Being Indie: Patti Larsen (Q&A)


About the author: 

About me, huh? Well, my official bio reads like this: Patti Larsen is an award-winning middle grade and young adult author with a passion for the paranormal. But that sounds so freaking formal, doesn’t it? I’m a storyteller who hears teenager’s voices so loud I have to write them down. 
I love roller derby even though it doesn’t love me. I’ve dabbled in everything from improv theater to film making and writing TV shows, singing in an all-girl band to running my own hair salon. 
Author Links:


1, You've "dabbled" in a bit of everything but what is it about writing that pulled you back?

The voices in my head, the characters needing their stories told. Eventually, I just couldn’t say no to them anymore. And while I thought writing TV and movies was the way to go, when I finally paid attention and started diving into YA, really listening to the characters demanding attention, I realized this was exactly where I was supposed to be.

2, Can you tell readers a bit about your writing journey? 

I grew up in a family of readers, my mother into romance, but my father a hard-core sci-fi and fantasy fan. Which meant I was reading books not exactly appropriate for a kid, but fascinating nonetheless. So, The Lord of the Rings, the Dragonriders of Pern and the Belgariad became my playgrounds. My father gleefully introduced us to Dungeons and Dragons when I was only nine, and from that point I was lost to make-believe. But, it wasn’t until I was twelve I realized I wanted to write. A friend had loaned me a copy of a Nancy Drew mystery, my first specifically YA novel. It was like a light came on!

I spent the rest of my school days and into university studying English and History specifically, with the aim to become a writer. But, like most young artists, I met with so much rejection, I decided to let go of my dream. Honestly, I wasn’t ready then anyway. So, instead, I took journalism, thinking I could at least write for a newspaper and satisfy my urge with non-fiction. Journalism taught me to be a better writer, and quickly. And while I loved my training and the process, I hated the idea of having to tell people’s truthful, horrible stories every day. It broke my heart.

I then drifted into writing screen and teleplays, trying my hand at independent filmmaking. I was sure that was the path I wanted to take. I loved it, loved everything about it. Was told I was good enough to write for TV if I was willing to relocate to a big city. Which I almost did. Except… my niece introduced me to Harry Potter and the world of YA again. I hadn’t thought of the age group since that Nancy Drew novel when I was twelve. When I finished the HP series, I dove into Twilight, The Hunger Games… and the girl in me who knew what I needed to do woke up again.

I’ve been writing YA ever since, though I’ve started dabbling in New Adult and adult fiction as well.

3, I am shocked at how many books you're written, where do you get most of your inspiration from? (Are you secretly wonder woman? It's alright, we can keep a secret :)) 

I’ve been accused of selling my soul to a demon (snort), cloning myself (I wish) and a variety of other things. But, honestly… I’m just so happy to be writing for a living, I can’t seem to stop. As I said, journalism (and screenwriting) taught me to write well and write quickly, that it was okay to do both. Necessary, even. Mind you, I do have to force myself to slow down and enjoy it. Inspiration comes from the voices in my head who refuse to stay quiet (I know, I sound crazy… but it’s true). I find I can’t sleep in most mornings because my characters have me up and working, sometimes with a pad of post it notes while on the toilet :D (I can’t believe I just admitted that…)

5, What's the difference between The Hayle Coven Novels, Destinies, Histories and Universe? Whish should readers start with?

The Hayle Coven Novels came first, with Family Magic (. It’s the main series, the one where most readers tend to start—with Sydlynn Hayle. There’s also a prequel novella now, Dreams and Echoes. But the main series is 20 volumes (of awesome! Sorry, had to….) The Histories tell the story of Syd’s ancestor and how her family came to lead their coven. They can be read on their own or as part of the collection. The Universe novels are spinoffs and the Destinies are Syd grown up… long after she’s wrapped up the HCN. I know, it can be confusing! But I do my best to supply the next book in order in the end of the book you’re reading for simplicity.

I’m also launching a new books only website: to make it easier for readers to track the Hayle Universe and my other novels.

