Andrea Rodgers knew from a young age that she wanted to be a novelist. Her passion never wavered, even when she put creative writing on hold for “a real job.” Andrea majored in journalism and mass communication at Iowa State University and worked at an Omaha Christian music station (100.7 KGBI) prior to being a stay-at-home-mom. She’s thrilled to be doing what she feels is her purpose in life. Andrea now resides near Des Moines with her husband and two children.
Andrea, Have you always been a writer? If not, what was your previous occupation? How long have you been writing?
By four years old I already had an active imagination and told stories to everyone I met! I announced that I wanted to be an author when I grew up so I wrote stories regularly until I went to Iowa State University and majored in journalism. I worked at a TV station and then an Omaha Christian radio station until I became a stay at home mom of two children. But, my passion and dream never wavered; being an author was always my goal. When my oldest started kindergarten, I received a contract for my first published novel.
What does your family think of your writing?
No one was surprised when I became I an author. I don’t exist without the writing part of me—it’s always felt like my purpose in life. With that said, there were years while I was growing up that adults tried to persuade me elsewhere. Creative professions are harder to take seriously, so I was often encouraged to write as a hobby and privately—but not get my hopes up at ever being a published novelist. I needed to get my head out of the clouds and find a “real job.” Thankfully, everyone turned out to be supportive when my first book came out. With my second, my family was more nervous since it was inspired by actual events, but I think they recognized it was a story that needed to be written. I also made it clear the characters aren’t real. It’s hard for people without the writing gene to understand writers, so I appreciate the support. My husband is an engineer so he prefers math & science, yet has always been my number one fan.
Tell us about getting your mind in a creative mode. How do you begin the writing process?
I find that other forms of art inspire me: looking at a photograph, a painting, listening to music, watching a movie, or visiting a quiet location. Often the weather inspires me as well—if there’s a thunderstorm or blizzard, or if it’s humid or breezy—the extremes somehow get me to “feel” my story. I usually write down the idea and start expanding from there. My first two published novels were written without an outline, but everything prior and everything since have been thought about first so that I can keep going. I have so many ideas that I can’t get down on paper fast enough, so when I’m writing one, I come up with another and another until many times I get so overwhelmed that I stop. Writing an outline not only helps the book flow better for the reader, but it’s the key for me as a writer to cross the finish line!
What motivated you to write on this topic? Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
My most recent, novel, Caged Dove deals with the topic of school bullying and suicide which was something that I dealt with as a child. I overcame the struggle and wanted to help others, yet every time I heard about another teen taking their life, the emotions were too strong for me to write. But, I knew God wanted me to stand up for the thousands of victims who don’t have a voice anymore. With a new school year just starting, it’s the perfect time for both adults and teens to read Caged Dove.