Interview with Andi Anderson

Dear Reader,

Please welcome, Andi Anderson. She writes GLBT novels for Silver publishing. Today she brings us an excerpt for Yummy Indulgences and tells us more about herself.

SBR: What inspired your decision to write?

AA: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. I’ve always been a big reader. There are many pictures of me in my youth where I have a romance novel in my hand. To this day, I’m never without a book of some kind. Writing is something that I’ve always had to do. Even if it’s just keeping my journal or writing a novel, it’s one of my main coping skills with everyday life.

SBR: How old you were when you began to write?

AA: I wrote my first story in sixth grade. I used to write romantic stories for my friends. 

They would feature my friend with their favorite rock star or actor and it would always end with a strong Happily Ever After.  All my friends loved it, so I stayed busy writing short stories all for my friends all through school.

SBR: Who is your favorite writer, and why?

AA: I have several writers that are favorites of mine.  JL Langley, Jet Mykles, Ava March, Shawn Lane, Jade Falconer, Ariel Tachna, Cassandra Gold and Fae Sutherland are favorites of mine. Zathyn Priest is probably my all-time favorite writer in the M/M Genre. I love his quirky humor and lyrical way he writes.

SBR: What is your favorite book(s), and why?

AA: The Curtis Reincarnation by Zathyn Priest. I adore both heroes in the book and the story always reads fresh and sexy every time I read it.

SBR: Do you research your books? What kind of research do you do?

AA: I do a lot of research. I’m constantly searching the internet and gathering information and ideas for my books. It really depends on what story I’m working on.

SBR: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

AA: Always keep writing and honing your craft.  Never give up on your dream! It’s also helped me to surround myself with positive people.  I have some great author friends who have taught me to be gracious at all times. Even if I get a bad review, or don’t necessarily agree with someone, to always be polite and friendly and to handle things with grace. They’ve also taught me you have to have thick skin in this industry to survive or you’d go crazy. I’ve learned to try not to take it personal if I get a rejection or a negative review about something I’ve wrote. I really strive to take everything in stride and be thankful for any success I’m able to achieve.

SBR: What is your ideal hero?

AA: I’m not a fan of huge, gamma heroes. Believe it or not, I really like it when the nice guy actually finishes first.

SBR: What is your ideal heroine?

AA: She’s smart, sexy and has the ability to kick some butt when she needs too!

SBR: Do you write a series? If so, how hard do you find it to keep all the details straight?

AA: I do write a series. I keep all the details straight by keeping notes about key things about each book and the characters and their story.  

SBR: What kind of notes do you keep while you’re writing?

AA: A lot of my notes are just quick lines of ideas and so forth.

SBR: What was it like to sign your first publishing contract?

AA: It was AWESOME! I swear I was shaking like a leaf because I was so excited and proud that I had accomplished my ultimate dream of being published.

SBR: What do you do when you have writer’s block?

AA: I had a little writer’s block when I wrote my latest Christmas story, His Christmas Wish. Everything I wrote was a struggle, and I had to revise it several times. There were days I would just stare at a blank screen and want to scream with frustration, but I made myself write something and even though it was hard, I worked my way through it and ended up being very happy with what I had written.

SBR: How do you come up with and develop your characters?

AA: Almost all of my characters are based on someone that I’m friends with or have become acquainted with.  I think that’s why I most of my characters are considered ‘nice guys’.  I usually base some of my characters best features on people that intrigue me or that I admire the most. 

SBR: When you sit down to start writing a book, what do you?

AA: I tune into my favorite love song station on the radio and get to it!

SBR: Do you plot out your story before writing, or just go page to page, never knowing what will happen next?

AA: I’ve done both.  I usually have a really good idea of how I want the storyline to develop. But, there have also been times I just sit and write without a certain goal in mind. I think it depends on my mood and what my characters are saying to me at the time.

SBR: Is there any genre or sub-genre you haven’t tried, but want to?

AA: My passion is M/M romances so I don’t see me ever straying from that genre. But, I’d love to write a paranormally based homoerotic romance someday.

SBR: Do you have any new releases? Tell us about them.

AA: The second book in my Men of Charlestown series was released by Silver Publishing in January. It’s called Yummy Indulgences and it’s based on a sexy blue collared worker who falls in love with a fun-loving baker.

Yummy Indulgences 

SBR: Do you want to share a blurb of your latest release?

