She is a deeply passionate storyteller, renowned for writing books about teenagers whose voices she hears clearly in her mind, and which compel her to write. We’re talking about prolific author Patti Larsen, of course. We caught up with Patti in an exclusive interview to find out about her work, to learn about her award-winning book entitled Family Magic, and to get some insights into her future book projects. Patti also shared some tips for you budding authors of books for young adults. Read on to learn what she had to say.
Welcome to e-Books India, Patti! We’re thrilled to have you join us for this interview. Can you please tell us about you and your background? What is your professional experience and how did you come about to become a writer of paranormal books for teenagers?
Thank you so much for having me! I was born and continue to live in beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada (home of Anne of Green Gables) with my patient husband and multitude of pets. I grew up in a family of readers with an avid science fiction and heroic fantasy father who spurred my love of all things paranormal. When the time came at the age of twelve I realized reading books wasn’t nearly as fun as writing them, I was addicted to such authors as Anne McCaffery and David Eddings, Isaac Asimov and Marion Zimmer Bradley. While I write YA, my early roots are in old fashioned fantasy.
When I started writing, I thought that was the perfect genre for me—all swords and sorcery and space battles. But, it was a Nancy Drew mystery that incited my interest in creating my own stories, so when I decided years later to give writing books one last try, a teenager’s voice came through loud and clear. I’d spent decades learning the writing trade in one form or another, through journalism, university English and a deep passion for screenwriting. In fact, I was on my way to Toronto to try my hand at writing for television when the character of Sydlynn Hayle prodded me to tackle Family Magic. Everything clicked together in that one voice—all of my training had led me there. In fact, with that moment of clarity, I realized I’d found exactly what I was supposed to be doing with the rest of my life.
The fact that the majority of voices I write about are teenagers baffles me slightly, but I’m more than happy to share their stories.
What types of themes do you like to write about in your books? Are there are particular messages you like to convey in your stories?
I don’t necessarily pick a theme and write to it. The characters who demand I share their experiences tend to dictate exactly what I’m supposed to type. Any time I’ve tried to insert my own will or tell them what to do, it’s ended badly.
That being said, I adore them and their strengths. Though widely varied across many genres (I write everything from horror to post-apocalyptic to contemporary paranormal), they all have a fortitude I didn’t when I was a teenager. I don’t think I would have had the courage to face the things they face with the determination they do.
If I had to choose a theme, I suppose it would be, “Be yourself.”
Your book Family Magic won the World’s Best Story award for 2014. Can you please tell us a bit about Family Magic? Also, what was it like to win such a prestigious award?
Sydlynn Hayle, the lead character of Family Magic, came to me in the middle of the night six years ago and told me I had to get out of bed right now. Go to my office and write down what she had to say. She’s been bossing me around ever since.
She’s a typical sixteen-year-old teenager in that she just wants to fit in. The problem is, her mother is the leader of their coven, a powerful witch who wants Syd to follow in her footsteps. And her dad is a Demon Lord of the Seventh Plane of Demonicon who she sees rarely. With her life dictated to her since birth, she’s in the middle of serious rebellion against her family—she just wants to be ordinary. And though she does her best to fit in with the “normal” kids at her new school, her regular life is far more odd than the one she lives with her paranormal kin.
Family Magic is about family, about stepping up when it matters. About finding who you are and accepting it despite your plans to the contrary. I adore Syd and continue to write about her. The Hayle Coven Novels are twenty volumes long with several spin off series and more from Syd herself.
Winning World’s Best Story gave me the opportunity to find new audiences, to reach further with Syd than ever before. After the shock and excitement wore off, the potential for the future of the Hayle Coven Universe afforded by the prize has me trying my best not to jump up and down in giddy reaction on a regular basis.
Are you working on any other book(s) at the moment? If so, what can we expect to see from you in the future?
I’m always working on other books. In fact, including the presently unavailable Hayle Coven Universe novels (in rebranding as we speak), I have almost 70 books written and/or published. Right now, I’m working on a brand new series, the Monstrous Magic Chronology, about a teen girl named Cricket who stumbles on a secret world of magicians and monsters when she inherits an old journal. Book one, An Ordinary Mage, will be out in the new year.
From your experiences of writing and publishing, can you please share 2-3 top tips with writers who want to write fiction for a younger audience?
I love this question, because there is so much to say. And yet, it’s tough, because there’s so much to say…
First, be a professional, always. In social media, when you deal with editors, cover designers, reviewers, and readers. Know nothing is personal, that other people’s opinions are just that. Keep your frustration and dirty laundry private. Your fans deserve your best face forward.
Second, study the art of storytelling. Break down the books you love, the tv shows and movies. What is it about the characters, the plot lines, the stories that draw you in and hold you captive? The best books use emotion to hold readers in thrall, make you love the characters despite themselves and their situations. Write from the heart, for the heart, and you’ll do just fine.
Third, have fun. Above all else, have fun! This is the most amazing job ever (I often use #bestjobever as my Twitter hashtag of choice). Why are you torturing yourself over something someone said, over edits, with your own self-doubt? Find the joy in the writing and it will come through every time.
There’s so much more I could say. About finding the right people to read your work for you (never someone you’re trying to impress!). Self-editing and when it’s time to hire a pro. About publishing and listening to the voices. But, you’ll figure it out. Just keep writing.
How can people find out more about you?
These days, with social media, it seems like I’m everywhere!
My website: www.pattilarsen.com
My book site: www.purelyparanormalpress.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/PattiLarsen or just find me at @PattiLarsen
My newsletter: https://smarturl.it/PattiLarsenEmail
I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to contact me on any platform, including my email: email@example.com
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]