Cap’n Joe: Can you tell my readers a little about your background nationality/ancestry?
Andy: Originally from Swansea, Wales, UK, I am an innovative, chartered professional in the oil & gas industries. I have in-depth knowledge of LNG Plants, upstream and downstream oil & gas facilities, storage tanks, cross country, desert and subsea pipelines and my story explains events in over 24 countries, some of which I shouldn’t have survived. Who’d believe one person has been ambushed, shot at, escaped a murder attempt in Kazakhstan, had cholera, fled Venezuelan rioters, hid in the bottom of a taxi in the middle of thousands of Hugo Javis protesters in Caracas, had voodoo done to me twice and survived a medical emergency evacuation from Nigeria?
Cap’n Joe: When you finished your debut novel, how did you feel?
Andy: I guess a form of relief would be my first thought. I’ve had so much going on in my life, which nobody could ever have imagined, possible; it was a relief to finally share my thoughts, experiences and emotions. I included photos as nobody would have believed some of my stories without the proof that certain events actually took place. My laptop, camera and wallet were stollen in Ghana, so I lost a great deal of photos which I wanted to include in my book.
So many people aren’t expected to believe in voodoo for example, so I included the photos of one of the ceremonies done in my house in the Caribbean, in my book and also website. I felt sorry for the chicken, but surprised that when they removed its head, there wasn’t a single drop of blood. It was as if it was a dry chicken? I also included photos of the guilty that tried to murder me, leaving me with a deep head scar, and the results from the voodoo done to me after having a ten hour life saving operation.
Cap’n Joe: While writing, did you need help with punctuation, grammar, etc., if so where did you turn?
Andy: That’s a sore point. I paid my original publisher in America £3,500.00 pounds to do a professional editorial proof read guaranteeing 97% accuracy according to the Oxford English rules. When I received my manuscript back, it was in a form of English new to me. In fact, throughout my entire manuscript, paragraphs no longer made an ounce of sense causing me to re-write the entire manuscript. Contrary to what was promised, they refused to publish under my own name and insisted that I use a pen name. They also refused to publish any photos, including photos of myself telling me I needed permission from the person who took the photo using my own camera? I found out later that they’d sent my manuscript to the Philippines to be done.
I decided to go to the added expense and republish through Friesen Press in Canada. Friesen Press were a wonderful publisher to deal with and they published my manuscript under my own name and included all the photographs of my life in 24 countries. Problem was that my manuscript still contained the terrible English grammar and hundreds of spelling mistakes, so I have now corrected all I could find doing it on my Mac screen and my new book will be ready in June 2014 with an increased page count of approximately 450 pages.
Cap’n Joe: With the number of hours spent writing, did your family members support you or complain about the time spent away from them?
Andy: No, my family members had never seen me so quiet and they enjoyed the peace and tranquility. Even my Mac’s keyboard was quiet. Sometimes they’d hear me laugh as I remembered something to include, or cry when I needed to remember events I’d tried so desperately to forget. When I explained about adding an event, which included an operation on my ‘mans best friend’, in Kuala Lumpur, they were shocked and said, “you’re not going to tell people about that are you?” I was also advised not to include certain exploits with the ladies I’d met in China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Africa, Venezuela and a host of other countries.
My mother claims that her son is living proof that sh*t happens!
My mother had retained all the letters I’d posted home before PCs were invented so they were fresh recollections to include in my manuscript.
Cap’n Joe: Did writing your first novel benefit you in any way and if so, how?
Andy: Yes, it benefitted me by keeping me quiet, keeping me home, and keeping me out of trouble!
Cap’n Joe: When you were writing your book, did you shut-off from family and all social networks?
Andy: No. Someone had to make the coffee, cook and turn the TV volume down a little. Actually, most of my book was written on an iPhone down the local pub! Beer is very inspiring and iCloud is a wonderful aid for writers. I was able to use the same file whether I was using my iPhone, iPad or back home on my Mac.
Cap’n Joe: Did you use friends or family members as Beta readers for your debut novel, if so who?
Andy: Yes, my mother is a very fast reader and she would go through my manuscript pointing out mistakes like times, dates place names etc. She also advised to keep it sex free as she knew only too well some of my sexploits around the world and the fact that I’d married three times. Even I was surprised to wake up one morning in Indonesia with twelve girls in my room. I still have the photo which I emailed back home much to the astonishment of my mother! J
Cap’n Joe: What do you do when you aren’t writing? Do you have any hobbies?
Andy: Yes, Vimeo, Flickr, Twitter, Slideshare, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google+, Facebook, Instagram and correcting my manuscript and eh, oh fishing J
Cap’n Joe: Where can readers go to find your book?
Andy: Website http://www.andys-story.co has most of the links to Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Good Kindles, FriesenPress, Ingrams etc. Otherwise, readers can search on “Andy’s Story – Too much for a lifetime”. Website also contains the screenplay for a two hour Hollywood movie, TV interviews etc.
Cap’n Joe: Thank you Andy for taking time out from your busy day to answer my questions. I’ve enjoyed getting to know a lot more about you. It’s a pleasure having you join my blog. I wish you the very best with your book and any you publish in the future
All the very best Joe, keep up the amazing support and I hope to meet you for a few Singha Beers in BKK when I’m next in town.