AA: I’d love too! Here is the blurb for Yummy Indulgences:

To Allen Garner it should have been another day. As a supervisor at a local rendering plant he lives a simple life. He's kept his sexuality hidden from his co-workers; and now after 15 years working in the plant, he's lonely and thinks he's doomed to live his life alone. He'd just finished working the night shift, when his sister called and asked him a favor to meet with a local baker, Shiloh Ballard, and pick out his parents fortieth wedding anniversary cake. He reluctantly agrees to go for her, and wants nothing but to pick out the cake, go home and get some sleep. What he doesn't expect is that Shiloh is a beautiful man who immediately enchants him from the first moment he lays eyes on him.

The feeling is mutual for the successful baker. Shiloh can't believe a strong sexy man like Allen would ever be interested in a rainbow flying, petite man like himself. Almost immediately, sparks fly between them and both men begin a whirlwind romance which soon develops into an undeniable love. But, problems soon start to arise for the couple. Because Allen isn't out at work; they have to keep their relationship on the down low. The causes both Allen and Shiloh to wonder if their love is strong enough to survive any backlash they might receive from Allen's co-workers and friends.

SBR: Do you want to share an excerpt of your latest release?

AA: Sure! Here is the excerpt for Yummy Indulgences, Rated PG 13 for obscene language and impure thoughts.

Allen Garner, or AJ to friends and family, pulled his old Jeep Wrangler into the crowded parking lot and grimaced. How in the hell did he get himself into this situation? He had just gotten off the night shift at the rendering plant and was about to go to bed when his sister Megan called. His niece was sick with the flu. Apparently, Megan made an appointment with the owner of Yummy Indulgences weeks ago and had no intention of canceling. According to his sister, it was the place in the River Valley to buy special order cakes and pastries. He didn't understand the urgency, the party happened to be two months away. But Megan insisted that Yummy Indulgences cakes were the best and often needed to be ordered several weeks in advance.

After much coaxing and a huge guilt trip she convinced him to take her place and do some taste testing and pick a design for the cake. He knew absolutely nothing about throwing a party, much less picking out an anniversary cake for his parents fortieth anniversary. Knowing his luck, he'd pick out some monstrosity and disappoint his parents, family, and friends. Not to mention his sister, who could be a spitfire when she chose. Even though he towered over her by at least nine inches and she was tiny enough to be blown over by a stiff wind, Megan still scared the hell out of him when she happened to be on one of her terrors. He didn't want to deal with the wrath of an angry Megan. He'd been there, done that when they were younger and had no intention of ever going through it again.

Allen groaned as he managed to squeeze his faded black Wrangler into one of the tiny parking spaces and turned off the ignition. He took a deep breath and fought the urge to start the Jeep back up and escape the hellish chore Megan somehow managed to coax him into. She assured him the owner, Shiloh, would walk him through everything. She also told Allen he couldn't make a mistake, but he wasn't so sure.

If there was a way to fuck it up, he would most assuredly do it.

Allen opened the squeaky door of his Wrangler and maneuvered his way out of his vehicle without hitting the shiny candy apple red '65 Mustang convertible parked beside him. He let out a sigh of relief when the well-loved car escaped a new dent from his Wrangler's door. He did not need to damage the classic car and have a pissed off owner jumping down his throat.

He glanced around at the buildings and tried to decipher which of the glass doors belonged to the bakery. He eyes spotted several pots of colorful flowers and a bright rainbow flag hanging out of one of them. The bold colors stood out in the otherwise dull shopping center.

"That's got to be the place." He mumbled and forced his reluctant feet to walk toward the corner of the cheery building. As he approached, he smelled the mouth watering aroma of baked goods, right before he noticed the window showcased several elegant cakes displayed from the inside. On the gleaming glass door, the words Yummy Indulgences were painted in a bold array of rainbow colors.

Taking a deep breath, he pulled the door open and heard a tinkling bell chime. The delicious smells coming from the pastry display cases filled with baked goods engulfed him. They held everything from cakes to cinnamon buns and made his mouth water, reminding him he hadn't eaten since his break at midnight.

"Can I help you?" a pretty, plump, red headed woman cheerfully called from behind the counter, and Allen relax somewhat. Surely a welcome like that was a sign this wouldn't be as bad as he first thought.

He walked up to the counter and gave her his best smile. "I hope so. My name is AJ Garner. My sister, Megan Warren, has an appointment with Shiloh at ten this morning. She couldn't make it today, so I'm here instead. I'm supposed to taste test some samples and pick out an anniversary cake for our parents."

She smiled, making her pretty face turn into a beautiful one. "Don't look so worried, Mr Garner, we'll take good care of you. If you will excuse me for a moment, I'll let Shiloh know that you're here."

"You're not Shiloh?" he asked, raising his eyebrows in surprise.

