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Leaving the mask on with...

P. Andrews

 

HUZZAH!

 

Would you like to share your full name with our readers or is it important to maintain your secret identity as an author?

Oh, my secret identity isn't very secret. I'd make a terrible super hero. Actually, if you find the original WICKED contest thread at COBBLESTONE, you'll see I submitted "YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR MASK ON" under my real name. Right after I got the contract, though, I had a talk with publisher Deanna Lee. She asked if I wanted to use a pen name because people browsing through erotica will gravitate towards female and gender neutral names before masculine sounding names. I told her I definitely wanted to think about it and immediately hopped on YIM to brainstorm with Bree of Moira Rogers infamy (Because, and I assume we'll get to this story as well, it's entirely her fault I got into this in the first place!). I don't remember which one of us came up with it, but I ended up going with a gender neutral spin on my real name - Paul Andrew Floyd. (Though, I never use Paul - in everyday life I go by Andy.)

 

Your super heroine character, Grasshopper, debuts in You Can Leave Your Mask On and returns in the sequel What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor.  Grasshopper has the power of an insect.  So does Spiderman.  Did you set out to create a female protagonist inspired by Spiderman?

I don't THINK so… I know that's non-committal but I can't totally speak for my subconscious; it's always doing things behind my back. The creation of Grasshopper occurred when she started talking to me. I knew I was going to write a female lead because, well, I LOVE females.

Next, I checked off powers in my head until I couldn't stop thinking about one, which ended up being jumping. The idea of pushing off the concrete and soaring through the air with nothing keeping you up apart from kinetic energy and joy just made me tingle all over. Then she took shape physically in my head and was wearing green and black -- most likely because they're my two favorite colors. From there it was just finding an appropriate name that didn't come up with a billion hits when I searched for it "+ superhero" in Google. J

 

When did you first begin to visualize this character?  

As soon as I figured out her power. Since I almost ALWAYS fall in love with my female characters, a lot of what they look like in my mind comes from whatever fetish or kink I happen to be obsessing about at the time. 'Hopper came along when I was really into corsets, cat suits, and opera gloves (I say that like I'm ever NOT into them!). Her third appearance, if it gets contracted (crosses fingers), actually has her first costume change which was brought on, oddly enough, by an episode of FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance." There was this AMAZING piece called "The Garden" that was choreographed by Sonya Tayeh and performed by Courtney Galiano and Mark Kanemura.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWJbQpYZ2WY)

The entire time I was watching it, I was geeking out because to me it embodied the spirit of the Grasshopper/Circuit-Breaker relationship. It almost felt like an interpretive dance version of one of their stories!   Plus, Courtney's outfit SCREAMED "Grasshopper." So, if - I should say when - when three comes out you'll get 'Hopper in an outfit inspired by that dance. I figure 'Hopper probably changes outfits quite a bit, anyway.

 

In what way(s) has this character changed/evolved with each installment?

Oh, oh! Can I be cryptic here? She hasn't really changed much over the two published and one submitted story, but I'm currently finding out that there was a time when she was a different girl than she is now. *a-wink*

She's pretty consistent throughout the current three, in my opinion. She decides what she wants, and figures out a way to get it. We do get to see different sides to her, though. In "MASK" we get a peek at her rarely seen submissive side. In "SAILOR" we get to see her manipulative side. And in… the third one, we get to see some red hot anger. But it all fits with the context of her. 

She did most of her evolving hopping around my brain before I put fingers to keyboard.

 

When I imagine Grasshopper, I picture actress Rosario Dawson.  If you could choose any actress to play Grasshopper in an upcoming film, who would it be? 

Let me just preface this with - there is no wrong answer here, no matter what I say. Rosario would be AWESOME.

Anyway, because I was writing erotica, I deliberately avoided TOO much physical description of the leads. I don't even think I mentioned race. At least not with Circuit-Breaker, anyway. I figured that way, the reader could cast whoever they were currently crushing on and not get derailed by the sudden mention of hook nose when they were picturing a person with a much more petite one.

That said, looks-wise I picture alt-porn actress Stoya [Doll]. She has the straight black hair and porcelain skin that I'm in love with right now. Plus, she just looks like she has ‘Hopper's attitude. But going with mainstream Hollywood types I'd love to see **Selma** Blair or Natalia Tena try out Grasshopper's tights, but I think my dream mainstream actress to put on the green mask would be Lizzy Caplan.  (Though after that inspiring dance I mentioned earlier, if she could act I would not be against Courtney Galiano.) J

 

What has been the response to Grasshopper?

I don't know -- If you find out, would you tell me please? Kidding. It's one of those things where I'm a new author and I've gotten less reviews than there are fingers on my right hand. So far, they've all been really good. But apart from that I can really only speak for my friends' responses and that just feels like cheating!

 

Why did you decide to introduce Circuit Breaker as a villain?  Would you consider Circuit Breaker to be a villain or a super villain?

You mean instead of as a hero? That's an interesting question… He just sorta… grew that way. In my head, I mean. He's definitely a villain (He sprang forth out of the story's necessity for one), and he does have super-powers, but he's got to be at least a little likeable for me. I'm all for bad boys -- as long as they have redeeming qualities. C-B seems to me like he's more into villainy because it's interesting (and for the chicks, of course!) rather than malicious reasons.

