I am excited to bring you an interview with Hometown Track Minnesota Author in the Spotlight, Andrew Neudecker. He has written a lovely story called The Butterfly Key and his personal connection to it is meaningful to us all. Please read on.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself? I have a wife (Nicole) and three daughters (Ashley, Emma, and Chloe), with a son soon on the way in April. I work for the USPS and also help my wife run her daycare. Nicole and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary in April and we have known each other for over 21 years (We dated in high school)
- What inspired you to write The Butterfly Key? Shortly before Christmas of 2008 Nicole suffered a miscarriage of what would have been our 4th child. Devastated, she experienced not only a loss of faith in God, but also a vast range of emotions toward Him. The hardest part for me was to watch all this transpire and feel completely helpless to allay her pain. I wanted to somehow show her that God has a plan in all He does, even the heartrending events in life. I wanted my beautiful wife to find her faith in God once again. And that’s when I decided to sit down and write her a story, a touching novel that I gave to her as a gift the following Christmas.
- Usually an author puts some of his own life experiences in the book. Did you do that? Do you have anything in common with your characters? I sure did. This story was a gift to my wife to help her through her heartache and loss of faith and, even though the story is sad, it is also very heartwarming. I used life experiences so she could relate to the story and each character had common characteristics and nuances of both of us and our families.
4. This is your first book. Can you tell us why you decided to become a writer? I have always loved to write, but I am a private person. My words, usually poetry, are always only for my wife and children. Originally, “The Butterfly Key” was never supposed to be put in print, but I had too many requests for copies from family, friends and co-workers who assisted me with the whole process of getting this book written in time for Christmas. So, with Nicole’s blessing we decided to hire an editor (someone who had 20+ years at McGraw-Hill) and publish it.
5. Do you like to read? What authors or books influence you? I love to read, I just purchased a nook color. Currently I am reading “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. I don’t know if I can say I have been influenced by any author in particular, but the type of book that “gets me” is one where a character or characters defy all odds in the face of adversity.
- What was the most difficult part of writing The Butterfly Key and what was the easiest part of the story to convey? The hardest parts for me was finding the time to get everything done in less than a year, and editing-editing-editing, so I could have a typed up version presented to her by Christmas, but I have wonderful family and friends that assisted me in my endeavor to create—as they would call it, “A wonderful and amazing Christmas gift” The easiest part believe it or not was writing it. I had everything in my head, it was all there.
- What are some of the issues in the book that you hope your readers will interpret as integral to the story? That this story is allegorical, and is a frame story (a story within a story). This novel is “NOT” about miscarriages, it’s about God having a plan in all He does, even the heartrending events in life. And through all the characters experiences throughout the story, it is my hope that all will see the reason I wrote it the way I did—to heal my wife’s heart and also her faith in God.
- Why did you decide to name your book The Butterfly Key? Actually, I didn’t name it, Nicole did. This was second part of her “Christmas gift.” She got to title the story—to how it fit her heart, and how she saw its true message.
- What is the significance of the Butterfly in your life and in the book? My wife loves butterflies so I had to incorporate them into the story. The significance of the butterfly in the story is something special that needs to be discovered by the reader.
- What advice would you give to a couple who have experienced a miscarriage and have lost their way and/or faith? My advice to the husbands is to be there for your wife, hold her, comfort her, and just listen to her. For the wives, just try to understand we are guys and we may not understand everything about what you’re going through, but we are trying. As for the faith part, if you have lost it, I can’t recommend anything. Not because I don’t want to, but because each person and family are different and without the specific details of a situation it’s hard for me to answer on what I would do.
- I know your book is labeled fiction but is any part of The Butterfly Key true? Only that the wife and children’s names used in the prologue and epilogue, (The Frame part of the story) are my wife and kids names. Everything else is fiction.
- In one sentence tell readers why they should read The Butterfly Key? “The Butterfly Key” is not just “A Novel” It’s a gift from a husband who loves his wife with all of his heart. Every aspect of this novel was done with the utmost care. The writing, the editing, the cover art, the layout. It was never meant for anyone’s eyes other than my wife and kids. It was never written for notoriety or fame, nor money or any other purpose other than love. So my answer to you for readers does not to be a sentence long, I only need one word to give you the most beautiful answer, and that word is: LOVE
Postscript: I would like to add that I never let Nicole read the story by herself, over Christmas vacation we set aside time every morning and night and I read “The Butterfly Key” to her while she snuggle up to me. And me reading to her was the last part of her Christmas present. Thank you all for reading this interview and I hope that if you do read “The Butterfly Key” your hearts will find the true meaning in it.
Andrew D. Neudecker