Sunday, June 29, 2008
A Chat with Mirella Patzer
When I did my virtual book tour in May, I was thinking solely about book promotion. I didn't realize I'd also be making friends, but that's exactly what happened. Mirella Patzer hosted me on her blog, and today I'm delighted to return the favor to her.
Mirella, how long have you been writing?
I always harboured a secret desire to write, but never believed I had the talent. Then one day in the fall of 2002, I had lunch with 3 authors - a published author of children's books, a published author of contemporary fiction, and an aspiring author of a World War II novel. The next morning, I ran to buy a laptop and began writing with intensity, but in isolation. Slowly, I found an on-line critique group fo historical fiction and that's when I really began to learn the art of writing. Feedback is critical. Slowly, I've been immersing myself in other on-line groups and networking sites and getting to know more and more fabulous authors.
What have you published and what is in the works?
I've been truly blessed because everything I've written has been published. I've published 3 short stories and 2 novels. My short story, Down Three Steps, was featured in the anthology, Mamma Mia: Good Italian Girls Talk Back which became a big seller in Canada.
My first novel, Heinrich the Fowler is the first of a 3 or 4 book series, a family saga about Otto the Great's family and their rise to power during the 10th century. I'm currently re-writing this particular book, adding more research and emphasizing the lives of the women. I have entitled it A Crimson Mantle and it is complete in its first draft. I have also completed the 2nd book in the series entitled Lance of Destiny. This is in its first draft also. Lastly, I'm 1/3 of the way through writing Orphan of the Olive Tree. This story was written in short story format during the 14th century. I'm expanding the plot, changing the setting and enhancing the characters.
In addition to being an author, you also review books. What are your favorite genres to read?
I love historical novels, with the medieval period being my favourite, however, I never limit myself to just this particular genre. I enjoy a good ghost story, no matter the period. I love books about the Mafia and / or books with Italy as a setting in all genres or periods. I also love court room dramas like those of John Grisham. And, I also love stories about Saints.
As you're writing your historical novels, what tips and tricks do you use to keep yourself immersed in that era?
The 10th century is a difficult era because much during that era has been lost and record keeping back then wasn't as good. So I try to collect books relative to that era. I read them and mark them, adding notes to my manuscript as a read along. I also focus on reading as many medieval novels as I can to keep myself thinking and learning, even when I'm just reading for pleasure. I will also record History Channel episodes if they are applicable for future reference and watch anything medieval in the movies or on tv.
You wrote me a lovely book review last month. How did you get to be so cool?
Aw shucks, I'm blushing. Meeting fellow authors like you help to shape and develop me as an author. I am really sincere when I say your novel was truly a terrific read. Since reading Season of Sacrifice, I've read several more novels, yet your story is still in my mind. The incredible journey through the Hole in the Rock, the way you touched upon polygamy, and your love for your faith continue to resound in my mind. With every word you wrote, your love for your family's history came strongly through.
Now it's my turn to blush! What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
The most important thing is to write. Then, you must network with other authors - a good critique group is imperative. Strong, honest feedback is a writer's best friend. As much as it hurts to hear it, embrace it and bury that ego. Dust yourself off and continue to hone your skill. Working with other authors, both published and unpublished, has been the most beneficial aspect and has provided me with the highest degree of learning.
Thank you so much for being here, Mirella, and for sharing your friendship with me!
It's been a real pleasure working with you, Tristi. Although our genres are vastly different, I have come to admire you and your work. I value our cyber friendships very much.