Author Interview: Patrice Sarath

There are times when you meet a fellow author and things just click. I had that experience when I met this author. Like Patrice, I am a fan of Jane Austen fan fiction and of fantasy, so I was tickled to see that she has published in both of these genres. Please give a welcome to Patrice Sarath here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Patrice SarathMy name is Patrice Sarath. I am a writer from Austin, Texas. My fantasy series, Books of the Gordath, includes Gordath Wood, Red Gold Bridge, and The Crow God’s Girl. My sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, called The Unexpected Miss Bennet, came out of my great fondness for Austen’s works. I also write short stories, which have appeared in Weird Tales, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Gate, and Realms of Fantasy, and other magazines and anthologies. When I’m not writing I’m mucking around with horses or riding my bike or playing with my dogs.

When and why did you begin writing?

I was five years old when I wrote my first book. Maybe younger, because I couldn’t actually write. But I wrote the best monster story ever and then threw it dramatically into the fire, because it didn’t measure up to the ideas and images in my head.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The Crow God’s Girl is the third book in my Gordath cycle, but it is not the conclusion of the trilogy; in fact, it can be read as the starting point. In The Crow God’s Girl, Kate Mossland, a 21st century teenager from North Salem, New York, is trapped in an alternate fantasy world. Everything is going to be okay, though, because she is betrothed to a noble young man and she is going to be quite wealthy and well-protected and respected. Of course, the best laid plans are the ones that an author loves to gleefully upturn, so naturally things happen to upset that apple cart. Kate discovers that she has hidden strengths that carry her through to a new life far from the one she originally thought she was destined for.

What inspired you to write this book?

The entire Gordath cycle came out of my experiences growing up in Connecticut. I rode horses there — it’s some of the prettiest horse country in the world — and riding on the trails you could be a few miles away from the highway but it felt like the middle of nowhere. What would it be like if you could ride your horse straight into another world? I brought that idea into the Gordath cycle and it continues in The Crow God’s Girl.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m not sure how to describe my style — I think that’s best left up to my readers. However, when I was writing The Unexpected Miss Bennet, I adopted a modified Austenesque style. Austen was a busy writer but she can also be very modern and stripped down, even if we don’t always see that. My Miss Bennet tends toward Austen’s stripped down style with I hope something of her wit. It begins, “It is a comforting belief among much of society, that a plain girl with a small fortune has no more interest in matrimony than matrimony has in her.”

How did you come up with the title of this book?

That’s a great question! I have a wonderful writer’s group called Cryptopolis. I put several title ideas out to them — the working title of the book was Lady of Temia — and then one of my friends came up with something completely different. And it stuck. So if you need a title, call Patrick. He’s good at this kind of thing. My first book, Gordath Wood, was my title — Red Gold Bridge was suggested by my editor at Penguin, Susan Allison. And I am proud to say that I came up with The Unexpected Miss Bennet, which I think really suits my book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t really do messages. That’s for readers to come up with. I want readers to enjoy my books, re-read them, find different nuances they missed the first time, etc. But messages should never be a writer’s mission. Well, that’s of course for every writer to decide. But messages are not my mission anyway.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The inciting event in the Gordath cycle is getting lost in the woods. When I was 12 years old, I got lost in the woods and went missing for a very long day. I use some of that in the first book when Lynn Romano first disappears in Gordath Wood. It was a scary, exhausting day, and I know I put a lot of my experience into her experience. And of course, the opportunity to ride in some of the prettiest countryside also made it in the book.

What authors have most influenced your life?

Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien. Stephen King. Robert Louis Stevenson. Georgette Heyer. The Brontes. Barbara Kingsolver. There are others, but these are the authors who come to mind first.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

I am friends with and fans of several writers, but none who I would consider a mentor. That said, I learn from all of them.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Aleta Rafton did the cover art for The Crow God’s Girl. I selected her because I love the covers she did for Gordath Wood and Red Gold Bridge and it was important that this book to have the same look and feel. The cover designer is David Chang, who is in my writer’s group, Cryptopolis. He did a fantastic job.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

At this point, if you are a writer, aspiring or otherwise, you’ve heard it all. Everyone has said the same thing, and there are only so many ways to say, write every day, persevere, always learn, always seek to hone your craft, and develop a thick skin so you can withstand rejection but also learn from criticism. So there’s no point in saying it all again, really. That’s the only formula I have.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

If you like fantasy, romance, and adventure, you will like The Crow God’s Girl. So please, take a look and check it out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Crow God's Girl Book CoverPatrice Sarath
Austin, Texas.

