When I got into writing I’ve always wanted to see an article I wrote that had my named featured as the writer. I have always wanted to interview people who personally inspire me or bring good in the world. So far I have interviewed a great editor at Yam-mag.com and a fantastic voice actor and LGBT activist, Jamie McGonnigal. Now its time to put my questions to a pro. A woman who writes more words that I have spoken, and ladies and gentlemen I’m a talker. I’m almost Olympian gold medal pro! I won’t keep you waiting so here she is Patti Larsen!
Take us back to when you were a young girl. What were your dreams to be when you finally reached adulthood?
I started out wanting to ride racehorses and tortured my old gelding into running fast though he really didn’t have the stamina for it. I then transitioned to one of Charlie’s Angels, thanks to the imaginations of my sister and best friend. We caught a lot of bad guys in my mother’s living room.
When my dad brought home a copy of Dungeons and Dragons, I immediately wanted to be a sorceress/warrior who could kick the pants of any monster out there. It wasn’t until I was twelve when I read a Nancy Drew adventure I finally knew what I really wanted to do. Writing would allow me to be all of the things I wanted through words and make believe.
If you could go anywhere in the world to write a book, where would it be?
I have a dream to sit on a beach with my laptop for one winter. I’m Canadian and, unlike most of my country people, despise snow. It would be absolute luxury to hang out in Bali or Fiji or the Cayman Islands, sand, surf and cold drinks. But honestly? My books take me to the worlds I want to visit.
Do you have a favorite Disney movie? ….and go!
Hands down, Beauty and the Beast. I watched that movie at least a dozen times in the theatre when it first came out and own the DVD. The opening song still makes me teary. I’ve even seen the Broadway production (fabulous!). There’s something so amazing about the story, how strong Belle is, how Beast finds love… and then there’s that library. Sigh. True love.
Where do you get your spark for ideas on books?
I usually tell people there are two answers to that question: first is the straight up one. Ideas just come to me. I can sit at a window with a notebook in my lap and come away an hour later with five new series roughly outlined. But the second, or crackpot, answer is the real truth. I ask and they come to me. Along with the voices. No, I’m not crazy. Much.
Before writing full-time what were you doing?
I’ve done so many things in my life in an attempt to silence this particular muse, partly because I was told (and chose to believe) I wasn’t good enough. I went to university to study English and History, but hated everything about being a number. I graduated from journalism and worked a (very short) time in a newsroom, but writing the truth wasn’t satisfying. I tried retail for a while, fell into hairdressing. Made films, wrote screenplays, produced documentaries. Was part of an all-female improv troupe and an all-female Celtic band. I wrote songs, fiddled with inventions. Owned my own businesses. Everything but writing books.
As a teacher you’ve helped me a lot. For those that want to get into writing seriously, but can’t devote 100% of the time to it could you give any pointers?
Writing is about the voice of the soul. I’m sure you’ve heard the term writer’s voice. It took me a long time to find mine, partly because I was looking in the wrong places. And the wrong genres. The craft can be taught, but the spark… you either have it or you don’t. If writing keeps dragging you back and won’t let you be, but you feel you’re not there yet, that you don’t have the talent, invest in yourself. In learning the craft. Because once you don’t have to think about writing, you stop thinking when you write. And that’s when the voices come out and make magic. I wish someone told me that a long time ago.
A personal question that no one might care for; but just so I can have a silly question in this interview: Do you prefer your toilet paper rolled over or under?
Snort. I honestly don’t have a preference. We keep ours on a table by the toilet, because our cats like to shred the roll.
I know you pop out books faster than a well-oiled assembly line, but have there been any time where you felt stuck on an idea for a brief moment?
Every once in a while it happens. I wrote a book last year called Best Friends Forever about sixteen-year-old Emily who loses her three best friends in an accident that should have killed her too. She turns to drugs and alcohol and only comes out of her suicidal state when her little brother is kidnapped by a pedophile.
Heavy stuff. It took me two months to write that book. You know me—I’m normally about two weeks. But Emily’s voice was so dark and her story so bleak I really struggled. There are two books left in her series, but I’ve set them aside. I’m just not emotionally prepared to go back to them yet.
Scenario: During a freak thunderstorm there is a bolt of lightning that zig-zags through your window and strikes Family Magic. No worries everything is okay, the only thing that you can find is the book has scorch marks on the cover. It turns out that this wasn’t a normal thunderstorm and somehow Syd has come to life. What do you do?
First, I give her hell for not wanting her powers. Seriously. Then I hug the crap out of her and beg her to take me home with her. I could be a witch. Honest.
You made me tear up when I read this, you know. I recently had Syd tell me how her series ends. And while she promised she won’t leave me for twelve more books, all of which I’m outlining now, I already have the last line of the last page written and it breaks my heart every time I think about it.
I don’t have kids. But she’s my girl.
Last question: What are your guilty pleasures?
Chocolate. Netflix. If I’m not careful, I can spend an entire day on the couch with the cats watching TV series. Hidden object video games. Sleeping in. Writing when my husband is home.
About the Author: Patti Larsen is an award-winning middle grade and young adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Her YA thriller series, The Hunted, is available now. Book one of that series, RUN, is a recent recipient of the 2012 PEI Book Awards for Fiction. Seven books of her very popular Hayle Coven Novels, beginning with Family Magic, are also out now. Her YA steampunk series, Blood and Gold, can be found on Amazon, along with her YA paranormal novel, Best Friends Forever, and The Diamond City Trilogy. Her middle grade novel, The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House (Acorn Press), is available now. She is a full time writer and a part time teacher of her Get Your Book Done program. Patti lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband and four massive cats.
You can find her:
On her website Patti Larsen.com
On Amazon.com and Goodreads