Thursday, October 2, 2014


LGBT MONTH Author Interview: Andrew Demcak

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About the Author:

Andrew Demcak is an award-winning poet and novelist whose work has been widely published and anthologized both in print and on-line, and whose books have been featured by The American Library Association, Verse Daily, The Lambda Literary Foundation, The Best American Poetry blog, The Nervous Breakdown, and Poets/Artists. His first Young Adult (YA) novel, GHOST SONGS, was published March 13, 2014 by Harmony Ink Press. His first literary novel, If There's A Heaven Above, was published January 5, 2013 by JMS Books. His fourth book of poetry, Night Chant, was published by Lethe Press, 2011. His other poetry books are: A Single Hurt Color, GOSS 183::Casa Menendez Press, 2010, Zero Summer, BlazeVOX [Books], NY, 2009 and his first poetry book, Catching Tigers in Red Weather, three candles press, 2007, that was selected by Joan Larkin to win the Three Candles Press Open Book Award. He was a 2010 Finalist for The Crazyhorse Poetry Award. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Lambda Award, Thom Gunn Poetry Award, both the California and Northern California Book Awards, Best of the Web, and others. He has an M. F. A. in English/Creative Writing from St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA , where he studied with Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Michael Palmer, Carol Snow, Frank Bidart, Gary Snyder, Charles Wright, and Sharon Olds. Andrew is also a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, where he studied with Galway Kinnell, Richard Howard, and Lucille Clifton. His poems, including Young Man With iPod (Poetry Midwest, #13), are taught at Ohio State University as part of both its English 110.02 class, "The Genius and the Madman," and in its "American Poetry Since 1945" class. At the age of 23, Andrew published his first chapbook, The Psalms (Big 23 Press), which was favorably reviewed by Dr. Clifton Snider in the Small Press Review (issue 226, vol. 23, no. 11.) When he is not hard at work as a Children's Librarian for Oakland Public Library, he can be found eating okonomiyaki at Japantown in San Francisco. Viva Wallace Stevens! Visit Andrew at:


What made you want to become a writer?
I never really thought about becoming a writer; I have always written since I was a kid.  I mostly wrote poetry until about 5 years ago when I wrote my first novel, If There's a Heaven Above (JMS Books).  I was a theater major as an undergrad in college.  Acting was okay, but I loved my playwriting class best.  I decided right then to become an English major with the emphasis on creative writing.  I ended up getting a Master's degree in English.

Where do you get your inspirations from?
My life and the stories of those who live around me.  It's dangerous to know a writer; you never know if you'll end up in one of his stories.

Other than writing books, what else do you do in your free time?

I love running, hiking, and hanging out with my husband (just got married in July, 2014!)  I collect early 20th century and mid century pottery, Grueby, van Briggle, Rookwood, Arequipa, California Faience, Grand Feu, Rose Cabat, etc. 

If you could work with another author, who would it be?

Gertrude Stein!  I love all of her linguistic experiments!

What are major themes of your work?

Abuse and recovery.  I heard a great definition of what a ghost is:  an emotion twisted beyond recognition.  It will not go away until the wrong is put right.  I think that is what Ghost Songs is all about.

What do you think people look for in a book?
Identification.  Ego loves its mirrors.  Also people want emotional release.

Are there any recent works you admire?

I loved Sharon Olds' most recent book of poetry, Stags Leap.  It is devastating in its honesty.

Questions About the Book (Ghost Songs):

Which character in the book do you think you can relate to the most?
I identify with both Todd, the lead, and his mother, Eddie.  But there is a little bit of me in all the characters.  It's a bit schizophrenic to have so many people in my head at one time!

How did you come up with the character's names?

Todd came from the idea of a generic boy, an "any-boy" so that he wouldn't be seen as different.  Eddie's name came from Absolutely Fabulous.  A tip of my hat to the marvelous Jennifer Saunders.

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
This book is based on the true stories of several people, including myself.  I grew up in a haunted house.  To me, haunting is a psychological state.  The idea that things will happen to you that will follow you around for the rest of your life unless you can heal and purge them.

*The questions and answers of this author interview are only for Ethereal Book Reviews to use.  If you would like to get interviewed, please visit our "Contact Us" page and send us an e-mail.