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Tuesday, February 28, 2023

SPFBO Finalist interview: Andrew C. Piazza, the Author of A Song For The Void


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

AUTHOR INFO: Andrew C. Piazza makes it a point to keep people up at night with chilling and thrilling tales of contemporary fantasy and cosmic horror. He's quite ruthless about this sort of thing. He doesn't care that you have to get up for work. He doesn't care that you're supposed to be on vacation. Or the fact that your dog really needs to be walked, or your kids are suffering from terrible neglect. He just keeps making you turn the page. It's almost rude.

He's hit the #1 bestseller list in four categories and would have gotten a fifth if it weren't for that pesky Dean Koontz. Gosh, Dean, make a LITTLE bit of room for the new guy, hunh?

He lives mostly in his daydreams in an undisclosed location outside of Philadelphia, PA.

Publisher: Andrew C. Piazza (July 15, 2020) Page Count: 347 (Kindle edition) Cover art: Miblart

Q&A

Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Before we start, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m terribly boring. I’m a fairly standard-issue American who grew up in southeast Pennsylvania, out in the sticks next to a lot of farmland. Just a stone’s throw from Amish country. I started writing many years ago and stay hopeful every day that my books become popular enough that I might write full time.

Do you have a day job? If so, what is it?

Yes, I’m a chiropractor.

Who are some of your favorite writers, and why is their work important to you?

Stephen King is an obvious choice, for his ability to create characters and settings that feel very real. Elmore Leonard, for his ability to transmit character and story through dialog. Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury for their willingness to experiment and try anything.

What do you think characterizes your writing style?

I try to keep my prose clean and have any style fade into the background. The story’s the thing, and I don’t want to get in the way. Past that, I’m always looking to make my prose as emotionally evocative as possible.

What made you decide to self-publish A Song For The Void as opposed to traditional publishing?

Self publishing is fantastic. You can retain full artistic control over your work, including even over the cover art. Also, with a trad publisher, there are often tremendous lag times to go from manuscript to print. I don’t want to wait years to get my stories to my readers.

What do you think the greatest advantage of self-publishing is?

Full artistic control. This allows for the maximum amount of integrity in the story telling.

On the other hand, is there anything you feel self-published authors may miss out on?

Not really. Trads have a bit of a leg up with some contests, and perhaps with movie rights and getting into major bookstores. But if your book becomes massively popular, you can still make your way into those places.

Why did you enter SPFBO?

A very kind reader advised me to!

What would you do if you won the SPFBO?

I have no idea. Dance a jig, perhaps? Certainly shout it from the mountaintops. I understand there is a selfie stick involved, so perhaps a lot of selfies.

How would you describe the plot of A Song For The Void if you had to do so in just one or two sentences?

In 1853, while on patrol in the South China Sea, a British warship encounters an otherworldly creature that affects their minds and drives them to the edge of madness and beyond.

What was your initial inspiration for A Song For The Void? How long have you been working on it? Has it evolved from its original idea?

It took about nine months to write. The inspiration began with a deep dive into the history of the Opium Wars, which were a series of trade wars between Britain and China in the mid 1800’s. The more I studied, the more ideas I got.

As far as an evolution… I was about two thirds of the way writing through the novel when I finally realized why I had set the story during the Opium Wars, and in a first person narrative, and why the narrator had to be the ship’s surgeon. That helped direct the latter part of the book.

If you had to describe it in 3 adjectives, which would you choose?

Challenging. Unflinching. Surprisingly hopeful.

Is it part of the series or a standalone? If series, how many books have you planned for it?

It’s a standalone.

Who are the key players in this story? Could you introduce us to A Song For The Void’s protagonists/antagonists?

The main protagonist is Doctor Pearce, the ship’s surgeon. He is a man who has suffered great loss and tragedy, and has fallen prey to opium addiction as a result. He is intelligent, capable in a fight, kind, and flawed.

The main (human) antagonist is West, an American blackbirder, which was a term at the time for a slave trader. He’s quite a turd.

The inhuman antagonist is the Darkstar, an otherworldly creature I’d rather not tell too much about, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. We’ll just say it’s malevolent and has the power to alter the perceptions of human beings.

How did you select the names of your characters?

That’s always tricky and I can’t always pin down exactly why I pick one over another. I often have a lot of choices per character, that I will try out in prose and dialogue, and I’ll often change them as I go. In the case of West, I wanted a hissing sound, a name that would easily be used as a curse, that sounded like “pest”.

Does your book feature a magic/magic system? If yes, can you describe it?

Not in the classic epic fantasy sense. There is a supernatural element to the story coming from the Darkstar, but everyone else has to rely on regular old physics like the rest of us.




Cover art is always an important factor in book sales. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of A Song For The Void and the artist?

I used a group called Mibl art, a Ukrainian firm who did a fantastic job. I spend a lot of time coming up with cover art concepts for all of my books, and I went through many, many iterations with this one.

The inspiration for the final form came from the movie poster for an indie cosmic horror film, which I then modified heavily to suit this story. With a cover, one wants to communicate genre, and for this story, I wanted to it to be clear that this was A) not just horror, but cosmic horror and B) set during the age of sail.

I then sent a bunch of images to Mibl Art with instructions as to my concept, and we went through a few edits to tweak the details, and I absolutely love the final result.


Which question about the book do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

That’s an interesting question! Here is one that will be spoiler free. What was the alternate choice of title for “A Song For The Void”? Answer: “Dancing With Decartes’ Daemon”.

What’s your publishing Schedule for 2022/2023?

I am not so organized as to have a publishing schedule. With my pesky day job taking up so much time, I have to create as I can. Right now, I’m working on two different projects. One is another cosmic horror historical novel, the other is contemporary fantasy.

Thank you for taking the time to answer all the questions. In closing, do you have any parting thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?

I’m thrilled to have been chosen as a finalist for this contest. Any time an artist puts their work out to the public, it is always in the hope that it might find an appreciative audience. Artists all live for that connection, and I’m no different.

“A Song For The Void” is a challenging read, a bit of a heavy lift emotionally, but I’m very happy how it turned out and I’m grateful to see that it resonates with so many readers.

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