AMBER LOVE 22-DEC-2014 About every six months, ANDE PARKS joins me to have a virtual night out through Skype. We talk all about booze, writing, relationships – anything is fair game – and I record it. This episode of VODKA O’CLOCK follows up my interviews with Josh Neff talking about National Novel Writing Month. I wanted to talk to Ande about it because he was not a participant in NaNoWriMo yet he took a month off from comic book jobs in order to dedicate himself to writing a novel; only it wasn’t during November. His novel writing had plenty of days where he struggled and making words that made any sense were hard.

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“I don’t really believe in a truly shitty first draft but I have grown to think that there such a thing as a not very good first draft that’s really valuable. And also, I started to realize, I was maybe being unfair to a lot of people that do NaNoWriMo because I was comparing their experience to mine.” Ande Parks

He has a ton of great things about how feels writing should be used by more people therapeutically or for the joy of writing when there’s no intention on publishing.

“If NaNoWriMo gets more people writing in any way, it’s probably a really valuable thing and I probably shouldn’t get huffy about it,” Ande Parks

Ande had something that NaNoWriMo also tries to give writers – a supportive friend. In NaNo’s website, you can follow people like in Twitter and there are communities for people who live near each other to arrange for meetup writing sessions. Ande has one of his closest friends, Alex Grecian who is a well known novelist and comic writer, there to encourage him and preview the work about private investigators which he set in 1942.

“I wanted to write about good men who did not get to go save the world and kind of what that was like living in that shadow. My two leads are both unable to serve for physical reasons.” Ande Parks


I broached the subject about writing stories that involve the wealthy one percenters. In comics we see it all the time in BATMAN, IRON MAN and GREEN ARROW but it’s extremely prevalent in cozy mysteries where the protagonists seem to have all their financial woes eased within the first book.



Ande is one “my” go-to noir guys. He likes pulp era crime fiction with men in hats and femmes fatales. He wanted to know what a “cozy” mystery is which is what I wrote (and need to revise). Criminal Element’s Terrie Farley Moran answered this question thoroughly. In a nutshell, the sex and violence are not graphic in cozies the way you’d read in a gritty traditional crime fiction book. The cozies make murder funny a lot of the time. Even if the death is sad and depressing, the characters will run into silly situations. There’s often an emphasis on coffee, tea and food.


Ande and I talked about what our most productive work schedules are for writing. He was afraid that something like four dedicated hours sounded lazy but it’s not. I’ve spent a lot of time in office jobs and there’s a lot of waste (just one of the several reasons I would have preferred if part time hours were respected and had benefits). If his meetings with Alex Grecian were outside his writing time, it’s just like an office where you are in meetings for a couple hours taking up time away from your desk.

Something dawned on me after my conversation with Ande. All professional writers and educators tell amateur/aspiring writers that in order to improve your own work, you need to read a LOT. That being the case, there’s no reason time spent reading shouldn’t be considered part of your work day. It’s like someone who works in publishing like editors, publicists, contract administrators, etc. There’s a lot of reading going on. They do it sitting at a desk in an office. Why should it matter that your reading time of someone else’s work is done in your home or at a coffeeshop? It doesn’t matter and it is absolutely part of your “work day” hours.

Plus, a lot of writers and artists have dedicate times for physical activities. I haven’t since the summer but Ande takes a two and half mile walk with his dog every day. He feels like he needs to do it now and doesn’t like days where it doesn’t happen.


It’s not wrong to have a drink once a day either. People need to monitor their own intake of course, talk with their medical professionals, etc. But seriously, in other countries business people have wine with lunch.

Don’t miss the talk about my perfectly crafted Cosmo! Shout outs to Ginny Tonic and Charlie Tonic, experts on all things boozey. Shows like MAD MEN and SEX IN THE CITY propelled certain drinking trends.


Ande’s latest graphic novel, CIUDAD just came out from Oni Press even though he wrote it five and half years ago with the Russo Brothers (directors of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER). There were troubles in the art department. They cycled through a couple of artists and eventually found a reliable person, Fernando León González. CIUDAD is an action thriller about a gun for hire who needs to rescue a drug lord’s daughter from the enemy. Ande and I argued about whether the main characters, Tyler and Eva, are romantically attached or not. I say yes but the author of the book says no.


“The goodness of her nature, I think, kind of saves our hero in a way that goes beyond all the action sequences.” Ande Parks on CIUDAD

Ande was offered the chance to go to the real Ciudad del Este and he was not about to take that offer when he working on his novel. He recommended Joshua Dysart to get into the process with the UN. Dysart is not going to South America but to Iraq to work in comics there.

Ande will be adapting another Jonathan Kellerman psychological thriller from novel to graphic novel through Random House.


April 2014 interview with Ande on Vodka O’Clock

2013 interview with Ande talking about fatherhood on Vodka O’Clock

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