Q&A With Andromeda Romano-Lax
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Q&A With Andromeda Romano-Lax
I have the honor and pleasure of doing my latest Q&A with Andromeda Romano-Lax. Andromeda is the author of The Detour, The Spanish Bow, Behave which are historical fiction novels. Her book Plum Rains is a dystopian book that takes place in 2029 Japan. Andromeda’s upcoming novel The Deepest Lake, which is her very first suspense novel, comes out on May 7th.
Q: Andromeda would you like to talk about The Deepest Lake and where the idea for the novel came from?
A: The short answer is that I attended a memoir workshop in Guatemala a few years ago. While there, I observed some concerning interactions between the instructor and participants that made me concerned about vulnerable writers and how easily some of them might be retraumatized. This wasn’t the first time I’d attended a problematic or even toxic workshop over twenty-plus years of attending workshops, but my concerns plus memories of past workshops plus the atmosphere of the trip, set on the shores of Lake Atitlan, in a place where a female backpacker had recently disappeared—a place that felt less than entirely safe at that moment, in other words—all provided seeds. Those seeds were watered only months later when I was talking to an editor and happened to pitch a hypothetical thriller based on the trip. I was working on a different novel at the time, but talking through the Guatemala idea made it clear that I was really excited and knew how to structure it. “Go home,” the editor said. “Write that one. … How long will it take?”
Q: Both The Detour, & The Spanish Bow are historical fiction books & Plum Rains is a futuristic dystopian book. Was it easy for you to gravitate from writing historical fiction, to then futuristic and now your very first suspense novel? What genres would you explore writing in in the future?
A: I always start with a story—sometimes simply a question—and I go where it leads, which is usually somewhere unexpected. The Spanish Bow was originally conceived as a nonfiction biography about a real cellist and became, instead, my first novel. Some of the themes that interested me in The Deepest Lake—like the risk involved when we let someone else control our stories—might have become a nonfiction essay meant for writers alone, but it was much more gratifying and playful to tuck those questions into a missing persons thriller in which I was also able to explore an intense mother-daughter relationship. I’m open to exploring almost anything.
Q: On your website it said that you were a freelance & travel writer before writing fiction. What was it like being a freelance and travel writer? What exactly is freelance writing and what is your advice for anyone wanting to pursue freelance and travel writing? Would you say your time in freelance writing and travel writing helped in your writing fiction?
A: Freelancing is much harder nowadays; there are fewer markets that pay and fewer magazines and newspapers overall. I got to experience the tail end of a wonderful era. But writing on assignment—any kind of assignment, even the one a writer gives herself in her own newsletter or blog—is an ideal way to develop essential writing traits: 1) meeting deadlines and 2) accepting imperfection. There is nothing better than making a plan, writing something, putting it out there on schedule, accepting feedback or the utter lack of feedback, and moving on quickly to the next thing.
Q: Is it too early to ask or are you allowed to say what current projects you are working on?
A: Yes, it’s a little early! I have another novel finished and a different one partially drafted, but they haven’t been announced and won’t hit bookstores until 2025 or 2026. For now, The Deepest Lake is the baby I can’t wait to share with others, and the side project I’m most proud of is a collaborative suspense fiction newsletter called Present Tense (presenttense.substack.com) that I co-write with mystery novelist Caitlin Wahrer. Even though Deepest Lake is my sixth novel, it feels like a debut because it’s in a new genre, and I am soaking up everything I can, still learning how to write crime fiction and reading lots of books in that area. This is when I’m happiest: when I’m learning, experimenting, and exploring. It’s been a great year.
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your work? It’s getting tiring seeing constant remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels and spin offs.
A: Yes they do, but as so often happens, nothing is being filmed yet. It’s all about the options. I know we are fed a lot of franchises but I’m optimistic about TV and film because the quality is so high now and the streaming services are putting out some of the best content of my lifetime. I’d like to be personally involved in adapting some of my work and that, too, is in process.