10 Questions with ... Andrew Peterson
November 14, 2011
1. You are involved in many projects beyond your work with Centricity. Tell us what inspired The Wingfeather Saga, including the newest title in the series The Monster in the Hollows.
My children were probably the biggest inspiration for the Wingfeather Saga. We try to read a lot at home, and reading the Chronicles of Narnia to my boys reminded me how powerful good stories can be. I decided to give it a shot. The Monster in the Hollows is my favorite book so far, partly because it surprised me the most. I started the series with a pretty clear outline, but when I sat down to actually write the story, things changed. By the time I got to Monster, the Igiby children had changed dramatically; I knew them better; I had even come to love them quite a bit (as much as it's possible to love someone you invented). There were moments in this last story that made me cry while I was writing in Starbucks.
2. How are songwriting and novel writing different? The same?
I confess. I went into novel writing with a bit of a swagger. I foolishly thought that since I knew a little about songwriting, books couldn't be that tough. Well, it was just as hard in completely different ways. One of the biggest differences is the delayed satisfaction of sharing it with someone. It's really fun to write a song over the course of several days and then play it for Ben or Andy. The book, on the other hand, is a private endeavor for months and months. The first draft is an act of faith and a ton of work.
Songwriting is work, too, but it's more about patience, waiting with pen in hand (or guitar in hand) for the ideas. Book writing is about diligence. It's about writing, and writing, and writing even when you don't feel like it, for hours a day.
3. You're going out on tour with Steven Curtis Chapman this fall. What are you most looking forward to on this tour?
Well, today is the last day of the tour (so sorry it took so long to answer these questions!). I can tell you that I looked forward to playing my songs for Steven's fans. That turned out to be lots of fun. What I didn't foresee was how much I would come to admire Steven and the work he's doing. I've always respected him from afar. Now that I've shared the stage with him for a few months I don't just respect him, I care about him deeply. It's an honor to do Kingdom work at his side.
4. Can you tell us about the new album that just released Above the City Lights: Live?
Above These City Lights was another pleasant surprise. Centricity (my label) wanted me to release an EP between Counting Stars and whatever my next record will be, so we recorded a show last year, right before the Christmas tour. Well, things got busy, and I never had a chance to sift through the recording to see if it was good enough to release. Not only did it sound better than I thought it would, we had a full album's worth of songs.
I can't tell you how much I love making music with Andy Gullahorn and Ben Shive. Those guys are my best friends, and they're two of the best songwriters I've ever heard. (I'm not just saying that). Part of what I like about the recording is that I can hear the years we've spent on the road together. They're a big part of my life, and I'm sure none of my songs would be worth a hoot without those guys' influence. Speaking of great songwriters, I also like this record because of the cover of Rich Mullins's "Calling Out Your Name." Nobody could write like him.
5. The next "Behold the Lamb of God" tour is already scheduled for this Christmas season. What is your favorite part of this annual tour?
I love being with the people on this tour. What we're doing, night after night, is standing together and telling the story that changed our lives. From a musical and storytelling standpoint, what could be better than that? We've sung these songs hundreds and hundreds of times, and the story of the gospel still moves us. I hope I'm still doing this tour when I'm 80.
6. Who inspires you personally, spiritually, and/or professionally?
Well, I already mentioned Ben Shive and Andy Gullahorn. Those guys have been the voice of the Lord in my life more times than I can count. There's also, of course, my sweet family. If my church and my buddies are the chords, Jamie and the kids are the melody and harmony. If I were to beat that analogy into the ground, I guess Jesus would be the composer.
7. What song do you wish you had written?
Two songs I'm always amazed by: "Copperline" by James Taylor and "The Color Green" by Rich Mullins. Every song I write is an attempt to come close to the feet of those mountains.
8. What book do you wish you had written?
Oh, wow. I keep thinking of books I love, but I don't know that I wish I'd written them. I can tell you that I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Lewis and Tolkien were hanging out in the Oxford pub and reading their stories aloud. They captured a rare magic in their tales, and it wakes a feeling I've been chasing ever since I was a kid.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't start the day without:
An egg sandwich, made from eggs my own chickens laid. (I'm serious.)
10. When it comes to music, do you have much time to check out other artists' music? What are you listening to right now?
I can't stop listening to the newest Bon Iver record. And the new Coldplay album is beautiful (though I've only had time to give it a few listens). The new Ben Shive album is crazy good, as is the new Jill Phillips album, In This Hour.