 

Circuit Breaker reminds me of a ‘certain’ Spiderman villain.  Which villain(s) was the inspiration behind his character?

See answer for similar Grasshopper question! I was definitely a big Spidey fan growing up, so it's very possible there's an Electro influence there, but the reason I chose his power, frankly, is because it turned me on. The process behind creating C-B was much like the one behind making 'Hopper. I went through different powers, some fun, some useful, some that didn't even fit, and then I hit on electricity and I tingled again. It's one of those things that's already used in bondage and other kinks, but with a little dab of fiction and a splash of fantasy you don't have to worry about running out of batteries!

Basically, were I in 'Hopper's place… that's the power I'd hope C-B had.

 

What type of villains (besides Circuit Breaker) inhabit Grasshopper’s universe? 

If you can think one up, I'm sure Make City has one! And that is something I plan to explore in the future. Though, I will say that because I love Deanna Lee and Sable Grey so much there is at least one evil Werekraken. (Long story!  ;D)

 

When did you first plan to write What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor?

As soon as I finished the first one I knew I wanted to write a sequel. But it wasn't until inspiration hit that I planned that specific story. The inspiration just happened to come in the form of the song it's named for. My wife plays World of Warcraft, and one of the guild members in a chat channel played a punk version of the song by THE BLAGGARDS. It got in her head so she bought it and played it -- which got it in my head.

And the only thing that would get it out of my head was to blast it at full volume and write!

 

What influences came into play when you started writing the sequel?

Apart from the song, the desire to show a different less submissive side to 'Hopper and a certain scene from Kevin Smith's "Chasing Amy?"

 

Where did the idea to write erotic fiction with superheroes characters spring from?

The whole thing started with the WICKED contest at Cobblestone-Press. It was January, I had JUST made the resolution to not pass up ANY opportunities, I was on YIM, when the Bree half of Moira Roger's tells me about this contest. I hesitated for a moment, then decided that the timing was too perfect to go against my resolution so quickly. So I asked when the deadline was. She told me Noon Saturday.

We were having the conversation late Thursday evening.

Luckily I was in a writing mood, so the brainstorming hit hard and fast and went well. Really well. I love comics, so doing supers wasn't a stretch for me. But what really sold me on the idea was that after a little research I was convinced it wasn't something that was done outside of fan fic. Not only did I think doing something different would be fun, but being new to the genre… I thought I'd be less likely to step on other authors' toes or accidentally fill my story with overused devices or clichés.

I did later find out that not only does a fellow Cobblestone author write erotic super hero stories at Changeling Press, but Changeling has an entire section of the stuff.

So, it didn't end up being NEW ground - but I don't regret the choice one bit.

 

If you could take any superheroes and villains from Marvel, DC, etc. to star in a scene with Grasshopper, who would you choose?

Oh, don't get me started! Let's see… If I'm being honest I'd say without hesitation, X-23, Jubilee (Now Wondra), Traci 13, Harley Quinn, Tigra, Hawkgirl, Mystique, Kitty Pryde, the list goes on.

But if I were to calm my inner giddy boy child and look at this from the perspective of actually writing it as a new story -- I'm told F/F doesn't sell very well and even cut a F/F scene out of my third story that I MAY post as a freebie extra on my website after that story hits -- I'd probably go with Gambit, Bigby Wolf, Jaime Reyes (though… written older LMAO), and or of course Spidey.

 

What’s the most difficult aspect of writing these stories?

Waiting on the submission process. KIDDING! No, really it's balancing them with the day job. I have a very chaotic personality when it comes to creativity. Motivation comes in dips and waves and I can't punch through the dips. I just have to ride them until another wave hits. I have found that when my body is allowed to fall into its natural sleeping schedule, I hit waves pretty often. But with the day job dictating my schedule, they come at much more sporadic times. So, I'll come up with this great idea… but can't write it yet. At least, not if I want it to be good!

 

Will you continue to write stories in this genre/universe or do you plan to spread out?

BOTH! I just submitted something to Changeling that's in outer space and does not involve super powers! But I'm also working on at least three different Make City stories. (Though, by working I mostly mean brainstorming.)

 

How do you come up with your titles?

I love coming up with titles, and most of the time they hit me for different reasons. It really was a coincidence that both stories so far were named after songs that were stuck in my head. We've already discussed "SAILOR." And "YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR MASK ON" came from "YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR HAT ON" by Tom Jones.

Which means the third Make City story will have a couple of different firsts. It's the first to not feature Grasshopper as the main character (Though, she's still in it!) and it's the first title that's not based on a song. It is based on SOMETHING though… but if I tell you, it'll ruin the joke.

 

What do you do to promote your work?

Talk to you! Kidding! I haven't done much, really. I'm not terribly good at that sort of stuff. I have tried, though. I've done some chats and promoted at a comic community on LiveJournal. But I've mostly failed at promotion. I plan on doing better, but I'm not exactly sure where to start. I'm open to suggestions!

