Every now and then you meet someone you just know is gonna be a friend for life! The first time I met my NHRWA chaptermate and sistah Andi Ramos, I knew this was true. Andi’s debut novel GUMSHOE GIRL is out in the book reading world and Andi was gracious enough to sit down with me recently and be put through the grinder –er, I mean — the interview chair, for an up close and personal series of questions. Without further ado ( and don’t I just love being able to say ADO), here’s my girl, Andi.
ANDI: Thank you so much Peggy for having me on today! I am thrilled to get to know your audience and answer any questions, so please comment below!
Andi – the Writer:
- What drives you to write? As far back as I remember I would make up scenes with fictitious characters. Sometimes I would jot them down, but I never took them seriously, I would collect them, but they would always end up in the circular file- Gasp!. I never did anything with my writing until I started Gumshoe Girl, my debut novel that was just released May 30th. I had this involved story running through my brain. It didn’t stop at just a scene, it just kept going, so I went with it. I finally compiled all the scenes together into a short draft to see what I had, Holy mackerel before I knew it, I had over 30,000 words. It wasn’t something I couldn’t ignore anymore. I made a decision, and I had to tie the random scenes together into something that made sense and finish it. Well, I no longer waste the story ideas come to me. I cultivate them to see if they are substantial enough to work with. It’s the stories ideas that drive me to continue, as long as they flow, I will respond.
- What genre of Romance to you write, and why? I love this question. It’s funny as of now; I can’t seem to get out of the Romantic suspense genre. I am a plotter, but I think of my outlines as organic-I don’t have to stick by them- I want to make sure I can get back to where I wanted to be eventually. I tend to write my romance story first. I want to make sure I don’t skimp on the romance- it’s my favorite part. I have this great WIP (work in progress) I had every intention to make it a contemporary romance, but as I am writing my brain thinks of ways to weave mystery or suspense elements into the story. So far, all my works seem to have a fast-paced light comedic tone.
- What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? My favorite stories are light, funny contemporaries or cozies. I like something I can pick up and put down when I need to. I love to be entertained when reading. When I can laugh out loud, and everyone around me thinks I’m crazy- that’s my best kind of romance story. I think the friends to enemies is my favorite troupe it tends to lend itself to comedy very well.
- What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? Peggy, I am struggling with this. I want to have a writing schedule, but I am having trouble coming up with one that fits in my life. Our family is in schedule transition across the board- I am hoping that it will come to a head and we will get some stability soon. I have the desire to write every day, there is this excellent quote by JK Rowlings, “The muse works for you. You don’t write at her beck and call—you train her to show up when you’re writing.” I’m starting to train my muse to show up when my fingers are on the keyboard, now if everyone else will just cooperate, lol.
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? In the winter, I’m in a comfy chair in the living room often with one of my Boston terriers squished in on the side of me (only because they both won’t fit). In the summer, I like to escape to my motorhome and write at a table in there. The RV door has a lock, and my teenagers don’t often look for me in there.
- Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision? I can totally block out every day sounds as long as no one asks me questions directly, I’m good. But, I do use headphones to remind the kids that I am busy trying to create.
- Do you listen to music while you write? And if so, what kind? If not, why not? I totally use music. I use spa relaxing babbling brooks with instrumental music to write regularly. But, if I am having trouble connecting some real emotions into a scene, I will put on some intense music for whatever kind of feels I am trying to get across. I find it always works.
- How did you come up with the current idea for your current WIP? My new work in progress is another romantic suspense, I was laying on my bed totally vegging out, and I heard Escape (the Pina Colada Song) come on by Rupert Holmes. I thought what a great premise for a story. Well, the only things I kept is the drink, but it was the inspiration. I call it the Escape series and the first book will be the Pina Colada Catastrophe.
- Which comes first for you- character or plot? And why? It’s the plot for sure. Even though my stories are very character driven, the plot always comes first; then I work with the characters to breathe life into the scene. I think a lot about character development and what I want them to be- to themselves, to each other- How will they grow? Where did they come from? And how did they get to that point that this story?
- What three words describe you, the writer? Ambitious, Eager, and Naive, not sure that it’s a great combination, but it’s all true. I am so excited to see where my stories lead me.
Favorite sound: my kids laughing, my youngest son is the funniest person I know, and he gets my other kids going so much- I love listening to it.
Least favorite sound: Nails on a chalkboard, need I say more…
Best song ever written: Oh, too hard to pick just one.
Worst song ever written: She’s having my baby, it’s a song from the 70’s, but have to change it if it comes on, much too sappy for me.
Favorite actor and actress- Favorite actor strictly because I have a crush, the Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Acting ability goes to Robert Downey Jr. Favorite actress, Helen Mirren- I love her. She has grace, refinement and she can kick ass all in the same movie.
Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? I want to be Emma Watson- She got to play Hermione Granger and Belle, come on, she hit the acting jackpot.
