Monday, May 4, 2015

Showcase w/ review: Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen

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Q.  What inspires your writing? 
Both everyday occurrences and my own wacky imagination.  I like to keep a notebook full of story ideas—little bits and pieces ofthings that interest me.  Occupations I find interesting, descriptions of nature that struck me, and what if questions. 

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an writer?
I love hearing from readers who enjoyed my books!  It absolutely makes my day when I read an enthusiastic e-mail or online review from a fan. It’s also fun when I visit a book club that has read my book and I can just sit back and enjoy hearing my characters talked about as if they’re real people.  It’s positively surreal hearing readers discuss my characters who have lived so long only in my head, but now exist for other people as well.  I love listening to readers speculate on their motives and their futures after the book, because my characters feel like dear friends and family to me, and I enjoy knowing that others now feel that way about them too.   

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an writer?
For me, it’s definitely the revision process.  I really enjoy drafting novels and inventing new characters and settings.  But it’s much more challenging for me to go back into a draft and try to add or cut scenes, deepen characters, tighten the plot, clarify the theme, etc.  Thankfully, I have really good first readers who help me with their constructive criticism and willingness to read multiple drafts. 

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be? 
A librarian!  Since I love books so much, I think this would be a pretty good fit for me. 

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
I struggle with titles for my books, so the title for my life is even trickier to come up with, especially since I haven’t lived all of it yet and hopefully have many more decades to go.  Maybe something like Wisconsin Girl or The Doctor’s Wife.  
Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert.  It’s the inspirational story of a young Hawaiian girl who is diagnosed with leprosy and sent to live in a leper colony on the island of Moloka'i.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
I wish I were most like Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice (fiercely loyal and brave, who marches to the beat of her own drum), but I fear I’m more like her older sister, Jane, who is a bit more timid and cares more about social norms and what others think of her. 
Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like? 
I’m definitely most similar to Olive, the practical, level-headed ICU nurse from my first novel, The Repeat Year.  

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
The Harry Potter novels.  Or maybe I should simply go down to Florida and visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!   

Q.  What do you want to be remembered for 100 years from now?
It would mean a lot to me if my great-great-great-grandkids remembered me as a strong female role model who wrote good novels and was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother.  

Q.  What is your favorite season? 
Summer.  I live in Wisconsin where we have long, cold winters, so the warm weather is all the more precious.  Everyone comes out of hibernation for those three months and it’s a constant party of backyard barbecues, trips to the beach, and weddings. 

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
The designer, Julie Metz did an amazing job capturing the mood of IMAGINARY THINGS.  The cover depicts a tree-lined backyard during summer with fireflies lighting up the twilight.  But my favorite thing about the cover is the secret shape that the fireflies are outlining!  I won’t give it away; you just need to look closely.  I love how Metz was able to take something surreal and magical from the book and turn it into something symbolic on the cover.    

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
I was invited to talk to a local book club who was reading my first novel, THE REPEAT YEAR.  They gave me the address which I plugged into my GPS.  When I arrived, the house my GPS led me to had the same exterior description that the hostess had given me, so I didn’t even bother to check the house number.  Bad idea—it was the wrong house!  Thankfully, the very kind man who answered the door directed me to his neighbor’s house two doors down.   

Q.  Are you working on something new?
I’m a few chapters into my third novel, which I’m very excited about.  Like my first two books, it also has a magical premise, although I don’t want to give it away!  So all I’ll say is it’s about two sisters and their family lake house which holds a secret, and I’m having so much fun writing it.   

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
Hello, fine folks!  Thanks so much for reading this interview, and I hope you’ll check out my newest novel, Imaginary Things.  


Watching children play and invent whimsical games of fantasy is one of life's great joys. But what if you could actually see your child's imagination as it unfolded? And what would you do if your child's imagination suddenly became dark and threatening?

Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents' rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she's lost her mind or she can actually see her son's active imagination. Frightened for David's safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon and how best to protect him. But what she uncovers along the way is completely unexpected: revelations about what her son's imaginary friends truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood imaginary friend.

Living next door is Jamie Presswood, Anna's childhood friend who's grown much more handsome and hardened than the boy she once knew. But past regrets and their messy lives are making the rekindling of their complex friendship prove easier said than done. Between imaginary creatures stalking her son and a tumultuous relationship with David's biological father, Anna may find it impossible to have room in her life or her heart for another man. But as David's visions become more threatening, Anna must learn to differentiate between which dangers are real and which are imagined, and whom she can truly trust.

Andrea Lochen

Andrea Lochen is the author of two novels, IMAGINARY THINGS and THE REPEAT YEAR. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and lives in Madison with her husband and daughter.

I love reading something so original and fun...Imaginary Things is one of those great reads that takes you on a journey through the world of a mother, her son and some imaginary friends.  This book was so original, the characters well developed and plot was twisty and turny.  What I loved about this book was not only the things I previously stated, but the touch a magic, which made this reading experience so fun.  There were so many times I said to myself "What if this was me....what would I do".  Such a wonderful and heartfelt story...4.5 stars

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