Allow me to present Andrea Lightfoot, author of Fantastica – Surreal Prose & Poetry. Her book consists of interviews, stories, and poems created by the residents of — and visitors to — Fantastica, a mystical place that has the distinction of being the closest that one can get to Fairyland.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Liverpool, England, and still live in the neighbouring area. My day job is working as a receptionist assistant, but outside of work, I attend ballet lessons, drama, and am in the church choir.
I love drawing, colouring, reading and writing stories and poems, and I also collect tumbled stones (gemstones that have been smoothed – i.e. amethyst, brecciated jasper, carnelian, danburite…. that sort of thing) and I like being out in nature. I’m also open to new experiences which can help to broaden my horizons.
2. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
Not the exact moment, no. I had ideas at different times, from various places and situations about individual stories, poems and other kinds of prose, and I decided to call the book “Fantastica”, as it related to the fantasy genre, and to fantastical pieces of work. Then I made the decision to add to the title, and call it “Fantastica – Short Prose & Poetry” or something to that effect.
After that, I thought a more unusual title would be better – “Fantastica – Surreal Prose & Poetry”. I felt that there are probably loads of books with “short stories & poetry” in the title, and my humble tome did seem rather surreal with out-of-the ordinary-characters and magical, mystical events. My editor liked this title more than the others I suggested, so it stuck. I used the words “prose and poetry” in my book title, due to the fact that, even though there are poems in there, not everything is a poem, but not everything is what you would call a story either, and “prose” covers every eventuality.
At first, despite the title, my stories, poems and anything else, were completely unrelated, and when people from writer’s forums, and a professional editor tell you that people like stories and poems to be related in some way, there must be something in it. Maybe I should change the book completely? I didn’t want to, not after so much work – but hang on a minute! What about that word, “Fantastica?” Surely I could do something with that!
As it turns out, I did. “Fantastica”, rather than just being some random word in a book title, became a country that “is the nearest place to Fairyland, and is part of the “Mystical Realms.”
3. What is your preferred writing time? Morning? Afternoon? Late at night?
I find it quite therapeutic to write stories and poems on my work lunch break. It helps me to relax. Apart from that, it’s just whenever I get the chance, and the motivational energy.
4. Do you have a specific location that you go to when you want to write?
Other than the library, I write either at home, or at the family caravan in north Wales. I have even thought of writing in a park – that would be ideal on a lovely warm summery day!
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
I read books more than I watch movies, so I’ll go with books
2. Cake or ice-cream?
Cake, especially if it’s chocolate or coffee cake!
3. Nights out or nights in?
Nights out – not just for the pubs and clubs (I’m not teetotal but at the same time, I’m not a big alcohol drinker either), but also for cultural and entertainment reasons like going to see a show, a concert or to attend any other evening event.
4. Living in the city or living in the country?
Living in the city.
5. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
6. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
To the future, especially the far future to see what it’s going to be like.
7. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind.
8. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
Going without watching movies/TV shows.
9. Losing your ability to speak or losing your ability to hear?
Losing my ability to speak. I’d rather learn sign language or use other kinds of communication, and be able to hear what people are saying, than never be able to hear. Besides, I love to listen to music.
10. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
It’s a hard one. I like coffee, but I like chocolate even more, so I’ll go with – to never again drink a cup of coffee.