What turns you on? Make me laugh
What turns you off? I had a guy that used to write me poetry. I had to pretend to love it; I didn’t. It made me feel uncomfortable, and I can’t stand anything too sappy.
Give me the worst words ever heard on a first date: Holy mackerel, I have to think I’ve been married over 20 years, lol. Okay, I remember, I was going out on a date- way, way back when stretchy jeans started- think early 80’s my friends. Feeling very fashionable, I was all proud of my new outfit, stretchy jeans with an oversized sweater and the slouchy socks that came up over the jeans, my big hair and blue eyeshadow, man I looked good, lol. So the guy picks me up and actually says to me, “Are you going to wear that? Those pants are kind of tight aren’t they.” It was just all kinds of wrong.
What’s your version of a perfect day? Waking up in my motorhome and enjoying a morning coffee and some pastries that we picked up from a local bakery the day before with a scenic mountain range in our sight. Taking an afternoon hike or bike ride, going to a brewery or winery for the afternoon and finishing with a dinner at a cozy, romantic restaurant (because in my perfect world I wouldn’t have to cook). 2nd best day-would be getting through any day with my kids not fighting lol!
Sheagan blinked back the sting in her eyes as sweat drizzled from her forehead. Her shoulders and forearms cried out as determination inched her body forward through the tin walls that framed her slender figure. The narrow shaft rendered her legs useless as they dragged behind her like dead weight. She made a vow to start working out as she approached her destination, the metal grate that looked down into the sweetheart suite of the Eliot Hotel.
She shimmied her binoculars out of her bag and clutched them in her sweaty palms as she readied herself to delve into the world of private investigating. The friction of her movements caused her mahogany mane to cling to all the surfaces of her temporary confinement. Perched behind the filigree frame, peering like a caged animal, she was a mere 20 feet from her target. Her target? The Rat Bastard, who up until this very moment she’d called boyfriend.
She wasn’t there to kill him, even though the thought had crossed her mind; no, she was there to catch him in the act. She suspected he had been cheating on her for some time, so proof would end her suspicion or the relationship. Spying on her significant other through an air-vent of a swanky hotel room was hardly a promising start to her so-called glamorous career as a private detective. But it snapped her back into the reality that her new chosen profession would often be messy and difficult.
She peered through the grate and envied the spacious room below, but her viewing angle was no good for the task at hand. She could feel the heat in her cheeks rise along with her anger as she scanned the room and soaked in the extravagance–the hardwood tables, the Italian marble fireplace, the opulent sheen of the fabric on the overstuffed furniture that glimmered in the soft candlelight. The Rat Bastard was not known to overindulge on frivolous expenses, unless it was on her dime. Thoughts of killing him resurfaced.
What is wrong with me? Why did I wait so long?
She immediately regretted the fleeting question. She knew why. The answer brought back the pain and significance of her father’s sudden death. He had been the only family she had left, and he was gone. All that was left behind was his detective agency. She had thought about giving it up, but she couldn’t; it was her only connection to him, to her family.
She closed her eyes briefly, realizing that now she was facing more loss–even if he was a lying, cheating Rat Bastard.
No! It’s better this way, stay focused.
She choked in a breath and turned her attention back to the room. His secret love nest was finished with soothing tones on the walls and thick, plush carpeting.
What is that on the end table?
Her gaze was drawn to the bottle label as it bobbed upside down in the melting ice. She sharpened the focus of her binoculars, and her eyes widened in recognition.
Her cheeks flushed. Cristal, she scoffed. Who is this Bimbo, anyway?
As if she had room to criticize this girl’s intelligence, when Sheagan was the one sweating her makeup off in a four-by-four-foot air-duct.
Yeah, who’s the stupid one?
She heard passionate sounds coming from the right of the room and recognized his tone. Leaning sideways, Sheagan pressed her face to the grate, but her limited
view revealed only a portion of the bed and unable to make out major details, like faces.
Crap, I can’t see anything. Damn! She needed to get a better look
As she shifted her weight, the metal walls started to reverberate and Sheagan stifled a gasp, willing the rumbling to cease. Her breathing became labored as the musty air stole the aroma of the sweet perfume wafting up waft from the suite below. She stilled her movements and did the only thing she could think of… nothing. Nothing but stare at the heap of blankets and wait.
Come on, bimbo, come up for air. I know he doesn’t last that long.
Her discomfort increased as the noise from their passion became more intense. Ugh, that’s it, I’ve had it!
She mashed her cheek and upper body against the grate.
I just need a peek to confirm.
She pressed harder, ogling the bed. Finally, she caught a tiny glimpse.
Just a little further.
She pushed and heard a chirring sound, then a scraping. She froze in place, but
the grate gave way with a creaking groan and crashed to the ground. Time stood still as Sheagan realized there was nothing between her and the floor except air.
Peggy here: Doesn’t this book sound amazeballs!!?? Thanks, Andi, so much for stopping by.