A lot of people already know that I am a keen bookworm, and that I am willing to try out new genres so, Ben from Cameron Publishing sent me a real challenge recently. He recommended that I read and review a first published novel from author Andrew J Thomas called “Entanglement”. This is a sci-fi mystery book about parallel worlds … and it also includes cake recipes too! This book sounded intriguing – I admit, I’m not a big sci-fi fan but I was willing to give it a go. And I wanted to know… why the cake recipes?! I enjoyed the book – I found the book easy reading with a twist. I never really understood parallel worlds, but Andrew had explained it in such a way like scientist Brian Cox ( 😊). I loved the entanglement of the storylines – parallel worlds, moles (animal kind), relationships, journalism, secrecy and the significance of cake. I also liked the footnotes too. After reading the book, I wanted to find out more about the writer and his ideas…. so welcome Andrew…
Hi, I’m Andrew J Thomas, author of ‘Entanglement’ and I was born in Bristol, England. I started writing it in March 2018 and was published 18 months later, during which time though, my mother had a major stroke. My focus therefore expanded to include giving her a copy while there was still time, and happily, I succeeded. I’m unmarried, I live with my cats in a thatched cottage in the heart of England, and I’m currently writing the sequel to ‘Entanglement’, ‘Transference’.
After a successful career in IT, who or what inspired you to take the plunge and become a professional writer?
It’s a good question, as I’d written on and off all my life, but what tipped me over the edge was work. I wasn’t happy in my last job so I’d got a few interviews lined up and there was one which I thought was perfect, only I didn’t get it. Then the next day I woke up and simply thought “Enough’s enough”. I resigned a couple of days later, moved to the countryside, spent the next 18 months renovating a 17th century thatched cottage, and then started writing. When I left work, it was what I told everyone I was going to do, and I still remember the day I opened my laptop and started typing.
“Entanglement” is your debut novel – and what a debut novel – I enjoyed reading the book from start to finish. Definitely different. I haven’t come across a sci-fi mystery book about parallel worlds that also included cake recipes and footnotes! I liked the characters of Jenny & Nigel – I know a couple in my own town that are best of friends, spookily in the same vein as these two – and I had a fondest for Liz, Erica & Gran too. Which character did you enjoy writing about the most? Which character was the hardest?
Jenny is my favourite character, and I loved writing her, as while she shares some traits with me (cats, tidy, impatient …) she also goes through things in her life, that I haven’t. Without giving anything away, she’s an old soul who moves from place to place a lot and undergoes some pretty life-changing events. It was therefore funny when friends read the first draft and commented on things about her, and Nigel for that matter, which they recognised from my own life. Amazing how these things creep in without you noticing. The hardest characters to write were those in the military and government, as I didn’t want them to stereotype them, so I reached out to people in those fields to get their take on behaviours, conversational styles etc..
Were there any aspects of writing a novel that surprised you, pleasantly or otherwise?
Oh yes. The part that amazed me was how some days, the story flowed out of me so quickly, it felt more like I was reading it than writing it. OK there were other days when I could agonise over a single paragraph for hours, but the others were astonishing.
To be honest, I’m baffled by sci -fit and the whole parallel worlds theories but I must admit, though this is a novel you explained the phenomena is “layman” terms and the footnotes were interesting too, without making the novel “heavy reading”. Why did you pick this topic for your first novel and did your own personal opinions and thoughts about the subject material change as the novel developed?
You know what, I didn’t pick it as such. The first pieces I wrote were some of the conversations between Jenny and Nigel. Then one of the sub plots, and it was only when I got the notion of a vanishing building that I started to ask myself how and why. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed all the research around the science piece and although I’ve clearly messed with it a bit for the sake of the story, I was keen to keep the baseline entirely real. I knew nothing of the facts of it before I started the book though, barring a few sci-fi programmes here and there, so the thing that struck me most as the novel developed, is the way parallel universes are not just the realm of science fiction, and there are lots of well-respectedscientists around the world who absolutely believe all the theories I reference in the book.
Are there any new novel ideas or writing plans in the pipeline?
Absolutely, I’m about a third of the way into writing the sequel to ‘Entanglement’, ‘Transference’. The book begins by filling in some gaps from the end of Entanglement so as to set up the new story, then picks up from the very instant that ‘Entanglement’ finishes. It features all the same main characters as before, with a new ‘supporting cast’ and whereas ‘Entanglement’ was very much about “What if?”, ‘Transference’ asks “What next?”
Are you a bookworm? What is your favourite genre and/or authors? Kindle or actual book?
I’m not a daily reader, but when I find an author I love, I tend to devour their books for a few months and then take a break. I’ve traditionally been a book reader, although I bought a Kindle last year and find my reading has actually increased since, although the bulk of my consumption tends to be audiobooks in the car where it’s often PG Wodehouse or Agatha Christie. At home though, it tends to be Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, re-reading Douglas Adams and recently going through some old horror classics like Mary Shelley and Robert Louis Stephenson
Is “Entanglement” available to purchase worldwide?
Yes. The paperback, hardback and ebook are on Amazon worldwide. The ebook is also available on Apple Books, Nook and Kobo. Plus the print versions can also be ordered online or in store at places like Waterstones, Foyles and Barnes & Noble
If you could visit any place in the world to give you inspiration for your next book, where would you go and why?
I’m lucky to have travelled the world a lot over the years and being an outdoorsy sort of person, some of my favourite places are Montana, Utah and Japan. For ‘Transference’ though, the new location in the story relative to ‘Entanglement’ (which was largely set in Scotland), is Snowdonia, so it would have to be there.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Jeans, casual shirt and something like desert boots or chukka boots. In fact if you read Nigel’s dress sense, that’s roughly me, although I like to think I’m slightly smarter!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Amazon every time for shopping online. I also use a site called Canva for creating my daily posts on Instagram and Twitter. Apart from those, the Apple store gets a visit occasionally, but by far the bulk of my browsing is for research on my current novel. On the high street, it tends to be Waterstones, outdoor shops like Cotswold, and places like Lakeland, as I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets. Well, gadgets of all kinds really.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Probably some new chukka boots as my current ones have been worn to death, trekking back and forth between home and the village pub … or shop.
Boots or Shoes?
Both I guess, as I prefer shows for hiking and smart, but boots for casual.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Thank you Andrew for chatting to us and I am looking forward to reading the follow up, “Transference”. Dear blog readers, if you’re looking to read a book that is slightly different or want a change from your usual genre, give “Entanglement” a read – it’s like a breath of fresh air!
Thanks to Ben of Cameron Publishing for sending me a copy of “Entanglement “.
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Andrew J Thomas & Cameron Publishing; apart from the photo for Pinterest which is by myself, Linda Hobden