Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have The Wild Rose Press author Andrea Downing sharing several spectacular acts and introducing her recent release, Dances of the Heart.
If a butterfly can undergo metamorphosis from a creepy crawly caterpillar into something beautiful and extraordinary, why shouldn’t a human being, with all his/her numerous sensibilities, be able to change at will?
I’m not quite sure how many Acts, exactly, there are to my story, but Act One was certainly as Andrea, a girl born into a quite ordinary, suburban New York family. “Andrea” didn’t last very long; I always hated the name, at least until an acquaintance told me she thought it a very glamorous appellation and also wanted it. But I digress: Andrea became Andy very early.
I wasn’t sure about that spelling. It looked boyish. Commonplace. Pedestrian. And I had dreams of going on stage, attended drama school one summer, and generally tried out for every play at school. So Andy became Andie, which looked and felt a bit more suitable. That was Act Two.
And that lasted until the Beatles came on the scene. S-x, dr?gs & rock ‘n’ roll. Anything British was “super” and so Andi, minus the ‘e’ (slightly more exotic that way) headed off to live in England. Act Three? Maybe. Or perhaps that was the real Act Two. I’m not sure to be honest, but it lasted a very long time between getting an M.A., getting married, having a daughter, moving eight times (or was it nine? No ten!), getting divorced, and watching daughter head off to university back in the good ol’ USA. Somewhere in there I started writing. A bit at first—the odd story (odd being a useful word here in both senses), poems, travel articles, a novel or two now in boxes, even a screenplay. And, over forty or so years, I became totally Anglicized! Parking lots became carparks, sidewalks became pavements, elevators morphed into lifts before my very eyes. Not only that, but I actually learned to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. But now comes Act Four: The Reinvention of Andi…
Cristal, my darling daughter (named for the champagne), decided to stay in New York after graduation, and I was faced with the reality of living on another continent away from her. The situation came home to roost when I got ill, and we thought Cristal might have to take leave from her job for a while to look after me, and then the British Government also started to get nasty about what they called non-domiciled aliens. See my antennae? What’s a girl to do? Head home and reinvent again!
It wasn’t easy leaving friends of many years, abandoning a place I had called home and a way of life I knew. Good-bye Branston Pickle, HP Sauce, Cadbury’s Twirls and TCP. I now live five blocks from my daughter when she returns to live in her New York apartment from working for the UN in Colombia. But here’s the crux of Act Four, the Reinvention of Andi Downing. I finally decided I had nothing to lose by sending off my writing—a western novel—to a publisher, and guess what? I now have two published western novels and two published historical western novellas under my belt. As author…Andrea Downing!
So, is Act Four the Finale? Shakespearean dramas have Five Acts!
Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.
Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.
On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press | Barnes & Noble
Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born, instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK. She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit. Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC. She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming. Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west. Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards. Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest. Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, her first contemporary novel, came out in February, 2015.
Where to find Andrea…
Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Amazon
Andrea, I’m impressed and inspired by your journey. If you ever run out of storylines, consider writing your memoirs.
Pingback: Second Act Wisdom – Part V |
That’s a great story Andrea! Thank you. And it looks like you’ve put a lot of passion in your book.
Haha, I remember that my mam (in Holland) would never ever allow anyone to shorten my name into Sas or Sassy. And when I moved to Canada 10 years ago people were asking me for my nickname. I said: just call me Saskia..
Saskia is a beautiful name. I haven’t heard it used in the US but it was certainly popular in the UK and never shortened. My daughter had a friend at school named Saskia–you’re lucky to have that name. I actually hate Andrea (still do). Thanks for that input!
Good for you for reinventing yourself as many times as it takes. Best wishes on your writing.
Thanks Mary. I intend to keep on going–As I said, Act 5 coming up. Grandma???
Andi, if you ever get a hankering for HP sauce or Cadbury chocolates, you just need to hop over the border into Canada. We can fix you up with a supply! All the best with your new release.
Then I’ll look forward to that as will be in Canada for a few days this summer. Though actually got Branston and Twirls on Amazon!
Thanks for sharing the fantastic story of your life–in all it’s acts! Your book is just waiting for me to get to it–gotta hurry!! Good luck with this title~
Thanks Barb–I hope you enjoy the book. Kind of you to comment.
I love your life story. There’s nothing like a little reinvention to revive the soul.
You are living proof that the world is your oyster and all you have to do is go out there and live it.
Good luck with the book.
I agree, Marlow: reinvention is very invigorating. Do you know that song about ‘pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again’? There’s nothing like fresh starts…
I love your life story, which sounds goofy even to me, but I like that I don’t think you’ve wasted a minute. I have a character in a book (The Girls of Tonsil Lake) whose name is Andie. She was meant to be Andi, but it just wouldn’t work for her–makes me wonder if just didn’t fit in the act of her life I was writing about.
Most likely, Liz–or possibly just that it doesn’t fit her character/her person. I think of the actress Andie McDowell. Can you see her as an Andy or an Andi? I can’t. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Andrea, I’m honored to feature you. 🙂
Hi Joanne! Nice to be here on this snowy New York day. Thanks for having me!