Today I had the privilege to interview author Andrea Gerber, about her work as a writer.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.
Andrea Gerber: I am a mommy and wife by day, and a novelist by night. I am the keeper of cheerios, and a welder of words. I strongly believe in telling a story that will not only uplift and encourage my readers, but also help them to realize the difference between what is easy and what is right; between what is good and what is evil.
At an early age, my father introduced me to the world that David Eddings created. Ever since I went on the journey with Garion and Ce'Nedra, I have been hooked on fantasy books and finished a good majority of my dad's massive library. I greatly enjoy reading and literally devour any and every book I can get my hands on.
Even if nothing were to come of the books I have already written, I still believe it has produced an even greater result. I know that I want to write, and plan on returning to college at some point to strengthen those skills.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Andrea Gerber: I have greatly enjoyed writing for quite some time, but cannot pinpoint the first one, much to my disappointment. Growing up, I loved to make up stories and characters. I saw school writing projects as opportunities to tell stories, and make my point in my own way.
Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?
Andrea Gerber: My grandmother. She was an author and self-published several books before she died. I always admired her and thought it was the coolest thing that she had written a book.
In the beginning, I wrote because it was an escape from things I was going through when I was younger. If you would have told me that I would have been an aspiring author in four years time, I would have told you you were insane. I hated English class at one point, allowing poor teachers to dampen my enthusiasm, but I have always been good at making things up.
Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?
Andrea Gerber: I love getting unequivocally lost in a character's life, emotions, and trials. For me, writing has always had a calming affect after a long day; it was just something I have always done without putting much thought into it. Taking on another person's life and really putting my entire heart and soul into their details is like a mental vacation each and every night. Every one of my characters is as real to me as you are, which probably sounds odd to some but makes perfect sense to me.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book “A Perception of Dreams”, and the main character(s).
Andrea Gerber: Dark, disturbing dreams could be considered normal for a fifteen year old girl who has lost both of her parents, but Tabitha Hale is anything but normal. She believes she is all alone in the world, except for her cat, Ivy, and her best friend, Emma, and is shocked to discover the existence of a grandmother she never knew about. Determined to meet her grandmother and uncover the truth of her parents' deaths, she leaves the only home she's ever known behind. Along the way, she discovers great friends and a greater enemy on a dangerous journey of self-discovery which will end where it started … in her dreams.
Tabitha is ultimately the main character of the book and the series. As the lead character, she is strong, but is also struggling to find the meaning in her life now that her parents are no longer around to guide her. Emma is somewhat shy as we first meet her. Her mother has insisted she grow up with frilly, 'girly' things. She is modest, and wouldn't dare speak her mind … at least, not around those she does not know. She has always wanted to be more daring and outgoing though … like Tabitha. Nysa is a little blonde firecracker. She's just a small child, trusting and innocent … or is she? Aidan is the male lead of the series and at the center of a love triangle between best friends Tabitha and Emma. He has a warrior's heart, and is a natural leader. Lilliana is Tabitha's grandmother, who she did not know even existed. She is a leader, and used to giving orders. Her granddaughter tests that hard exterior shell. Josiah is the father figure that Tabitha and Emma no longer have. He is a long time friend of Emma and Tabitha's late parents. He is the moral compass that completes the group.
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?
Andrea Gerber: I began working on the Tabitha Hale Saga in December of 2008 after I awoke from a dream. I wrote every night and then took a break when I had my son. Once I returned to writing again in 2010, I knew that I wanted everyone else to take part in Tabitha's journey. As I grew more in love with the characters and their stories, my writing turned into much more than just a hobby and the series really began to take on a life of its own.
Books & Writing: Who designed the cover art for the book?
Andrea Gerber: Funny you ask this. I happened to run across the wallpaper at highwallpapers.com. I made it my personal mission to find the designer, and didn't have too look far ... the owner of the site created it (he goes by Hiko). I asked for and received permission to use the image. He felt it wasn't even that great of a picture - one of his earliest Photoshop experiments. I fell in love with it though and was so grateful to be able to use it for the book.
