Tuesday, February 8, 2022

D.A. Andrews Interview - To Fight Fire with Sun


Photo Content from D. A. Andrews

D. A. Andrews was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. Throughout the years, she has developed wide interests in various aspects of life, such as coffee, weddings, books, and psychology. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus with a BSc. in Marine Biology and Psychology (Honors) and is currently pursuing her MBA. She considers herself a nomad at heart and has changed cities and apartments quite as often as she changes her clothes. She is currently resting her head in Brunswick, Georgia, with her black cat (and familiar), Luna.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I think it was in my high school English class. I believe it was the 11th grade and my teacher was Mrs. Thorpe. I had been writing since I was younger, but I had just submitted a short story for a test and Mrs. Thorpe told me how beautiful it was and she was really proud of me for it! I started to take my writing more seriously after that!

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
I have a hard time picking all-time favorites as they tend to change over the years. But, currently, it is Scythe by Neal Shusterman as it allowed me to get out of a three year slump where I never read anything. I finished that book in two days and honestly loved every minute of it. I think it is also my favorite book outside my genre!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I think it is reading the reviews on the book! I have gotten so much feedback from people that I have kept up with along the way. The reviews have honestly made me a better writer and let me know that my book accomplished what I wanted it to do; to make at least one person feel less alone in this life.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I like to think that this book was about ten years in the making, even though I did not know it at the time. With that being said, I think my low self-worth at the time was the single worst distraction that kept me from fully writing the book. I never thought I was good enough to be an author or to even call myself a writer for a long time. It wasn’t until I reached rock bottom, that I really pulled myself out of it and wrote my book.

Can you tell us when you started TO FIGHT FIRE WITH SUN, how that came about?
It started after a horrible few days. I believe the beginning of the week started with a huge fight with someone from my past, a few days later, my best friend Alexander died, and then a few days after that I found out that someone I thought I would have a relationship with ended up getting back with their ex. I kind of reached a breaking point. So I booked a plane ticket back home to Jamaica, locked myself in my parents’ apartment for two weeks and sort of just wrote it.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from TO FIGHT FIRE WITH SUN
I think my favourite part of To Fight Fire with Sun is the preface. It captures exactly what the book is about and gives a sort of backstory as to how it came to fruition. After I decided that I wanted to write this book, I went through a lot of my old poetry and read through. I chose the ones that I would eventually include in my manuscript based on feeling. I can’t exactly describe the feeling I had, but I liken it to when you just know you are in love. I, also, think the line “For, we must feel our feelings in this lifetime, whether “good”, “bad”, or “ugly”. It is in these hardships of life, that we deeply appreciate what is in front of us. “ from my preface sums the book up in its entirety. Additionally, the shortest poem from my book is another of my favourites and it goes:

I write people into poems

in hopes this is the way

they live on.

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT TO FIGHT FIRE WITH SUN
  • 1) I wrote most of it in Kingston, Jamaica
  • 2) The book began because I had experienced the worst few days of my life that ended with the death of my dearest friend, Alex (to whom the book is dedicated).
  • 3) My book is divided into two sections: one that focuses on loss and the other on love.
  • 4) I compiled the entire book in a month.
  • 5) I used a Jamaican designer for the cover and illustrations. Her name is Roux.
  • 6) The works span from poetry I wrote at the ages of 18-26.
  • 7) The title actually came to me a few months before I wrote the book. I like to think that the elusive creative fairy dropped the gem in my mind.
  • 8) I had hoped that the book would be longer than it is. But, the book spoke for itself while I was writing and I ended it as it is because I felt I did not need to go any further.
  • 9) The namesake poem was originally a gift for someone I adored.
  • 10) I believe writing To Fight Fire with Sun helped to turn me into the person I am today.
Your Journey to Publication
I officially started in November 2020; though I had previously written some of the poems in creative writing courses and as gifts for others. I ended up editing those and writing entirely new poetry for the manuscript when I traveled to Jamaica for a short hiatus. I remember being overcome by some sort of force and I sat down religiously each and every day to compile the manuscript for To Fight Fire with Sun. I think that my greatest trial was that I was battling with a host of demons including imposter syndrome and I kept thinking that no one would ever want to read what I had to say. I kept thinking that my writing was not good enough; that I was not good enough. However, I pushed through and I think my favourite moment was holding my book in my hands. I remember crying because I had actually done it. I had done something I always wanted to do. My friends and family supported my final work when I published and I received so many great reviews when people read it. My best friend, CC was there through it all, from sitting across from me in my parents’ apartment when I just started writing the manuscript, to constantly retweeting and sharing my links when I published. She has been my rock through it all.

Writing Behind the Scenes
I don’t particularly have a process. I just sit and write when I feel called to. I don’t outline. Most of my poetry starts out with a line that pops into my head and I go from there. I tend to write in my journal first before typing it out. Sometimes, I write in my notes app when I can’t get to pen and paper. I have even felt the need to pull over on the highway and write down a line or two before they evade me. I strive to pull inspiration from everything: love, loss, and even mundane activities like eating oatmeal.

What is the first job you have had? 
I worked as a retail associate at a large clothing store in Jamaica. Kudos to everyone who works in retail!

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
That I want to go back to sleep haha!

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today? 
I have dealt with a host of mental illnesses and as a result one of my trauma responses is to shut down. A few years ago, I went completely numb and stayed that way for about 2 years. I started to go to therapy after I realized how bad it had gotten. The simple act of walking into my therapist’s office 3 years ago and telling her “I cannot feel anything and I need you to make me feel” changed me completely. I now embrace my tempest of emotions wholeheartedly and therapy definitely has changed the way I think today.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
True love with a guarantee of heartbreak. I have been through hell and back when it comes to love and I know that I can handle anything I need to. Love demands to be felt and I would never have it any other way.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
I battle with body dysmorphia, so looking in the mirror plagues me with a plethora of intrusive thoughts. I often try to tell myself that I am fine just the way I am.

First Love? 
My college girlfriend, M.

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
The week leading up to me deciding to write my book! haha!


To Fight Fire with Sun is a chapbook of poetry that dives into the experiences of love and loss. From conception, we have known love (or the lack thereof) and have grown to understand how this experience makes us the humans we are today. Loss comes in all forms. Whether through a friend, lover, or ourselves, we seek to find some method with which we can understand this pain and heal from it. To Fight Fire With Sun is just that- a queer girl's exploration into how one can love, lose, and heal through the power of words.

You can purchase To Fight Fire with Sun at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CREATIVE EDGE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
jbnpastinterviews

11 comments:

  1. I would anime in that extra time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Probably read or mess around online. If I could work at night I'd have lots more time to spend with my dog in the daytime.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Develop new skills and expand current ones.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is so much that I would do...read, clean, catch up with friends, watch TV, spend time with my family...there's not enough time in the day to do all that I want or need to do!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would spend time with my grandson.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?" Write symphonies! Learn modern dance! Study Hindi!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I would spend more time in the garden or cooking for the family.

    ReplyDelete