She laughed and shook her head. "No, sir. My name is Sheri, I'm Shiloh's sister. Would you like some coffee before I tell him you're here? It's on the house." She grinned and reached for a large Styrofoam cup.

"That would be great. Thank you."

Allen watched her confidently pour some coffee and took it when she handed the container to him over the glass counter.

"Please feel free to look around. I'll go get Shiloh and be back with you in a moment." Sheri winked flirtatiously and walked through a purple curtain that led to another room behind the countertops.

Allen slowly wandered around, looking at the delicious display of pastries and cakes. Everything looked perfectly in place and well displayed. He was impressed; or rather his stomach was, because it started to growl loudly.

In the process of silently telling his stomach to shut up, he heard quick footsteps approaching him from behind.

"Mr Garner? Hi, I'm Shiloh Ballard, co-owner of Yummy Indulgences. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting," a sweet southern voice said from behind him. Allen turned around and practically dropped his coffee when he laid eyes on the man the lyrical voice came from.

To say that Shiloh Ballard was beautiful would be an understatement. His almost black hair was pulled back into a low ponytail. So thick and healthy, it shone in the sun filtering through the window. One piece had escaped its confinement and fell in a sexy wave almost over his right eye and down to his angular chin. His golden eyes were bright and filled with mischief and his full, pouty lips and white, straight teeth dazzled when he smiled. He was breathtakingly gorgeous, from his small straight nose to the arch of his perfectly manicured eyebrows. He had to be at least five inches shorter than Allen's own five-ten frame. A soft-looking, dark purple tunic shirt and black, skintight jeans encased his slight form, making Allen's mouth water for more than the pastries he'd been admiring just a few short moments before.

Shiloh extended a much smaller hand for him to shake. Allen managed to find a smile as he reached out and engulfed that soft hand in his own calloused, much larger one and shook it.

He cleared his throat. "Hi Shiloh, nice to meet you. Sorry my sister couldn't make it today. Believe me, if she could have been here she would have. Sending me was her last resort." He grinned at the gorgeous man and tried to ignore the tingle he started to feel in his stomach.

"Don't be afraid, Mr Garner, I'll take very good care of you," Shiloh said, winking playfully.

That's what I'm afraid of.

"I'm not worried." He managed to croak out.

Shiloh looked down at their hands, still clasped together, and then back up. He raised his eyebrow at Allen questioningly.

Mortified he still held the smaller man's hand; Allen quickly pulled his own away, face flushed with embarrassment.

What the hell's wrong with you, Garner? Stop acting like an idiot and relax.

If Shiloh noticed his faux pas by practically keeping his hand hostage, or the schoolboy blush that reddened his cheeks and neck, he made no comment.

"If you would come with me, Mr Garner, we'll go into the tasting room and you can sample some of the different varieties of cakes you may choose from." The young, gorgeous man smoothly walked toward a door at the end of the counter. Allen followed him and entered a small room. He glanced around quickly at his new surroundings. There was a black lacquered, round table and comfortable looking, black leather chairs pushed neatly against it. The walls were painted a stark white, and several large pictures featuring colorful cakes created a colorful, comfortable feel to the room.

Shiloh gestured toward the closest chair, and Allen pulled it out from the table and sat. Shiloh did the same with the one next to his and easily settled down on it.

"When I last spoke with your sister, she said she was looking for an anniversary cake. We've got several selections to choose from, so I feel very certain we'll find the perfect confection for your parents' party." Shiloh looked both relaxed and confident as he leaned back comfortably in his chair and folded his small, nimble looking hands in his lap.

Allen nodded. "That's right. She's throwing a party for their fortieth anniversary."

"Do you know how many people are expected to come?"

"At last count, close to a hundred. She's invited everyone from family to distant friends. One thing can be said about Megan; she knows how to throw a party." Allen lifted his cup and took a sip of his coffee.

It was hot and delicious.

Just like the man sitting beside him.

SBR: What do you have in store for your readers?

AA: I’m almost finished with the first book in my newest fantasy series. The series is called The Sons of Aphrodite books and there will be at least 3 or 4 books in the series. The first story is called No Greater Love. It’s about Eros (Cupid) and his quest to find true love.

I’m also planning on writing at least two more books on the Men of Charlestown series this year and I hope to start another series called The Circle of Friends. I’m also thinking about writing more about my couple Ryan and Blake from Got Mistletoe? but, we’ll have to see…

SBR: What are your hobbies?

AA: Reading, Cross stitching, riding my ATV with my husband, going to car shows and picking up after my husband…lol

SBR: Do you cook or bake? Tell us about some of your favorite things to make.

