July 23, 2024

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Book Reviews, And Author Interviews

Wildly Engaging, Wordplay Enthusiast And Realistic Optimist- Rotherweird Author Andrew Caldecott On How A Lawyers Love for Uncovering Hidden Truths For Nefarious Deeds Increases Capacity In Fantasy Writing

One fine, still Spring Day, I was opening up the pool when I received a lovely email pitching a book to me. Of course this caught me off guard because *flattered*. Then I started reading the email and was instantly intrigued by a very different, very quirky sounding book. I wanted in. So I agreed to include Rotherweird in the Summer Fling.

I received the book and what is on the front cover, all big and bad? An endorsement from one Mr. M.R. “I made reading a contact sport for Susan” Carey- if that isn’t fate, I don’t know what is. So when I also received a second, finalized hard copy of Rotherweird from Quercus and Jo Fletcher Books to giveaway I jumped at the idea of interviewing Mr. Caldecott.

I didn’t realize what a treat that would be! We are talking about a lawyer, writer, musician and entertainer for the masses! He played the piano while the Tube (NYC’s subway in London) was shut down during a labor strike, for heaven’s sake! Never one to seek out publicity, someone just happened to catch him on video:

Andrew Caldecott Plays Piano During Tube Strike

Seriously, he’s not on twitter, doesn’t have a website- nothing. I had to go through his publisher just get enough information to come up with questions but it was SO worth it. And with that I give you Mr. Andrew Caldecott…

Andrew Caldecott

Giveaway time! This is a USA/Canada giveaway of a finalized hardcopy ARC of Rotherweird (Rotherweird Series Book #1)!- Out July 30th 


*Per his contract, I am to explicitly state that Liam is not included in the giveaway <rolls eyes… like I could ship him in  a box… not that I haven’t thought about it… reasons you never make the agent the talent… Gomez was sleeping, unfortunately>*

Two differences from other giveaways:

Mr. Caldecott doesn’t have twitter account to follow. Second, the entry window will be slightly shorter. This is so I can do my best, depending on the winners location, to ensure the book is received by July 30th. 

Here is how you enter:

  1. Comment on the this post
  2. Follow me on twitter
  3. Like and Retweet this TWITTER post!

Entries begin today and run through Midnight Eastern Time Tuesday, July 23rd.

US/Canada Only Due to Shipping Expense- Sorry

1.) As a child were you more creative or logical in school and at play?

Never generalise, but it’s a good question and I suspect I’m not my own best
witness. But I’d say:

Art: Wanted to, but I couldn’t so I copied or was derivative. One for logic.
Piano: Could (up to a point) so I improvised and played by ear. Have ever since.
One for creativity.

Acting: enthusiastic, but very ordinary: in truth misplaced effort more than logic or
creativity. From university days, I wrote plays to compensate. Passive creativity I think I always had (and many do), and it merits a mention because artists of all kinds depend on it: the imagination of the reader, the ear of the listener, and an eye for pictures.

2.) I had been wondering how a lawyer (alt history part aside) ends up writing fantasy coming from such a logically dictated work background- but now knowing you have a love for puzzles, music and word games- I *think* I see a pattern of creativity combined with deduction that most interests you. Is that analysis correct? If it is, or isn’t, could you expand on the idea?

I don’t challenge your analysis, save that it’s induction if there is such a word (setting up the puzzle like a treasure hunt). As for expanding, if I may indulge the lawyer’s affection for lists:

1. First rule of world building: coherence. That’s what a lawyer tries to bring to

2. Writing is a form of advocacy. You have to persuade your reader to believe.

3. Nothing is more satisfying for a lawyer than unravelling a hidden truth, especially when it’s been hidden deliberately for nefarious purposes.

4. A lawyer is subservient to other people’s facts, real life facts. What better escape than inventing your own?

5. Just a word about wordplay and puzzles: that was a staple in the first Elizabethan age. They used codes, they revelled in double entendre, Shakespeare better than any (hope you make it to Volume 3, and you’ll see).

3.) Do you think being a parent has brought out the need to provide deescalation in chaotic situations? How aware are they of your work as an author and (depending on their ages), your work? (This question is in response to the video of you playing piano during the tube strikes)

Q1: yes! Q2: Very.

4.) How do you believe Rotherweird will be received in America? Is there anything that you are concerned won’t translate well? Or anything you think will go over better than in the UK?

Now there’s a probing question which deserves an honest answer. Back to those lists:

1. Its Englishness: a draw or off-putting – I’ve no idea, do tell me!

*In response to Mr. Caldecott, truth be told, I don’t think I could respond without going into a thesis on why Blur failed in America while the likes of Muse, Oasis, Radiohead and Coldplay succeeded. Simply put, Blur (who I love to be clear- but I love all these bands save Radiohead past the Bends), is quintessentially British. If you don’t get what “ParkLife” is and what it represents (and be willing to take its digs at America), then you won’t get Blur or their all around presence. But if I don’t leave it there I’ll write a whole blog on it ;)*

2. Its complexity and multitude of moving parts – Raymond Chandler is complex, I say to myself, and surely the new world likes a challenge? Perhaps it’ll prove original for some, and baffling for others.

3. There’s a running theme about how a decent majority cedes power to an evil
minority – and about the guts and imagination needed to resist: topical maybe?

4. Description and the slowish early pace – many great American novels don’t rush, but in this genre?

5. My great grandmother came from Nappa. Maybe there’s something in the bones.

6. All in all, I live in hope but not expectation.

6) Is there anything you have ever wanted to Express to anyone about anything in all the interviews you’ve done but haven’t had a chance to, or haven’t been asked the right questions? If so, this is your time… the floor is yours… 

In part I gave up writing plays, because I wanted to describe as well as write dialogue. In early drafts I went mildly berserk like a child with a new paint box. I hope I’ve reined in and now have the balance roughly right. I should add that many have helped along the way. On which note warm thanks for your interest – I’m touched and encouraged.


Andrew Caldecott

Andrew Caldecott is  married and has a number of children. He loves music and the theatre and has written a couple of critically acclaimed plays. He read history at New College, Oxford before turning to the law; he is one of Britain’s pre-eminent barristers specialising in libel, defamation and media law. He has a brain the size of a not-inconsiderable planet, and a love of puzzles and word games. He’s convivial and charming and funny.

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