Covert art by Aleta Rafton

Purchase The Crow God’s Girl:
Kindle
Other formats
Print

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

This week’s writer’s links are more focused on the art of writing as apposed to marketing your book or publishing. Enjoy!



Did the Bard speak American?

Once Upon a Time, The lure of the fairy tale.

Really, your outline does not have to be perfect

The significance of plot without conflict

The Invisible People

Style is the rocket

I Love Words

Technology Fail

Keeping Track of Contacts, Media History, and Speaking Engagements

23 Fiction Writing Ideas That Will Revitalize Your Story

Writing Space: Duffy Brown

I connected with Duffy Brown on Twitter and she kindly consented to do a guest post here on No Wasted Ink about her writing space!

Writer Duffy BrownDuffy Brown the writer…

I love anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, I longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. I have two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, and conjure up who-done-it stories of my very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Iced Chiffon, out October, 2012, is the first in the Consignment Shop Mystery series. Killer in Crinolines is scheduled May, 2013. In my other life I wrote romance as Dianne Castell and am a USA Today bestselling author.

Duffy Brown's Writing SpaceDuffy’s writing space… aka: The Pit.

I wish I could say that when asked to take a picture of my office for Wendy and No Wasted Ink, she caught me at a bad time. Truth be told when it comes to my office it’s always a bad time. There’s always a map taped to the wall. This time the map is Savannah. There are a lot of one way streets in Savannah, twenty-three squares that are mini parks, as many churches as bars and a ton of incredible Southern restaurants. I need a map to keep it all straight.

Then there’s my love of Sherlock. I’m a Sherlock dork. Have a Sherlock hat in my office for inspiration. Do you see his pipe, a Sherlock action figure (yeah, there really is such a thing)? I even have Sherlok as my license plate and named my cat Dr. Watson.

Then there’s the notes taped to the wall and promo on the floor. I got the cutest pens. They have the chalk outline of a dead guy on top. I have thousands of bookmarks to mail out, notepads, magnets, flyers, posters. At least there aren’t any dirty coffee cups and half-eaten doughnuts. Actually there would never be half-eaten doughnuts in my house anywhere! Doughnuts are one of my five food groups behind ice cream and before diet Coke.

I just gave my office another look-see. Did you see the discarded bra? Lordy, I forgot that was there.

Duffy Brown's Writing ToolMy Favorite Writing Tool is…paper and pencil.

It’s how I plot out a mystery. I get that big sheet of drawing paper you see on the floor, divide out twenty-one squares (one for each chapter) and start plugging in scenes. I do it outside to inside, meaning I know how the book starts and how it ends then plot a middle action, red herrings, clues, suspects, a few more dead bodes. I have a big eraser so I can change things around.

You wonder why I just don’t use sticky notes. Well one time I had the window open and a big breeze came along. I learned my lesson!

Duffy Brown
Berkley Prime Crime
Consignment: Murder series
-Iced Chiffon Oct, ’12
-Killer in Crinolines May ’13
DuffyBrown.com

Book Review: Dune

Book Name: Dune
Author: Frank Herbert
First Published: 1965

Frank Herbert began researching and writing Dune in 1959. The idea for the novel originated from a magazine article he was writing on sand dunes in the Oregon Dunes near Florence, Oregon. He became involved in the ecological information about the dunes and how these sand structures influenced the animals and the town of people nearby and he ended up with far more raw material than was needed for an article. Instead of finishing and submitting the magazine article, the data and idea of the shifting sand ecologically became the seed for his novel Dune. It was the first ecological science fiction novel, embracing a plethora of sweeping, inter-related themes and multiple character viewpoints, a style of writing that ran through all Herbert’s novels

I will attempt to summarize the plot of Dune, but it is such a complex story that it is impossible to touch on all the concepts, the rich characters and the intrigue of this story.

