Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Andrew.
I’m a librarian in Oakland, CA. I love soup and snow peas. I live with two cats and my partner, Roland, who is a sexy ex-Marine.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I can tie a cherry stem into a knot using only my tongue.
When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
Ever since I was little, I’ve been very good at lying. I was always making up stories. The only difference is: now I write them down.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
It’s much more of a long and lonely road than I thought it would be. But the scenery is fantastic, and there are a few spots to stop and have a drink of water along the way. I am more than thrilled that The American Library Association has just nominated If There’s a Heaven Above as an “Outstanding” book for older teens for its 2014 Rainbow List. That was a real pleasure.
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
I was ecstatic. I cried. I smiled. I ate sushi.
What's your favourite part of writing a book?
Being in the moment, in a scene that is evolving, with my main character (especially when that character is telling me what he wants me to have him do.)
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
I do have a little time. It’s funny, most people think that’s all librarians do: read. Really we get to read very little for work. I did just finish Eudora Welty’s The Optimist’s Daughter. It was beyond splendid. My favourite writers are Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, and Anne Sexton.
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I write in many genres already. My readers know that my poetry is its own entire universe.
Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
If There’s a Heaven Above is literally my first novel, although I completed another, Limboville, before it. It’s first because I began to write it in 1986. I wrote a long prose poem describing the nightlife of 1980’s Los Angeles and the Gothic Club scene (that eventually became the preamble to the novel) and then three skeletal chapters that would become the beginning. But the meager treatment disappeared after several moves, boxing and unboxing my stuff, and boxing it again. It slipped outside my awareness, deep down beneath layers of poems and dog-eared unpublished manuscripts. I still considered myself primarily a poet at that time, having had four books - some which were award winners and/or Amazon bestsellers - published already. Then these early writing fragments surfaced about three years ago. As I cleaned out an actual folder of printed writing, mostly poems from my grad school days at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, I discovered the prose poem I drafted about nightclubbing. It swept me away completely in the feelings of that time period. Then I found and read the three early chapters. And I knew it: I had to write this novel. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I knew this story had to be told - it demand it.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
I have two completed Young Adult (YA) novels, Ghost Songs and A Little Bit Langston, ready to be published. I have two new poetry collections, Lazarus and The Excitable Gift, also ready to be published. I am hard at work on the two remaining novels in my “Heaven” series (of which If There’s a Heaven Above is the first title.) My literary agent, Carolyn French at Fifi Oscard Inc. NY, just retired, so I am actively seeking representation.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
Feel free to email me, follow, or friend me on Twitter/Facebook.
Andrew Demcak's recent releas:
If There's A Heaven Above
It's the early 1980's and Matt is on the cusp of adulthood in the flickering shadows of Los Angeles' Gothic music scene. He dives into a pulsating world of death-rock music, sexy musicians, and strung-out groupies in leather bondage pants and vampire makeup. Through the faded glamour and glittering whirlpool of alcohol and drugs, Matt moves from one good time to the next, searching for something more.
Then he meets Patch: shirtless, tribal-tattooed, wearing cut-off jean shorts still damp from an afternoon at the beach. Patch is a punk-rock Adonis who wears his dark hair spiked up and whose blue eyes are bloodshot from too much late-night fun. Patch doesn’t say much when they first meet, but his body speaks to Matt’s on a cellular level, pure chemistry. To Matt, Patch's tattoos tell him they are part of an invisible tribe, the night people.
But one night is all Matt gets with Patch before he disappears into the neon-washed streets. Matt sets out to find him again, sure Patch is "the One." Along for the ride are his friends Annie and Suzy, one straight, one gay. Wearing too much Aqua-Net and torn fishnets, the girls cruise L.A. in a white Mustang whose seat belts are perfect beer bottle openers. The ultimate Goths, they adore Siouxsie and the Banshees, paint their eyes with kohl, and vow to help Matt in his quest to hook up with Patch.
Will Matt be able to find Patch in L.A.'s drug-soaked clubs? Will one night be all he gets with the man of his dreams? If there's a heaven above, will Matt ever find it?
Excerpt from If There’s a Heaven Above
(Note: contains sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.)
I sat there for a moment, my head spinning. I felt like a fool, but I didn’t care. Stephan and Mary began making out in earnest. I stared nervously into my plastic cup. I looked up and saw Patch eyeing me.
“Nothing. Didn’t you say there was a bridge around here somewhere?”
“Yeah, it’s just a kid’s play bridge.”
“Where is it?”
“Down the hill a little more.”
“Do you want to go find it?”
“Okay,” I said as Patch got up from the table, catching his black cowboy boot on the bench and almost falling over. My heart was a panicked drum machine thumping out two hundred-twenty beats a minute as I followed him.
We passed beneath a wide canopy of oak trees, their leaves spread against the sky as if they were holding up all that blackness over our heads. We moved downhill towards the playground equipment: a merry-go-round, a slide with some swings, and two tall playhouses connected with a suspension bridge. Patch suddenly ran up and leapfrogged over a teeter-totter. He whirled around with a shout. I brightened up as if a candle had been lit and I suddenly saw what I wanted. I ran up and also leaped over the teeter-totter, landing off-balance a few feet from Patch, who, to my surprise, caught me. Feeling his firm hands on my waist was a wonderful, warm, new security.
Before I could say anything, Patch kissed me.
The sky split open for a moment, the moonlight shone through the low clouds. The white sandbox glowed brightly around us, phosphorescent, glorious. Everything I wanted was in this instant, all the masturbating over glossy magazines in high school, all the wet dreams, and near sexual encounters. His razor stubble grinding my cheek was painful and sweet. I ran my hand through his dark hair. It was damp from sweat and the dewy air. He suddenly pressed his hardening cock against me, as if all his needs were expressed in that unspoken gesture. I could feel it growing, stiff and persistent.
His cock knew what it wanted. All that it told me was the truth.
It was happening too fast.
What am I thinking? This guy is homeless, probably a junkie like Mary.
All I knew was he was kissing me again, his tongue wrapping mine, and there was nothing else in the world tonight.
Then he pulled back.
“Do you want to go up on that bridge?” he asked, his voice low and seductive.
“Why did you just kiss me?” I said, shocked hearing the words leave my mouth uncensored.
“Because I thought you were cute.”
“You looked like you need to be kissed.”
“But do you like guys? I mean, you’re not just drunk and horny?”
“Hasn’t Stephan mentioned things about him and me?”
“What things? You’ve gotten together with him?”
“Yeah, a couple times.”
“He’s never mentioned any of that.”
Patch exhaled. I watched the next breath rise in his muscular chest.
“Do you want to go up to that bridge?”
I did, but I didn’t have a rubber on me, and I was worried about having sex with a strange man without a condom. Not with this new disease, AIDS, all about.
“Sure, let’s go,” I said, instantly regretting my decision.
As he turned he grabbed my hand.
Why am I doing this? Is this some Pagan rite? A chance meeting of this young god, my kneeling and worshipping at the altar of his cock?