Today, I'm introducing you to Bill Andrews, author of Mason's Link.
This being my first novel, the genesis of the story centers around actual events which occurred in my early adulthood. The makeup of the protagonist, George Mason, resembles me a great deal.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I turned to writing for fun after a 40-year career in financial management. What I wrote inside that career almost never received a wide audience. The turn took everyone by surprise, even me.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Even inside my financial management career, I wrote reports or project analyses or business plans or proposals to buy or sell businesses. None of that was supposed to look like fiction. Not until I finished the first chapter of this book, Mason’s Link, did I receive feedback from two readers. They wanted more. That’s when the realization set in. Maybe I could do this thing of putting words to paper, which people might want to read.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m big on historicals. Most of my library includes books on either WWII or the Civil War with a smattering of Revolutionary era books. Early in my life, I read westerns (Louis L’Amour) and si/fi (Issac Asimov). Up until ten years ago, I read a lot of John Grisham and Tom Clancy. I devoured the first three books by Jean Auel. I can’t remember her heroine’s name but I thought she was awesome.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
In 2003, shortly after retirement, I self-published The Road from Caledonia to Canisy, a story that chronicled my father’s journey through WWII. I had only twenty-five printed because I assumed only my family would have an interest in his story. Turns out a wider audience of WWII vets and their children existed. A lot of people with a family member in the 22nd Infantry Regiment in WWII have asked for this book because of the accuracy and details included for the first 50 days after D-Day.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My major rule is not to worry about things not under my control. The exception to this rule is my wife, Marilynn. She’s not under my control but I worry about her nevertheless.
You sound a lot like my husband. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I try to look at the period during which the characters were born on the assumption that parents then would use names of people they admired such as heroes/heroines, movie stars or popular statesmen. Aside from my protagonist and his family, none of my other characters carry last names. I wanted them to feel to the reader like friends to the main family members. Rarely do people think of friends or neighbors by their full names. It’s always by first name; at least it is in the Deep South.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Easy question. My family consisting of my wife, Marilynn, my three children, Wendy, Chris and Scott and my four grandsons, Austin, Andrew, Corbin and Camden. In Mason’s Link, the protagonist has the dream of being at Home (Heaven) way into the future surrounded by all his family. Such is my dream.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I think I would like to be a perpetual puppy. As such, I would expect to always be cuddly without the expectation of being house broken.
What is your favorite food?
Great question. Anyone who knows me by sight would guess I have many favorites. They would be right. I love Caesar salads, steak, fried chicken, shrimp and lemon icebox pie.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
For me, I was too anxious to get my story on paper. The premise of Mason’s Link make’s a great story. I wanted to get it out. My editors who came from our local university ranks wanted me to get it out. Even with their careful help and advice, I fear many rookie writer mistakes still persist in the book. But did I say that the story was great anyway? My second fiction project will hopefully exhibit better craft. I have learned a great deal just following the threads on the ACFW loop. Every time someone brings up a writing question, I tell myself “That’s a great question.” I follow every answer. The Dallas conference was great not only from the standpoint of meeting the greatest group of Christians assembled anywhere but also from the points of the craft given freely to all of us. Think about it, the greatest writers in Christian Fiction were there cheering the rest of us newbies on with reckless abandon.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
For a new writer in Christian Fiction, join ACFW. Nowhere else on earth does there exist such a supportive organization where skills of the craft are so profusely shared. My mistake was not realizing ACFW existed until I had already made the decision to self publish.
Did I say the story is great? I believe it is. All the readers who have shared anything about it with me say the same thing. Please remember, I am a rookie writer even at 64 years old and I did not know ACFW existed until the die was cast for this novel. It’s still a great story.
In this fictional account, the protagonist, George Mason, with the prodding of his grandson, discovers a long hidden link between two Souls enabling him to communicate with his first wife who passed away 35 years ago. He uses this link to begin the magical discovery of Heaven and what it’s like to live there. He agonizes over what to do with the discovery fearful of what his new life’s partner and the Church will feel about it.
When he dies, he faces the entry process into Heaven, part of which includes having to reconcile his past transgressions. Unknown to him, one event in his past puts his own Soul in jeopardy. You won’t find many other books where everyone dies.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have a website, www.billandrews43.com, still considered a work in progress. Slowly, content is being added.
Thank you, Bill, for spending this time with us. We appreciate your advice, and the book sounds interesting.
Readers, if you want a chance to win a copy of Mason's Link, leave a comment on this post. There's still time to leave comments on these interviews, too:
Lena Nelson Dooley - Who Am I?
Cara Putman - Canteen Dreams
Susan Marlow - Dangerous Decision