Happy Friday, my friends! You know that means it’s time to get back to the Starving Review kitchen, but before we serve up the main course, I had the delight of having a sit-down with the chef behind today’s meal, Caelum Sky Illustrated, Andrea L. Radeck!
Please introduce yourself to my literary foodies!
Hello! I’m Andrea Radeck- I’m the author and illustrator of Caelum Sky.
Do you do any work outside of the writing kitchen? Any non-work interests?
I do! I’m a professional illustrator full time with a company where I produce extremely cutesy illustrations for playmats and card sleeves, so illustrating something much darker and often more violent is a wonderful reprieve. I also host a podcast called FridgeArt on Youtube where we look at our early and often anime-laden artwork and ridicule it.
What is your latest dish to be served up? Are there any past pieces of literary cuisine you think we should take a bite out of?
I’ve been hard at work painting Caelum Sky #2, which I’m hoping to be up on Kickstarter come July 2016! It’s been a mix of editing and illustrating that’s been devouring my time. Eh? Get it?
What made you want to put on the chef’s hat and whip up your own books?
Writing has always been a way to cope and work through a situation for me; Caleum Sky especially has been a way to put a fantasy twist into something I got to see as a kid, this incredible and odd type of love that my grandparents had for each other. They would razz and pick on the other in such a way that it was amazing to see two people work in tandem. Going through a rough divorce with my parents and a rocky time in my life, the book was written more to remember that type of love still existed.
Do you have a genre of specialty or do you dabble? Why?
I’ve always seemed to dabble in Paranormal; it’s a great way to keep modern and realistic settings while going wherever the hell you please with your imagination. Religious texts can be a great source of ideas and a lovely springboard.
Style! Every literary chef aspires to have their own unique one! What do you think sets yours apart and why?
I strive to have honest, realistic reactions and conversation between my characters. As a child, I used to find a lot of frustration in seeing extraordinary events with a character giving a couple of quick thoughts before ultimately excepting everything was real and that was that. In Caelum Sky, I loved presenting this type of unusual situation and trying to figure out how my characters would wrap their heads around it. It’s always been my main focus.
Even the best of us find inspiration is the dishes of others. Do you have any literary inspirations, heroes, and influences?
Good Omens was a big inspiration, and one of my favorite books.
Let’s get into the meat and potatoes: the art and craft of writing itself! Do you have a preference of points-of-view when you write?
I prefer a first person account best, I like crafting other worlds that happen to other characters, and that our main character only gets to experience the world she’s shown. It’d be nice to explain some things more thoroughly, but I enjoyed the challenge and it fits better into the story.
Sparse or wordy, how do you like your descriptions served up? Are you a Hemmingway man or do you like some saucy adjectives with your nouns?
For main characters I tend to get far more wordy and descriptive, even though this is partially in a visual format as well. But for the most part, it’s actions and situations that will help craft the world and I don’t tend to get too wordy.
Picking off the menu of base literary conflicts, what’s your favorite and why?
Probably Man vs Society. Though in that same regard I love taking these base conflicts like Man Vs. Society, convincing my readers that our main character is reliable, then giving reason to suspect otherwise. Unreliable narrators might be one of my favorite tropes.
What do you think is more important to your recipes, plot or characterization? Why?
Characterization. You can have a fantastic plot, but if your characters are unbearable and empty, that’s not going to matter.
We all know that the first taste means the most! What do you do to get that first bite hook with your readers?
I love writing loads of action and opposition into the first chapter, to give my readers a good idea of what the rest of the book’s going to be about and the type of shenanigans they can come to expect.
The most important of questions: Cake or pie?
Pie. Cake’s reserved for special occasions; pie’s an ‘all the time’ type of event. Apple Rhubarb pie is heaven on earth.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to aspiring literary chefs out there, what would it be?
If you want to get into something, you have to start it now. It’s great to plan a bit, but over-planning an idea might lead you to giving up before you even really start. Never put things off; if you’re dedicated and you want to make it happen, just sit down and start on it, no matter how far you get. That’s always the hardest part.