Monday, 25 July 2011

Interview: Patricia Snodgrass

Hiya, Patricia. Lovely to have you here with us today. Shall we dig in? What do you like best about writing?

Watching the plot unfold. It’s very rare that I know exactly where the journey will end when I start a book. Sometimes I try to write a brief synopsis to get my thoughts together, but after the first chapter my characters take over and then wonderful things happen. I love it when that happens.

It’s great, isn’t it? What is your all-time fave book you have read?

My all time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I read it every summer.

Oooh! I read that for my English exam. Which character of yours do you like the best?

My favorite character is Jaydene Wilkes in my recent novel entitled Glorious. She is an African American woman who is a Registered Nurse during the Civil Right’s era. (1968)

I remember when I was in nursing school (which ended in disaster by the way) I met a wonderful woman who had attended nursing school back in the 1950’s. For the European readers, this was the time of Segregation, or Jim Crow. It was very much like Apartheid in South Africa. Anyway, this nurse told me of a time when she was in nursing school and was not allowed to sleep in the dormitory with the white students. She had a cot in the morgue. I never forgot that, and it was added to Jaydene’s history.

Jaydene started off with very humble roots but became the head nurse on the pediatric floor at her local hospital. She was a very strong and very devout woman. She was faithful to her husband to the very end. When he suffered a nervous collapse shortly after the death of their daughter, Jaydene didn’t divorce him when he left her. Instead, she went looking for him, found him and cared for him. Jaydene was the driving force in my novel. She was brilliant, beautiful, and stronger than steel. She was the person who anchored the story. I had tremendous admiration and respect for her.

The main problem I had when I wrote this character was that I, not being black myself, was nervous about writing about such an in depth African American character. How could I, I wondered, dare, yes dare, to write about being black in America when I am not?

I had put the book away for quite a while, and ruminated over this. I was afraid I’d stereotype the characters, that I would offend the African American community somehow by trying to write “black.”

But then I thought about it. It was obvious, to me at least, that I could never write about the “black experience” in America, especially in the South. I had no real frame of reference, with the exception of my own observations.

What I could do, however, is write about the human experience. We as human beings have all experienced suffering. It’s from the human, not racial, experience that I wrote. I could understand Jaydene’s pain and suffering because I too, being human, a woman, have experienced pain and suffering. And once I took that route, knowing Jaydene was effortless.

Confidentially, I was still worried that the African American community would not be pleased with me, but I have received praise as well as great reviews for the book. Oddly enough, it’s the caucasian community that’s squeamish.

Now, when we talk about my upcoming release entitled Marilyn…that’s something else altogether. It’s a paranormal romance, in which a man is in love with his car. I mean, really in love with her. And Marilyn, being the car, is my favorite character in the book. It was quite fun to write about an amorous 1958 Edsel.

Fascinating stuff! How many hours a day/week do you devote to writing?

I work from 8-3 every day with the exception of Monday and Friday. I treat my writing as I would any job. The first few hours are devoted to marketing my current and upcoming releases, and the rest of the day is devoted towards new compositions. I usually divide this up into editing and writing. I do my best to write 2k every single day.

Fabulous dedication! How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?

I was walking on air the first time I received a publishing contract. My first published novel, Mercer’s Bayou, was accepted by Samhain Publishing a few years back. 2009, I think. I remember being so excited. In fact, I still get excited whenever I receive a contract. Now, if I could see really big royalty checks, my writing life would be complete. Hahahaha.

LOL. Amen to that! And then how did you feel when you saw your name on the cover?

Very very happy. I remember tearing up when I saw my first cover.

Bless your heart. Do your friends and family know what you write, or do you have to keep it a secret? If it isn't secret, have you had any crazy reactions when you tell people what you write?

I write about a wide variety of topics, from horror, to thrillers, to paranormal romance to erotica. They know I write and what I write. Hey, I’ll write about copper pots if I got paid for it. Hahaha. Yes, my family knows about what I write and are supportive.

And in the crazy reactions department (blushing), I’ve had some people want to give me tips (ahem) on writing erotic scenes, (blushing more) preferably from their own lives. (Donning Valley Girl accent) Ewww… Like…NO....

That sounds…weird LMAO. Poor you. If you could go anywhere in the world, money no object, where would you go, why, and who with?

My cousin is a brilliant genealogist, and she’s traced our family history back to the 14th century. I’d love to take my husband, son and his girlfriend to first to England, to visit Ipswich, Suffolk, where my English family originated. I’d also love to go to France, where my French family came from, then up into Switzerland. It would be a wonderful trip. I also have friends in both England and France and would love to spend some time with them. And, of course, I’d have to go to Saint-Hubert in Château d'Amboise, the final resting place of Leonardo Da Vinci, to pay homage to my hero.

Sounds great! Maybe we could get together when you come over here! Any pet peeves?

Yes, when people tell me I need to quit all this foolishness about being a writer and go out and get a real job. This is a real job. And yes, those ‘friends’ who have told me that are no longer friends. I don’t have time for rude, hateful people. Life is just too short.

Oh, Lord. You’ve had THOSE people in your life… Any writing rituals?

Aside from lighting black candles and summoning Satan? (Just kidding!) Yes, I do a brief meditation practice before my morning work session. I also like to play a few video games to relax. I blame my friend Shannon on my latest Horse Saga addiction.

And there I was sighing with relief that someone else lit black candles and summoned the bad man… LOL. Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you here. I hope you return sometime soon. Good luck with your career!

Now, folks, if you have any questions for the charming Patricia, please feel free to ask them in comments!

You can find Patricia here:

Twitter ID: woverfm
Facebook: Click HERE.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

That was a great interview, thank you!