Words and Pictures
by Laura Storey
FROM AEROSPACE ENGINEER TO POET, WE CHAT TO ANDY ROTHWELL ABOUT HIS LOVE FOR WORDS AND PICTURES
Andy Rothwell shares his talents ahead of his latest book release – the final book in his trilogy, the Lambshank Redemption Vol. III: Voyage of The Dead Ringer. Colne Life chats to Andy about how he draws his inspiration for his books from his surroundings.
Andy describes himself as an adopted Colner, having been born in Brierfield before moving to Australia for a couple of years and then settling among Colne’s terraces in 1979. The characters that fill his pages are swept up in the peaks and valleys of Pendle.
For someone who never considered being a writer, Andy Rothwell is quite a prolific author, with three books published in three years and another one out this year. His first book, the first in the series of Lambshank Redemption, was published in 2018, whilst the finale will be out by the time this magazine hits the shelves and marks an end of an era for Andy, who has spent the last few years working on the series. The story revolves around the adventures of Minty the Lamb and her escape from Farmer Joe’s wife’s cooking pot into a fantasy realm filled with dragons, leprechauns, and demons.
“When I was deep into the books, you’re just living that life in that world,” Andy explains. “Many times, I’d be dreaming that I’m in that Kingdom – it’s quite spooky really but my brain can’t help it. One night I was writing and at about half past one in the morning I turned around and there was a demon sat on my sofa!” Andy laughs. “I wrote a poem about it, just to get it out of my head.” Having spent years on the series, you might expect Andy to be glad that the books are coming to an end, especially to escape the demons lounging on his living room furniture, but he’s already dreaming up another sequel.
“The option is there to go back. I think I probably will go back. There’s a lot of secrets to be revealed. There’s a lot of characters that aren’t who they seem. I think I will go back…” Despite his obvious love of writing keeping him up until the early hours, it wasn’t always a hobby of Andy’s. In fact, Andy has spent 25 years working as a quality control engineer at Aerospace Western and used his free time on another creative outlet – photography.
I love just being out in nature, I don’t really like photographing people as I’d rather be out in the middle of nowhere.
“I’d be out walking with my dog, Jasper, and I’d think, that would make a good picture. I love just being out in nature, I don’t really like photographing people as I’d rather be out in the middle of nowhere.”
Andy has captured beautiful scenes of the northern countryside and has been included in the Countryfile calendar 2019. It was during a photography session that Andy was inspired to begin writing.
“I went to Malham one day to do some photography and it was really quiet, there was no one else there. There was a really strange atmosphere and on the information board it mentioned ‘The Queen of the Fairies’, and I thought there’s a good story there, and gradually this story kept coming into my head. I went out for a walk and the Beatles song Paperback Writer came on and I thought, right I’m going to write this.”
Andy started writing in 2015, beginning with Princess Noriko inspired by Malham’s limestone cliffs.
“Princess Noriko was the first book I ever wrote, and it was really challenging, it was just completely alien to me. The advice I would give to anyone who wants to start writing is to just do it, who knows where it could lead as I have found out myself. But it is hard, harder than people realise, including myself; writing is not meant to be easy, you are putting your imagination into words so that others see what you see inside your mind!
“The words that we read in a book are not the first words the author puts down on paper, what we read in a book is the result of countless readings and corrections to improve the text and story. Trust me when I say that writing and more importantly, finishing a book takes a vast amount of patience and a lot of graft!”
Andy suggests exploring your ideas and story. “Get to know your characters, ask yourself ‘what if’ and ‘why’ and ask yourself ‘can this situation get any worse for your characters?’, if so, then make it worse, more danger brings more drama, hopefully captivating the reader even more.
“Enjoy the journey into the world and new characters you create and don’t let anyone change your mind about your story! Stick to it, don’t forget, they cannot possibly know what you have planned for your story; you’re the writer, they are not. And make sure you complete it, the struggle is well worth it.”
Andy’s books are all available on amazon.co.uk, search for Andy Rothwell to see the full collection.
ColneLife Spring 2022