AA: I love to cook AND bake. I cook traditional southern recipes.  I love to bake pies and cookies! I try to spoil my husband by baking at least one pie a week and we always have homemade cookies around to snack on.

SBR: Do you have a recipe you want to share with our readers?

Sure! I’ll share Nanny’s Mexican Casserole recipe…it’s a family favorite!

1 Chicken Fryer

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

1 can of cream of celery soup

1 can of Rotel

1 8oz box of Velveeta Cheese

1 bag of plain tortilla chips (We use plain Doritos)

1 onion

Boil chicken until it’s cooked through. De-bone chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Put aside 1 cup of chicken broth.

Preheat oven to 350

Dice Velveeta in small cubes. Add Velveeta, soups, one cup of chicken broth and Rotel into saucepan and cook under medium temperature until cheese melts. Layer large casserole dish first with chicken, then onion, Doritos and then cheesy soup mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are used.

Cover top with a few Doritos

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly

SBR: What is your favorite movie?

AA: I love horror movies and there are several of them that are my favorites. But, my all-time favorite movie is The Last of the Mohicans.

SBR: What is your favorite actor/character? Why?

AA: I really don’t have a favorite actor, but my favorite character is Wiley Coyote from the Looney Tunes cartoons. Although he’s never captured the Road Runner he remains eternally optimistic. Gotta love that kind of optimism!

SBR: If you could go on vacation and money wasn’t a concern, where would you travel to? What would you do?

AA: I would love to buy a big Winnebago and visit every state in America. If I had to just pick one place travel to it would be Alaska. My husband and I plan on going there someday and we can’t wait!

SBR: If you were handed a million dollars right now, guilt-free, what would you do with it?

AA: Pay off all of our bills, buy a new car, travel a little and put the rest in savings.

SBR: What is your number one goal in life?

AA: That my husband and I to live a long and happy life.

SBR: Dog or cat person?

AA: We have three dogs that we love very much and that are very spoiled.

SBR: If you could describe your life in a few sentences, what would it be?

AA: I live a very fulfilled and rich life. I’m married to a wonderful, supportive man that makes me happy.  I’m passionate about reading and writing. I have an adorable niece who I love to spoil and I have incredible friends and family.  I love to laugh, so it doesn’t take much for me to get tickled about something. I think I have a very easy-going personality in general, so laughter comes easily for me. My husband says my laugh is contagious, and he often goes out of his way to make me laugh, so there’s a lot of laughter and happiness in our home.

SBR: What is your biggest pet peeve?

AA: This is going to sound crazy, but I hate it when lazy people don’t put their grocery carts in their designated place after they get through with them. What’s the big deal about walking a few feet and putting it away? It frustrating to come out of the store and see a grocery cart slammed against my car…UGH! 

SBR: What is your perfect date?

AA: Dinner and a movie.

SBR: What is your ideal man?

AA: I lucked out and married my ideal man. He’s smart, kind, funny, and loyal and has the sexiest blue eyes in the world.

SBR: What is your ideal woman?

AA: My Grandmother has always been my role model and ideal woman. She’s intelligent, has a great sense of humor, has nerves of steel and has a beautiful soul. She’s an amazing lady.

SBR: What is your favorite candy?

AA: My favorite candy is Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Nuggets.  YUMMY!

SBR: What is your favorite color?

AA: Purple

SBR: What do you daydream about?

AA: My current and future works in process.

SBR: Do you have another job, besides being a writer?

AA: No. I worked in the mental health industry for most of my adult life until I had complications from a surgery I had last year. Now, I’m a stay at home wife and try to write full time.

SBR: Tell us the first five random things about you that come to mind.

AA: My dog needs a bath.

It’s getting hot in here.

I wish I had some Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Nuggets now.

The rap singer Nelly is coming to Arkansas…yay!

Is that five things yet?

SBR: What CD is in your stereo/track on your MP3 player right now?

AA: The last song I listened to on my MP3 player was, Pour some sugar on me by Def Leppard.

SBR: What kind of television shows do you watch?

AA: I love The Fabulous Beekman Boys, American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, (I blame my husband for getting me hooked on that one) Deadly Women, Fatal Attractions, The First 48 and just about every show on the ID channel.

SBR: Anything else you wish to add?

AA: I want to thank all of my readers for the unconditional support and friendship they have given me.  I take all of their ideas and suggestions they have about the characters of my stories very seriously. It’s always great to read their thoughts about my work and make new friends in the process.  

Where Can Our Readers Find You?

AA: Oh I love to hear and interact with my readers! Please feel free to write me or add me as a friend on Facebook or twitter.

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