Hi, Eliza! Thank you for inviting me along on one of your Adventures today—it's an honor to be here!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your book.
AV: Okay, I'd love to! [laughs] "Percolation, Poetry, and Passion" is a contemporary love story between a young man, Beckett, and an older man, Simon. The story takes place during the summer after Beckett graduates UC Berkeley. He's unexpectedly accepted into a graduate program—something he hasn't quite figured out how to tell his family, who're counting on his return to New Orleans. Beckett continues to work as a barista at a local coffee shop, and one morning Simon walks up to his register. There's a spark between them, and a relationship begins to grow. They face challenges as a couple, Simon struggling with issues from his past, and Beckett concerns about his future.
AV: Well, usually, I make an effort to not write about anything too connected with my real life. But, with this story, I decided to join together lots of my favorite things: the San Francisco Bay Area, New Orleans, art, environmentalism, astrology, astronomy—all sorts of things. Because of this, I feel a lot of genuine love and deep caring for these scenes and characters got put into this story. For example, on the book cover, there's a brightly lit bridge that the silhouetted men are looking out upon. That is the Bay Bridge, connecting San Francisco to Oakland. People are familiar with the Golden Gate Bridge, but I wanted to share the other bridge for maybe an unexpected reason: art. It has the world's largest light art installation, 25,000 LEDs spanning nearly two miles. In the story, Beckett and Simon stop at a vista in the Oakland Hills, and it's a very special moment. Here's a quick glimpse of some of what this beautiful, dynamic artwork can do:
AV: It's what I'm passionate about. People are always told to find passion in what they do. For me, it's supporting the gay community, and writing about love relationships between men is an expression of that.
Q: What was your favorite part about the process from idea conception to post-release date for Percolation, Poetry, and Passion?
AV: This being my debut publication, ALL of it has been exciting! Everything from the day I first got interest from Less Than Three Press, to the approval to create my own book cover. One huge moment was seeing my story listed and available for purchase online. Then it was really real. Amazing. I'm incredibly grateful to each and every reviewer, blogger, and reader who's taken time to get to know Simon and Beckett with me. <3
Q: When writing, are you a plotter or pantser?
AV: I'm a big plotter. Like, notebook clutching, different colored pens and highlighters, little flags sticking out of the pages, plotter. Now, that's not to say that I always know where my stories are going to go or end up. But, if I have an idea that I like, it's written down and I make sure that my writing gets to use that idea. For my short stories, I keep a log and often make plot trees and diagrams to make sure I don't forget a loose end.
Q: What’s your best advice for other authors be they beginner or master.
AV: My best advice is: when in doubt, Google it! [laughs] Actually, I believe in doing this even when you think you're certain. To me, nothing gels a story like it being valid, or at least plausible.
Keep up with A.V. Sanders!
AV: I don't think I have any writing superstitions…? I think that's a good thing, I have enough problems! [laughs] When I write, I like to have my notebook handy and some EDM or trance music playing. I'm fairly certain that the number of cats in close proximity helps creativity too, no doubt [winks]—that could be a superstition, right? Other than that, I'm not too picky about where or how I get the words onto the page. Oo, one quirky thing I've been super pumped on lately is a waterproof pad of paper and pencil that suction cup to the shower wall. Since I get some of my best ideas in there, it's perfect!
Q: What is the best book you’ve ever read.
AV: My favorite book is "The Catcher in the Rye", by J.D. Salinger. I like everything about it, but most of all, the unique and relatable voice of Holden Caulfield. Salinger's style inspired me to think of writing in a different way, that first-person characters can feel like authentic people and carry the narrative of a whole story. I found the implications for Holden at the end of "Catcher" to be very powerful, too.
AV: [laughs] This is a cute question. Hmm…I don't really read anything I'm embarrassed of? Maybe something close would be an impulse-buy YA that I couldn't resist due to its hypnotizing, gorgeous cover art…