Getting Real With Real Authors
If it isn’t personal what the heck is it?
Author Interviews that Rock!
CHASING THE SKIP
Click the pics for Janci’s awesome writerly links!
Here’s the Blurb!
Ricki’s dad has never been there for her. He’s a bounty hunter who spends his time chasing parole evaders—also known as “skips”—all over the country. Ever since Ricki’s mom ran off, Ricki finds herself an unwilling passenger in a front-row seat to her father’s dangerous lifestyle. Ricki’s feelings get even more confused when her dad starts tracking seventeen-year-old Ian Burnham. She finds herself unavoidably attracted to the dark-eyed felon who seems eager to get acquainted. Ricki thinks she’s ever in control—the perfect accomplice, the Bonnie to his Clyde. Little does she know that Ian isn’t playing the game by her rules.
And We’re off!
Just to get us started, how old are you?
I’m thirty now. I started my first novel at eighteen, so I’ve been doing this for a while. (Finished that book at nineteen, too. I was serious from the start.)
What inspired you to write Chasing The Skip?
I’m always on the lookout for awesome situations that would be fun to put teenagers in. I first learned about bounty hunting because I was curious how chasing down fugitives could be legal if you aren’t an official part of law enforcement. What I learned about the justice system was so interesting, I knew I had to write a book about it.
What made you want to write in the first place?
Boredom. I was living in a dorm in Santa Cruz, and everyone else went out drinking on the weekends, which wasn’t my idea of fun. I’d always told myself stories, so I started writing one down, and never stopped.
What keeps you writing?
There are lots of answers to this question. I could tell you about how rewarding writing is when I get it right. (It is.) I could tell you about how I’ve trained for years for this career and I’m afraid to have to start over. (I am.) I could tell you about how I’m a very determined person who hates to give up. (I’m that, too.) But the truth is what keeps me writing is this still, small voice that tells me (always!) that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. It seems when I’m trying to figure life out, the answer is always to go write. So that’s what I do. Atta Girl!
What is the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
I took a writing class in college from Brandon Sanderson, who told me that it took about ten years of serious work to break in to publishing. That was important because it did take me that long (exactly!) and if I hadn’t had that realistic expectation, I wouldn’t have given up.
How do you discipline yourself to keep at the writing?
I take my commitments to myself as seriously or more seriously than I do my commitments to others. I set regular writing goals, and if I don’t reach them, I have a conversation with myself about why that happened and how I could do better in the future. (Sometimes the answer is to set more realistic goals!) I have to be both boss and employee, and make sure that the boss part of me is nice to the employee part, and that the employee part is doing right by the boss in terms of putting in the work. Like most things in life, it’s a balance. Nicely Put! It’s a balance we’re all striving for.
When did you decide, this is what I really want to do? I want to be a writer! Was there a particutlar ah-ha moment?
Yes. This was back in that dorm in Santa Cruz, when I was nineteen. I went to college as an Undeclared major, and decided that I’d try some classes out to see what I liked. Being goal-oriented, I gave myself a deadline: I had to pick a major at the end of that year. So I made a list of possibilities and methodically took classes in each field. And at the end of the year, I had crossed every last major off my list. I didn’t like them all. Around that same time, I finished that first novel–the one I started writing because I was bored. That was it.
What is the most important thing for a writer to remember?
The answer to whatever writing or industry related problem you have is always to write. Except when it’s to step back and take a break. You’ll find a healthy work rhythm when you learn which answer to apply and when.
Do you belong to any cool writerly groups on or off line?
Yes. Writing communities are really important to me, because they simulate co-workers, and keep me from getting lonely. I have an in-person critique group weekly that I love. And I’m a member of Julie Cross’s teamTEENauthor which is too much fun. I love that we get to play around with our theme posts in that group. It’s good not to take ourselves too seriously.
Just for kicks… What are some of your favorite TV shows, movies?
I watch TV shows on DVD, which means they are always out of date. (We don’t have TV at my house by choice.) My all time favorite is Buffy, though. Buffy Rocks
What is your favorite board game?
I prefer miniatures games to board games. My favorite is Blood Bowl. My husband and I have our own league going.
Other than writing, what do you like to do for fun? Hobbies?
I’m a geek. I play a lot of video games with my husband. I also love to take pictures, sew, and paint miniatures (which is my husband’s profession). I’m in a weekly roleplaying game that I wouldn’t give up for anything.
Any closing words of wisdom for other author-wannabees out there?
Network, but not for the reasons you think. The purpose of a network is not to know the right people to get you published. It’s to build yourself an interlaced community where you can support others, and also receive support yourself. You’re going to need it.
Becoming a writer is hard. It takes a lot of work to learn to write good fiction, and there’s no good way to get formal training but to sit down and write. And then, once you have the skills, you also have to run a small business, which is often antithetical to the personalities that are attracted to writing in the first place. You can do it. But you’re going to need a community to help you, because sharing information helps everyone.
Be a good community member. Get help and give back. And try not to feel like you’re in competition with the other writers you meet, because if we’re not all on a team together, then we all end up feeling alone. Totally awesome words of wisdom!
And there you have it! Personal and Real with Janci Patterson!
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