Tell me a little about yourself. What got you started in writing?
My first creative love, frankly, was music. My mother was a piano teacher, and I gravitated naturally toward the instrument. But then, I began to keep a journal and on a whim, entered a writing contest at school. I discovered, to my delight, that there are many ways to express a creative urge, and I’ve been writing ever since.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I’m an early riser, so the bulk of actual composition happens in the first part of the day. The stillness and the quiet, with the exception of bird songs, is meditative for me and perfect to get me in the place where the words will flow. Afternoons are more given over to plot and character creation in the outlining process I use with my writing partner.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?
I prefer to use my laptop. When I’m brainstorming, I typically open a word processor and just start typing with no thought to structure or grammar. This kind of free writing is wonderful to get ideas down without battering them to death with editing. I always work in my office. It may be because I’m an only child, but I love my space where no one bothers me.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
I am more of a “pantser” with my writing. I like to go with the flow of a story and weave the plot as I’m working. It’s like driving somewhere without a destination in mind. I just enjoy the journey. My partner prefers to work with story “beats.” I see the value in both, and we’ve certainly made it work for us, but I don’t always love it when she reins me in and says we have to have an actual plan if we’re going to get something finished according to our own internal deadlines.
How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
My head is filled with plot ideas. Our first book, Langston’s Daughters, came out of my ability to visually create a movie or a television series in my head. I don’t mean that I’m trying to get the books produced in that way (although no writer would really object to that), it’s just that the images are already there in my thoughts. I envisioned a story with three sisters trying to overcome a difficult family past with the tension generated by the father. I suggested that they be reunited by his death. When my partner wrote the initial scene with the bit about the hat at the end, all I could then see was the unraveling of why a man would kill himself with his hat on his head. That’s not something men down South do. They take their hats off before they commit suicide. Why did Langston break that pattern? The story
developed from there.
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What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
We’ve tried many things, from blog tours to our ongoing use of social media, which we love because it allows us to interact with our readers. But if I really had to point to what has worked for us in terms of the greatest sales impact, it would have to be feature posts in email list services like BookBub.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I’ve been a fan of cozy mysteries for years and have been eager for us to work in that genre. Our first foray into the field is the truly hilarious novel, You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet. That was so much fun (and there will be more books in that series) we were anxious to develop another character. We chose to work in the world of theater and build a bridge back to the world of classic films through some light paranormal powers for our protagonist. It’s going to be a fun book, and we’re looking forward to having it out in the next few weeks.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
We actually have two projects on the back burner, mainly because there aren’t enough hours in the day to write everything we want to write. The first series to get to “sit still” for a bit is the Selby Jensen paranormal mysteries. We introduced the character in Descendants of the Rose and will have her tackling a real-life unsolved crime in book two that has required a lot of research. We also have our novella series Fermata on the back burner for now after putting out the first two installments. It’s a zombie post-apocalyptic series with a unique twist and book three is critical to the evolution of the story. We’re not happy with it yet. We’ve put it aside for now so we can come back at it fresh in a few months.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
I have wanted to be a published author for as long as I can remember. I used to go into bookstores and buy Writer’s Market every year. I spent hours going through that massive book looking at the submission process and being discouraged by the hurdles traditional publishing put in front of writers in those days. The idea of doing this for a living was unthinkable. With the rise of Amazon and self-publishing, that “not everyone can get into the Olympics” thinking has evaporated. It’s not only possible to make a living writing, it’s completely attainable. Self-publishing is motivating wonderful, creative writers whose voices never would have been heard in the old world. To participate in this new world and to overcome the feeling of not being talented enough, jump in anyway. Get your work out there. You quickly begin to wear your “author’s clothes.” The more you take on that persona, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. It fuels both your self-confidence and your writing. The more you see your name “up in lights,” the more you want it, even if you start very, very small. If your reviews are terrible, there are plenty of writing groups, support forums, courses, and mentors to overcome any problems you might have. You can elevate your skills and you can learn from your reviews, not be crippled by them. Just keep writing. It’s the only way you will get better. One of the things I love most about the Indie writing community is the supportive climate. There’s room for all of us. I love that.
A question for the blog owner, Kathryn Jones:
Since I’m part of a writing duo, I find it invaluable to have someone to bounce ideas of. When you’re working alone, who fulfills that role for you, or is that something you don’t need?
I find that putting my manuscript aside - right now my third mystery, "Hard Boiled" is in the rafters until the new year. When the time for resting is done, my book will not have seen the light of day for two months. When I pull it out again I expect to make some changes before I get it to my beta readers. Sometimes the best ideas come from resting awhile.
Thank you, Patricia!
See Patricia's writing partner interview here.