Ryan Thomason

An Interview with Andrew Toy

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man in the box
The Man in the Box is a new book from Blackwyrm Publishing that is written by Andrew Toy. It seems pretty interesting at a glance and before I had a chance to dive into the book itself an opportunity to talk to the author came up and I decided to run with it! We here at WPR want to thank Andrew for taking the time to have a quick chat with us and Blackwyrm Publishing and Tomorrow Comes Media for helping get this setup.

Book Synopsis: Work provided Robbie Lake the perfect escape from his family. But his life is turned upside down when he is unexpectedly fired. When he finds a new way of escape through a cardboard box, everything changes. The imaginary world of his childhood has evolved in his absence and is now more savage and hostile than even he could have dreamed. Robbie is drawn in by the excitement of his secret world, but will the cost of abandoning his family prove too high?

Now, to our Interview!

WPR: This almost has that ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ kind of feel. Is Robbie just escaping his immediate reality or just escaping to a completely different world?

andrew-toyI have yet to see or read Tarabithia (but wanting to). Yes, to both. He is escaping his immediate life circumstances – shaky career, adolescent kids, wife – and revisiting an entire world he once dreamed up as a kid. So as you can imagine, it’s very easy for him to want to go back time and time again!

WPR: What is the best thing you ever did with a cardboard box?

I once put a bunch of them together, taped them up, drew on them, colored them, and made myself a bonifide castle. It was pretty sweet.

WPR: Are there any evolution in this world that were for the good?

This answer is a spoiler, so **spoiler alert**. The offspring of his imaginary friends is the only good thing left over from his childhood, and few select people who just had good hearts to begin with. Everything else is completely evil and messed up and out to kill him.

WPR: If someone were to encounter Robbie engaging with this world would they just see him squeezed into a cardboard box raving like a lunatic?

[laughs] He’d be squeezed into the box alright, but we would just appear to be sleeping to an outsider. Kinda like the Matrix, now that I think about it. But the cool thing is, if you watch him closely enough, say he cuts his hand in his “dream,” you’d see his hand be cut and blood come out.

WPR: Congrats on working toward fatherhood, are there any adventures in this book you’d hope your new kid steers away from?

YES! Everyone has a box, so to speak. It’s that alluring, enticing thing that no one wants to admit to anyone else. It’s their personal secret, and in their worst moments, they’d trade their loved ones in for it in a moment. I want my kids to be on the lookout for these boxes, no matter how fun or exciting they may be. I want them to always count the cost when pursuing something for their own fulfillment.

WPR: What has been some of your major writing influences?

Pixar movies. They way they craft their stories, and tweak them, and rewrite them, and shape them into as perfect of a story as anyone can possibly make. Pixar commentaries and books (I’ve read them all) have taught me that rewrites are an author’s best friend. Nothing, when telling a story, is more important than story. Nothing.

WPR: Being an editor and writing coach, how hard is it to keep yourself from overly correcting during the initial writing process?

I admit it runs against my grain when a story takes a direction I would not have taken it, or the dialogue is too forced. But before making any corrections or suggestions, I always ask myself: “Is this the author’s authentic voice? Or is the author substituting it for something less here?” So sometimes it’s hard, but I
have a system to keep myself in check.

WPR: What kind of family does Robbie have, why not bring them into his world within the box?

He has a very normal family, actually. His son is a comic book geek and doesn’t really talk to him much because they have nothing in common, his daughter, sixteen, wants nothing to do with him because he seems to disapprove of everything she wants to do, and in his defense, he tried telling his wife about the box, who is normally understanding, but it was just too much for her to believe. I think when she kind of gives the impression that he’s lost his mind, that’s when he decides to keep it his own personal secret. Plus you figure out pretty quickly that he actually wants to be away from them.

WPR What is something from your childhood you’d be afraid to see what it’s current state would be like if it kept alive while you forgot about it?

My neighborhood friends would often come and play in my backyard where I had this pretty sweet fort that my dad built for me under this giant oak tree, complete with porch, windows, tire swings, trampoline and all the trimmings. We’d always pretend that the ground was lava (what kid didn’t, right?), and we’d have to not call into it when we swung from ropes onto the trampoline. I’d hate to see how massive and explosive that lava pit has become over the years. But who knows? Maybe it’s all dried up, now. In that case, it’d make a pretty sweet tourist site.

WPR: Rock Paper or Scissors?

Paper. And a pen, please.

WPR: Last Question, because Crom demands it. “What is best in life?”

Jesus, my wife, and bean burritos. Oh, and I’m a sucker for snowglobes.

If you want to keep up on Andrew and this book just follow him or check out his blog:




Also, if you’re interested in checking out this book or just winning something cool, make sure you enter the contest that is a part of the Blog Tour Andrew is doing! a Rafflecopter giveaway

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