Welcome, Patti! Thank you for joining us today. How about you tell us a little about yourself to get this party started.
Patti: I know you don't want the shiny, polished version, right? I'm a writer by choice and passion, a cat lover extraordinaire. I adore summer above all other seasons if only we could get rid of the bugs. I'm a blonde and always will be no matter what Mother Nature thinks. I work far too much and love every second of it. And I'm addicted to the voices in my head. I joke about wishing they would leave me alone, but I really love having them around.
Courtney: Now tell us a little about Run.
Patti: Oh dear. Poor Reid is the main character. I'm so mean to the lovely boy. He thinks life is finally going back to normal, you know? He's spent the last year in foster care, waiting for his sister to rescue him. And when she finally does? He gets kidnapped and dumped in a forest, with no idea why he is there. He quickly learns to run from the hunters who chase down kids like him. And kill them.
Courtney: What inspired this story?
Patti: I love this question. I receive my inspiration from any number of places--sometimes a title comes to me first, or a face. In this case, it was Reid. Running down a path, panting, breathing coming in hoarse gasps. He froze, looked around (it's a movie already in my head, can't you tell?). And out of the darkness something howled.
I mentioned the voices, right? Yup. Crackpot. But that's how I roll.
Courtney: Can you give us a brief description of your writing process?
Patti: I'm super organized because if I leave it to chance nothing gets done. I have a day planner where I keep my plan at least six months in advance. I have to schedule everything. So, an idea comes, I jot it down on a onepage, or an outline sheet. From there I work with index cards, developing conflicts and connecting them until I have a giant stack from beginning to end. I transfer those into a Word document, giving me a full outline. Then I break the outline up into individual docs as chapters and voila! I typically write between three and six chapters a day, depending on how hard I'm pushing myself. When I'm writing the book, I do so straight through until it's done, usually between six to eight days.
Courtney: What's your writing fuel? Chocolate? Cake? Cookies?
Patti: Diet Pepsi, Sea Salt and Pepper chips and Hershey's drops. OMG. I'm drooling. And I'm out of stock. I've tried to break this habit but I just can't seem to.
Courtney: What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Any useful websites or tools you'd like to share?
Patti: Two bits only.
One: Never stop writing, no matter what. If the passion is in you, the skills can be learned. Don't quit. Ever. And if you do quit and it keeps at you, the tickle remains and won't leave you alone, go get some help polishing your skills. That need is the important part. Everything else is trainable.
Two: Don't be sheep. Educate yourselves on all aspects of the industry. Don't fall into the DREAM of big publishing before you examine each and every option. There is so much false information out there, contradictory views, it will take some time for you to form your own opinion. But be open to everything and be as objective as you can before you make a choice. It's your career and your work. You are the only one who is allowed to choose for you.
As far as helpful sites: If you're using Google Chrome, StayFocused is wicked. I use the nuclear option that blocks me from the web for an hour at a time. I get so much done!
Courtney: Who are your influences?
Patti: Stephen King, definitely. Anne MacCaffery. Isaac Asimov. David Eddings. I grew up in a family of hard core fantasy and science fiction readers. My father read me The Lord of the Rings when I was six a and even got us hooked on Dungeons and Dragons when I was only nine. So I grew up in a world of make believe. I never expected to be writing YA, but I'm thrilled I found it. In this genre, J.K. Rowling because she got the ball rolling for me when my niece insisted I read the first book of Harry Potter. And Suzanne Collins who showed me with the Hunger Games that no, my work isn't too dark, thanks.
Courtney: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Patti: I hate mornings. HATE. I'm usually up around eight and writing before lunch. I tend to stay up until at least eleven or so, often awake between 2:30 and 3AM writing down ideas or something the voices told me to write. They are relentless.
Courtney: If you could have one superpower from any book you've read; what would it be and why?
Patti: I always loved Storm from the X-Men. I adore the idea of controlling the weather. I'd make it summer ALL the time. With the odd fun lightening show thrown in.
Courtney: Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?
Patti: Chocolate. There is no other flavor.
Courtney: How do you plan on celebrating the release of Run?
Patti: Honestly, I haven't thought about it. I'm planning a release party of this book along with another series I have coming out in September. So I guess maybe my husband and I will go out to dinner. But really, every single day I get to write as my job is a celebration. I don't need much more.
Courtney: Where can we find out more about Run?
Patti: For now, go here for more information. You can score a copy here or here.
Courtney: Where can we find out more about you and your other writing?
Patti: I'm all over the Internet. At least it feels that way!
My main page
My writing blog
My book blog
My fan page
Author page on Amazon
Courtney: Zombies are attacking. What three possessions do you take on the run with you?
Patti: A zombie-proof tank full of anti-zombie shells. I drive it to my zombie-proof wharf and onto my zombie-proof yacht. I then sail to my zombie-proof island where I have my loyal servants to toil for me and bring me mangoes while I tsk-tsk over the state of the world. That's four things. But the servants come with the island, so...
No joke, I hate zombies. They give me the absolute creepies.
Courtney: Can you share some parting words of wisdom for the readers?
Patti: The Universe made you a writer for a reason. So write. Get your stuff out there. Don't ever let fear stop you. Trust you're doing the right thing. Because you are.
Thank you Patti for a wonderful and fun interview! I can't wait to read Run and see the world you've built for Reid. Stop by anytime!