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Patricia's Blog: Creative Hodgepodge
I have one novella published at Astraea Press. The Legacy is a story about a young man named Andy who finds a treasure in his family's storage shed: a pair of samurai swords, samurai armor, and a scroll. He immediately calls his best friend Leigh, who helps him discover the story behind the items. They learn that the treasure is a legacy from his samurai ancestor, and that the swords were to have been passed down from generation to generation, once the next generation proves they understand and demonstrate the samurai virtues called Bushido. In the process, they learn much about their own "inner samurai".
The Legacy can be purchased at the publisher's website: Astraea Press or from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookstrand.
Astraea Press will also publish my second novella, Aegean Intrigue. This story takes place on the Greek island of Paros, where I spent a wonderful vacation a few years ago. It's more of a mystery, with a little romance. Francie Vasileiou is studying for her PhD in archaeology. She's invited to participate in a dig on the exotic Greek island of Paros. The handsome Project Director, Alex Leonidis makes her want to forget her vow to stay away from handsome Greek men. He's always watching her, but not for the reason she thinks.
They both sound like awesome books. Adding them to my TBR pile!
I've always loved to write, but I didn't really start writing with the goal of publishing until about ten years ago. I've been reading romances for quite a while, so it was a logical progression to start writing them. I joined a local chapter of RWA and kept working on my ideas until I was finally able to put them together!
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
My inspiration for Aegean Intrigue came from my trip to Greece. My daughter went there for a semester, and I went to visit her. I kept hearing about the way Greek men treated their wives. My daughter told me she never saw native women outside other than during the day! When I came home I read more about this, and decided to write a story with that as the central conflict.
Definitely sounds like interesting research for the book. Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters tend to be a combination of different people I've met, or observed. Most of the female characters tend to be a lot like me, or at least like I'd want to be.
What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
I recently decided to write a story with a character who is an ice sculptor. Since I know nothing about ice sculpting and couldn't find much about the process online, I asked around and got the name of a local ice sculptor, who happened to be Randy Finch, the star of Food Network's The Ice Brigade. I sent an e-mail to the business and got a prompt response from Randy himself, including his telephone number and inviting me to call! I spent a week gathering my questions together and then spent a fascinating half hour learning all about how he goes about creating his masterpieces.
That's neat that he responded himself! How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
I usually start with the conflict. As I mentioned before, I was intrigued with the way most Greek men dominate their wives. I created characters who would be affected by this conflict. Francie is half-Greek, so she's seen her father and uncles treat their wives differently than the men on her mother's side of the family. She's also had a messy relationship with a Greek man. Alex is also half Greek, and he's vowed not to treat any woman the way his father treated his mother. Once I had the characters, I had to put them in a situation where they would clash. Alex is a PI, hired to find out who is stealing Greek artifacts from archaeological dig sites. Francie is an archaeologist. From there, I planned the story.
As for how long it takes to write, each book has been different. I wrote The Legacy in six weeks. Aegean Intrigue took three years. And my samurai novel has been brewing for about six years.
Fascinating story lines. Are you currently working on any new book projects?
I'm always working on a project or two! Right now I'm trying to finish two projects: my full length novel (the historical) and a novella for Christmas. I've also got a start on a Valentine novella.
Who is your favorite contemporary author? Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?
My favorite famous romance authors are Debbie Macomber, who writes about people I can relate to, and Lori Foster, who writes spice without it getting in the way of the story. I also enjoy Donna Andrews and Joanne Fluke, who write wonderful cozy mysteries. Right now I'm reading Double Crossing by Meg Mims and CEOs Don't Cry by Joselyn Vaughn. Both are fellow Astraea Press authors.
I love Debbie Macomber's work also. What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
My husband gets up much earlier than I do, so he goes to bed earlier, too. After he goes to bed I turn off the television and get to work. Of course, my laptop provides all sorts of distractions, too. So I use a website called 750 Words to force myself to write each day. Most days I write much more than 750 words, but knowing that I have that as a daily goal forces me to get started.
That's a great idea to use such a website to help with your daily writing goals. How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
Joselyn Vaughn is a fellow member of the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group. Her novel Sucker for a Hot Rod was published by Astraea Press about a year ago. Last spring, she notified me her publisher was looking for novellas to be included in a charity line. All the proceeds from the books in this line were earmarked for Japan Relief, after the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. Since my cousins, aunts and uncles live in Japan, I was eager to contribute. I'd been working on a novel about a samurai soldier, so I decided to write a novella about his great-great-great-grandson. Fortunately, Astraea liked the story, so now I have to complete and submit the story about Andy's illustrious ancestor!
How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
My family and friends have been so happy for me and very supportive of my writing time. I don't think very many have actually READ my story, but they keep telling me they plan to.
It's great to have support from family and friends. Patricia, thank you so much for guesting today. I enjoyed chatting with you and getting to know more about your books.
One commenter can have a choice of a free download of The Legacy or if they're willing to wait a few months they can be one of the first to read Aegean Intrigue once it's released. Both are e-books from Astraea Press, and the prize would be sent as a .pdf file.
Hope everyone sticks around to chat for a while.