Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Interview with Patrick Andendall, Author of Stupidparty Math V. Myth: Unmasking the Destructive Forces Eroding American Democrac.

Patrick Andendall has always had an interest in politics and, being multicultural, he views issues from a more international perspective. In 2004, five days before the election, he flew to Cleveland and pitched in to help with the political process. What he discovered was the dissolution of the American Dream, which he writes about in his book, Stupidparty.

Educated at English boarding schools from the age of seven, Andendall went on to graduate from Lancing College. He started by sometimes working three jobs at once, trainee Underwriter/claim broker at Lloyd's of London, his own one man cleaning Company (cleaning the very offices of a Reinsurance Company he would transact business at) plus doing seasonal work on various farms.

Having made some windfall profits by borrowing money in order to be a "Stag" to take advantage of opportunities created by Margaret Thatcher's de nationalization policies of the mid 1980's, Andendall evolved into an entrepreneur with a core specialty in Reinsurance in London and New York where he looks for patterns in numbers. Self-employed in a field not normally conducive to self-employment, he is able remain in control, juggle different jobs, travel and pursue his various interests.

Ending up in New York via romance in the African bush, Andendall now lives on Long Island with his wife, two children and two dogs.
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Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I grew up in England and work in reinsurance. I live on Long Island with my family and my dogs.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

It’s probably visiting Piccadilly Circus with my mom and watching all the people. It’s a beehive of activity there—the noise, the smell, the constant motion.

When did you begin writing?

I started tweeting and engaging on social media a few years before I started writing the actual book. This provided the fodder that eventually became the book. In other words, writing the book itself had two different startpoints. I started writing the actual book about two years ago but the process of writing what would become the book started before that. I tweeted in 2008 and 2012 about politics in an effort to get the word out about the myths that were being perpetrated by FOX news and other online forums. This formed the basis for what would eventually become StupidParty Myth vs. Math. I realized that my tweeting only bounced around in the online echo chamber of people who agreed with me so I started writing the book to serve as a resource to prevent an erosion of democracy. I want to get the book out as a collection of material already publicly available to educate voters.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Writing is an exercise that helps me with my insomnia so I typically write at night. At this stage I’m focusing on writing blog posts and manage about four of those per month.

What is this book about?

The book is about contemporary political discourse and policy. I try to explain why it seems governance is so frustratingly difficult among our two parties. The answer can be boiled down to the Republican electorate not being educated about the issues their party seems to care most about. I use publicly available facts to eviscerate certain notions disseminated by popular Republican figures on television. The Republicans have a mythological version of everything, ranging from global warming, to economic policy, to religion.

What inspired you to write it?   

My experience volunteering on the John Kerry campaign in 2004 as well as living in the American democracy inspired the content for the book. I believe that the most important thing to a healthy electorate is voter education. The people who send the Stupidparty to office time-after-time vote regularly. The people who suffer at the expense of StupidParty policies don’t vote as consistently. I believe this book can be a voter education resource for people across the political spectrum. It might instill urgency to vote among left leaning voters, and it might make people think more critically on the right about the candidates they nominate for office.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My family are my biggest supporters, but I also get a great amount of moral support from my dogs.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I am not part of a critique group, unless I can put that label on my family’s help (all constructive of course). For this book I invested in an accomplished editor who provided overarching and specific feedback to help shape the content.

Who is your favorite author?

Patrick O’Brian – but I have no delusions about trying to emulate any great author.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I do not have an agent. I’m not looking for one at the moment.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Bumpy. The publication process was more time consuming and complex than I could have possibly imagined. The interactive structure of this hybrid print/ebook put unique pressures regarding formatting and.

It’s also been challenging to ensure print book buyers get access to the ebook for free. Most retailers make this difficult. As an ebook this only really works on a color device, and for the same reasons I have refused to allow a black and white print version. The production cost of the printed color edition causes marketing issues. Originally, I thought that the printing costs would make a color print book a pipe dream, but it was more reasonable than I thought. The extensive use of hyperlinks, color pictures and graphs also made for a massive electronic file and this causes issues. The scale of the project required numerous drafts as each step in the process was likely to cause new unforeseen errors.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

This being my first rodeo, I don’t have the perspective to do it differently. I reached the point I needed to reach and I have a book to promote and a mission to promote. I have an ebook version that empowers readers to access way more material than your average print edition. I am happy with how things turned out.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

The website links to my social media accounts where I highlight current happenings in StupidParty affairs.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

Unfortunately, I do not. But you can turn on FOX news or political talk radio to get a sense of what will be addressed in the book.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Investing time has been the best thing I can do to promote my book. I am independently published because I found it to be the best avenue to publish both the e-book and printed copy with materials in color and with multimedia. Getting it formatted to accommodate all of these unique additions to the book took a lot of time. Now promoting the book on social media requires consistency, so creating content about what’s happening today requires additional work.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Hire a great editor, who asks the right questions, without changing your voice and makes you look smarter than you are.

What is up next for you?

I am continuing my day job and promoting the book as much as possible.

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