#SPFBO Interview with Andrew Einspruch, author of Purple Haze

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purpleToday I’m pleased to welcome to my blog Andrew Einspruch, author of Purple Haze.  Purple Haze was one of the books I rolled forward from the first month of the competition (you can check out the first chapter here) and my update for the first month of SPFBO reading is here.

Hi Andrew, thanks for agreeing to take part in an interview.

I was checking out your social media places earlier. You’ve already got an impressive amount of books under your belt.  Your author page mentions a number of books for primary age readers and I think Purple Haze is your debut (into the fantasy YA market).  How did the two compare in terms of challenges??

My publishing career has had two distinct phases. Starting in the mid-90s and going up to a few years ago, I had traditionally published around 120 children’s books, mainly for primary-aged readers in the education market. These books were done, for the most part, to publisher specification. The challenge there was to make the reading interesting, while still meeting all the criteria they wanted the book to meet—the number of words per spread, trying to get a particular set of words used in the book, making sure the difficulty level was right, and avoiding taboo subjects and references that would make the book unsellable to conservative US book buyers. Plus, I’d end up writing on topics I knew nothing about, like Christmas Island red crabs or the quirks of Australia’s different state and federal proportional voting systems, so there was a lot of research involved.

This year starts a new phase: publishing novels. You’re right that The Purple Haze is my debut into the world of humorous YA fantasy. The challenges are very different. First, there are all the words. The Purple Haze, book one in the  Western Lands and All That Really Matters series, is around 125,000 words long. That compares to the primary readers I wrote that might be 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 words long. The next challenge is telling a story that’s engaging and fun, and to realise that if you want the character to be at a particular place facing a particular problem, you have to write your way there, write it, and then write your way out of it. Then there’s the matter of the lack of boundaries. A text that needs to be 1,500 words long on the first indigenous Australian to start in an NBA game and which uses a set number of “-ing” words has a lot of boundaries. With my novels, all that went out the window. I had to learn the discipline of putting a story together, and meeting even modest word count goals to make sure things marched forward and didn’t bog down..

Purple Haze has a decidedly amusing feel and I’m thinking it’s going to subvert a few tropes and maybe be a bit tongue in cheek??  Humour can be tricky in books, not to mention some people are mood readers!  What made you take the choice to go down that particular route?

The reason I made the choice to go down the route of humour is… (I hope you’re sitting down for this… ) that’s what came out.

I trod the boards as a comic for years, doing improv comedy and also sketch comedy in a show with my wife. My hope and intention is that my books bring a smile and make people feel uplifted and better. The world needs more of that right now.

Reading the first chapter of your book I’d say it comes across as though you enjoyed yourself writing Purple Haze, how important is that do you think to the success of the book?

I’m loving writing this series. It is definitely fun to do! And yes, I do believe this affects the success of the book because an audience will feel it. If it is fun for me to write, then it will be fun to read.  The vibe will be upbeat, and people will pick that up.

I understand that you run an animal sanctuary along with your wife and daughter? I checked out your blog of course which is fascinating but could you share with readers how this all began?

Red Moon and Equinox

Photo used with permission

Our farm animal sanctuary, A Place of Peace, is the largest in Australia, with around 460 souls (mainly cows, sheep, horses, goats, dogs, cats, and geese) who’ve found a forever home with us. It is the boots on the ground, compassionate action arm of our charity, the Deep Peace Trust (deeppeacetrust.com). My wife, Billie Dean, and I have done rescue or animal care in one form or another since we’ve been together, starting with a puppy we took sight-unseen from a pound in the late 1980’s. My wife is an animal psychic and has a huge, wonderful, open heart, which makes it difficult to say “no” to animals who call to her for help. Sadly, there’s an infinite supply of animals in the world who need help, and we can only do so much. Our sanctuary is basically full, so we put our energy into education, to help people get a closer connection to animals and nature, and to foster the understanding that we won’t have peace on the planet until we expand our circle of compassion to the non-humans who share the earth with us.

Do you have any amusing stories about the sanctuary?

Every animal here is an individual, with a history and a personality. They love their families, and unlike most farm animals, get to live with them for their entire lives. So yes, lots of stories.

For example, the first sheep we ever took on was Sarah. She came to us from a farmer. Her mother had died, and he couldn’t raise a poddy. Sarah was brought up in the house and loved it when I played piano. She’d come up close and sit at my feet like a dog. She adored classical music.

When Sarah started living outside, she chose a life among the goats, and was most offended if you asked her to hang out with other sheep. She thinks of herself as a goat, not a sheep, because that’s who she was raised with. But her fondness for the house remains — every night she comes to the kitchen door where we sneak her a treat.

Willow and Sarah

Photo used with permission

Sometimes, the animals just surprise you with what they’ll do, and if you’re lucky, you can catch it on camera.

A kitten eating a banana? Sure: https://youtu.be/33ZcXms6jy8

A goat kid climbing a tree? You bet:

How have your experiences played into your writing?

I like to think I have a great empathy for all species, and can treasure their similarities and differences. Animals feature prominently as equals in the Western Lands and All That Really Matters series, and that willingness to include other species in the action and decisions of the fiction world stems from my interactions with them in our world.

What do you hope for in terms of the future – both in writing and the sanctuary?

I’m at the start of my novel writing career, and my hope is my books will find their home in the world and lots and lots of people will read and enjoy them.

As for the sanctuary, in the short term, my focus is helping the animals here make it through the worst drought in living memory (https://chuffed.org/project/drought2018). In the long run, we’d like to have have a green, verdant, peaceful place for the animals to live out their lives in happiness, and for everyone, everywhere to treat animals as the feeling, sentient beings they are.

Andrew, thank you so much for taking part.  I love the sound of your sanctuary and the way you look after, respect and treat the animals and I can’t wait to finish your book.

All the best with the SPFBO.

For more information about Andrew check out the following links.

Email: andrew@wildpureheart.com
Web: https://wildpureheart.com
https://andreweinspruch.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/einspruch
Facebook: http://facebook.com/wildpureheart
http://facebook.com/andreweinspruch

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7 Responses to “#SPFBO Interview with Andrew Einspruch, author of Purple Haze”

  1. waytoofantasy

    Great interview! Also, baby goats are so cute. ❤

  2. Tammy

    Oh wow, I just love hearing about the animal sanctuary! That would be my dream, to have enough land to take in every animal that needs rescuing😁

  3. sjhigbee

    A lovely interview and I cannot believe that kid climbing the tree!

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    What a wonderful glimpse into the world of children’s publishing, and I also enjoyed the animal sanctuary stories!

  5. Carmen

    Lovely interview, Lynn! I’m glad you included his experience in animal care as well as his writing career–the early one and the most recent one. The goat kid video is priceless! Animals are amazing. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Animals are amazing – and so inspirational as Andrew has found.
      Lynn 😀

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