Interview: Andrew Shaffer , author of How to Surive a Sharknado & Other Unnatural Disasters

In Interviews, Uncategorized by P.N. GuinLeave a Comment

P.N. Guin reporting (but not for duty)…

andrew shafferI was recently able to interview author, satirist, and all around cool guy Andrew Shaffer, author of Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, Great Philosophers Who Failed At Love, countless short stories, and his latest book, How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters.

I have to say, the man is as witty in person (or rather, through email) as he is in his books.

For your reading pleasure, and to pass the time while you shovel the snow out of your driveway before going in with what is likely a bleak a miserable life, here are a few questions and answers courtesy of Mr. Shaffer. Enjoy!

(Also, thanks to publicist Rebecca Marsh for setting things up, and don’t forget to go to Andrew Shaffer’s website,, where you can purchase his books, read free stories and more!)

P.N. Guin: Tell our readers about How to Survive a Sharknado, what went into writing it, and your favorite part of the book.

sharknadoShaffer: How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters is a comprehensive guide to Sharknado and dozens of other Syfy original TV movies, from Sharktopus to Arachnoquake. I spent a month watching and re-watching as many Syfy films that I could get my hands on. Then I worked closely with my editor at Crown, Matt Inman, and the Syfy team on the content. We also created nearly a dozen original monsters and disasters exclusively for the book.

We spent a lot of time trying to get the tone right. Although How to Survive a Sharknado is ostensibly a parody of survival guides, we wanted to treat the threats as real as possible. The humor is in how seriously the book takes a concept like “dinonami” (a tsunami filled with dinosaurs). How would sharks really breathe inside a tornado? How long could a swamp shark survive in fresh water? How do you wield a chainsaw like a boss?

My favorite tips from the book might be “Four Signs You Have Accidentally Adopted a Saber-Toothed Tiger”: 1. Your kitty has abnormally long canine teeth. 2. Your kitty tries to jump inside your freezer whenever you get ice cream. 3. Your kitty grows fast. Too fast. She’s six weeks old, but is already the size of your full-grown yellow Lab. 4. Your kitty eats your yellow Lab.

P.N. Guin: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey was a great and hilarious read. Was your work with romance/erotic writing the main push behind writing this?

fiftyshamesShaffer: Thanks! I was reviewing romance and erotica professionally at the time Fifty Shades of Grey was released. I was just in shock. There were so many wonderful, well-written books that I felt deserved the attention Fifty Shades was getting. On the other hand, I felt the snickering in the press over the books was somewhat unwarranted. No one should be ashamed to read a book, no matter how godawful the writing is. That inspired me to write Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, starring a hero with fifty “shames.” Although it’s a parody, it’s also about not apologizing for the things you like.

P.N. Guin: Do you enjoy writing your books or short stories more? Or do you feel they are both creative outlets that satisfy different needs?

Shaffer: Throughout my twenties, I primarily wrote short stories. I started dozens of novels, but didn’t have the patience to see them through to the end. Once I started writing full-time, I had financial incentive to finish full-length books. I still write about a half dozen short stories a year, in between longer works. They’re usually just fun palate cleansers. Earlier this year, I wrote a short story for the New Adult romance anthology Fifty First Times. It was unlike anything else I’d ever written, but then again that’s been my M.O. over the past few years.

P.N. Guin: What is your writing process like?

Shaffer: I write full-time, so I don’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration. If I don’t write, I don’t get paid. When I’m working on the first draft of a novel, I write every day until I hit my wordcount (usually between 1,000 and 3,000 words). During revisions, I’ll edit and re-write until I’m burnt out for the day. The closer I get to a deadline, the harder I seem to work.

P.N. Guin: What can readers look for from you in the future? Any hints?

Shaffer: I have a couple of novels in progress. I don’t want to say too much about them just yet. All I can say is, expect the unexpected.

P.N. Guin: Lastly, what upcoming public appearances do you have where fans could meet you?

Shaffer: My next signing is at Wizard World Portland in January. After that, I’m taking some time off until May, when I’ll travel to Dallas for the RT Booklovers Convention.