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January 6, 2023

Choosing Life, Andrews’s first book, is hailed by BookLife Reviews as a “riveting debut [that] lays bare his painful journey through depression, alcoholism, and attempted suicide, culminating in his inspiring path to recovery.” We spoke with Andrews about his writing, his unique way of accessing his memories, and how he hopes to help others.

Did you always want to be a writer? And if so, did you think that your first book would be a memoir?

I’ve always enjoyed writing. In junior high and high school, I held various writing and editing roles with the school paper. Then I got into software sales and lost connection with my passion for writing. It was only as part of my recovery that I rediscovered the joy of writing. I feel so lucky to have that part of me back.

I never thought of myself as a book writer. The ideas and pages just started flowing. A memoir seemed like the best way to get my story out. It also felt like the right thing to do. I’m still getting used to calling myself an author. However, now that my first book is out and I understand the process better, I feel comfortable working on another.

How do you refresh your memories when writing about events from years ago?

Oh, wow, for so many memories that was tough. The deep, overwhelming depressive episodes. The stupid drinking. The night of my attempt. So emotionally draining.Many tears. It is strange crying over your own words.

When an idea pops into my head, I just start writing. I take a deep breath and hit the keyboard. The words take me back. Then, as I approach the specific event I’m trying to describe, I close my eyes, tilt my head back, and keep typing, spelling mistakes and all. When I’ve gotten out what I can, I stop and leave it for a while. Regroup. Come back with a slightly different perspective. When I get to editing, I work with the thesaurus. Is that the best possible description of what was going on? Is that what was happening? Is that exactly how I was feeling? Many times, when I home in on a better adjective or verb, or string of words, new memories surface. That causes a bigger rewrite. I keep doing that until I feel like I’m actually in that place again. Then, more fine-tuning until I’m satisfied that someone else might be able to get there with me.

Was there anything that you wanted to include in Choosing Life but had to cut?

I do have more to say, but that is why I have another book in me and why I am publishing shorter pieces on my website CreedsLiving.com. For this book, though, the memoir centered on the biggest event in my life and I feel satisfied.

If you could pick anyone to give this book to, who would it be and why?

My Uncle Tom and friend Steve. I wish I had given myself a chance to try to help them more before it became too late.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on CREEDS Living, both the website and the book and eventually a podcast. They fall in the self-help/self-improvement category. It is an expansion of what I talk about in part two of Choosing Life. CREEDS Living includes current experiences, general thoughts on living, revelations based on my own personal growth, and an examination of what I’m reading and hearing in the recovery, growth, and wellness worlds.

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