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Andrew's historical fantasy novel based on an ancient Welsh tale, 'The Fairy Wife' (working title) is accepted for publication!

Biography

Andrew Richardson was born in Bath, a city England's south-west.  When he was two, the family moved to the Aldershot area - a few miles south-west of London.  The move was a good one because it introduced Andrew to one of the loves of his life, Aldershot Town Football Club.

His father was a banker, which is possibly where Andrew gets his attention to detail from.  He inherited his love of books from his mother, who was a librarian.

Andrew was brought up to read, but his interest in books really took off when he was eight or nine.  Around that time, he came across a copy of Tolkien's 'The Hobbit', which for the first time showed him the power of imaginary worlds.  At the same time, a primary school teacher read the class 'Beowulf' and there was a retelling of Welsh legends on children's television.  Andrew was hooked on these darker stories of war and danger, and their historical and fantasy settings.

Although he enjoyed 'creative writing' at school, and came out with credible qualifications in both English language and English Literature, Andrew didn't write anything serious.  Instead, in his later teens, his interest in darker fiction became a thirst for horror, and he read as many horror stories as he could find.

Andrew's other passion is history.  The 'Arthurian period' (fifth and sixth century Britain) has always fascinated him.  Arthur and other legendry figures, though, have tended to be a secondary interest to the general life of the ordinary people of the period.  That's probably why Andrew lists archaeology (the lives of ordinary people) slightly above history (the lives of the elite) in his interests.

The pull of history drew Andrew to take a degree in History and Archaeology in Bangor, North Wales.  He immediately fell in love with the history, archaeology, culture and beauty of the area, which would go on to shape his life and his writing.  A career in archaeology didn't happen for several reasons but it remains a keen interest, particularly post-Roman north Wales.

Andrew married Emma, who works shifts.  When Peter was born in 1995 Andrew wanted something quiet to do wile the baby was in bed, so he turned to writing short horror fiction.  His stories were often based around the myths of the Celts he had studied at university, and equally often set in north Wales.

Despite several publication credits short stories weren't always accepted, and Andrew didn't find them satisfying.  "I knew I loved developing characters," he says.  "That isn't always possible in the shorter form, so I decided to have a go at writing a novel."

The novel was 'Andraste's Blade', a story largely set in North Wales against the setting of a Celtic uprising against Rome.  "It was great fun to write, and as I knew the locations and had a pretty good feel for the history I didn't need to do much research.  I could just get on with the writing."

The novel was accepted, and Andrew hasn't looked back.  'The Wood' took a couple of years to write and tune.  It's a story about a group of live fantasy role players who find themselves in a mysterious wood and hemmed in by a path of skulls.  They soon realise the traps and monsters are real.  "I enjoyed films like 'Predator' and 'Alien'," Andrew says.  "They were set in a confined space - jungle paths, and spaceship corridors.  I wanted to do something similar but in a fantasy/horror setting.  The idea of a path lined by a semi-magical 'wall' of skulls didn't come to me in a flash.  It developed over a while, but eventually clicked when I read about Celtic head cults.  The story is very linear and uncomplicated, so like 'Andraste's Blade' I was able to just get on with writing it.  The book's reviews were favourable as well, which together with the acceptance gave me the confidence to think I could write novels."

One part of 'The Wood' that didn't make the final cut was an erotic flashback scene.  "I was frustrated by that," Andrew says.  "I was quite pleased with it, and Beta readers were kind to it, but it just didn't fit in the story.  After some discussion and with help from with erotic writer Gianna Bruno I turned it into a novelette, and 'The Shoot' was born."  This was Andrew's first credit outside horror/fantasy.  He now writes erotica semi-regularly between horror sessions, to give his characters some fun for a change instead of being scared out of their wits.  The erotic novelette 'Art Class' was published in 2012 and two more, 'Eton Mess' and 'Bank Manager,' have been accepted for publication.

In more recent years Andrew's work has started to play up the non-horror elements.  "In the beginning, the only way I knew how to keep a reader's attention was through heavy doses of sex and violence.  Experience has made me better at plotting, technique and characterisation.  I don't have to rely on shock any more.  My background is very much horror and I'll not drift from that, but I do think I'm a more rounded writer - and my work reflects that, now."

'The Doe and the Dragon' (2011) was a historical fantasy set among north Welsh Arthurian legends, but Andrew's horror background helped him show harsh realities of Dark Age life.  'The Well' (2012) continued with the 'gentler' theme - the story of a young woman trapped in a well was largely a horror thriller, rather than a gorefest.  'The Footholder's Tale' (2015) is another story based on Welsh stories, and carries on with the general shift from horror to fantasy.  'Operation Trench' (forthcoming) is a novel going in a completely new direction - science fiction/time travel.

'The Torridon Witches' (Damnation Books, 2013)  and 'Dana's Children' (Wild Child Publishing, forthcoming), and particularly 'Snuff' (Damnation Books, 2015) return to the 'slasher' sub-genre.  "They were great fun and simple to write," Andrew says.  "My novel length books are likely to remain more fantasy-based, but I think there remains a place for a bit of blood in a shorter, sharper story.  The main part of both books is the plot, characterisation, and tension, and I hope it's these that the reader will remember, rather than the blood." 

Beyond that, there is more horror, fantasy, and erotica in the pipeline.

Andrew hates heights and spiders.  He won't go near a cliff edge - "I get vertigo looking out of a first storey window."  To his shame, his thing with spiders is so intense he makes his wife get rid of even small ones.  "It does have its advantages though," he says.  "I often give my characters a fear of spiders, because it's personal and I can write that with a bit of added realism.  I don't enjoy it though - the scene in 'Snuff' where my heroine was forced to eat a spider took a lot of nerve to write!"

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