Seeking out the real and imaginary adventures found in everyday life, YA fantasy author Andi L. Gregory pens her stories of discovery and relationships surrounded by the woods near her Indiana home. An old soul who spent most of her childhood in imaginary worlds, she discovered the joy of sharing the worlds inside of her with others. A lover of all things story, she can be found reading novels and manga, watching movies and anime, and enjoying nature through kayaking and hiking. Drawing inspiration from the people and places around her, she’s currently delving into a thicket of ballet retellings.
1. What anime/manga/light novel inspired your short story?
Enigma by Kenji Sakaki. The storyline was intriguing, the art beautiful, and there’s just something about it I enjoy every time I read it.
2. What was your process like for writing this story? Did you have a specific idea for the ending or a theme you wanted to write around?
This story went through a long process. I rewrote it many times and had multiple revisions of the story over the last eight years. I didn’t go into any revision with a specific idea of the ending or theme, but discovered them along the way. Throughout all of the rewrites and revisions though, the ending’s core and the underlying theme of friendship in the face of adversity have stayed the same. 
3. What was your favorite part about writing this story?  Was there anything challenging about it?
My favorite part about writing this story was getting to explore Mire’s motivation and backstory. Not much of it is shared in the story because Mire is very closed-off, but the things I learned about her bleed into her character and speech. In the end, Mire’s motivations helped decide the direction of the story.
There have been some challenging things. Deciding where to start the story was probably the biggest challenge I faced. In different versions, it started on the rooftop of the school before Rikka returns to the real world; Rikka at home and Genji coming to visit; and with Rikka leaving the school on the day of the anniversary. Finding the right starting point and the balance of what’s happening here-and-now versus what happened that led her to this point were the biggest hurdles I had to face with this story. 
4. Do you have a favorite sentence or quote or paragraph from the story? 
This is tough, because I love all of the story after having worked on it for so long, but there are a few scenes I love more than the rest. Here’s a bit from one:
“The fissures in my heart deepen and pieces begin to crumble away. I slide down the tree, the motion pulling my shirt untucked. He’s gone, and I’m never going to see him again. I can’t help the police. I have no real information.
I can’t save him. I never will. A hard bubble grows in my throat, holding hostage the unreleasable sob full of broken hope.”
5. Can you tell us about one character in the story? Any insights into who they are as a character that we didn’t get to see in the story?
I mentioned a little of this in the question about a favorite part of writing the story. Since Mire’s such a closed book, I’m happy to shed a little insight into who she is. 🙂
Mire is a being who was once a human girl with grand ideas of love and what it was. When her views of love were shattered by reality, she became bitter. A lesser-known deity offered her the chance to test other couples and she took it, turning her into the Mire we see in the story. Her shinku no shōki is a manifestation of her bitterness, despair, and fear. 
6. Can you briefly share about your other works? Where can people find you if they want to read more?
I am currently working on a Nutcracker retelling told from the point of view of a snow faery who lives in the “Land of Sweets”. 
The Prince and the Book of Faery are missing, and unless Icelyn can return them both to the capital, the magic will fail and her realm will fall into irreversible darkness.
You can find more about the stories I’m working on and my writing journey on my website 
Or follow me on Instagram ( @andilgregoryauthor) for my thoughts on books and manga, writing updates, and more!
7. Are there any details about Mire's "game" you know as the author that don't make it into the story? (Genji's year of disappearance seems like it could be a cruel twist of couples' anniversary celebrations.)
I didn’t feel the need to delve into this too much, partly because the idea of the “game” is based closely on Enigma, and partly because it wasn’t needed for the story.
I can say that this “game” has been happening for years and many couples have been “tested.” In more than a hundred years, Mire has never found a couple who portrayed the love and friendship she’s been looking for. Genji is not the first to succumb to Mire’s shinku no shōki, but he is the first to escape it.
8. Is navigating the fraught waters of communication and responsibility between people who love each other a theme in your writing? Is there a dynamic you find yourself writing time and time again? If yes, why do you think this is?
It definitely is. I’ve been exploring relationships and friendships in my writing since the first story I remember writing when I was twelve, and that’s not going to change any time soon.
I’d say a dynamic that comes into my stories often is of a character with few friends and low confidence in that realm paired with a character who portrays a measure of understanding and interest they’ve never experienced before. I think this—and my focus on exploring all kinds of relationships in my writing—comes from my own experiences as a kid.
I expound on this a little on my website, but I had a very hard time making friends and was often alone. When I found friends who accepted me as I was but challenged me to grow and become a better version of myself, it was eye-opening and the best thing that could have happened for me. I tend to channel aspects of those relationships when I’m writing character dynamics and reactions.





Author Interview - Andi L. Gregory

02 October 2022

otaku creators