Today I have the great honor of welcoming Andie Wood, the founder of The New Romance Café Facebook Group and the heart behind the spring and summer anthologies, “Love in Bloom” and “Hot Summer Nights.” Welcome to North Carolina and Creekside Café.
Andie: I’ve never been to the States. I have many friends there and would love to visit one day soon.
Sherri: It means so much to have you here today. I am so honored to be included in the “Love in Bloom” spring anthology. Is this the first time you’ve coordinated an anthology?
Andie: When I started the group (The New Romance Café), I wanted to help empower and provide a platform for aspiring and unpublished writers, as well as connecting them with their readership. More established authors joined as well, and I felt this led to a greater sense of community and purpose. Since it is a romance focused group, it felt natural that the output should be a romance collection or anthology. This also led to the idea that the profits of this should all go to charity.
I’m very excited that The Romance Café will be launching its first anthology of short stories created by author members. I see the anthology as the first step in generating as much exposure for them as possible, all towards a great cause: breast cancer research and care. Several members’ lives have been affected by cancer one way or another. Many are survivors themselves. We’re honoring all those whose lives have been touched by cancer.
Sherri: That is one of the things that attracted me to the anthology. Eastern North Carolina has one of the largest groups of death by cancer in the United States.
Where are you from?
Andie: I’m originally from Romania but I’ve lived all over the place. I lived in the UK (United Kingdom) for 11 years, had a stint in Spain and Gibraltar, and for the past 2 years I’ve been in the other side of the world, in New Zealand.
Sherri: I’m so jealous. I’ve never been anywhere except the US and Mexico. I traveled some before David and I married, but haven’t had much chance to travel since. Are you married? Do you have children?
Andie: I’m married, I have a 3-year old son and I’m currently 32 weeks pregnant, expecting a baby girl in April.
Sherri: That’s exciting. I had all boys, six of them but I’ve been lucky to have great daughters-in-law and some awesome granddaughters.
You are so active in The New Romance Café, do you work full-time?
Andie: By day, I roam the virtual streets of digital marketing. By night, I’m a voracious romance reader.
Sherri: I love to read but have less chance to do so now with trying to publish and at the moment I’m eye-ball deep in conference preparations. Who are your favorite authors, what genres do you like to read?
Andie: I love romance and gentle crime. In terms of authors, I have to mention Alexander McCall Smith, Sarah MacLean, Nora Roberts, Tessa Dare, and Jayne Ann Krentz and her alter egos. It’s a long list.
Sherri: I’m not familiar with Alexander McCall Smith, but the others you mentioned are some of my favorites. I’ll suggest Sabrina Jeffries, she writes Regency Romance.
Besides reading, what are your other passions?
Andie: I love reading, of course. My other big love is Pokemon. If you watch any of my Facebook Live sessions, you’ll notice I have an impressive collection of Pokemon mugs.
Sherri: I’m a big fan of Minions. They crack me up. I’ve even made a minion of me.
One of my passions is cooking though I have very little time to do it with work and writing. Do you like to cook?
Andie: In terms of my cooking, I have a mantra: if it’s not ready in 45 mins max, I’m not making it.
Sherri: I watch a lot of cooking shows but mostly dream about cooking. Do you have a favorite recipe or a favorite food?
Andie: I’m a big pizza fan, ideally with a thin crust. I remember the first time I saw a pizza, it was being eaten by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! I must have been quite young and it’s left an impression on me.
Sherri: Pizza is one of my favorite things to eat, I’m not good at making it. My first memory of pizza was when we lived in Hampton, Virginia we’d pick up pizza from the Giant Open-Air Market and carry it home. The aroma of pepperoni and bell peppers, spicy sauce and yeast still wafts around in my brain like a ghost. I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight.
The bad thing about pizza, for me anyway, is the calories. I need to start dieting and exercising? My youngest son and his wife are big on going to the gym and running. If I’m running, don’t ask questions just keep going. Are you an athlete or into fitness?
Andie: I’m afraid the most taxing exercise I do is yoga.
Sherri: You talked about having friends all over the world. Do you keep in touch with them? It must be difficult with the different time zones.
Andie: I try to make myself as available as possible to my friends, particularly as distance and different time zones make it difficult to have set times.
Sherri: You are the founder and host of several online writing and reading groups, tell us about them.
Andie: Even though romance is THE most sold book genre, it has a stigma attached to it, as well as to those who read it. I created The Romance Café in mid 2018 because I felt that romance readers and aspiring writers were lacking safe, non-judgemental places online where they could discuss their favourite books and authors. Join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/292243634861501.
Sherri: Thank you Andie for joining me at Creekside Café, I’ve enjoyed our chat. Don’t forget our spring anthology, Love in Bloom goes on sale March 8th, you can preorder your copy. I ordered mine from Amazon US. The proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation #BCRF, a US based company that works globally. For more information about the charity, go to their website https://www.bcrf.org/