D. A. Andrews - How One Can Love, Lose, and Heal Through The Power of Words
D. A. Andrews was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. Throughout the years, she has developed wide interests in various aspects of life, such as coffee, weddings, books, and psychology. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus with a BSc. in Marine Biology and Psychology (Honors) and is currently pursuing her MBA. She considers herself a nomad at heart and has changed cities and apartments quite as often as she changes her clothes. She is currently resting her head in Brunswick, Georgia, with her black cat (and familiar), Luna. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Fight Fire With Sun.
Please give us a short introduction to what To Fight Fire With Sun is about.
To Fight Fire with Sun is a compilation of several snapshots of major events in my life. I decided to separate the book into two parts: one dealing with major love moments in my life and the other dealing with major losses.
What inspired you to write this book?
Even though the book includes poetry I wrote throughout my high school and college years (along with some newer poetry I wrote when I decided to write the book), the inspiration for writing it came shortly after my best friend, Alexander, died. I had just learned about his death and flew back home to Jamaica to spend some time with my best friend (and the love of his life) CC. While there, I decided that I needed to work through my grief, and the best way I knew how, was to write. Fast forward three weeks later and my manuscript for To Fight Fire with Sun was finished.
Loss is a major theme in this book. Why did you find this important to write about?
Apart from dealing with the loss of Alexander, my life has been comprised of quite a few losses. In fact, a few days after Alex died I dealt with the ending of a really complicated situationship while processing the end of a long-term relationship I had been in and I needed to find a way to process it all. I was diagnosed with Pure-OCD and, as a result, I don’t particularly deal with loss well as I tend to hyper-fixate on it. From a young age, I have used writing to cope with everything. I have kept several journals over the years to do just that. I felt the need to fully write through all these losses as sort of a final diary entry and coping mechanism so that I could begin to see the light again.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
I was born and raised in Jamaica and I wanted to use a Jamaican artist to do my cover. I had been following one on Twitter for years by the name of Roux and just knew I had to use her. I contacted her and kind of gave her free reign. I just told her the title and that I needed something to showcase that. She pitched the idea of the cover and I instantly fell in love. She sent me the mockups and I had no changes. She also did my illustrations and I could not be happier.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I actually love planning events and had so much fun planning a baby shower for my friend last year. Apart from that, does making coffee count as a skill? I think I am pretty amazing at that haha.
You have a BSc. in Marine Biology and Psychology. How has this influenced your writing?
I like this question. Psychology has a major impact on my writing as I live and breathe mental health awareness. I frequently schedule sessions with my therapist and a lot of those sessions have inspired me to write some poetry. Additionally, I use a lot of the lessons I have learned throughout my degree to process my thoughts while I write. As for my marine biology degree, what influences my writing is more the people I met along the way of the degree as opposed to the teachings. I have written about my loves along the way, the people I have met and some sayings I have heard throughout the years.
What is your personal favorite line from the book?
It’s actually the shortest poem in my book that goes “I write people into poems in hopes this is the way they live on.”
What do you hope readers will take away from To Fight Fire With Sun?
I hope that readers feel less alone in their struggles. I hope they feel that someone is putting words to what they are going through or have gone through so far and I hope that my book gives them the opportunity to feel their feelings while providing them a safe space to do so.
This is your debut book, what has the experience been like so far?
Actually, the experience has been quite surreal. From reading the reviews to the unwavering support from friends and family and even strangers, I have been overwhelmed and I cannot even begin to believe that I actually wrote a book!
"Personally, reading your poetry felt like really feeling and it came out into art. The lines from the eyes are symbolic of loss spreading into art, the tear becomes a lightning bolt. It's like strength in simply feeling- no matter how dark. And of course, the flowers within a crown of thorns are symbolic of growth."- Roux
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
With my OCD, I tend to collect an overwhelming amount of thoughts. Think of it like a vessel filled with a constant supply of running water. It will keep overflowing until you turn the tap off or remove the source of the water. My mind sort of operates like that. Writing has been the only way I have found that allows me the luxury of stopping that flow of water. I find writing very cathartic and it allows me to process whatever it is that I need to process and, also, helps me to find myself.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? Best time of the day to write, sources of inspiration?
I am a complete pantser through and through. I am, also, most definitely not a morning person haha. So my writing style is more haphazard than anything else. I usually go several weeks without writing anything at all to going three weeks of writing constantly throughout the day or anything in between. As far as inspiration goes, most of my poetry starts from hearing someone say something interesting to a random line popping into my head (which, fun fact, is how the title of my book came into play). Other than that, I simply cannot write without a cup of coffee in my system haha.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, I am working on my second book which I hope to release next year.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Readers can follow my work and interact with me on tiktok, instagram and twitter @daandrews_