Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?
Patricia Simpson: Hammering out the real premise of the story, enough to write an elevator pitch. I also find book blurbs difficult to draft until I’m away from the novel for many months, and can see the story from a bird’s-eye view. I’m working on an app for elevator pitches!
Romelia: DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?
Patricia Simpson: Yes. Except when I live in my head at the dinner table!
Romelia: IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Patricia Simpson: Find a mentor.
Romelia: HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?
Patricia Simpson: A year.
Romelia: DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?
Patricia Simpson: No. Writer’s block is usually unsolved issues in the writer’s life or lack of faith/conflict in the novel they are working on.
Romelia: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?
Patricia Simpson: If they write consistently, have a publication goal and don’t just talk about writing.
Romelia: WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR?
Patricia Simpson: A writer can write anything, including books. But an author is a writer that creates books. It’s like squares and rectangles, right. Not every rectangle is a square.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?
Patricia Simpson: I slough them off. Some people will never resonate with the themes I write about. And that’s fine. But if a reviewer provides constructive criticism that has merit, I will sometimes change my book. I am always striving to be a better writer and create better stories.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
Patricia Simpson: Crafting a synopsis after the book is written. It is a challenge for me to synthesize the story and when the entire book is still swirling around in my head.
Romelia: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?
Patricia Simpson: I’ve been writing since I could read. (Four years old, LOL!)
Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?
Patricia Simpson: Be easy on yourself. Don’t let the editor in your head hold you back. Get that first draft out and THEN start editing. And don’t talk about your book too much. That takes all the wonderful discovery out of writing the first draft.
Romelia: WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?
Patricia Simpson: Well-developed characters who face moral issues, and prose that is visually and viscerally evocative.
Romelia: WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?
Patricia Simpson: Theme comes first, actually. Then characters who do things because of their ideals and motivations. The conflict of ideals/theme creates the plot.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?
Patricia Simpson: I use a screenwriting paradigm to plot my novel. But that’s the final step. First, I sit down and hammer out what I’m writing about and why I want to write a particular book. I use character interviews to flesh out my characters and timed writing drills to explore how they interact with each other during important scenes. That way I get to know them before I write the book. I work a LOT on premise, or want I want to prove or disprove by the end of the book.
Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?
Patricia Simpson: When I sold to a traditional publishing house (HarperCollins).
Romelia: HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?
Patricia Simpson: Badly! I am the worst marketer to ever walk the Earth.
Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?
Patricia Simpson: Least favorite? See previous question, LOL. I don’t know how to improve my marketing skills and have little patience for it. I prefer to just write. My favorite part of writing is brainstorming plot with other writers. I love the challenge of coming up with a solution that the other writer might not see.
Romelia: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?
Patricia Simpson: The most important aspect is designing typography that won’t betray you as an amateur. There are a ton of great images available these days, but you can really do yourself an injustice if you don’t have the right typography. Study the covers of successful authors in your genre. Know what elements, mood and font you should include on your cover. What are the design trends? Study them.
Romelia: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?
Patricia Simpson: I’ve published 21 books. Two of my favorites are Raven in Amber and my latest book, Phoenix.
Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?
Patricia Simpson: The love scenes. Keeping love scenes “fresh” after writing them so many times in so many books is a real challenge. But it goes back to the characters, their issues and what they believe in. If I can draw on the motivations of my characters and what makes them tick, I can usually craft a love scene that is as unique as they are.
Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?
Patricia Simpson: Usually the villain. Villains bring conflict on stage. Scenes containing conflict are the easiest ones to write.
Romelia: WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?
Patricia Simpson: I usually write a quiet, contemplative heroine with a kind heart who thinks before she acts and loves with all her heart. I aspire to be as courageous and loyal as my heroines.
Romelia: IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?
Patricia Simpson: I am thinking about writing a totally different heroine for the next book in The Londo Chronicles. The title is CHIMERA. What is a chimera, you ask? Scientific American defines a chimera as “…a single organism that’s made up of cells from two or more „individuals”—that is, it contains two sets of DNA, with the code to make two separate organisms. One way that chimeras can happen naturally in humans is that a fetus can absorb its twin.” This possibility makes me go “hmmm…”
Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT YOUR ADULT LIFE.
Patricia Simpson: I am a karaoke addict!
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
Patricia Simpson: I’m one of the few people who enjoyed being in a marching band. (The uniforms, not so much…) What I hate most of all in the world is cruelty to animals, including wild animal incarceration.