Interview with Andrew Rivas, Author of The Daughters of Despair

29 Sep 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, The Daughters of Despair?

The Daughters of Despair is a subversion of the damsel in distress trope told as an oral history. Princess Ruby is kidnapped, but as the rescue party sent after her encounters trouble on the road, she finds that sometimes a princess can only rely on herself. The world of Ember-I is a blend of fantasy and science-fiction, one that contains swords and bows and arrows but also machine-human hybrids from space. I had a lot of fun writing it and I think people will have a lot of fun reading it.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

My mom and Stephen King. Growing up, my mom was always reading, and she’s a big fan of Stephen King and had every one of his books. I always wondered why she was such a huge fan and at a certain age she let me go through her collection and I devoured his whole bibliography. I liked reading before that but after reading so much of his work I knew I wanted to be an author, and that’s all I’ve wanted ever since.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

The Drawing of the Three, by Stephen King

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, by David Foster Wallace

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

If the person can be living or dead, then I’d want to interview Hunter S. Thompson. I’d love to hear what he has to say about the current state of … everything. His takedowns of politicians are some of the funniest and most insightful things I’ve ever read.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Seeing something that was previously only in my head on the page. It’s like magic. And knowing that the world and characters I’ve created are being read by others, and now they exist in others’ minds as well … I still can’t believe it.

What is a typical day like for you?

Unfortunately, it isn’t very interesting. Self-publishing is a grind. I spend most of the morning alternating between working on new work and editing manuscripts I’ve finished but haven’t published yet. The afternoons are about soliciting reviews, planning promotions, trying (and failing) to establish a social media presence, and obsessively refreshing the pages that monitor my sales and reviews. Then whatever media I’m currently consuming at night to decompress.

What scene from The Daughters of Despair was your favorite to write?

The meeting of the Crown and the Five Families that occurs early in the book. It’s not the most action-packed scene but the whole thing is dripping with subtext and full of hints as to the future of the series. The people involved have decades of history with one another and it was fun to have to create a whole history for them that’s not necessarily shown in full during the scene. This is the only time in the series that they’re all in the same room, and I wanted readers to be able to look back at the scene two, three, four books down the line and say “Oh, so that’s why they said that.”

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” I always thought that it was Mr. Rogers who said this, but apparently he was quoting an author named Henry James.

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Andrew Rivas is the author of the new book The Daughters of Despair.

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