On this Special Edition of ‘Nine Questions with…’ I interview Andrew Toy on the FlipSide in support of his The Man in the Box Book Tour. Welcome Andrew, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.
Hi! I’m Andrew Toy, homeowner, dog owner, author, editor, husband, and hopefully soon-to-be father. I’m the author of The Man in the Box, and adventure/family novel. I grew up in California, my wife in Florida, we met in Colorado, and now we live in Kentucky. How’s that for a long-distance love story?
Tell us about your writing process?
Sometimes I’m a pantser (seat of my pants) and sometimes I’m a plotter (plot everything out before I start). I’ve learned that sometimes I won’t even know the ending until I’m in the middle of writing. But as of late, seeing how valuable time is, I would rather know the ending before I start.
But arriving at the end is sometimes the best part of the process! Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
Young readers and teen. That’s where all the hottest books are now.
What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?
Dan Barry’s Bottom of the 33rd, because of his careful attention to details otherwise overlooked by the common observer.
Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, because of the way he captures feelings, ideas, and emotions in just a few words within a sentence.
Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, because of how entertaining he makes an otherwise dull story about a family travelling west during the Great Depression.
Martel’s Life of Pi, because it’s one of those rare moments when great storytelling and skilled penmanship come together in beautiful harmony.
Collins’ Hunger Games, because of how she can weave an epic story in such few words, and minimal descriptions. This proves the power of word omission, leaving room for the mind’s eye to create its own pictures.
If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?
Funny you ask. I wrote the character of Robbie Lake (of The Man in the Box) based off of Steve Carell. I never told anyone this, not even my wife. Then word gets back from a very enthusiastic early reviewer (who ended up putting The Man in the Box as her top recommendation at her local library), saying that she could totally see Steve Carell play Robbie Lake in a movie. Nicole Kidman would be his wife Rosalynn and Kirsten Dunst would be his love interest from inside the box.
What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
Cry. (Then my wife would laugh because I make funny sounds when I cry.)
Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?
Continually browsing itunes. It’s a great time-killer.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read. (Is that a surprise, coming from a writer?)
Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.
“It was a dark and stormy night.” – Just kidding.
Okay, this is just a first draft, so go easy on me:
He was the best we had ever heard speak. While everyone spoke to our ear and eyes, this man – who somehow seemed to be more than that – spoke to our hearts and our souls. And we craved desperately to respond in kind.
“We are the superior race!” he proclaimed.
After years of being outcasts, this was poetry to our ears. No, it was more than that – it was a permission to not only be free of ridicule and shame, but to rise above it and reclaim our national pride.
The man’s name was Adolf Hitler.
Now let’s take a sneak peek into The Man in the Box…
Work provided Robbie Lake the perfect escape from his family. But his life is turned upside down when he is unexpectedly fired. When he finds a new way of escape through a cardboard box, everything changes. The imaginary world of his childhood has evolved in his absence and is now more savage and hostile than even he could have dreamed. Robbie is drawn in by the excitement of his secret world, but will the cost of abandoning his family prove too high?
Don’t forget to click on the cover to be whisked away to Amazon!
Thank you Andrew for taking the time to answer my questions. If you would like to connect with Andrew, you can find him on his blog – AdoptingJames.wordpress.com.