Believe it or not, the first time that I ever wrote a complete novel was when I was 16 years old. I had read many Stephen King books; with Carrie and Rose Madder being my two favourites of his – so I grew a taste for horror and thriller novels. The book that flipped a switch and encouraged me to write my own was after I read Misbegotten, by James Gabriel Berman, and I can’t encourage anyone enough to read this 1996 classic that has a woman obsessed with finding the identity of her sperm donor.
Although I had always wanted to become an accountant, and completed all my qualifications in Accounting & Finance between 2001-2005, writing was always a hobby of mine along with playing a vast range of games on my Xbox consoles. I found it easy to write gaming news and reviews on an almost daily basis for nearly ten years. The joys of that were receiving free games to play just for writing about them. I founded a website called ThisisXbox.com and it grew from strength to strength, but I quit writing about games to concentrate on something I had wanted to do for years – write more serious thriller novels.
In 2017 I started writing about a woman who wanted to better her lifestyle but ended up getting involved in a more deceitful organisation. While I was writing this erotic-thriller I had been through the audition process for a well-known reality TV show with a serious possibility of being chosen to take part. However, because of the uncertainty around that, I decided to just ‘throw’ my novel onto Amazon’s KDP self-publishing platform in the hope that should I have been on this reality show, my book would have been bought by anyone curious about what I had written. For added impact, I created it with some explicit scenes.
My first book as a self-published erotic thriller had some positive reviews, but it wasn’t edited very well. Everything around that first attempt to write a full-length novel was a learning curve. I enjoyed the thriller aspect of it so much, that I decided to focus only on writing thriller novels. I dedicated some time to finding a publisher, and successfully in 2019 I signed a deal with Hera, to publish my thrillers commercially under the name of J.A Andrews.
In my personal life when I am not writing, I spend a lot of time with my family, I work full time as a civil servant and other hobbies have included Kickboxing and binge-watching reality tv shows. My favourite tv show of all time has to be the Australian drama that is Wentworth – it’s absolutely shocking, twisted and very clever. I cannot recommend it enough.
I also like to have a ton of holidays – more recently around two to three a year, but nothing fancy – I have a love for Lanzarote and enjoy the warmth of their climates combined with the breezes that sweep across the islands. Puerto Del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise are my three favourite locations. When I can manage it if I have the willpower to save enough, I enjoy taking cruise holidays around the Canaries or the Meditteranean. Cruises can be a bit like marmite, you’ll either love it or hate it, but I enjoy spending days onboard and waking up in different cities. I also find the sea very relaxing and could just sit and stare at it for hours (on a sunny day).
Aside from accountancy, writing, gaming and working – I was also part of the Channel 4 TV Show How Clean is Your House? from 2003 – 2009. My role within that as part of the cleaning team that travelled with presenters Kim & Aggie was to plan the approach to cleaning. Prior to the filming of any houses, the team would be provided with brief videos and photographs of the property. From this, we could identify the materials needed and apply the appropriate Health & Safety practises. It would also give us a good indication of the quantity of cleaning products needed and the timings needed in each area of the house.
On the actual day of cleaning and filming, the process was broken down into removal of all the clutter over a few days, and then when you are left with the empty shell of the property to give it a thorough deep cleaning. The smells and sights from that show could haunt me if I dwelled on it, but there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the homes scrub up really well and watching it back on TV gives a sense of achievement over the work.
Writing a book can take up a LOT of your time, and one of the things that I now respect about other authors is that even the shit books I’ve read – I know how much hard work and effort has gone into it, so I think I appreciate it more from the other side. It can be a very subjective process and the task of writing a whole long story from beginning to end with thousands and thousands of words can easily be taken for granted by readers.
I am now on a mission to one day seeing my work in print in bookstores. It’s currently September 8th 2019… I’ll update in due course.