion should run out and do so right now, as it won a Rainbow Award for a reason. I read Madison Parker’s Play Me, I'm Yours lately and really enjoyed it, as well as John Inman’s The Poodle Apocalypse, and L.A. Witt’s A Chip in His Shoulder. And I’m not sure they qualify as romance, but I’m a huge fan of Joseph Hansen’s David Brandstetter books.

It was wonderful talking with you, Andrea! Thank you for sitting down with us!

Thank you for the Interview!


message 2: by ttg (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
Special thanks again to Andrea Speed for talking with us! (And boy, I cannot stop laughing at that photo!)

If you have questions for Andrea, please feel free to ask here. This thread is open to questions. :D


message 3: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreaspeed) | 49 comments Yes, ask me anything ... if you dare! Bwahahaha! (That picture never stops being ridiculous.)


message 4: by Mickie (new)

Mickie | 1 comments Does Roan have any personality traits that really are You?


message 5: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreaspeed) | 49 comments Well ... I suppose we share the same bleak sense of humor. I actually do laugh when things start going horribly wrong. I know it annoys everyone around me, but I can't help it. All I can think is "We're so screwed", and it's either laugh or cry.


message 6: by Lou (new)

Lou Harper | 68 comments I like your taste in movies.

Apropos, weird medicine, you might like this: back in the days before antibiotics someone invented a cure for syphilis using malaria. They'd infect the patient with malaria, the high fever would kill the syphilis bacteria, and then they'd treat the malaria with quinine.


message 7: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreaspeed) | 49 comments Wow! I did not know that. That is weird. (Medicine sure can be funky sometimes ...)


message 8: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments I love your take on the horror and humor mix!
Can't wait to all meet up!


message 9: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreaspeed) | 49 comments Thank you! If you ever get a chance, ask my editors at Riptide how I often tiptoe over the line or horror and humor. Meaning, the yeti attack in Josh of the Damned: Peek-A-Boo? So much more gruesome in the original version than the final iteration. I went a bit too far. (It's a fine line, and sometimes I slide right across it.)


message 10: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Andrea wrote: "Meaning, the yeti attack in Josh of the Damned: Peek-A-Boo? So much more gruesome in the original version than the final iteration. I went a bit too far. (It's a fine line, and sometimes I slide right across it.) "

I think that sometimes you have to cross a line to know exactly where it is and how close you can take readers without tossing them right off the edge.
(Thank goodness for editors and second drafts!)


message 11: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreaspeed) | 49 comments Yeah. Also, I started as a horror writer, and my impulse is just to go crazy. Which, in a horror-comedy, is only good if it's slapstick-y. (See: Evil Dead 2 or 3.) Otherwise, it just sets the wrong tone.


message 12: by Absynthe (new)

Absynthe | 2 comments Hi Andrea,

I just wanted to confirm; there is one more book planned for the Infected series and then the series is complete ( except for prequels and side stories )? I've read about half the series already and LOVED LOVED LOVED it!!! But when a new book comes out, I like to refresh my memory by rereading the earlier books.

Your books are so gloriously big that it would take quite a while to do that every time a new one comes out, so I've decided to wait till the last book is published and reread the entire series again.

Thank you!!


message 13: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreaspeed) | 49 comments Hello! Yes, as it stands, t he next book would be the last in the Infected series. (Tentatively titled Infected: Epitaph.) Of course, I have to finish it first, and even though I know exactly how it all goes, I find myself delaying. Sometimes you just hate to say goodbye to something, you know? Even though it will be a temporary goodbye at best. (Side stories and all...)


message 14: by Absynthe (new)

Absynthe | 2 comments Andrea wrote: "Hello! Yes, as it stands, t he next book would be the last in the Infected series. (Tentatively titled Infected: Epitaph.) Of course, I have to finish it first, and even though I know exactly how i..."

Thank you! Awesome! When the last book comes out, I'll reserve a few weeks and reread all of them.


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