Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Sleuthing Women Authors: Meet Patti Larsen

Hello Black Words-White Pages fans and thank you for stopping by!! Ready to meet another Sleuthing Woman Author? Today we are featuring Patti Larsen!! Click on her name to follow her on Facebook!! 

Now to get on with the interview!!

Patti Larsen

What is the first book that made you cry?
I don’t recall—I started out reading sci-fi and fantasy as a child, so I was mostly overwhelmed and scared and excited by things I really shouldn’t have been reading at that age.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Just depends on how much I’ve done. Typically it energizes me, but when I’m in the zone, I’ve been known to come to in the Wendy’s drive-thru with change in my hand, no idea what it’s for or how I got there…
What is your writing Kryptonite?
The pugs and their ridiculous sleep schedule. They seem to think getting up through the night is a good idea. Sleep depravation has never been beneficial to my creativity.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
I haven’t! I love to read, though I mostly dive into non-fiction when I’m scheduled to read (yes, you read that right!). If I have a nice, long time to enjoy a book I choose fiction, but the hour a day I use for work reading is typically educational or focused on personal growth.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have a wide selection of author friends, from my days writing exclusively YA paranormal, and my new, fun writer peeps who love to commit murder with me. Diversity, both in genre, age, gender and success level is always inspiring to me. I love equally meeting new writers as much as keeping in touch with those who’ve shared my journey for the last eight years.
Yes, I love to read, though I have found since I started writing full time I have to schedule time to do so or it falls to the wayside.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I’m a pug mom as well as a cat slave, so I guess either of those two would fit the bill. Though, honestly, when life gets complicated, I always wished I could just be a dragon.
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
I actually don’t base my characters on real people. I’m one of those freaky writers who hears voices and does her best to capture their stories. Though I’m sure some of my own experiences come through, whenever I’ve tried to write about someone I know, it’s always felt uncomfortable and like I’m forcing my work, never a good idea!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Not many—I’m pretty prolific, with over 100 titles in publication at the moment. I like to finish what I start, so most of the ones that aren’t done are in outline form, rather than in draft. I’m working on two right now!
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Definitely. I feel so connected to creative energy when I write, blessed to have the chance to be fingers on the keyboard for the voices in my head. Writing is both a meditation and an in the moment focus on the path, and always feels amazing to me. I think it’s part of the reason I love it so much.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I just want to be authentic to their voice and while I don’t have experience being male, I hope I’m translating what my masculine characters are trying to say.
How many hours a day do you write?
Depending on my schedule and what I have in the works, anywhere from one to four.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
I love fiction and always have. Escaping into worlds of my own making—and those of writers I love and admire—is the purest form of fun I can think of.
How do you select the names of your characters?
They tell me, usually, no joke, at least for my main characters. For those less vocal I sift through baby names until the right one clicks.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I’ve had so many careers, I could do one of those again, I suppose, from journalist to master hairstylist to film maker or screen writer. But I can’t imagine not being a writer.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I don’t, but not out of disrespect for those who take the time to write them. I think reviews are for readers, not for writers, and while there might be constructive criticism in them, I use professional editors and betas and I’m confident enough in my skills I don’t feel the need to make changes according to one person’s opinion. They are allowed that opinion, though, absolutely! And I love they get to express it, even if it’s not glowing. I just don’t have to let it bother me.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I have in the past, in my 43 volume Hayle Coven Universe (and growing), but I haven’t as yet threaded anything like that through my mysteries, if only because I like to do what the voices tell me to do and my main character in the Fiona Fleming Cozy Mysteries is rather blunt, sarcastic and can’t keep a secret if her life depended on it.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I don’t struggle with writing, and count myself fortunate. If I had to mention one, though, it would be the death of a beloved character in a YA series I adore. But when it comes to mysteries, I love all of it and just settle in and trust my characters will tell me what I need to do when I need to do it.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Procrastination, though most of the time I know it’s necessary to recharge my brain and that it’s not conceivable for me (everyone’s different!) to write 10k or more a day any longer.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings. Not for kids, but absolutely captivating (and heroic fantasy). I still go back and read the entire series every couple of years. BUT the book that got me into mysteries (and wanting to write) was a Nancy Drew. So I hold a very special place in my heart for her adventures.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Saying no to family and friends when I really need to work. It’s not as difficult now, eight years in, but it used to be very hard to explain to them that I couldn’t do the things I used to, that I had to focus on building my business, on writing and publishing and learning how to be better and what I chose as my career.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Depending on what’s happening in my life, anywhere from six days to two weeks.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I’m so old school when it comes to writers, and most of mine fall under the fantasy and sci-fi category because of my upbringing. There’s an amazing indie author named Catie Rhodes who writes paranormal mysteries I adore. Plus, all of the women in the collective hold a special place in my heart, because they are awesome!
Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?
I know it sounds old fashioned, but Agatha Christie was a genius and if I could go back in time and meet her I’d fangirl so hard.
What are some great books you’ve read recently?
(mostly non-fiction, do you want those?)
What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?
I read a lot of non-fiction books on personal growth and spirituality. I love to learn how to be happier and more fulfilled and focusing on me and my journey helps me do that.
What sort of research did you do to write this book?
The Fiona Fleming Cozy Mysteries unfold in a small town in Vermont named Reading. Not to be mistaken for the real Reading (pronounced Red-ing), it’s based on my childhood travels with my family to that part of the world, camping and exploring the mountains. As for the bed and breakfast my main character owns, that experience is taken from my oldest sister’s time running an inn and the hardships and often hilarious interactions she faced. And, Fiona’s adopted pug, Petunia, is an amalgam of my two bratty, funny and lovable fawns.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I wanted to write a mystery and literally asked the universe for an idea. Yes, that’s how my brain works. Trust me, you don’t want to be in here with me. It’s spooky.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I like to sleep in because the pugs are so restless, so I’m usually up at 8 am. If I’m riding that day, I’m off to the barn for a couple of hours to visit with my handsome Gyspy Vanner gelding, Fynn. If not, I’m answering emails, drinking copious amounts of coffee and getting caught up on things I didn’t get to the day before. Afternoons I typically get at least an hour of writing in, hopefully more. And evenings are for me!
What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
Go pick up book two 😉
If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?
Fiona is a redhead, so I’d love to have Emma Stone. As for her love interest, I’m a massive Matt Bomer fan (who isn’t? He’s yumtastic).
Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?
I am a hard-core outliner and will often create intensive, chapter-by-chapter breakdowns books ahead in series, sometimes outlining the entire collection before I start writing book one. I hate missing details and find it really helps me keep track of everything, as well as keeping my edits to a minimum since the story edits are done before I really start to flesh out the prose. It also inspires me to write because most of the work is already done. I just have to open my brain and dump out the words.
What do you do in your free time when you aren’t writing?
I ride my horse, create whatever we’re into currently with my sister (my BFF), have long coffee dates with new writers and share what knowledge I’ve accumulated, and perform as a professional smarty pants in an all-female improv troupe.
Do you put yourself in your books/characters at all?
I do not. At least, I try hard not to. They aren’t about me. That’s actually my biggest concern, that I’m not doing the voices justice, that my skills are holding them back from telling the stories they want to tell. But so far, so good.
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
Receiving thank yous from readers who tell me my books have gotten them through the hardest parts of their lives. We have a huge impact on those who choose our books to entertain them and take them away from their troubles. It’s powerful and I take that responsibility seriously.
Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
I’ll always have a soft spot for Family Magic, book one of the Hayle Coven Novels, and the lead character, Sydlynn Hayle. She’s been with me for nine years now and though she’s been quiet lately, I know she’s not done with me.
What are your top three favorite books of all time?
First, The Stand, by Stephen King. No one exposes the depth and painful reality of the human psyche like King. Second, Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings, book one of The Belgariad. I’ll always, always go back to find out what happened to the boy Garion on Faldor’s farm. Third, The Hobbit, because I’ve always wanted to go on an adventure but was far less like Bilbo than I would have liked—and it was the first book my father read to me.

WINNER of Chapter.Con London 2017 Best Female Protagonist!

Fiona Fleming is in so much trouble. Her recently inherited bed and breakfast might not actually be hers thanks to the underhanded misdealings of the local real estate bully. Despite her grandmother's last will and testament, Fee might be out of luck and on the street before she even gets settled. But when her new enemy floats belly up in her koi pond, she's the prime suspect in his murder!Can she uncover who the real killer is before the smoking hot new sheriff puts her behind bars instead of asking her out on a date?

Dive into book one of the Fiona Fleming Cozy Mysteries, and don't miss the exciting sequels!


Thank you so much, Patti, for stopping by today to talk with us!! This has been a lot of fun!! To know more about this author and her books starting on June 12, 2018, join the Facebook group HERE!!! There will be takeovers and lots of fun things to come!!

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