Andi is a genre writer living in New Zealand and a TOC mate of mine from Winter Well. You can check out their website and follow on Twitter. Andi is a fan of eating cheese, befriending lobsters, and writing awesome genre fiction about queer, and neurodiverse characters. I’ve been a fan since Winter Well and am excited to share our conversation.
Andi Buchanan: Hi!
Minerva Zimmerman: Hi! How was your day
AB: Full on! But I have tomorrow off. It’s my birthday and we’re going to see either red pandas or dinosaurs! How about yours?
MZ: Happy Birthday! Both choices are excellent. Not too bad, just winding down. My dogs think it is time for snuggling on the bed. You’re all finished with your Master’s!!!!
AB: Yes, finally! It dragged out a bit at the end, but got there in the end.
MZ: I know your subject was about disability in fiction, but I don’t actually know what your discipline/department is
AB: It’s English Lit – though it wasn’t a project that ended up being neatly contained. That was tough in some ways – I know I’d have ended up with a better theoretical basis in some aspects had I been based in a Disability Studies department, for example, but it was really good that I was allowed to just do my thing and follow my ideas.
MZ: Yeah even something like Anthropology was a possibility, so I didn’t want to speculate 😀
have you gotten to hold it all bound and printed?
AB: Yes, very shiny! Took it up to the library last week.
MZ: /squee I sometimes get all verklempt about not doing a Masters, but now I have over 5 years of experience in museum collections, so it’s hard to justify it when it wouldn’t mean any more pay. Also I live very far from any universities
AB: Yeah, fair enough! It took me a few years to properly want to do one – and I certainly don’t expect it to increase my pay – but I work on a university campus and I could do it part time and pay the fees by installments so, hey, why not.
MZ: Oooo I’m kind of jealous. I love school.
AB: I… may have got stuck! Which is fine, I guess.
MZ: at school? 😀
AB: Between work and study… yep, pretty much.
MZ: but lots and lots of ideas for fiction! it’s like… a nexus of ideas
AB: I have occasionally been tempted to write – you know those Hotel Babylon, Wedding Planning Babylon etc – books that compress alllll the dramas down into a single day? If I wasn’t bound by confidentiality I’d totally write a University Babylon one.
AB: But maybe you were talking about being in the intellectual heart of the city, the free exchange of ideas…
MZ: Both! You need both for good fiction (in my opinion)
AB: On the more serious side, holding on to a university library card is definitely for a bonus for someone who is (a) a complete nerd and (b) wants to research fiction.
MZ: Ok, that I am TOTALLY jealous of. You can do a lot more online these days, but I miss having access to article databases, and just… randomly finding books.
AB: Yeah, it’s the journal databases that are the big draw… but being able to hunt through the shelves is pretty fun too, even though I don’t do it as often as I should.
MZ: and nice little nooks to write. You have a novel coming out in march
AB: Yes – a novella, technically – it’s called Liquid City and it’s mostly steampunk-ish with some space opera and new weird type elements (I find genre classification hard).
MZ: …do I detect lobsters?
AB: It’s about the people who transport cargo through the tunnels underneath a rapidly-industrializing city, and what they find when they head into unexplored territory.
No lobsters this time, but a rather grumpy cephalopod.
MZ: that’s sort of kind of a little lobstery.. well, more tentacles and less shell
AB: I’ll give him a couple of pincers in the edits.
MZ: and ok, totally not the same 😀 What are you working on right now?
AB: ALL the things! Aside from a round of edits on Liquid City, I’m focused on a couple of short stories at the moment. Then I have another novella I want to take a look at editing – it’s near future queer romance, with heaps of magic and the odd sunken village.
MZ: As you do…
AB: I have a novel on the go, very slowly, and at some point I’m going to be thinking about a sequel for Liquid City.
MZ: cool! Is there anything else you want to make sure we talk about?
AB: Nothing springs to mind, sorry! I know that’s not very helpful…
MZ: That’s Ok! I just want to make sure I’m not monopolizing the conversation.
AB: No go for it! You’re not monopolising, you’re guiding!
MZ: I’m kind of curious about the choice between Red Pandas and Dinosaurs. I mean those aren’t usually at the same place.
AB: Nah – it’s a case of the zoo if it’s good weather, the museum if not. Or, maybe the red pandas have discovered a lost colony of dinosaurs and formed a symbiotic relationship.
MZ: That’d be pretty cool actually… I’d watch that movie
AB: We have a rogue swarm of bees on the loose by my workplace, so there are going to be animals wherever I go.
MZ: rogue bees? like, Africanized bees?
AB: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/64932184/angry-bees-swarm-in-central-wellington THEY PUT THEM IN A BOX AND THEY ESCAPED
MZ: sneaky bees. I imagine they were buzzing the theme song to Mission Impossible
AB: I expect so.
MZ: I wonder if the person sent to capture the bees just forgot where they put the box and were like “uhhh they escaped. Yeah, that’s it”
AB: Have you seen the cartoon about the scientists eating bees? It’s one of my favourites.
MZ: no! Where can I see it?
AB: Ah can’t find the picture but the joke works fine without it:
Scientist: But WHY is the bee population dying?
Scientist: No idea. *eats bee*
Scientist: Did you just eat a bee? Scientist: *eats bee* No.
AB: This makes me laugh probably out of proportion to its actually funniness.
MZ: I dunno, I think it is pretty funny. Not sure why, it just is.
AB: *eats bee*
Well, I should probably let you get a cider and start in on your birthday celebrations
AB: Mmm cider! Celebrations are tomorrow but cider is any day.
MZ: I’ve been hoarding all my seasonal spiced cider
AB: Oooh. I had a nice pear and ginger one last week.
MZ: Oooo I love pear cider.
AB: Anyway, thank you for listening to me talk about bees.
MZ: *eats bee* 😀
AB: om nom nom