Welcome back to the blog, good readers! Today I will be hosting another author who has been kind enough to take time to answer some questions.
Please join me in welcoming the talented Becca Patterson! Sci-Fi and Fantasy are just two of Becca Patterson’s preferred genres. An author hailing from Minnesota, she has been writing for as long as she can remember. When not writing, she works with high school students as a tutor and takes much of her inspiration from the teenagers she works with. In her spare time, Becca enjoys making her husband laugh, and playing string with her three cats. Frequently, she asks the cats for writing advice, although all they tell her is to stay in the chair so they can snuggle. Her characters are real people who just happen to live in her head. You can follow her on her website at http://becca.mreauowpublishing.com/ ,on Twitter @mreauow or on Amazon
So, let’s jump into the interview and get this party started.
Delusions of Sanity: Becca, since you’re a writer, do you have any advice you can offer to other authors?
Becca Patterson: Don’t write to the market. Write the story you want to read. Write the one that’s burning in your chest or keeping you up at night. That’s the story you need to write.
I’ve picked up some real doozies by authors who wanted to write the next hot book, but only ended up following the market. I want to avoid that. So I write what I want and hope I will start the next trend. If not, well at least I’ll have fun writing the story.
Listen to your characters. The more you can learn from them, the richer your story will be. You may not be writing for the biggest possible audience, but your readers will appreciate the richness of that world.
Delusions of Sanity: I like that advice. As authors, staying true to ourselves and the stories we know we can–and want to–write is important. Along those lines, is there anything you would avoid in future?
Becca Patterson: I will never try to write out of order again. I tried that once and when I tried to put it back together I ended up with a 100K word outline for a book. By the time I got all the scenes in the right order, I discovered half of them were red herrings and needed to be tossed out. The other half didn’t flow from one to the other. I ended up having to rewrite the whole thing, it was such a mess.
I’ve known plenty of writers who can write out of order just fine and they get their books done and put back together without much of an issue. I don’t know how they do it, but I trust that the process works for them. For me, I’m a linear writer. I start at the beginning and work my way through and I’m not going to abandon that method again.
Delusions of Sanity: So, I have some examples of your cover art posted from some of your works. How do you choose your cover art?
Becca Patterson: Cover art is such a crazy part of the publishing process. I’m not a visual person, but I know that it’s important to make my book look like something my readers would like to read. The big question is, what do my readers think my kind of book should look like?
I would love to be able to do all the work myself, but I just don’t have the skills. So, I have to go find my art, or find someone to produce art for me. I’ve had very little luck finding art that I like, so I’ve hired people to make art for me.
Working with artists can be tricky. You have to be able to articulate what you want the art to look like so they can see what you do about your books. Then there’s the timing. Can they deliver the art for you when you need it, and will it be what you need? And you have to consider the cost. There are some brilliant artists out there who can make the perfect image for your book and have it ready for you in a week. They also charge an arm and a leg.
So far, I’ve been lucky and able to barter services to offset the cost of custom artwork for my novels.
Delusions of Sanity: Which writers inspire you?
Becca Patterson: Jane Yolan – one of the first authors I met personally and a very sweet lady. She’s really the first person who told me I could make career of writing. That was a long time ago, but I still believe her. I’m still working on it.
Mercedes Lackey – She’s such a fun author, I love her books, and I love her attitude that she doesn’t let anyone tell her she can’t do that. When they told her she couldn’t blend Fantasy and Romance she started the Luna imprint and the 500 Kingdoms series. They are both great fantasy stories and satisfying romances.
Kristin Kathryn Rusch – who writes in so many genres I’m just amazed. She’s also got some really good insights to the wide world of publishing from multiple angles.
Delusions of Sanity: That’s very cool that you got to meet one of the authors who’s had an impact on your work. I’m kind of jealous.
Now I have a final human interest question: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Becca Patterson: I am totally a night owl. When I don’t have to set an alarm to get up for the day job, I slip very quick into the habit of staying up until dawn and sleeping until noon. Even when I do have to set the alarm and get to bed at a reasonable hour, I’m more productive later in the day.
I’ve heard the advice to get up early and spend that extra hour or even half hour writing. I tried it. I found that I could sleep through my alarm for an amazing amount of time. Even when I did manage to roll out of bed I’d just sit and stare at the computer. I was silly back then and listened to all the advice as though it were coming from on high. I figured I just needed to make it a habit. I put myself through that for three full months before I gave up, thinking I was a failure.
Not long after that I came across advice from another writer counseling that all writers needed to stay up late, after the rest of the house went to be to take advantage of the creative time. That was when I learned that every writer has to do it their way. So now, I’m up most of the night, even though my husband is also a night owl. We sit together and work on our creative endeavors all night, then crash into bed just in time for the cats to decide it’s bedtime. It works out well for us.
All right! Well, that wraps up my interview with the delightful and talented Becca Patterson. Again, if you want to check out more of her work, head on over to her website at http://becca.mreauowpublishing.com/ to see what she’s up to. Thanks again to Becca for giving us some of her time, and thanks to my readers for being fantastic!