Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Andi Cumbo-Floyd, and I’m a writer, editor, historian, and farmer. I often write books about writing, mostly books of encouragement to help people think about what works for them and their words.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
At the risk of sounding like I have a line of inspirational t-shirts, all of life inspires me. I don’t really believe in “inspiration” as some sort of creature who visits and pushes us to create, but I do believe that amazing things, great questions, and compelling stories hang around in every bit of the world. For me, nature is a big inspiration as are other people’s stories. I also love the quirky things that show up in historical documents, and a good dose of magic or life beyond what our senses tell us always makes me happy.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I’d like to say I’m past that and don’t even worry about bad reviews or critique, but that would be a big ole lie. Honestly, I let myself feel whatever I feel – usually some combination of sadness and anger – for about 24 hours. During that time, I also commit to not responding or social media-ing anything about that negative feedback. Then, once I’ve let the emotions run their course, I take a look at the feedback. If it has valuable information – something I can see that would help me improve my work – I keep it. If it’s hateful or personal or seems to come from someone who is just not the reader for my work, I dismiss it as best I can and move on.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I’m a both/and person, so I believe I have to love what I write but it also has to be accessible and meaningful to readers. I find that balance by writing the first draft entirely for myself. I follow my whims. I indulge my verbosity. I follow flights of fancy. But when I revise, I turn to the reader and ask what she needs to know, how the words will best reach her and write accordingly.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
When something causes a big emotional response in me – be that overwhelming joy or frustration or rage – I look deeper and ask why? That why has driven a lot of my writing ideas. Likewise, the talented writer Gayle Brandeisonce told me that if I got choked up when reading something I’d written, I could trust that I’d gotten close to truth there. I heed that wisdom very closely.
What are your plans for future books?
Well, I just release my third YA magical realism novel, and I plan to continue down that road with more YA novels that fold back the corners on magic a bit. They’re fun to write, allow me to explore the history I’ve studied, and are possible while I am the primary caregiver for our young son.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I live on a hobby farm at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and we raise goats and chickens. We will get our new flock of chicks tomorrow, and I’ve just decided they will be named after mythical creatures – Griffin, Centaur, etc.
You can find me at andilit.com.