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.)
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.