Books & Writing: I believe this is the first book of a Saga. When will you publish a new part of the saga?
Andrea Gerber: Yes, A Perception of Dreams is the first installment in the series. I'm currently working on the fourth book of the series. The second book is in the editing process. There are many authors who only publish one book a year. As an avid reader myself, I have high hopes that I will be able to release each book about six months apart. It's way too hard, as a reader, to wait for the next book and when I do get the next one, I usually forget what the first was about. Then again, patience has never been my strong suit ... especially when it comes to books.
Books & Writing: Which publisher published the book and how did you get in contact with this publisher?
Andrea Gerber: After I finished the second book in the series, I began searching for representation at my husband's insistence. After completing the third book, I found Pauline Vilain. I am looking forward to what will hopefully be a long and fruitful relationship. She is currently in the process of finding a publisher for A Perception of Dreams and we both hope to hear from one soon.
Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?
Andrea Gerber: I have another series that has been nagging at the back of my mind for a while now which takes place in modern society. I have several chapters completed of that idea and know where I am going with it for the most part, but am too focused on Tabitha's story to focus my full attention on it. I'm excited for the Tabitha Hale Saga to be complete, in my mind at least, so that I can begin giving more attention to the other story. So many ideas, so little time!
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Andrea Gerber: Writing really is all about time management. Set a reminder on your phone that sends you an encouraging quote. Pencil in a specific time (without the internet) to sit down and write. Let a friend know your schedule so that they can help keep you accountable in your time management, and don't let anyone bring you down. The moment you allow negative thoughts to invade your mind, you've lost the ability to write. Instead, approach negativity with the outlook of, 'I will prove all of them wrong.' Also, don't just say you'll do it. Do it.
Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?
Andrea Gerber: David Eddings. Out of the multitude of books I have read, his are by far my favorite. His writing style isn't what I would call an easy read, but it isn't complex enough that it requires hours to wade through either. At some point during all of the books he wrote, he began writing with his wife, Leah. I really admire that both of them were intertwined in the characters lives enough to be able to sit down and share all of it collectively. It's beautiful when an author can find someone to help him or her through their writing process, but finding someone to just share all of it with is even more lovely.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Andrea Gerber: I have the first chapter of A Perception of Dreams listed on my website, andreagerber.com. I also post a daily fan question in my blog, andreagerberbooks.blogspot.com, and encourage my readers to keep the questions coming.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Andrea Gerber: The above two options will lead you to the others, which include Goodreads and Pinterest. The other two I update daily are my Facebook page, found under TheTabithaHaleSaga, and my Twitter account, TabithaHaleSaga. I welcome any and all comments, questions, or random book discussions, and typically respond the day of receiving a message on any of the above.
Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
Andrea Gerber: I am so thankful for all of the people who have taken a peek at A Perception of Dreams and encouraged me to take it to the next level with publishing. Without them and Pauline to cheer me on, I never would have had the courage to do any of this.
Here is an excerpt from the book A Perception of Dreams!
“You and Josiah aren't like the people back in Aspen Lake,” stated Tabitha.
“Oh?” Aidan was smiling again, but not providing any other useful information.
“Yes. Oh!” she continued. “So where do you come from? I don't know a lot about the surrounding villages.”
“I believe that falls under a category for your grandmother to answer,” he finally said.
“You have to consult my grandmother before you can tell someone where you're from? Okay, that seems a bit controlling,” came Tabitha's sarcastic response. “'Hi, my name's Aidan,'” she began in a mocking conversation. “'Nice to meet you, Aidan. Where you from?' 'Oh, I can't tell you unless Tabitha Hale's grandmother says its alright.' Am I the only one having a problem with the logic in this?” she concluded.
He was smiling in amusement, which Tabitha found really annoying. She had hoped to goad him into spilling a bean or two. “This isn't about permission, Tabitha. It's about timing. The things that I say won't make much sense outside of their proper context. But, since patience doesn't seem to be one of your strengths, I will say that I was born in a land far different from the one you were raised in.”