FEATURED AUTHOR: ANDRA WATKINS
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Emmaline Cagney's father dies on her graduation day, she foregoes college and heads to Honduras to volunteer with Nicaraguan refugees. It's 1986. The Sandinista-Contra war rages in the jungles all around her. But when General James Wilkinson reenters her life during a hurricane, can she trust him? Or should she flee?
Because of his unsolved death, Wilkinson is stuck in an in-between world called Nowhere, a place he's always used for his evil designs. Will he stick to his mission to help the Contras? Or will he ditch his mission to finally possess Emmaline?
As they fight to keep refugees safe and American involvement with the Contras secret from Congress, Em and Wilkinson careen toward a showdown that outstrips space and time, a place where nothing she knew about herself is true. And Em must confront the one person she never wanted to see again: her craven mother. Will Emmaline outwit the two people who peddled her childhood innocence before she runs out of time?
Title: I Am Number 13
Author: Andra Watkins
Series: Nowhere Trilogy
Publisher: Word Hermit Press LLC (November 13, 2018)
Print length: 272 pages
On tour with: Pump Up Your Book
INTERVIEW WITH ANDRA WATKINS
Q: Andra, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
A: I Am Number 13 features the Biggest Scoundrel America Ever Produced. James Wilkinson worked for the first 5 Presidents of the United States while taking millions from a foreign enemy. He committed treason his entire career. His Spanish patrons called him Agent Number 13.
Q: Tell us about your series.
A: What would you do if your life ended, but you were given the chance to have another adventure? What would you do?
I started wondering about those questions, particularly as they relate to historical characters who died too young. What might they have done with another chapter?
My Nowhere Series crafts afterlife stories for people from history who died mysteriously. I think the books are best enjoyed in the following order: Hard to Die, To Live Forever, and I Am Number 13.
Q: What is the most daring thing you've done?
A: I walked the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a federal parkway. I walked with cars, trucks, and camper vans in 15-mile increments for 34 days. Even though the Trace is 10,000 years old, much of it is still very remote. I almost died multiple times.
I did the walk to launch my debut novel To Live Forever, but I ended up having a life-changing adventure with my eighty-year-old father. My New York Times best selling memoir Not Without My Father chronicles that experience.
Q: What is your most embarrassing moment?
A: I wet my pants while reading in front of my entire second-grade class. I’d worn panty hose and culottes that day and thought I was so grown up. When I got about to go to the bathroom, I was too shy to ask my teacher and couldn’t hold it until I finished my reading. By the time I asked my teacher if I could go to the toilet, a little boy stood up in his chair at the front of class and screamed, “She’s doing it right there!”
Q: If someone gave you $5,000 and said you must solve a problem, what would you do with the money?
A: Pay off part of my debt from launching a book while being on chemo and steroids. I wasn’t able to promote the book. Hard to Die was dead-on-arrival, because I wasn’t well enough to promote it. Nor was I healthy enough to dig out of that hole for about a year.
Q: Do you have another job outside of writing?
A: I’m also an accomplished public speaker and entertain groups all over the United States. My programs are high-energy motivational talks. I don’t do book tours or readings, though I usually talk about my writing process with book clubs and library groups.
Q: How did you meet your spouse?
A: I was on a date with someone else, but he was late. My now-husband came into the restaurant. He said hello. I said hi. It was a nice moment. My date showed up, and I ended things pretty quickly. The next week, I got an invite to lunch from my now-husband via email. Because I couldn’t figure out how he got my email address from “hello” and “hi,” I decided I had a stalker and stood him up.
Eventually, I reached out to him and invited him to lunch. I’m glad he didn’t stand me up, because we clicked. He’s the best thing about my life.
Q: If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?
A: My husband.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
A: If money were no object = Copenhagen, Denmark
Realistically = Barcelona, Spain
If I had to flee the country on short notice = Quito, Ecuador
Q: How did you create the plot for this book?
A: I Am Number 13 took two years to create. As I mentioned above, I had a serious incurable health issue. Drug treatment scrambled my brain. For over a year, I couldn’t write. I holed up in a residency in Switzerland and imagined my blockage as a lion pacing in front of my door. For two weeks, I wrote and sobbed. Everything I wrote was gibberish.
But the third and last week, my husband sent me the idea to set this book during the lead-up to Iran Contra, and everything clicked. I wrote 50,000 words in a week, polished everything last December, sent the book to beta readers, polished some more, sent it to my editor, polished even more, and here it is.
Q: Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
A: Several of my characters in I Am Number 13 were real people. General James Wilkinson is known as the Biggest Scoundrel America Ever Produced. Theodosia Burr Alston also appears in the book. She was Aaron Burr’s tragic daughter and subject of the song “Dear Theodosia” in the musical Hamilton. Oh, and Ronald Reagan has a cameo.
Q: Is your book based on real events?
A: I Am Number 13 is based on real events in that it is set during Iran Contra. I read several books on that scandal and the CIA’s role in Honduras and Nicaragua. The hurricane that starts the book even happened. But my storyline is a thriller/fantasy.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m working on a travelogue-memoir about the places I’m going to find hope with a hopeless situation. I have an incurable parasitic disease that’s causing me to go blind. The memoir chronicles the adventures I’m undertaking in search of peace, hope, and maybe even a miracle. Stay tuned.
OTHER BOOKS BY ANDRA WATKINSTo Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis
Hard to Die
Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time
Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
All books can also be purchased direct from Ingram Lightning Source via the Word Hermit Press shop! Paperback and e-book format.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University.
She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater. Her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films.
She’s the author of five books and counting. Her acclaimed first novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press on March 1, 2014. Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace is a memoir about her dysfunctional family adventure; it is a National Book Award nominee and a New York Times best seller. Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time is a book of photography, shot during her 15-mile daily hikes on her 444-mile Natchez Trace walk. Hard to Die is a prequel to her first novel To Live Forever. I Am Number 13 rounds out the first Nowhere trilogy.
Connect with Andra:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Ingram Lightning Source via the Word Hermit Press shop