Below is a transcript of a recent interview with author Andrew Branham on 4/5/16. Andrew is the author of two books. In 2015 Andrew published, Anything for Amelia, which was a real-life memoir about what was deemed, “The most difficult U.S. adoption.” Recently, he finished his first fiction novel, Parched, which will be published on 4/14/16. It is currently on pre-sale for $3.99. The story follows a family from California in a dystopian world where the sun has become a ‘red giant’. As a result, there is almost no water and the earth is baking. This incredible, page-turning story follows a desperate family in search of survival.
What drove you to write Parched?
I have always been a huge fan of post-apocalyptic novels. At the time, I was living in Northern California during the very serious drought. In fact, at one point, a city very near me came within a few days of being completely without fresh water. I began to imagine what the world would be like in a true water-crisis. At the same time, global warming and climate change continued to be topics that were top of mind around the world. Considering all of this, the idea for the book just came to me. I wanted to create a world that incorporated extreme drought and drastic climate change. My hope was that it would not only be a great story – but would also open some eyes to the power of nature.
How long did it take you to write the novel?
Interestingly – it honestly did not take me long. To actually write the story took me about a month. Given that I have a very busy day job – I had to do all of my writing at night and during the weekends. Somehow, I was just in that ‘writing zone’ and the story just seemed to develop naturally. What took a long time was the editing, more editing, and more editing.
You stated that this book was part one in a three book series. What is coming next?
Well, I don’t want to disclose too much but part two is already in progress. In fact, you can read the first chapter at the end of Parched. In a nutshell, book two will have more focus on Lexie’s sister Karen. The family will continue to face hardships in their quest to find safety and water. They will move north toward Canada and into hostile lands that are occupied by warlords and bandits. Book three will actually be about a long voyage to try and reach the extreme poles to find fresh water and a livable climate.
What message did you want to deliver with this book?
I really wanted to send a message that nature is a powerful and sometimes unstoppable force. Mankind must not only respect nature but also never take it for granted. We currently live in a world where we are witnessing major changes in our climate based on our own actions. While my story is about an unlikely natural disaster, climate change is very real. If something doesn’t change, sadly my story could actually become a reality.
It seems that you had a spiritual undertone to your story. Is that accurate?
The short answer is yes. While religion and spirituality were not the main themes, there was certainly a message of inclusion. I’ve always lived my life where I have accepted and respected all spirituality. My point here was that it is possible that no one religion is right or wrong. We must keep our hearts and minds open to all possibilities.
At the beginning of your book, James seemed to be the hero. But as the book goes on, it seems like Lexie and Silas became the heroes. Was this intentional?
Absolutely. So many books that deal with a nuclear family often have the male character as the strong and heroic one. I wanted to challenge the status quo with that. As the story develops, both Silas and Lexie’s characters strengthen with each chapter. In part two, Lexie and Karen become the main heroines.
What was your intention with Silas being gay?
Honestly the only intention I had was to include a ‘non-traditional’ family that accepts their child unconditionally. While they struggled with his identity at first, they eventually simply accepted him. I also wanted to challenge stereotypes by making Silas a strong and heroic character.
You wrote another book, Anything for Amelia, in 2015. What would you say about this memoir?
This memoir is obviously very close to my heart. It is my true-life story about the very difficult adoption of my daughter Amelia. It was considered one of the most difficult adoptions in our country’s history. The story is quite remarkable and will literally keep you on the edge of your seat. Many readers email me telling me that they cried, laughed and really connected with all of the characters. They often have follow-up questions about the other families that were involved. My hope with this book was that I could help other people who were adopting or considering adoption. I hope that they can learn from our mistakes.
What would you like to say to your fans?
I would like to simply thank them for their on-going support over the past two years. Your reviews, emails, and comments have inspired me. I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate all of you and I hope my writing brings you some enjoyment. I answer every single email or call – so please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with anything.