Thursday, April 23, 2015

Getting inside Andrea Lochen's head...plus a book giveaway

We're glad to have Andrea Lochen back at CLC after her first visit two years ago when she debuted with The Repeat Year (reviewed here). Her latest novel, Imaginary Things, sounds intriguing and we can't wait to dig in!

Andrea earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she was a Colby Fellow. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the Fiction Editor of The Madison Review, a nationally-distributed, student-run literary magazine. Since 2008, she has taught undergraduate writing at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and was recently awarded the UW Colleges Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Andrea currently lives in Madison with her husband and infant daughter and is at work on her third novel. (Bio from Andrea's website.)

You can find Andrea at her website and on Facebook. She has a copy of Imaginary Things for a lucky reader in the US or Canada!

What is the best compliment you've received about your writing? What is a piece of constructive feedback you received for The Repeat Year that you used for Imaginary Things?
I've heard from several people that they devoured The Repeat Year in a weekend or a single day! But probably my most meaningful compliment came from a young woman who had tragically lost her sister to cancer. She told me that she understood the challenges Olive faced while trying to get used to the idea of having a stepfather after her dad passed away, and that it actually helped the young woman come to terms with seeing her own sister's husband start dating again and eventually remarry. It was a really humbling experience for me to learn that my writing could help someone cope with something in their own life.

When The Repeat Year came out, the fun (and somewhat apt) comparison was often made to the movie Groundhog Day, since it's about a woman who wakes up to discover she's reliving a year of her life (similar to Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray relives the same day over and over). So when I set out to write Imaginary Things, I knew I wanted to use a magical premise that no one had ever used before (at least not that I'm aware of): a mother who can see her child's imagination come to life right before her very eyes!

How did you decide to take on a surreal aspect with your novels?
I love writing about the surreal! It's so much fun for me to dream up a magical premise and then imagine how everyday people would react to it. I think a lot of people read to escape reality, so I like to give readers something a little out of the ordinary. Whenever I’m coming up with a new novel idea, I always start with a “what if?” question. In the case of The Repeat Year, my question was: what if a person was granted a second chance to relive a year of their life? With Imaginary Things, the question was: what if a mother could see her child’s imagination, and what if it suddenly turned threatening and dangerous?

If you were to cast Imaginary Things as a movie, who would you choose for the lead characters?
The young and lovely AnnaSophia Robb for Anna, Taylor Lautner (of Twilight fame) for Jamie, Alex Pettyfer for Patrick, Susan Sarandon for Duffy, Harrison Ford for Winston, and some adorably mischievous, precocious little boy for David.

Melissa A: If David can be a few years older in the movie, I nominate my younger son. :)

What is something funny that happened to you recently?
I'm a new mom with a two month old daughter, and basically everything she does cracks me up from her happy little grins to her coos and babbles to the way she can wiggle out of any swaddle blanket like a little Houdini. Recently, my husband and I took her to church, and when he knelt down with her to pray, she spit up a small waterfall over the pew in front of us. Thankfully, the couple in front of us were also kneeling, so it missed them, but it dribbled down the back of the wood pew and onto the seat cushion! Yuck! We quickly tried to clean it up as best we could with a burp rag and the poor people in front of us were never the wiser! (Although the folks behind us were silently shaking trying to hold in their laughter at our little performance.)

What is the last movie you saw that you'd recommend?
I loved Boyhood with its coming of age story and the neat concept of following the same actors over the span of twelve years. At times humorous, at times bittersweet, it intimately depicted the struggles of a single mother trying to do the best for her children and make something of herself. I found myself really connecting with the characters.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Thick crust or stuffed crust pizza—the more cheese, the better! Hey, I am from Wisconsin, after all!

Thanks to Andrea for visiting with us and sharing her book with our readers!

~Interview by Melissa Amster

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


US/Canada only. Giveaway ends April 28th at midnight EST.

26 comments:

Wall-to-wall books said...

I actually did have an imaginary friend as a kid!
His name was Tommy. He used to jump our fence and come and play with me. But every time my parents came our he would jump the fence again and disappear! No body ever saw him but me! And it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that he wasn't real!

Bonnie Franks said...

Just so you know? I put my first name in the box for the comment info and hit enter accidentally. No coffee yet. I did not have an imaginary friend as a child. My brother did and I respected him totally. My daughter also did and I always included a dinner plate for her at the table. :)

susieqlaw said...

I had an imaginary friend.

Janine said...

I did have an imaginary friend. It was an imaginary cat that I used to talk to. Yea I know, I'm strange.

cpr040304 said...

I didn't have an imaginary friend growing up and I haven't had a surreal experience other than spirits tend to follow me for whatever reason. They make their presence known by making noises. I sometimes feel their presence. I used to be scared. Not anymore.

Laurice McClung said...

I had an imaginary friend when I was little. His name was Boy. I can still remember what he looked like.

Rhonda J G said...

No imaginary friend!

traveler said...

I never had an imaginary friend. Surreal experience when I was young. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Jessica Meddick said...

Never had an imaginary friend growing up and I can't think of any surreal experiences I've had. Maybe sometimes I think I hear my dog barking when she died a year ago.

jpetroroy said...

Had two imaginary friends who lived in my yard.

Jessica Meddick said...

I just realized I put a link to a different giveaway for the 'invite friends to like us on facebook' part of the Rafflecopter. I meant to put that I invited Christa Cervone to like your facebook page. Sorry about that!

Linda Kish said...

No surreal experiences and no imaginary friends. My son had an imaginary pet...kitty burford.

bn100 said...

no imaginary friend

Christi said...

LOL! I totally had an imaginary horse that I would ride around and then tie to the bumper of our car when we had to go to the grocery store.

Susan T. said...

I read a lot as a kid so I had a new imaginary friend every book. I would talk to the characters like they were there with me!

Hailey Fish said...

When I was younger, I would tell stories to my family how I had a family who lived in Africa, they had names, there were stories about each person in my family. I would also say how we would walk to the watering hole with baskets on top of our heads and fill it up with water. We also moved to Philadelphia. My mom always thought I must have had a previous life!

Glenda Hefty said...

No imaginary friends or surreal experience...I guess I have led a boring life, lol!

Bonnie K. said...

No imaginary friend or surreal experience. My life is pretty basic. LOL

bluedawn95864@gmail.com

LettyB said...

I had no imaginary friends. :-(

rubynreba said...

When I was four I had an imaginary boyfriend who lived in a town about 20 miles away!

Kerry O'Dea said...

I didn't have an imaginary friend, but my brother did. He called him Max. I thought my brother was weird for having one. Now, when I look back on it, I wish I had one!

Ruth Lyons Mazur said...

I have never had an imaginary friend, but I did have some surreal experiences when I took different medications. They were frightening and I had to stop taking them. Yikes! Ruth Lyons Mazur

Connie said...

You might call me quite dull! No surreal experiences and no imaginary friends. I did, however, love vicariously through my books!!
Thanks for this giveaway.
Connie

Katherine Ivan said...

I did have an imaginary friend: an anthropomorphic dog named Bell. We had a lot of adventures together! No surreal experiences, though.

Nova said...

i have had several surreal experiences in my lifetime. last one involved my Mom who has passed.

Denise Berube said...

I never had an imaginary friend and if you call doors opening and closing on their own a surreal experience, yep, that is me!