Q&A With Andie Newton

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Q&A With Andie Newton

Today’s Q&A is with USA Today Bestselling author of historical fiction Andie Newton. Andie’s books are The Girl I Left Behind, The Girl From Vichy, The Girls From The Beach, A Child For The Reich, and coming in 2024 The Secret Pianist. I can’t wait to read all of her books! 

Q: Andie, would you like to tell the readers and I about your upcoming release The Secret Pianist?   

A: Yes! I’d love to. The Secret Pianist is about three sisters—Gaby, Simone and Martine—who are ordinary citizens living in the Nazi-occupied French seaside town of Boulogne-sur-Mer. Each is trying to survive in their own way, and stay under the radar, until a British messenger pigeon leads them down a new and dangerous path. 

Q: How do you choose a topic when it comes to writing historical fiction? What is the research process like?

A: I usually stumble upon an idea, or get inspired in some way, while writing a different book! In this case, I stumbled upon the British pigeon messenger program, called Operation Columba, while writing A Child for the Reich in 2020. I bought a few non-fiction books to read, made a few notes, and came back to it when I was looking for my next book idea. Then, oddly, a friend of mine told me that a pigeon flew into her big picture window and broke the glass—which scared her into the ceiling—and I knew I had to write this book. I’m laughing while writing this, but it really is the truth. I also hadn’t read anything about messenger pigeons so I thought it was a good one. From there, I dug into the archives.

Gaby, Simone, and Martine’s living conditions and what they endured were inspired by interviews, reports, articles, and diaries of those who lived through the occupation, specifically those who lived in the northern and coastal areas of France. I was particularly drawn to the stories involving village gossip, rumors, and the behavior between “good French” and the “bad French.” Family members kept secrets from each other, and in most cases, even secrets with good intentions had disastrous outcomes. The sister who wanted to be honest with her siblings struggled with the part of herself that wanted to remain guarded, for various reasons, most of which were personal.

Q: I love reading historical fiction and you obviously enjoy writing it. What about historical fiction do you enjoy writing in the genre so much?

A: I have a degree in history, so I guess you could say that I have history in my heart. In regards to writing it, I love wartime stories because the external and internal conflicts are rife! Plus, it is a perfect time to have ordinary people do extraordinary things.

Q: How long did it take to write each book that has been published?

A: Each book is a little different, but I can usually crank out a first draft in about 9-months. This includes about 6 months of writing/researching and then another 3 months of editing/rearranging and fine-tuning before I’d consider it a working draft that I’d show my agent.

Q: Where is your favorite spot or spots to sit down and research, plot, write, and edit your work?

A: I have a home office, but sometimes I go to the library. It is my business, so there isn’t a favorite spot, necessarily, but there is a perfect time. My working hours are between 10am-2pm since my kids get home from school around 3pm, and I need that extra hour to read back what I wrote before the noise starts.

Q: I know The Secret Pianist is coming out in 2024. Are you currently writing another book now, or is it too early to talk about it now?

A: I have another novel finished and working on another, which is about ½ done. I’m not going to talk about those, as they are top secret right now. 😊 

Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your work? The entertainment industry needs new content again. 

A: The film rights for all my novels are available! Hollywood, do you hear me? Come and get them!