Andrea White, author of the award-winning novel Surviving Antarctica is publishing the first of of her new series, the UpCity trilogy this summer. Part fantasy, part science-fiction, Windows on the World, is the story of thirteen-year-old orphan Shama Katooee who lives in Low City, DC in 2093. When Shama is mysterious selected to attend an elite private school, she learns that she has the ability to travel in time. Recently I visited with Andrea about her book, her life in Houston and her advice for aspiring writers.
Where did you grow-up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Memorial in Houston. We hardly ever went downtown. We had a drainage ditch in the back yard which we called our bayou. We caught crawdads there. I got to ride in the Salt Grass Trail twice. The trail ride was an unexcused absence from school but it was worth it. I loved Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Lord of the Rings, Pippi Longstocking, Elouise, Madeleine…I liked reading, then jumping on the trampoline, in that order.
What is a normal “writing” workday like for you?
I love to write so much that it doesn’t take discipline to write. I usually get to write two to three hours a day. A great day of writing for me is four hours. Until recently, I wrote in a comfortable chair in my bedroom. Lately, I’ve moved to our garage apartment. But since our son is going to live with us this summer I’m heading back to the bedroom.
You’ve written both for middle grade and young adult audiences. How does your writing process differ as your audience changes?
All of my previous books have had an historical core: Robert F. Scott, Winston Churchill and Chernobyl. Although my latest book is set in the Twin Towers, the substantive core of this book is a philosophical question: is the amount of suffering in the world hardwired? In the world of the book, a group, named the Time Designers, think that they should use their time machine to go back and change time to reduce human suffering. Another group, the Time Fundamentalists, think that the amount of suffering in the world cannot be reduced or changed.
Who are your favorite writers and why?
I read so much that it is always the last great book that I read that is my favorite. I just finished Doc, A Novel by Mary Doria Russell, about Doc Holiday and the Earp Brothers. I loved it.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
As to advice to aspiring writers: write! Ignore the negative voices and get what you have to say down on paper. Then, join a writing group and share it with others. No matter what the outcome, writing will enrich your life.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on books two and three of the Upcity Chronicles Trilogy.
To discover more about Andrea you can visit her website and blog at http://andreawhiteauthor.com. Her novels are available at your local, independent bookstore or your favorite online bookseller
This interview also appeared in the August 2011 edition of the Houston Banner.