Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on thriller author Andrea Bartz. Andrea, can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
I’m Andrea Bartz, the New York Times-bestselling author of We Were Never Here, The Lost Night, and The Herd. My work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Vogue, and many other outlets, and I’ve held editorial positions at Glamour, Psychology Today, and Self, among other publications. I live in Brooklyn with my girlfriend.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
They should absolutely check there first! My books are available wherever books are sold; Books Are Magic, Boswell Books, and Greenlight are some of my favorite indies, and Bookshop.org is always a good bet.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I’m on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram at @andibartz, and I’m on Facebook @andreabartzauthor. My website is andreabartz.com.
What was the inspiration for We Were Never Here? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
I had the idea for WE WERE NEVER HERE when I was in a remote mountain town in Chile myself, where my friend and I befriended the one other backpacker in Pisco Elqui. He was so cool and kind and non-creepy that we all jumped on a running gag about how he was actually a psycho angling to kill us and steal our money.
On the last night, we were drinking wine in our hotel suite, and out of nowhere, I said, “Stephen, you’ve known us exactly as long as we’ve known you…and you didn’t watch us pour your wine in the kitchen. What makes you so sure we’re not a danger to you?” (What can I say—I’m a thriller author!) A long silence ensued, and the idea for this book was born.
I’m a “pantser” (not a “plotter”) so I write without an outline—I took the idea and ran with it!
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Just write! It sounds simple, but it’s the step we so often get stuck on. Keep in mind that most authors never feel like writing. You can’t wait until you get the urge to write. You just have to sit down and write!
Let the first draft be terrible. Don’t psych yourself out or worry about whether your book will fit into the shifting marketplace years down the line. As the old adage says: You can’t edit a blank page. Go ahead and write, and then you can start the long process of revising, perfecting, and finding your path to publication.
What question do you wish interviewers would ask you, and what would the answer be?
I’m always happy when people ask me what I hope readers will take away from WE WERE NEVER HERE. In non-pandemic times, I’m a travel writer, which means I’m often visiting far-flung places. People are always telling me I’m brave or reminding me to be careful, and newspapers occasionally print articles aimed at female travelers listing aaall the ways we should protect ourselves. It seemed to me that, on some deeper level, all the hand-wringing and subtle victim-blaming are ultimately about convincing us we shouldn’t explore and experience the world. With WE WERE NEVER HERE, I wanted to turn that idea on its head by making female travelers the ones with blood on their hands. Obviously I don’t want men running terrified from women, either (ha!), but I hope the book makes you think!
And just as importantly, I hope this book makes people daydream about travel! My goal was to airdrop you into the settings, so you’re right there with Kristen and Emily as they explore Chile—sipping pisco sours on a deck and admiring the mountain views and dancing to Latin pop on a jungly patio. (And then, you know, ditching a body in a remote patch of farmland…but I’m getting ahead of myself.)
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
I call my cat, Mona, my “writing assistant”! She’s very willing to hang out in my office with me while I’m writing. I often find that reaching down and scratching her soft ears or petting her belly calms me down and helps me get unstuck when I’m writing. The only exception is when she decides to walk across—or even sit on—the keyboard!
Andrea, Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions.