An interview with Patricia Correll
Indie interview #9
Welcome to an indie author, where you can find interviews with self-published “indie” authors - a growing community.
These interviews are curated by Jasraj (hi!); you can find him on Twitter @Jasraj0 - he’d love to connect with you!
Whether you’re a writer, reader, or both, I hope you enjoy this week’s interview with Patricia Correll.
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Hi Patricia! Thank you for taking part in this. So, can we kick off by finding out which part of the world you grew up in? And, where do you live currently?
I am from the U.S.! I grew up in Kentucky and lived most of my life there, but two years ago my family moved to Western Alabama. We went from the south to the South, with a capital S.
At what point do you realise that you enjoyed writing? Do you remember ‘a moment’ that this happened, or is it a passion which has evolved over time?
I don’t recall any specific moment. I was always a storyteller, and started writing stories down as soon as I knew how. I was in college before I realized it was a potential career and not just a hobby, though.
Speaking of which, can you recall the first piece of writing you did that is particularly memorable, or otherwise feels significant?
I remember my parents coming in my room and being annoyed because I was supposed to be asleep, but I was sitting at my little kiddie table ‘writing’ instead. I say ‘writing’ because at that point I was 3 or 4 and couldn’t actually spell, though I could write my letters. So my ‘story’ was just a jumble of random letters. But I had a plot and characters and everything in my head!
When do you get your best writing done? Are there any ‘ingredients’ which are conducive to you having a ‘good writing session’?
I write best with some background noise, usually a murder or occult podcast (don’t judge me!). I usually have to get out of my house to write, because if it’s not my family bugging me, it’s the pile of unfolded laundry in my peripheral vision.
Do you have a writing schedule? What does this look like, if so? Do you set planned time aside for your creative writing?
For the moment I’m lucky; I’m a stay-at-home mom with one kid in school full-day and one in preschool half-day. So I get around 2 hours to write in the morning while they’re both occupied. Next year when the younger one is in full-day kindergarten, I plan to find a job outside the house, which will cut into my writing time (but I look forward to interacting with adults again!).
Aside from your stories, do you do any other writing?
Just answers to interview questions and the occasional blog post or short article, when I’m invited!
Did you start writing novellas before novels? Please tell us about the first novella you wrote - how the idea came about, and what writing it was like.
I originally began with short stories, then novels. It’s only recently (in the past three years) that I started writing novellas. My first novella was “The Corpse-Eater”, which is based on a Japanese folktale. I just twisted it a bit; instead of a male samurai, I have a teen girl samurai and I set it during the Meiji Restoration, a time period I find fascinating.
When did you start writing your novel The Unseen World? How long did it take to write it, from start to finish? Please describe the process for us.
I am a slow writer. It took me around four years to complete it, from draft to editing (and more editing, and more editing) to shopping it around, to more editing, and finally choosing to self-publish.
Please share with us the names of the stories you have written, and whether they are short stories, novellas or novel :)
Currently available on Amazon are my Lovecraftian short story, “Beneath Black Ridge”, my novellas “The Corpse-Eater” and “Peony Lanterns”, my novel The Unseen World and a novella collection, Late Summer, Early Spring. You can also find a couple of my shorts online for free, “Inheritance” (on the Lovecraft Ezine site) and “Faithful” on the Luna Station Quarterly site. I’ve published so many shorts over the years, I couldn’t begin to list all the titles!
How have you balanced your career/day-job/other life commitments with your writing?
I’m sure most writers can tell you it’s not easy. I had to give up the idea that writing requires at least two hours of total solitude and silence so the muse can flow or whatever. These days I write during my kids’ swim lessons!
How have you found the Amazon publishing process? Was there anyone/any resource(s) that helped you with the self-publishing process, or was it more a case of figuring it out as you go?
Hugh Howey’s blog (author of The Martian) was a huge help. He laid out a lot of useful information, like formatting, marketing, etc. His posts on cover design were the best. A lot of it was learning as I went. Mistakes were made, but I finally feel like I have a pretty good handle on it.
How do you do your marketing? Which social media do you use; which do you enjoy most, and which has been the most effective for your book promotion?
I’m still working on learning the marketing aspect. I’m naturally shy and don’t like being noticed, so I really have to push myself to attend events, talk up my new releases, etc. I have an author page on Facebook (I’m old), one on Goodreads and a Twitter account. My sales actually went up after I started engaging people on Twitter; there’s a large community of authors who all support each other.
Are there any specific tips you would share for writers who are hoping to get better at the whole ‘marketing thing’?
Engage with people, befriend other writers! Look for writing groups and events in your area. I fell in with some local authors who have lots of connections and it’s been fantastic. Don’t be afraid to approach local bookstores, newspapers, book bloggers or reviewers. The worst they can do is say ‘no’.
What advice do you have for your younger (writer) self?
Quite a lot of writing is not actually writing at all. You’ll never use that anthropology course, go take a marketing and business class instead!
Outside of your writing, what does your life look like? What do you spend your time doing, and what else is important in your life aside from your writing?
I have a husband, two kids and a cat, and as the stay-at-home parent I’m 99% responsible for cooking, cleaning, appointment-making, event-planning, school runs, extracurriculars, etc. When I’m not running around, I read, watch TV (it takes me four days on average to watch an entire movie; thank you, Netflix), run a family-friendly board-gaming group, and make silly little keychains and bookmarks out of Perler beads.
Are there any other authors/stories (especially indies!) you enjoy who you’d like to give a shout-out to?
I’ve made a real effort to read more indie and small press books this year, and I’ve come across a couple gems. I really enjoyed Drew Melbourne’s Percival Gynt and the Conspiracy of Days. It’s a seamless blend of SF and fantasy, and is alternately funny and dark. I’ve also enjoyed books by E.H. Night, R.J. Sorrento, and Jerry Gerold. My big name discovery this year was Robert McCammon. I’m obsessed with him right now.
Where can we find you online (website & social media), & where can we purchase your books?
I’m on Twitter at @Author_PCorrell.
My Goodreads page is https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6727899.Patricia_Correll.
And you can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorpatriciacorrell/.
You can look me up easily on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Correll/e/B07BCQQ3KB?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1571166851&sr=8-1
Late Summer, Early Spring is also available on the DSPP store: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/late-summer-early-spring-by-patricia-correll-144-b
Thanks so much for taking part, Patricia, it’s been great to interview you :)