It’s that time of the week again! This time joining me around the campfire on this cold dark night is fantasy author and karaoke addict Patricia Simpson.
1. Hi Patricia. Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?
I’m a writer from the Bay Area who has been writing since I learned to read at age 4. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and begged my parents for a typewriter for Christmas. I am married to a Scotsman and have done a lot of international traveling with him in the past twenty years. I enjoy exploring haunted and historical sites wherever I go. I’m an incurable karaoke addict.
2. What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?
I find the process of creating unique worlds and populating them with creatures of my own design to be endlessly fascinating.
3. Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?
I started brewing a dark fantasy series, The Londo Chronicles, in 2011, when everyone was talking about the Mayan Calendar and the end of the world. I began by writing a novella to explore the concept of a few human beings who survive a nuclear disaster with the assistance of unlikely allies (vampires). I fell in love with my fictitious Victorian London setting and haven’t yet emerged. I am contemplating adding a fourth book to the series because the characters won’t leave me alone!
THE LONDO CHRONICLES
Marriage Machine (Novella) – Aug 2011
Apothecary – Jan 2020
Phoenix – Feb 2020
Prodigy – Mar 2020
Chimera – WIP Mar 2022
4. What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?
I like to write about unassuming protagonists who, when faced with adversity, find strength and courage they never knew they possessed. My characters face dangers that I hope I could overcome if I were in a similar position. So, yes, I guess my heroines are modeled after my own quiet, introspective nature. (But don’t cross me…)
5. For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?
That you gotta love writing in your bones to be able to stick with this business. It’s tough but it’s the most rewarding job a person could have. To create something out of thin air and connect with other humans through your characters is nothing short of miraculous.
6. What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?
I use “styles” in Word and then use View/Sidebar/Navigation to show my chapter titles on the side of my WIP. I add brief text to the title to cue me into what I should be writing about in that particular chapter. Using titles this way is a great reference tool when editing and makes it easy to jump around in my WIP. If a timeline is important, I will add the day to the title, so I know I’m not getting Wednesday ahead of Tuesday. Once the book is edited, I take off the notes in the title. I also use a screenwriting paradigm to plot my books so the pacing is right for the genre I’m targeting. Once I have the backbone of my book showing in the navigation pane, I start fleshing out the story.
7. Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?
I’m a plotster. I come up with a barebones plot (that I add to my Word titles). Then I write from there. If I plot too much, I lose the excitement of writing the thing. If I know too much, my characters aren’t as surprised as they should be. I would rather stab my eyes with a fork than develop a chapter by chapter outline.
8. What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?
I’m dipping into screenwriting. I find the immediate gratification of writing an entire concept in a mere 120 double-spaced pages, well…gratifying!
9. With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?
Good always triumphs over evil in my books. But I have especially enjoyed writing the villain in The Londo Chronicles. Neal Moray was an absolute hoot to portray. Every time he came onstage, he wrote the scenes himself. However, because of the dark times we are living in right now, I have switched gears. My screenplay is a dramedy. Something entirely new for me. Jokes. Feel-good. Sidekicks. I just can’t do dark right now.
10. What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?
Hmm. Someday I hope to see The Londo Chronicles included in that question.
Award winning author of gothic, dark fantasy and paranormal suspense