My friend, Faith Andrews, has written a great romantic epic entitled Man Of My Dreams. Dreams details a young housewife forced to face the shocking realities of her life. Has she made a mistake in marrying her first love, the father of her two daughters? Or should she have held out for her unrequited high school crush, who is suddenly in her life again? It sounds like a hand-wringing Harlequin tale, and it most definitely is a romance tale. But it's so much more. Extremely well written, Andrews takes us deep into Mia's awakening--uncomfortable, raw, and real, somewhat of a late-blooming feminist manifesto. (I know this sounds weird coming from me, right? The original Kansas curmudgeon himself. But there's no denying Andrews's fantastic writing.). Faith has been brave (naïve? stupid?) enough to come aboard for a chat.
*Faith, I'm dying to know...how much of this is autobiographical? Is (was?) there a Declan, Noah, and Grace in your life?
First of all, I just want to thank you for so many things. I’m so happy we’ve had to a chance to become friendly and share each other’s work. You’re one of the coolest people I’ve met in a long time and I am so grateful for all the insight and advice you’ve passed along to me in these last few months.
Okay so on to the nitty gritty…There are definitely parts of this book that have been picked and plucked from my real life. I am a stay at home mom of two very spunky little girls while life is never truly boring when you’re home day in and day out manning (er, womaning) the ship, life does get monotonous. Shout out to all the stay-at-homes out there…this is hands down THE hardest job there is. Yes, it’s rewarding and precious and priceless watching and experiencing everything first hand, BUT it can also suck the life out of you sometimes, make you feel like you’ve lost your sense of self, like all you are is Mrs. So and So, Julia and Leah’s mom. Which leads me to why I even started writing in the first place…I decided I was too young to let my dream slip away. So when these stories starting talking to me and begging to get out, I wasn’t at all surprised that the characters emulated so many of the real life people I’ve grown to love throughout the years.
Declan—definitely based a lot on my husband. Gorgeous, dreamy, has all the it-factors, although, my hubby doesn’t sing and better yet, he doesn’t cheat.
Noah—everyone has a Noah, whether he’s an old flame, an unrequited love, a “what if” or just a man in your dreams. I, personally, dream a lot about the past and high school and all that good youthful, carefree stuff…I can’t help who pops up in those dreams and sometimes I’m surprised by my own subconscious and wake up like, “Really?” But I do want to set the record straight by saying that I am not pining over any lost love. Noah for me represents wanting to stay young and all that teenage angst that, in hindsight, feels so damn good. He’s a trip down memory lane and a heart thumping reminder of youthful crushes.
Grace—my real life BFF, Tara, and so many of my other close girlfriends rolled into one. What girl doesn’t need a Grace…the voice of reason, the confidant, the shoulder to cry on, the person you can laugh with until your sides ache. I’m lucky enough to have some pretty first-rate, amazing girlfriends. So, yeah, Grace…even if she pisses Mia off with some of her “butting in,” she is essential to the story.
*While you were writing the book, did you have a clear vision of how it would end? Or did you change your mind several times? As a reader, I changed my mind several times of how I'd like to see it end.
Clear. As. Day. I knew from before I even started to write it that it was going to end the way it did. I wanted Mia with who she ended up with for so many reasons. That’s not to say that I wasn’t heartbroken for the other guy. (I’m being vague, I know, sorry, but I don’t want to give anything away).
*Did you consider having Mia shun both the "men of her dreams" and forge her own path before committing to a serious relationship?
You’re not the first person to bring this up, in fact, two of my critique partners wanted me to do this. This would have made it more of a women’s fiction than a romance. Mia’s growth was very important to me and even while juggling her emotions for both Declan and Noah, I think she was able to find herself. But staying true to myself as a writer and reader, I’m a sucker for a happily ever after. Again, without giving anything away, I believe Mia needed to experience IT ALL for the final outcome to be worth it. I hope that makes sense…does it or am I just defending Mia because I hate to put her out there as a girl who got to have her cake and eat it too. Regardless, by the end of Man of My Dreams, Mia knows who she is and what she wants, but I believe the man she ends up with is an integral, engrained, molecular part of the make-up of who she is.
