The greatest joy in Andrew Q. Gordon’s life is his infant daughter whom he affectionately calls “‘lil q.” In between bottle feedings and diaper changing, maintaining his day as a criminal prosecutor, his latest novel “The Last Grand Master” hit the e-shelves at Dreamspinner Press on February 1. A high fantasy novel, and the first in the series “Champion of the Gods,” Gordon discusses his inspiration in-between burping babies.
“Farrell is a young but very powerful wizard, he is the last grand master wizard left to oppose the dark wizard Meglar,” he said via email interview. “The fight has broader implication because it is really an extension of a fight between the gods. The Six gods of Nendor are at war with their brother, Neldin, god of the underworld. The Six and Neldin each choose a champion and their conflict is played out through their chosen champions.”
He went on to explain the finer mechanics of the plot.
“Both sides are gathering their followers for a final confrontation that will decide the direction the world takes for the next few millennia,” he said. “The six send others to aid Farrell including Nerti, queen of the unicorns and Miceral—an immortal warrior who has been chosen to be Farrell’s life partner. I tried to make at least as character driven and plot and the world building is spaced into the story around the character and relationship development.”
The Spark of a Story
Gordon elaborated that the story appeared in his head as a “small scene” he came up with one day. From the small scene bloomed a much larger story spanning hundreds of thousands of words.
Gordon talked about his grand scheme for “The Last Grand Master.”
“‘The Last Grand Master’ is part of a larger series—‘Champion of the Gods,’ so it’s not entirely completed,” Gordon said. “Originally I envisioned four books but Dreamspinner and most of the other publishers want the story to be in the 100-120K word range. The shortest of the three completed books is 330K words. So along with cutting back and editing, I’ve had to chop up the story into smaller bites.”
As staggering as the word count seems to be, Gordon claims he was unaware of what’s the standard length for a traditional novel ranging from 90 to 100,000 words.
“I didn’t know any better,” Gordon admitted. “I started ‘Champions’ about 6 years ago— but I wrote about another 500K words for stories I posted for free or have or will have published.”
Finding the Time
With the longest of the “Champion of the Gods” books being upwards of 500,000 words, Gordon shares his secret of what helped him get the story put to paper.
“I used to be able to write 2-3k words in a morning easily sometimes well more,” he said. “But that was before I had a child. Now, I’m lucky and get 1-2 a day in. But when I wrote most of the stuff, I’d get up, go get coffee and write for 2-3 hours—and go through a like number of cups of coffee. I used to be able to write at night after work too, but now, by the time we eat, clean up, bathe ‘lil q and take care of things like laundry, bills, et cetera, I’m lucky I get an hour of free time to write. So, for the time being I’ve had to cut back significantly.”
The Contract and ‘lil q
Gordon’s first contract with Dreamspinner was for “(Un)Masked” a novella he co-authored with fellow Dreamspinner author Anyta Sunday. Gordon admits getting the contract was something of a shock to him.
“The first contract was sort of a shot out of the blue,” he said. “Anyta did the query letter and frankly I didn’t recall she sent it to Dreamspinner—I mean she told me and I said yeah that sounds like a good place to submit it to, but when the time came, I totally didn’t remember.”
Gordon had bigger things to consider he said, like starting a family.
“My husband and I had a baby with a surrogate in September of 2011 and Anyta and I hired Magnifico Manuscripts to edit for us in October,” he said. “From September to January, my life was diapers, bottles, and burping. I had just gone back to work after 18 weeks off when Elizabeth [North editor-in-chief of Dreamspinner Press] sent us the offer.”
In the haze of baby fever, Gordon relates his delayed reaction to the good news.
“I didn’t get to read the email for hours, but Anyta was home and read it within an hour of getting it—an hour is generous, if I checked it was probably just a few minutes after the email arrived that she was emailing me, trying to find out where I was,” he said. “I must have gotten three emails and four instant messages from Anyta who was bouncing off walls she was so stoked. She wanted me to review the contract, et cetera, and all I wanted was some sleep from playing papa. Everything went off without a hitch after that, but to be honest I just remember it was some day in February 2012.”
The Curious Q in Andrew Q. Gordon
It’s not every day when you meet someone with the middle initial of Q. However, Gordon revealed his moniker has a more peculiar origin.
“When I first joined Gay Author’s website to ‘get feedback’ on my writing as my author friend suggested, I picked a username of Quonus10,” he said. “Quonus was the name of a minor minor character in the ‘Champion of the Gods’ series. People started to call me ‘Q’ and my daughter became ‘‘lil q.’ When I was selecting an author name, my husband, me, and my co-author agreed the ‘Q’ needed to get worked in so as to provide some continuity to the people who read and supported me over at GA.”
What the Future Holds for Gordon
With a novella and the foundation for an epic series released into the wilds, Gordon talked about his upcoming projects.
“‘Champions’ will be a long range project,” he said. “Hopefully, book two will be out before the year is over. There are a couple other projects I’d like to get if I had time—one is a sequel to a free story I wrote that was well received. The other is another fantasy story, which follows a young man as he progresses up the ranks as a warrior. I’d say more, but I really want to flesh it out before I give away my ideas. Who knows, maybe they’ll be popular.”