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Monday, January 14, 2013

Author Spotlight: Ripley Patton

Firstly, when did you realise that you were a writer?

When I was thirteen, I wrote a short story in my eighth grade English class about what would happen on earth if the sun suddenly began to grow hotter and hotter. The other kids thought it was a bit morbid. I can't really blame them since I did describe skin melting off flesh and people dying inside their fridges where they had crawled to try to escape the heat. But my teacher loved the story and praised me highly for it. And a writer was born. 

Do you have a specific writing style?

I do not outline but let the story lead me where it will and surprise me. I write to find out what happens. I'm telling myself a story first, the story I want to read. Other readers are somewhat of an afterthought, though a very pleasant one.

As for the style of Ghost Hand itself. Fast-paced. Compelling. Modern. A little dark and grungy. Ghost Hand doesn't have a lot of poetic language and breath-taking description. I wasn't trying to wow readers with my literary aptitude. I was trying to tell a story the reader wouldn't be able to put down.
Can you tell me a little about the current projects you are working on and what stage of finish they are at?

Well, I just finished and published Ghost Hand in late November/early December 2012. I have already done the research for book two of The PSS Chronicles series and will begin writing in earnest in January 2013 with a very hopeful release date of September 2013. 

 Is there a specific genre that you prefer to write for, and if so what is it and why?

I love speculative fiction- science fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy (though I can't really stomach horror), and dystopian. And I read mostly YA because I love its fresh young voice and edginess, so it seemed natural to write what I love. 

When did you start playing with the idea of writing a novel and what inspired it?

For seven years, I was primarily a short story writer. I didn't even know if I had a novel in me, though I would occasionally get ideas that I knew were too complex for the short story form, and I'd write them down. Then, in 2008, a New York City agent saw one of my short stories online, loved it, and contacted me through Facebook. She wanted to know if I was working on anything longer. What followed was three sleepless weeks of working up multiple novel synopses and sample chapters for her. She looked at all four of my ideas and gave me feedback. When she read the beginnings of Ghost Hand she said, "Write this one. It will sell." And I did. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) by the time I got the book done she was no longer in the agenting business. So, I published Ghost Hand myself. 

How hard has the journey been - both emotionally and mentally, on yourself as a writer?

Very hard. And extremely fun and fulfilling. All the best stuff is hard. 

Can you tell me what you've learned so far?

Have fun. Never give up. Trust yourself. You are your own best fan. 
Some writers prefer to write in the morning, locked away in the study, others at night. What is your own writing process and are there certain quirks you have that are uniquely you?
I write in bed. I can't stand desks because they remind me of work and school. Ick! Besides, I read in bed and writing is really just reading your own stories. I am a night owl and suffer from insomnia, but I love to write into the wee hours of quiet morning, so it works out fine. 

Which writers inspire you?

Most recently, Lisa McMann (her Wake, Fade, Gone series) and Neal Shusterman's Unwind series. These are the books that really influenced Ghost Hand. 

But I have always been a huge fan of the many great female sci-fi/fantasy writers like Ursula K LeGuin, Madeleine L'Engle, Anne McCaffrey, Octavia Butler, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Juliet Marillier.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging when writing (Research, psychological, literary etc?

Editing. I hate it because it NEVER ends. But it must be done.

In your opinion what makes a book worth reading?

Good storytelling. And a compelling voice. For me storytelling comes first though. A strong voice without story is just an echo, haunting but empty and fading. I'd rather hear a good story told in any voice, than a good voice with no story.

 As a writer, the changes to technology have both open and closed a number of literary doors. What do you think are both the good and bad points of the introduction of e-books?

I'm not one of those people who laments change, at least not this one. Technology allowed me to produce and publish my own book to traditionally published standards at a mere fraction of the cost. That is amazing. And cool. Yes, I love real paper books, and I still read them (and probably always will) but you can't beat an e-reader when you're traveling, or when you want to find and buy something right now, before you forget. 

And last, Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? 

In bed, writing, with a bookshelf full of my own books.

You can buy Ripley's latest novel, Ghost Hand, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Kobo.

If you're interested in finding out on Ripley, check her out on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and on her website.

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