*Music plays an important part in your book, deftly dredging up a sense of '90's nostalgia (wait, the '90's are already nostalgic?) by mentioning several songs and bands from the decade. (And thanks for banging on Chumbawumba's "TubThumping!" That's one of those damn songs that worms its way into your head and won't leave). It's funny how music can sometimes evoke a sense of time and place better than a handful of pretty words. Comment?
I get knocked down, but I get up again…sorry, did I just get in there for the rest of the day??? Isn’t it INSANE that the ‘90s are considered nostalgic? Talk about making a person feel old. I absolutely love music, all types, styles and genres, for the most part, but the soundtrack to Man of My Dreams is, essentially, the soundtrack to my teenage days. Killing Me Softly by the Fugees was on at EVERY house party at least 2 times a night. I remember sitting around at a friend’s house and literally belting out the words with all of my classmates. Listening to that song is like traveling back to that night in a time machine. It’s so crazy how a song can do that to you and almost all of the songs I mentioned in the book have made some kind of mental impact.
*Gotta' talk about the sex scenes! A while back you told me the sex scenes weren't that graphic. Um, maybe I need to read some erotica to see what those are like! HooWEE! Steamy! You pull no punches and put us right in the middle of the, ah, action. Very raw and real, I thought. Not a question, but what have you to say for yourself?
I’m blushing! Like seriously, fifty shades of red. What do I have to say for myself? Can I quote Austin Powers here…I don’t even think I can do that (blushing again). In all seriousness, I actually despise writing sex scenes. I don’t feel I’m any good at it. I’ve read a lot of romance and erotica since the breakthrough of Fifty Shades of Grey and my scenes from Man of My Dreams don’t even hold a (semi-stiff) candle to what some are capable of. If I got the point across and made you feel something and wasn’t clinical about it then thank you! Seriously, I can’t believe I’m talking about this. I just hope the reader gets the warm and fuzzies (and maybe some butterflies and tingles) when they read those scenes…alls I’m sayin’.
*Four-fifths of the way through the book, you pull off a very interesting writing choice. You switch the narrative point-of-view to that of a first-person male character. Now, did you have any males read this part? Is this the way you see men? If so, we're in trouble. I thought he came off as sort of an arrogant, self-centered, petty, foul-mouthed lout! Was this your intention? Or was it to gain sympathy for what was happening in his mind?
This question kept me up pondering, worrying, over thinking, slapping myself in the head. I really do NOT see all men as fowl-mouthed, arrogant, self-centered fools. Some definitely are though…you can’t deny me that. But this is Declan and I had SO much fun writing him. My girlfriends who read the book loved these chapters; they liked getting in his head, seeing inside the mind of a horny college guy, someone who is so confident outwardly and possibly inwardly, but who has a lot of little faults and insecurities. Deep down Declan is a loving, caring, charming man who loves his wife, his kids and the life they have together. BUT and this is a big BUT and where he may come off as a jerk, he’s put all his eggs in one basket and like Mia, feels unappreciated at times. I do hope that the female readers (and heck, you male readers too) empathize with Declan in these chapters and finally understand what he is all about.
*What's next on Faith's writing plate?
I’m working on something really fun, and sexy and dramatic all at the same time. It’s called Little Brother. Talk about an arrogant, alpha male…Marcus Grayson is for all intents and purposes a man-whore but when his older sister’s childhood friend, Tessa Bradley, comes back into his life (with a whole lotta baggage) Marcus finds himself battling with his bachelor-for-life motto and his newfound intrigue with Tessa, the forbidden fruit. This book has been so much fun to write…I’m about halfway through and I’m aiming for a January/February 2014 release.
*When and where can we read Man Of My Dreams?
Man of My Dreams is scheduled to be released on September 19, 2013. I will be self publishing through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and CreateSpace so keep a look out and hey, add it to your to-be-read list if you think it’s something that might tickle your fancy.