 

Where can we find you and your books?

Both books can be found at Cobblestone - http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/pandrews.htm - and "MASK" is on Fictionwise - http://fictionwise.com/ebooks/eBook75214.htm.

I can be found at several places. P. Andrews is at http://www.p-andrews.com and http://www.myspace.com/p__andrews (yup, two underscores!). There also might be some interesting stuff over at http://www.thegpz.com. Outside of the pseudonym, if you see "speaker" or "speakerwiggin" somewhere, there's a decent chance it's me. I'm speakerwiggin at LJ and twitter and MySpace.

 

Let’s talk more about you.  Where are you from? 

Born in Louisiana, but spent most of my life in Alabama. Though, I'm told I do not have an accent. 

 

What do you do to relax and unwind?

Apart from writing, mostly watching television or reading comic books. Oh, and then there's playing around on the internet!

 

Do you watch Adult Swim or Cartoon Network?  If not, what?

Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen, Venture Brothers, and many others are staples in this household. I honestly watch way too much TV. I could name off the shows I watch, but I don't know if there's enough room on the page for them all!

 

What makes your author senses tingle?

Excitement, good music, driving, and that state of mind just before you fall asleep but are still kind of aware of your surroundings.

 

You are hosting a New Years Eve party.  You can invite anyone you want from any time, place, series, book, movie, etc. Aside from your family, friends, co-workers etc. name four people that you would invite to ring in an unforgettable New Year with.

Jeebus, okay - just to help narrow it down for me I'm going to avoid naming people I've already mentioned in this interview.

Veronica Mars, Captain Tightpants Malcolm Reynolds, Selene from Underworld, and Bruce Campbell.

 

What comic books and novels have most influenced your life?

Let's see… Pre-clone saga Spidey taught me how to be a hero and have fun doing it. Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" taught me to love writing itself. After a long hiatus, Brian K. Vaughan's "Y: The Last Man" taught me to love comics again. And the novel "Steel Beach" by John Varley taught me the meaning of "endless possibilities."

 

What first triggered your interest in writing?

I dabbled in writing awhile before I became interested in it. I can remember some Deep Space Nine fan fic I wrote at 13 before I knew what fan fic was. But it wasn't until 2003 when a friend of mine convinced me to do NaNoWriMo with him that I realized that not only did I like writing, but I actually felt like it was something I was good at. So, you have my friend Brian Peace to thank for that.

 

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I always feel so conceited answering these types of questions! Okay, I'd probably have to say my narrative voice. I think that the easy going narration I tend to write makes for quick, easy, and hopefully fun reads.

 

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

If you watch "An Evening with Kevin Smith" he says that he's never had writer's block, only writer's laze. I totally identify with that. I'm NEVER at a loss for ideas or things to write, but I struggle with motivation and distraction. I might have this great idea with full formed characters and a great payoff but, ooo - there's a DeLorean on CHUCK! I said above that motivation hits in waves, so I just ride them when they hit. Trust me, the stories turn out MUCH better that way. J

 

What are your goals as a writer?

This is going to sound really dorky, but my only real goal is happiness. That goes for me and others. Nothing gives me a rush like brainstorming a great idea. And nothing makes me happier than making others smile with the fruits of that idea. Writing gives me a creative outlet to help keep me sane, it relieves stress, and it gives me joy.

And if it entertains others… well, have you ever heard a grown man "squee?"

 

How have you dealt with rejection letters?

I'm still relatively new to submitting so I haven't dealt with many - YET. But my first submission was to a magazine via snail mail. So, by the time I got the rejection I had actually forgotten that I submitted it. What's funny is, it wasn't a story I was terribly attached to so I sent it on a lark. Didn't think a rejection would bother me. But when I read it, I couldn't help it. A light depression hit me for a couple days. But I got over it.

I used the word yet because I'm preparing for one as we speak. The space project I mentioned that I sent to Changeling? I really hope they accept it, but it's one of those… there are definite erotic and romantic elements to it, but it doesn't TOTALLY fit with most lines I've seen at e-publishers. I really like the story, but I'm afraid I may get rejected on technicalities.

But on the bright side, I'll be all the more excited if it DOES get accepted!

 

What were you doing when you received your first contract?

I honestly don't remember what I was doing. But I know that as soon as I saw the contest winners, I called Moira "Bree" Rogers because she and her partner Donna were on the list too.

 

What’s the best advice you would give to aspiring genre specific writers?

If you find yourself re-treading ground, don't be afraid to pull from other genres. Mixing and matching can lead to some very interesting results.

 

Any new and upcoming projects you would like to share?

Hopefully this third super story will get contracted soon. It's really hard not to talk about it 'cause it's one of those concepts that just makes me giggle, but I think it'll be more fun if you realize it with the actual story in front of you. I will say that it's about a super hero groupie who's sort of reminiscing about some of her favorite encounters. And poor Grasshopper doesn't like her one bit.

 

Thank you for the interview!  We’ll all be looking forward to more Grasshopper stories and other goodies from you on the horizon!

You're welcome, and I can't wait to see what you all think of my next projects, no matter good or bad!

 

     

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