On occasion, I have to go on the road to promote my books. In the old days, it was book signings and doing radio shows. In this new age, it’s mostly podcasts. But whatever the venue, I always bring my dog Danny. Because … let’s face it. People would rather hear from him than me. And if I can move a few books, I can put up with his snarky ways. Here’s an abridged version of a recent podcast we did, so you can see what I have to deal with.
Today we’re sitting down with the authors Andrew Joyce and Danny the Dog for a joint interview. Andrew is the author of several novels and Danny writes a monthly column to keep his legions of fans informed as to his latest adventures. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Andrew: It’s a pleasure to be here.
Danny: Me too … I guess.
Tell me a little about yourselves and your backgrounds?
Andrew: I’m a writer, which surprises me greatly. For the first few years of my writing career, I never referred to myself as a writer. I just wanted to tell stories. It was only when the royalties started coming in and I could quit my day job that I dared think of myself as such.
Danny: I’m a dog.
What book or books have had a strong influence on you and/or your writing?
Andrew: The works of Louis L’Amour and Robert B. Parker.
Danny: The genius writings of Danny the Dog.
ANDREW: Excuse me, but I need to speak to Danny for a minute.
Andrew (whispering): What are you doing, Danny? You don’t seem to be taking this interview seriously. You’re giving one-word answers and when asked about your favorite authors, you say “yourself.” I know all us writers think of ourselves as our favorite author, but you’re not supposed to say that out loud.
Danny: Whatever! May we continue with the inquisition?
Andrew: I’m sorry for Danny’s attitude.
That’s okay, Andrew. Danny and I understand one another. So let’s carry on. Going back to the beginning, what is it that got you into writing?
Andrew: One morning, about ten years ago, I went crazy. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story. I threw it up on the internet just for the hell of it, and a few months later I was notified that it was to be included in a print anthology of the best short stories of 2011. I even got paid for it! I’ve been writing ever since.
Danny: One day, about five years ago, Andrew went out and left the computer on. He was always complaining about how hard it is to write anything decent, so I thought I’d show him how easy it is when one has talent. Is that a long enough answer for you, Andrew?
Tell us a little bit about your writing process.
Andrew: I prefer to write in the early morning hours when things are quiet. I usually get up around 2:00 a.m. and go to work. The commute is not long … only a few steps to my computer.
Danny: I have to wait until Hemingway over there goes to bed.
Andrew: By any chance, are you referring to me?
Danny: Yes, but only in an ironic way.
Andrew: You see what I’ve got to put up with?
Now, boys, play nice. You are both professionals. What would your fans think?
Andrew: You’re right. I’m sorry.
Danny: I’m the only one with fans around here. I’d say that Andrew’s been riding my coattails for years … if I had coattails. But for your sake, I’ll try to be well-behaved.
That’s a good doggie. Do either of you have any hobbies? Or anything you like to do in your spare time?
Andrew: I like to read history and do research for my next book. I also like to watch old movies from the 1930s and ’40s.
Danny: My hobby is looking after His Nibs here. I’m always getting him out of trouble or bailing him out of jail after one of his benders. I call him Hemingway because he drinks like Ernie did. You should see ol’ Andrew when he’s had a snootful.
What are you two working on at the moment?
Andrew: This interview.
Andrew: High five, Danny.
Danny: Next question, please.
Andrew: Hey, Danny. Don’t leave me hangin’.
Danny: Pleeease … give us the next question!
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use a set formula?
Andrew: I usually sit down to write a book with no idea where my characters will lead me. I start out with what I hope will be a killer first sentence … and the last paragraph of the book. Then I set out to fill the in-between space with 100,000 words. I find that the easy part. Sometimes I will bring my characters to a certain place, only to have them rebel when we get there. They’ll tell me they want to go somewhere else and take off on their own. I have no choice but to follow.
Danny: That was a pretty artsy-fartsy answer.
Andrew: Was not.
Danny: Was too.
Andrew: Was not!
Danny: Was too. Was too. Was too!!!
Boys! If you can’t behave, I’ll have to end the interview. As a child, Andrew what did you want to be when you grew up? And, as a puppy, Danny, what did you want to do?
Andrew: I never wanted to grow up, and I believe I have succeeded.
Danny: I think he has, too. As a puppy, I only wanted to survive Andrew.
What would we find under your bed?
Andrew: The monster that lives there.
Danny: When it thunders, me (and Andrew’s monster).
If you could travel into the past or future, where would you want to go? Why?
Andrew: Egypt. I’d like to see the Great Pyramid being built.
Danny: The caveman days. I think it would be super-duper to be in a time before dogs allowed themselves to be “domesticated.”
What has been your worst or most difficult job?
Andrew: Some jobs I’ve had in the past have been real doozies. I’ve done back-breaking physical labor. I’ve worked as a waiter for a short spell and hated every minute of it. I worked with and breathed in chemicals that have done a number on my lungs. But the worst job I ever had was when I was eighteen. I worked at a McDonalds for one day. At the end of the shift, I walked out never to return. I didn’t care about the pay I was owed or anything else. I just wanted out of there.
Danny: The most difficult job I ever had, and still do, come to think of it, is looking after Andrew.
What group did you hang out with in high school?
Andrew: I had no friends in high school. Still don’t … come to think of it.
Danny: At last … Andrew has said one true thing! I, of course, had no need of schooling. I was born brilliant. Not to mention wonderful, marvelous, and good looking.
What is something that you absolutely cannot live without?
Danny: If you don’t mind, I’ll field this one for both of us. For Andrew, it’s vodka. For me, it’s Andrew.
Andrew: Aw shucks, Danny.
Thank you for stopping by. It’s been a little different. However, I believe we’ve learned a few things about your writing processes … and a few other things as well.
Andrew: Thank you for having us.
Danny: Yeah, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.