By TERESA MCMINN
For the Daily Record/Sunday News
Buffy Andrews was a little kid when she started writing stories about her friends and herself in plots where they saved the day.
“We were third-graders with attitudes and we always beat the bad guys,” she said via email.
Today, Andrews — a 20-year journalist and the assistant managing editor of features and niche publications and social media coordinator for the York Daily Record/Sunday News — is also a published author.
Her recent work, “The Yearbook Series: Gina & Mike,” depicts the aftermath of a teenage girl who is brutally raped and hides her attack from her former high school boyfriend for two decades.
Here, Andrews details her reason, method and goal of the book.
Q: Is it difficult to move from a nonfiction to fiction mindset?
A: It’s not difficult for me … because they’re so different. I think that being an editor has certainly helped make me a better writer. And I think that being an author has made me a better journalist.
Q: What inspired “The Yearbook Series: Gina and Mike?”
A: I had been reading notes written by classmates in an old high school yearbook. I knew what had become of some of them, but wondered about the others. Were they happy? Married? Did they have children? Did they get that dream job? I thought it would be neat to construct a series around a group of classmates — incorporating their shared past with the present.
At around the same time, I woke up with the brutal rape scene in my head. I couldn’t shake the scene. I put the two ideas together and the first book, Gina and Mike, was born. This book begins in the present then goes back to Gina’s high school year when the rape occurred before coming back to the present.
Q: Why did you choose the subject of teen rape? How difficult was this decision?
A: The character, Gina, wouldn’t leave me alone. I learned a long time ago not to fight my characters. If they lead me down a particular path, even if it’s one I wouldn’t have chosen, I listen.
Q: How did you put yourself in the mindset to write the violent rape scene?
A: Writing the rape scene was much easier than writing the sex scenes. I’m not sure why. The rape scene poured out of me one night. After I wrote it I remember reading it to my college-aged sons. They were like, “Whoa, Mom! That’s pretty intense. Where did that come from?”
Q: How did you feel when your story was complete?
A: I loved the characters and the story. I loved how this group of friends, even after all these years, could pick up where they left off.
I think what you will find in many of my novels is the theme “friendship makes us stronger.” Friends support us, love us, empower us to be better people. And they make life fun. These characters will make you laugh and cry. They are “normal” people with lives much like your own. They could be your sister or brother or neighbor. They are “real” people who love deeply and, yes, sometimes fail.
Q: Would you want this story to become a movie?
A: Absolutely. Either that or a TV series. It would be awesome to see the core group together in a sitcom.
Q: Do you hope this work will inspire new writers?
A: I hope that it inspires writers to pursue their publishing dreams despite the rejections and naysayers of the world. Believe in yourself and never give up.
Q: What’s next for The Yearbook Series and your book career?
A: I just finished writing book 2, “The Yearbook Series: Sue and Tom.” I love this book. It was so much fun to write and the characters cracked me up.
In November, my novel “The Moment Keeper” will be out (and in) December, my novel “The Christmas Violin” will be out from Carina UK. I have two young adult novels being released from Prism Book Group in 2014.
About the author
Buffy Andrews lives in Manchester Township with her husband, Tom; sons Zach, 24, and Micah, 20; and wheaten Cairn Terrier, Kakita. Learn more at www.authorbuffyandrews.com.
Buffy Andrews will be at the Women’s Show from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 5 in Memorial Hall at the York Expo Center, 334 Carlisle Ave., West Manchester Township.
Also of interest:
— Andrews signs three-book contract for “The Yearbook Series”
— Manchester Twp. author signs two additional contracts
— Read about releases from other YDR journalists Mike Argento and James McClure