Interview: Author Andrea Johnson Beck
Author: Andrea Johnson Beck
Genre: Organized Crime, Suspense, Horror, Romance, Financial Mystery
Amazon Best Selling Author Andrea Johnson Beck was born in Sioux City, Iowa. From a young age, she enjoyed telling stories. Many her dad recorded. Writing was her creative outlet and at 10-years-old, her first poem was published in an anthology. Always curious, Andrea read and watched what was considered risqué in the 80’s and early 90’s, such as, books by VC Andrews. Dirty Dancing and Top Gun (snuck downstairs) raised questions and were brought to her parents for clarification. Understanding their daughter’s need for answers, they always replied truthfully.
Her curiosity and rebellious disposition has carried on. Andrea credits the strong woman in her life who guided her through difficult times. That and writing. Blogging about her marriage, her quirky son, and homeschooling helped her connect with others around the world.
Life On Awesome Street is a shared website between Andrea and Logan. Most topics revolve around homeschooling, the autism spectrum, and mom humor. She’s a columnist for Home & School Mosaics. In the past she has written for In-Depth Genealogist and Home Educating Family.
In 2012, Andrea self-published her debut novel, Deadly Deception. A year later, the book was acquired by Montlake Romance and re-released in October of 2013. Deadly Deception hit #4 on the Amazon Best Seller List in overall paid fiction in the Kindle Store, it was right behind the Divergent Trilogy. Her second novel, Deadly Revelation, released April of 2014 and was #1 in Organized Crime and Crime Fiction and continues to hold a spot in those categories. The Red Roots released April 2015 and held strong in Financial Crime.
Andrea and her son collaborated and released a short story, Hush, Mary in October of 2014. Also, the mom and son duo are writing homeschool and autism spectrum books together. Over the years, Logan has impacted and inspired many with his own personal stories of how he accepted and embraced his quirkiness.
Andrea lives in North Carolina with her husband Phil, son, and their deaf dog, Bear. Sarcasm is the oxygen they breathe, as is love and humor.
- How long have you been writing?
Since I could bunch the alphabet together and create words with my Rainbow Brite pencil. When I was introduced to the wonderment of MS-DOS, I set the keyboard aflame with tales of haunted houses and love stories set in 1920’s Georgia. I still remember that those like they’re etched into my brain. I’m sure their saved on a floppy disk somewhere in my parents basement.
- What kind(s) of writing do you do?
Poetry is my therapy. I’ve had quite a few published over the years. The occasional short story pops in my head, as does more lengthy pieces. I tend to not write what I read, I think that’s the opposite for some writers. On occasion I’ll read a horror or romantic suspense, depends what my mood is.
- Why did you choose that particular field or genre?
To keep readers on their toes. I never want to become predictable. I always want them questioning, wondering what’s going to happen next. My life is a lot like that, even my memoir will be full of twists and turns.
- What inspires you?
Life–people, my son, the elderly woman who lives across the street and vacuums her driveway in her purple robe and white slippers. With every piece of fiction I write, there’s a slice of reality, over exaggerated, but real nonetheless. People are walking novels, I simply add a bit of color to them.
- Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing, etc. come from?
My mom was the librarian at my elementary school and I would spend hours in there. I’d help on occasion, and losing my young self into a story of pirates and treasure brightened my little world. I could tell stories for hours, my dad has proof of that. He recorded my ramblings, I had a lot to say. I’d write scripts for my Barbies and I’d act out their parts for my parental audience. What can I say, I loved being an only child.
- How do you find or make time to write?
Honestly, I haven’t a clue. I homeschool my son and that’s my main priority–his education–many ask me how I fit it all in and I don’t know. Early mornings, as long as I’ve had sufficient amounts of caffeine, are my key writing times. I’m fresh. My mind isn’t cluttered with the days insanity. When Logan wakes up, it’s time to school. I give props to those authors who can write and publish multiple stories a year. Really, I think they’re all magical unicorns who can manipulate time with their glitter horns.
- Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
The people who live inside of my head are in full control. Sometimes they’re willing to come out and play and other times, they want to build blanket forts and color. I have an out-the-window process. No rules. No reason. No logic. Which is odd that my OCD allows such cerebral chaos.
- How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
I never took the easy road and most of the time, I didn’t have a choice. My feet bled, my bones cracked, and my muscles split. My family has been through hell and back and without those trials and tribulations, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.
- What projects are you working on at the moment?
A quirky memoir with my son, Logan. It’s about empowering not only Logan, but me and Phil, and anyone who doesn’t fit society’s mold. It’s our journey through the autism spectrum and homeschooling tunnels.
- What process did you go through to get your work published?
My first novel, Deadly Deception, was self-published. I hired a professional editor and formatter. I did the cover. A few months after it was published, Montlake Romance contacted me. They picked up Deadly Deception and a new cover was created and the book was expanded and re-released in October of 2013. My other books are self-published and I went through the same process as above. Investing in a talented and efficient editor is key.
- What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Typing as fast as my brain creates the story and that leads to frustration. I feel like I’m not writing or publishing fast enough. It’s difficult when life events happen and become emotionally tapped dry.
- What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.
Working with my son on the short horror story, Hush, Mary. Our twisted minds meshed together and created a fabulously, creepy story. The end result is such an amazing feeling. And when we receive positive reviews, comments, and messages from readers, Logan’s eyes just light up. It’s awesome to see.
- What is the biggest thing people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t true?
Organized crime is dead. The genre is nothing but soap opera induced storylines–even though I’ve read some pretty outrageous romance novels–I can assure readers that such illicit lifestyles are alive and well. Not just scripted stories during daytime television or movies on the Lifetime Network. How do I know? If I told you, I’d have to kill you.
- What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they should?
Badass heroines do exist, even if they’re broken and battered, the women fight for their lives and for the lives of those they love. It’s not all black and white. Flaws are strength. Saving themselves is what they want. The women want love but not to be tossed on the back of a white steed and rode off into the sunset. I joked with my friends about me creating a new genre called Badass Chick. Though I don’t write full-on romance novels, there is love and a deep connection between two people and it’s ok not base one’s entire existence around a guy.
- For those interested in exploring the subject/theme of your work, where should they start?
Read. Read everything and anything. Read poetry. Read grammar books. Read Shakespeare and Poe. Read the newspaper. Read authors that grab at your own style of writing. Reach out to other authors, seek their advice and feedback.
- What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?
I will post excerpts here and there on my website and social media, giving people an idea of where the story is heading. It helps me because I receive feedback from people and I take each bit into consideration.
- Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?
I was introduced to VC Andrews while in Middle School and fell in love with her twisted, disturbing family stories. When I finished Flowers in the Attic, I was blown away because I had never read about such material. I immediately checked out every VC Andrews book in the school library. During that time, I was also introduced to The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The psychological short story captured my disturbed soul. I have always loved the classics, the writing style of certain eras draws me. It’s a style I like to fit into my books.
- What makes your writing stand out from the crowd?
I’ve been told by many readers my writing style, I have a poetic flow with my stories. Also, you never see me coming and even if you do, it’s a mirage. Readers either love or hate my stories because the ending it never what they expect or at times want. I’m ok with that. I want to stand out. I never want my stories to be a trend.
- What are you currently reading?
Pines, A Wayward Pines Thriller by Blake Crouch and How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper
- What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
Technology. Plain and simple. Technology will continue to expand, as will self-publishing authors. Over time, I believe that process will become more mainstream and gain support. I’ve gone through something similar with homeschooling. I’ve been approached by many individuals stating how homeschooling isn’t a real education and I’m not a real teacher. I’ve also heard the same about self-publishing. It’s not really a published book and I’m not really an author. Anytime there is anything different, people will either back away in horror or embrace it with rebellious open arms. With every decade that passes, I’m hopeful more authors will encourage one another instead of competing and tearing each other down.