What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Andrea K Höst. I was born in Sweden, and raised in Townsville, Australia. I now live in Sydney.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I've always liked to write. I wasn't sure I had a chance to make a living at it!
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yep - I have a day job wrangling manuals and templates, and pretending I know all the answers.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The last book I published is "Voice of the Lost", which is Part 2 of the Medair duology. It's the story of someone who failed their quest and lost a war coming to terms with a world where she's on the wrong side of everyone.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
The shortest time I've written a first draft was three months, but usually it takes me at least six. I like to let books rest a while before editing them, so it would be at least a year per book for most books.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I'm currently finalising "Caszandra" which is Part 3 of a space adventure about an Australian teenager who walks onto another planet (and meets psychic space ninjas!). Once that's finished, I'll be editing "Hunting" which is a YA fantasy about a girl disguised as a boy who has her own small gang of vigilantes, and is trying to find her guardian's murderer.
What genre would you place your books into?
Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
It's always hard to pick favourites! I'm usually thoroughly caught up in whoever I'm writing at the moment, but if I had to pick one I enjoyed most it would be Rennyn from "Stained Glass Monsters". It was very refreshing to write a female character who was extremely powerful and self-assured.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I've been writing since I was fifteen, when I started a very typical epic fantasy collection quest, with princes, elves, dwarves, faceless evils, and invading armies. Then I added spaceships. Vast amounts of reading inspired me to write, to tell my own stories - and particularly to have more stories where girls and women play central roles.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yep! I love hearing reactions to my stories - even a negative reaction will tell me more about how readers experience the characters.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I have so far. Some, of course make me wince. But most of the responses I've read have been very positive and helpful for me to read. I also like seeing what the popular highlights for my books are on Kindle. It's always fascinating to see what particular line of a book resonates so much with a reader that they'll take the time to highlight!
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Titles are usually something which grow out of my stories - a word or phrase which best captures the core of the tale. Covers can be more complex, since reader expectations for covers are very sophisticated and have grown out of many years of careful market research by publishers - they're a kind of shorthand for what the book contains. Because I love original painted artwork, I commissioned my covers from two artists whose work impressed me - Julie Dillon and Simon Dominic.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I don't so much suffer from writer's block as extreme laziness. I love writing, but occasionally there are parts of a book which require a little more work than other parts, and I will procrastinate mightily when I reach those sections! I do like to swap projects if I'm having trouble - a little time and distance makes most tasks seem easier.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I garden (a very messy garden) and I play computer games. I like RPG's and currently I'm a little addicted to hidden object games, which seem to have evolved to take the place of Adventure games, which were once one of my favourite gaming genres, but which fell out of fashion.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Well, there are themes to each of my books. "Medair" is about cycles of hatred, "Stained Glass Monsters" is about well-intentioned acts leading you down a road to large wrongs, "Champion" is about people being forced into roles and situations they would not have chosen, while the "Touchstone Trilogy" is a loose analogy of leaving high school and trying to find out what you'll be for the rest of your life.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
I'm a near-total ebook convert. I love the crispness of e-ink, and I particularly love hearing about a book, buying it, and starting to read all in one minute. I'll buy paperback if I can't get an ebook version. Hardback I only get if I particularly love the author and can't wait for other versions.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
How can anyone have a single favourite book? I re-read my favourites every couple of years, including: "Beauty" by Robin McKinley, "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones, "Catseye" by Andre Norton and "The Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tey.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No. [Well, not for centuries.] I think ebooks will become quite dominant, but that print books will remain, if only as special collector's editions. I think that mass market paperbacks will become less common, so that books will either be ebooks, hard cover, or trade paperback.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Read a lot. Write what you love. Put what you've written away and read more. Then go back and read what you've written. You need to give yourself some distance to gain any perspective on your own writing.
Where can readers follow you?
Your blog details? www.andreakhost.com
Your web site ? www.andreakhost.com
Your facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrea-K-H%C3%B6st/231837496875272
Your Goodreads author page? http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4493935.Andrea_K_H_st
Your Twitter details? @dragonflyautumn
Andrea K Höst