6, Out of all the books you've written which has made the biggest impact on you?

Family Magic, hands down. It was the first one I wrote this time around and still calls to my heart. Syd and I are old friends by now, family. Every time I write one of her books, it’s like going home. I love her and I hope she never leaves me, though I know one day she’ll be done telling stories. Until then, we’ll keep going J

7, Why did you decide to go Indie?

I was actually with two small presses when I first independently published. It was an experiment, plain and simple. I’d spent the previous six years as a business owner, both of a popular hair salon and a small film business, so I knew how to run a company. The indie model made sense to me, especially after having a few disastrous relationships with publishers. And while I’m still with two of those publishers—and adore them—for the most part, I enjoy the freedom I have being independent. Not to mention the fact I’m the only publisher I know who can keep up with my release schedule…

8, Do you think there's enough out there to help Indie authors?

Yes and no. There’s almost too much, in some cases, and not all of it helpful. I wish there was a way to share with every indie exactly what to watch for, what to be careful of, what’s truly important. But it’s hard, because everyone’s goals are different. We all make mistakes in the beginning, and I believe those are necessary. But, I’m of the mind if someone approaches me for help, I’m happy to do so. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact we’re all in this together—one thing not lost in the indie community and that I love about the group of writers I associate with.

9, What's the best and worst thing about being Indie?

Best? Being my own boss and responsible for my own destiny.
Worst? Being my own boss and responsible for my own destiny.
Some days it would be easier to have someone take the reins and just write and not think or stress or worry about deadlines, covers, marketing… and yet, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

10, Tell us in 140 characters or less why we should read your books?

My characters will become your family.

11, Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

SO MUCH. I’ll try to be brief:

1.     Be a professional, always, everywhere. That means put your best face forward from day one. No complaining, whining about reviews, arguing with people in public. Get a fat pillow and scream into it if you have to, but keep your public persona clean and positive. Trust me, it’s worth it.
2.     Hire professionals. Ask around—there are so many indies out there who can point you in the right direction when it comes to editing, covers, etc. And YES. You need an editor (at least one). And unless you’re a graphic designer, hire a cover artist.
3.     Do your research. Maybe you don’t want to be indie—sounds like too much work. Then, get educated. What does the present traditional publishing market look like? Compare contracts (you should be able to find some online as many writers are now sharing information). Find out what a non-compete clause is. What an agent does. What the royalties a publisher pays you actually break down to. What goes into doing it alone. Learn everything you can about everything. Then decide what you want to do.
4.     Work on your skills until you don’t have to think about it. Writing is creativity, and thinking blocks the flow. Write, write, write some more. Read, write, compare your work to the writers you love. What are they doing you’re not? Talk to writers who are the next level past you. Don’t over edit—hire an editor. They are the best teachers out there, especially pros. You want to learn to write? Get an editor to look at your work.
5.     Have a plan. Know what you want. Go get it.
6.     Have fun, yeah? All of this should be fun, even the parts you kind of don’t like very much. It should stir you up and make you excited. If it doesn’t, find out why and fix it.

12, Is there anything you'd like to say to readers? 

You are awesome and I adore you. You are my gatekeepers, the ones who vote with your wallets and your enthusiasm and joy. I would be writing without you, but I wouldn’t have the absolute delight and excitement I do hearing from you every day. Y’all rock.

Flash Favourites: 

Sport: Horseback riding—I’m getting back in the saddle shortly and can’t wait (and will likely end up buying a horse at some point…)

Animal: Cat. And horse. Dog. Anything furry, really, I’m there.
Place: As much as I complain in winter, I love where I live—Prince Edward Island, Canada. But, if I had to choose otherwise… anywhere hot and no bugs.
Film: The Princess Bride. (and a gazillion others—such a hard question!)
Dessert: Anything with chocolate on it.

You can grab the following books FOR FREE by Patti Larsen by clicking on the images! 

What do you think of the first author in the Being Indie feature? Have you read any of the authors books? What do you think of them? 

No comments