I’m joined today by Andrew Joyce whose latest novel, Mahoney, was published in May this year. he’s sharing a bit about his journey to publication and his favourite book which features a very long sentence!
Thanks for joining me today Andrew. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. I don’t own a TV. I read a lot of books and take very long walks out in the deep wood where I can commune with nature.
What inspired you to start writing?
I like to tell stories. The way it began for me is that I emailed a friend and related a rather amusing adventure from my youth. The fact that I was arrested during said adventure made it all the more amusing. (Charges were eventually dropped.) Anyway, then I started writing down escapades I had endured, and when I had exhausted that supply, I started writing fictional short stories. Then—as day follows the night—the novels began, and here I am.
Tell me about your journey to publication.
My first book, Yellow Hair, was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing, to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.
“So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!
I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months. I had them as adults in the Old West. Then I sent out query letters to literary agents.
A few weeks later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in the country emailed me. He loved the story and suggested a few changes. They were good suggestions, and I incorporated about 80% of them into the book. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count was 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status in its category on Amazon (twice) and won the Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
In the second year of an Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney lies on the dirt floor of his small, dark cabin. He has not eaten in five days. His only hope of survival is to get to America, the land of milk and honey. After surviving disease and storms at sea that decimate crew and passengers alike, Devin’s ship limps into New York Harbor three days before Christmas, 1849. Thus starts an epic journey that will take him and his descendants through one hundred and fourteen years of American history, including the Civil War, the Wild West, and the Great Depression.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months?
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Check out this quote. This is writing at its best. And it’s one long sentence! The man could write.
“The concrete highway was edged with a mat of tangled, broken, dry grass, and the grass heads were heavy with oat beards to catch on a dog’s coat, and foxtails to tangle in a horse’s fetlocks, and clover burrs to fasten in sheep’s wool; sleeping life waiting to be spread and dispersed, every seed armed with an appliance of dispersal, twisting darts and parachutes for the wind, little spears and balls of tiny thorns, and all waiting for animals and the wind, for a man’s trouser cuff or the hem of a woman’s skirt, all passive but armed with appliances of activity, still, but each possessed the anlage of movement.”
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Any book? How about the Bible? I think I’d like to be Josiah. He got to be king of Israel at only eight years old. Just kidding. I think I’d like to be Jack Reacher from the Lee Child novels. No one messes with him.
Mahoney is available now in ebook and paperback formats. You can order copy here: Mahoney
Find out more about Andrew at his website: https://andrewjoyce76.com/