Saturday, January 14, 2012

Interview: Patti Larsen

Welcome to Jagged Edge!
Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a full time novelist with a background in journalism. I write mostly middle grade and YA with some adult thrown in there, mostly in paranormal or thriller genres. I live on the East Coast of Canada with my very patient husband and four massive cats.

What inspired you to write?

I remember finishing a book one sunny afternoon when I was twelve, closing the cover and saying to myself, “That didn’t seem so hard. I bet I could write a book.” I’ve spent the rest of my life trying to remember that very young version of me was absolutely right.

What authors influenced you as a writer?

My father was into hard core fantasy and science fiction, so even as a young reader I cut my teeth on The Lord of the Rings, The Dragonriders of Pern, the novels of Isaac Asimov and Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Piers Anthony. I remember a friend lending me her Trixie Belden books once and, while I enjoyed them, they didn’t hold a candle to the fantastic worlds I read about from my father’s library.

What is your favorite quote?

It comes from President Calvin Coolidge: Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. I have it posted on my computer screen and read it every day.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

My novel Family Magic. The lead character, Sydlynn Hayle, is the daughter of a witch and a Demon Lord but she wants to be ordinary. I, on the other hand, would give anything to have magic. Growing up in a family hooked on that kind of thing, I dreamed every night of finding out I had a super power or psychic abilities. I’d love it, be Syd’s best friend and always encourage her to embrace her heritage.

What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?

Learn to fail. Know it’s okay not to be perfect. That there will always be those who don’t agree with you, think you suck, want to change you. It’s okay. That’s life. Your work is yours. Don’t ever forget that.

Are your books different than your personal favorite books by other authors?

They are in a lot of ways, though that is now changing. I’m not writing fantasy or sci fi anymore, so I find my reading habits are shifting as well. I’m finding YA writers I love, like Suzanne Collins and JK Rowling. While I wouldn’t ever want to be considered a copy cat of their work, I hope I’m hitting the right note with readers.

What led you to writing in this genre?

My niece, very young at the time, handed me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and told me I absolutely had to read this series. I laughed at her a little, just coming off of A Game of Thrones from George R.R. Martin (a massive fantasy novel). I took one look at the slim book and shrugged. I’m a fast reader and if it would make her happy…

I was amazed. Astounded. I loved it. Realized at last the genre I was meant to write in. Not for adults, not really. But the voice of teens. And the more YA I read, the more it was reinforced. There were fantastic tales to be told from the eyes of a teenager and I was suddenly inundated with young voices telling me their stories. Almost as if they were waiting for me to figure it out. It’s been almost three years since I made the shift and I haven’t looked back.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Absolutely all of it. From the bud of the idea, to working out the conflicts, the arc of the series, the outlining. Writing it, polishing it with my editor, working with my cover designer. Marketing even. I love everything about this business.

Least favorite part of the writing process?

I struggle to find something. If I had to pick… formatting. It’s tedious. But I listen to music so it goes by quickly.

What are you currently working on?

I am on the first round edits of a steampunk trilogy while plotting the next four books of The Hayle Coven series. I’m a compulsive organizer, so my day planner is already laid out to the end of 2012 with projects.

Where readers can find you?

On my website
On Facebook
My writing blog
My book blog
On Twitter!/PattiLarsen
On, Barnes and Nobel, iBooks and Goodreads

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