Publisher's Weekly has featured Andy Straka as one of a new crop of "rising stars in crime fiction." He writes the bestselling Frank Pavlicek novels starring an ex NYPD detective turned private eye and falconer (A WITNESS ABOVE, A KILLING SKY, COLD QUARRY, THE NIGHT FALCONER, FLIGHTFALL) and is the author of two widely-praised thrillers, RECORD OF WRONGS and THE BLUE HALLELUJAH.
Andy retired early from a career in medical sales to pursue his passion for writing. A licensed falconer, he lives with his family in Virginia where he hunts, hikes, and rails against the powers that be. He has also managed to survive a longstanding stint as a stay-at-home Dad, which makes neurosurgery look like tiddlywinks. An admitted technogeek, he opens a new series in 2013 with the near-future Sci-Fi thriller DRAGONFLIES: SHADOW OF DRONES.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title Dragonflies comes from the fictitious name of main character Raina Sanchez’s former U.S. Army Air Cavalry Squadron. Years later, she dubs one type of the drones she flies dragonflies. Many different real life drone designers have also been inspired by the dragonfly’s unique flying capabilities and have used the name, although the fictitious dragonflies in Dragonflies: Shadow of Drones bear scant resemblance to current real world micro drones and possess far more advanced features.
What is your writing environment like?
I’ve retrofitted a 10x16 shed into a home office. It sits at the crest of a ridge on our property and during the winter months offers me an obstructed view of the Blue Ridge.
What is your favorite quote? Why?
From Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never…give up.”
I believe this quote encapsulates the dogged spirit of self-improvement one needs to achieve success as a writer, a spirit that goes far beyond commercial aims, such as “getting published” or “becoming a bestseller.” As a writer, I feel that I am constantly exploring my own new frontiers.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I played a lot of sports and learned to weather many ups and downs. Athletes aren’t normally seen as writers. I believe this is a misconception. An athlete’s heart and a writer’s heart are much the same.
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by the changes I see taking place in our culture .
What do you consider the most challenging part about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
The most challenging part about creating a novel is engaging in the dance of defeating one’s own self-critic while at the same time accepting the criticism of experienced editors to improve one’s writing.
Did you learn anything while writing this book? If so, what was it?
Drones are here to stay and will continue to grow smaller and more sophisticated. Like Raina and Tye and the other characters in Dragonflies, more and more people will begin to directly experience their impact. Long term, drones have the potential to alter how we experience reality and interact with our world. Like any revolutionary technology, they have tremendous potential for good as well as evil. Many choices will need to be made—indeed are already being made—about how this technology will be deployed in both the private and public sectors. This tension underlies much of the action in Dragonflies. The comment I have heard over and over again from various experts in the course of my continuing research is that the type of drone technologies I am writing about are either no longer science fiction or very soon not to be. Like the early days of the Internet, it may be a few years before the public comes to fully appreciate the long-term ramifications of this technology.
What have you done to promote this book?
Spread the word through social media and a blog tour.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers?
Nothing fancy. A good word processing software and the huge amount of information available on the Internet.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Dragonflies has been optioned for film/TV. Screenwriter Durrell Nelson has already completed a teleplay based on book 1 and Durrell will be joining me as co-author of future books in the series. More information can be found on my website and blog at www.andystraka.com . I’m really looking forward to this new partnership. We plan to have Book 2 in the Dragonflies series, Dragonflies: Visible Means, completed and published as an original e-book by the end of 2013.