Emperor Shaddam, head of House Corrino, has come to fear House Atreides due to the growing popularity of Duke Leto Atreides within the ruling Houses of the universe. Not wishing to do an overt attack since it would lead to a civil war, never the less, Shaddam decides to destroy House Atreides. He employs House Harkonnen and its Baron Vladimir who has been feuding with Atreides for centuries to trap and destroy his target. In order to remove Atreides from their home planet of Caladan where his royal navy protects him, Shaddam offers Leto Atreides control of the lucrative planet Arrakis, known as “Dune” for the vast desert it contains and for the “spice”, a prized drug that facilitates space travel, extended life and other benefits.

Leto Atreides accepts the Emperor’s offer and takes his concubine Jessica and son Paul with him to take charge of the planet. He is able to thwart the initial Harkonnen traps and complications while also building trust with the desert people of Arrakis known as the Fremen. However, when House Corrino’s troops ally in secret with House Harkonnen and are assisted by a traitor in the Atreides camp, the Atreides family is scattered and Duke Leto is killed.

Jessica and her son flee to the desert and are taken in by the Fremen. Jessica gives birth to a daughter named Alia, a full sister to Paul and becomes a Fremen Reverend Mother. As a Reverend Mother, she is able to protect her children as they live among the Fremen. Meanwhile, the spice in the air and water begins to effect Paul Atreides, evolving him into something that had been bred into his genes by Jessica’s Bene Gesserit religious order, but was not supposed to come to fruition in him, but instead to his progeny. Paul’s ability of prescience allows him to grow in influence among the Fremen. He and his mother teach the Fremen the fighting skills of the Bene Gesserit and the desert fighters grow to rival the warriors of both House Corrino and Harkonnen. He takes the name Muad’Dib (the mouse) among them and takes his place as their prophesied messiah.

Eventually, Paul Muad’Dib leads the Fremen to retake Arrakis and to force the Emperor’s hand. Using his power of prescience and his training of being a Duke’s son, he is able to avenge his father’s death, destroy House Harkonnen and wrest the title of Emperor for himself by holding the planet of Dune hostage. Paul Muad’Dib Ateides becomes the master of the known universe.

Honestly, I was afraid to read this book until I was in college. I had heard about it often and thought that I should read it, but it seemed wild and cruel to me, something that might shake my innocence. When I finally found the courage to crack open this Hugo and Nebula award winner, I was completely transported into a world of intrigue, sandworms, drugs, adventure, war, philosophy, and quotes that have become part of my vocabulary from that day forward. Perhaps fear is the little mind killer that we need to face after all? I know that I have not been the same since I read this novel.

Dune is a classic tale that draws from Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces for the first time in science fiction and on such a scale that it touches down into that basic core of mythos that we all spring from. Over the decades it has not dated itself, nor has the ideas and concepts at the core of the story. I believe that this is one of the science fiction classics that should be on everyone’s must read list, but it is not for children due to the violence and to the adult concepts it contains.

Iron Maiden’s song To Tame A Land:

He is destined to be a King
He rules over everything
In the land called planet Dune
Body water is your life
And without it you would die
In the desert the planet Dune

Without a stillsuit you would fry
On the sands so hot and dry
In a world called Arakis
It is a land that’s rich in spice
The sandriders and the ‘mice’
That they call the ‘Muad’Dib’


Dune Book CoverDune is not found by free download, but you can seek it out at your local public library or online at any book vendor of your choice. Chances are high that it will be there for sale in one form or another. Keep a copy in your digital or paper bound library. Dune is the first of a series of novels in the Dune Saga, not only by Frank Herbert, but continued by his son, Brian Herbert.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

This week’s writer’s links are more focused on writing, a little grammar, novels and publishing. Enjoy!



5 Things Paratrooping Can Teach You About Self-Publishing

Formatting Ebook . . . Tearing Hair Out

Why Writers Should Stop Being Scared and Take A Leap of Faith

Repotting Your Creativity

Three Easy Plotting ideas

5 Reasons to Write Your Scenes In Order

Six Things Meditation Taught Me About Freelancing

Surviving the Summer and Social Media

Where to Find Inspiration: 50 Quotes for Writers

Grammar Rules: Subject and Verb Agreement

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

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