Andrew McDowell has been writing since he was a child. He has written and published fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. He studied at St. Mary’s College and the University of Maryland, College Park. Andrew is a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association. Mystical Greenwood was a Finalist in the 2019 American Fiction Awards for Fantasy: Epic/High Fantasy, and he won the MWA’s 2021 Novel Contest in Science Fiction / Fantasy / Speculative. He also won second place in the creative nonfiction category of the MWA’s 2014 literary contest for his essay on his experiences with Asperger syndrome.
Are you indie or traditionally published? What made you decide to take that route?
I tried querying to agents, but all I got were rejections. The nice thing about indie publishers, I found, was that you didn’t need an agent to query to them, and I’d been informed you could have more control and say over your book than with a traditional publisher. So, I queried indie presses, and Mockingbird Lane Press was the first to offer me a contract, so I went with them.
How about a horror story about your author life?
Discovering how typos can so easily make it through despite editing! It was disheartening at first. Fortunately, Mockingbird Lane Press has allowed me to fix them when I find them, and I’ve accepted that it is a fact of writing and publication—they get through, you find them, and fix them when and if you can, and it’s also a process that, like publishing, requires time and patience.
What do you think is the best thing about being an author?
For me, it’s putting something out there that’s a part of myself, rooted in my passions and thoughts, sharing it with other people in the knowledge that it could touch them and their hearts and minds.
Who do you think you inspire? If not, who and what do you want to inspire?
I’d like to think that I inspire anyone who reads my story. I know, however, that I cannot please everyone, but I hope that the majority of those who read my work will find in it lessons and insights to make them view the world in a different way and be inspired to make a difference in theirs and others’ lives. With Mystical Greenwood, for example, I would hope readers will view the natural world with greater respect and understanding.
What keeps you up at night?
Fear that I and my efforts aren’t going be good enough, and that my writing will fail.
What character archetype would you be if you were a character in a book, movie or TV series?
Knowing myself, I’d probably the nerd—quiet, dependable, loyal, but sadly never quite able to get the girl.
If you were cursed to only be able to sing ONE song in karaoke for the rest of your life, what would you like it to be and why?
“Press On” by Building 429. It’s a praise song that speaks to the importance of perseverance, which my faith has helped me to do, and which was also the topic of a guest sermon I gave last year at my church.
What else do you enjoy doing other than reading and writing?
I’m something of a coin collector.
What do you consider as your weakness as a writer, and what have you done to overcome it?
I suffer from Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. As a result, I have trouble interpreting common phrases and jokes. My writing has reflected that, in that sometimes I use a word or phrase or even punctuation without realizing I’m not using it in the right context. I’ve tried learning more about grammar rules, reading as much as I can, which was also the result of finding typos, but also learning to make my own decisions.
Any book recommendations?
Check out the titles in my Goodreads “Read” list! You’ll find many there, including books by fellow indie authors I know.
Dermot is a fifteen-year-old boy living in the land of Denú who has always longed for something more in life. His life changes when he encounters a gryphon and a mysterious healer. Drawn into a conflict against one determined to subjugate the kingdom, Dermot and his brother Brian are forced to leave their home.
A legendary coven must now reunite, for they are Denú’s greatest hope. In the course of meeting unicorns, and fighting dragons and men in dark armor, Dermot discovers a deep, sacred magic that exists within every greenwood he crosses through, but his own role in this conflict is greater than he suspects. Can he protect those he loves, or will all that’s good be consumed by darkness?
It’s available in paperback, Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and Nook! The cover is available on Deviant Art!