Everyone, please welcome Andrew Joyce, historical fiction author. Today we chat about bathroom breaks, Gandhi, women’s undergarments, and much more. Come join us for a most entertaining discussion!
Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?
I mostly write Historical Fiction, and it takes a lot of research to get things right. If I don’t do my research, I can count on at least one of my readers bringing it to my attention. Everything must be historically correct, from any languages I use to the descriptions of the way people dressed, spoke, and lived. I must know about the era; the nomenclature . . . everything about that time period. I spend as much time on research as I do writing my stories. Sometimes more. My latest book takes place in the late 19th century, and I’m presently researching women’s undergarments of the 1890s. If there is anything you need to know about pantalettes, just ask me.
As to how I deal with mundane things such as bathroom breaks, I can best illustrate that by showing you a short excerpt from my last book. The setup is that my protagonist has been kidnapped. After hours traveling tied up in the back of a wagon, her kidnapper stops and orders her to start a fire and cook them a meal. The conversation starts after he has cut the rope binding her hands.
“Why have you done this to me?”
“Never mind that. You’ll see soon enough. You just be a good girl, and you won’t get hurt.”
I would take great joy in plunging a knife—right up to the hilt—into his heart! However, I didn’t let that thought show on my face. Instead, I asked if it would be all right if I used the convenience while he got the firewood.
“Ain’t no conveniences out here. You can go behind that bush over yonder, and don’t be all day about it. I’m hankerin’ for some coffee.”
When I had finished my business behind the bush, I collected what I needed from the wagon and set about making breakfast.
I don’t dwell on bathroom breaks, but I feel they must be addressed if the situation calls for it, as it did in this instance. The woman was abducted coming from a dinner party and spent ten hours tied up in the back of a wagon. I figured asking about a “bathroom break” would be one of the first things anyone would think about. I keep the cussing to a bare minimum. I wrote 100,000 words for MOLLY LEE and used only one cuss word (the “F” word) in the entire manuscript because it was necessary for the scene I was writing.
What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?
Some jobs I’ve had in the past have been real doozies. I’ve done back-breaking physical labor. I’ve worked as a waiter for a short spell and hated every minute of it. I worked with and breathed in chemicals that have done a number on my lungs. But the worse job I ever had was when I was eighteen. I worked at a McDonalds for one day. At the end of the shift, I walked out never to return. I didn’t care about the pay I was owed or anything else. I just wanted out of there.
Who are your non-writer influences?
Gandhi and my mother. Gandhi because he defeated a super power without firing a shot. My mother because of something that happened a long time ago. We lived in the South, in an all-white neighborhood. The year was 1968. Then the unthinkable happened. A black family moved in across the street. The “For Sale” signs appeared immediately up and down the block.
My mother was beset with rheumatoid arthritis. She was bed-ridden, but when she heard about the family moving into our all-white neighborhood, she got out of bed and baked a cake . . . from scratch. She was in a lot of pain. I begged her to go back to bed, but she would not.
When the cake was iced, she instructed my eighteen-old self to carry it across the street and welcome our new neighbors to our slice of heaven. She would have gone herself, but baking the cake had taken everything she had. She died shortly thereafter.
My mother lives on in me when I show love for my fellow man, regardless of the color of his skin.
What are the top 3 historical time periods and locations you would like to visit?
I don’t think I’d like to travel to the past. I study history, and I love history, but the comfort level must have been pretty low back then. I mean, they had no air conditioning! And getting from point A to point B must have been a nightmare on a horse or a mule. Having said that, here are three places I could tolerate for a while.
- I would like to watch The Great Pyramid being built.
- The North American Continent before it was discovered by Europeans.
- Atlantis during its heyday.
There is only one: the collected plays of William Shakespeare.
If you could own a famous or historical art work, what would it be? Would you put it on public display or keep it privately?
Though it is not considered a work of art, per se, I’d love to own the Shroud of Turin. I would not display it. Not out of selfishness, but because I would not want to deal with the crowds.
What reboots (or retellings) of classics have you enjoyed? Are there ones that haven’t worked for you?
I haven’t read any reboots of the classics. Although, I did write one. It’s entitled, REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. I have them as adults in the Old West. It’s getting very good reviews on Amazon.
What is the first book you remember reading on your own?
Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke.
Molly is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.
It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.
Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.
We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.
Andrew Joyce is the author of the best-selling novel, REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.
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