Monday, April 13, 2009

Make-Believe Mondays with Patricia Snodgrass

Today on Make-Believe Mondays, my guest is Patricia Snodgrass.

Patricia, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Patricia: The story I’m currently working on is entitled “Love Fiercely.” It is set in the distant future aboard a spaceport and focuses on the lives of the medical examiners and their families who reside on the port. Not only is there a medical mystery to solve, there’s a mystery of the heart to solve too. Jerrod’s humanoid finacee Kitra is undergoing changes that he cannot begin to understand. That’s all I’ll say for now.

Debra: I like the title. That's something we all should do, when we find that special someone. Love fiercely and with the whole heart.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Patricia: I love Ray Bradbury and he has been an influence in my writing since I was young. How I keep my creative cup filled is not difficult. I love to learn new things, which I think is vital in a craft such as writing. I am always seeking new venues for my writing, trying new genres, experimenting with grammar (as much as the editors will allow, ha!) and language. When I find those times when my creative cup seems empty, I find other things to do, such as paint, crochet, do beadwork and gardening. Taking long walks with the dog and enjoying fresh air and sunshine. And of course there’s the need for the odd road trip, which I’m currently craving.

Debra: Oh, I'm craving a road trip too, but it's soon to be satisfied by flying to Orlando on Wed. :-)
There is something about travel, or simply moving along when seems to feed the writing.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Patricia: Yes, that’s when I know I’m really in the zone when it comes to my writing. When I feel as if I’m sitting back and simply dictating what the characters are doing, seeing, feeling, etc, that’s when I know the story is going to be good. I love it when this happens. I’m never sure if a story is coming together well if I have to drag it along myself. It’s so much easier when the characters come forward and tell their own stories. My niece who has a degree in psychology told me once that I wasn’t normal. I laughed and said, define normal.

Debra: Oh, who wants to be normal anyway? I think all writers have a touch of eccentricity and I think we ought to embrace that part of ourselves and just be. My writer friends are eccentric, fascinating people, and I love them just the way they are. Besides, it's our differences that make people interesting. And I know just what you mean about trying to drag a story along by yourself. It never goes well for me when I do that.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Patricia: Yes, I love playing with language. I sometimes collect languages the way some people collect butterflies or rocks. And sometimes I make up my own words. For example, I sometimes use the nonsense word ‘hucked’ to describe someone sobbing so hard they start hiccupping. Sometimes, my characters come from different cultures and have different languages. One character I wrote about was Cherokee, and she spoke the language. Today, when I was writing about an Afghani war veteran, she spoke in the Afghani language of Pashto. I didn’t even know Afghan had so many languages.

Debra: Hucked is a good word. Playing with language can be so much fun. Now you've made me curious about Pashto.

Patricia, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Visit Patricia at

Debra's News/Debra is watching:

This Wed. I'm flying to Orlando to spend some time with my dear friend Marie before the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention begins.

Here are the panels and other events I am scheduled for at the convention. If you're attending, be sure to come up and say hello! I love meeting new people.

Sun. April 19th: 5:00 meet & greet dinner
Mon. April 20th: 2:00 - 3:00 Characterization with Diana Groe and Pat Simmons
Tue. April 21st: 11:00 - 12:00 Submitting with Jade Lee
2:15 - 3:00 Query & Synopsis
3:15 - 4:00 Rejection with Aleka Nakis, Susan Yarina, Kathy Love
Wed. April 22nd: 10:30 - 11:30 Resurrecting the Muse with Gerri Russell
3:30 - 4:30 Samhain Soireee Bookseller party
Sat. April 25th: 11:00 - 2:00 Book Fair (where I'll be signing my first novel, A Desperate Journey)

There are plenty of other events I'm planning to attend, but these are the places you're certain to find me.

I'll be out of town April 15th through April 27th, but Make-Believe Mondays will continue.

Keep watching my website for photos and video from the book launch and for pictures from the RT convention in Orlando.


Julie Robinson said...

Hi Patricia and Debra,

I like what y'all said about embracing that eccentric part of ourselves. As a kid, it seems like I always stood out to be picked on, so I''d always strived to 'fit into the norm.' Until I realized that I really didn't care about doing so because it wasn't me.

I think it was on Buffy that I heard a phrase that stood out for me (and I just happened to turn it on at that time 'cause I've never watched whatever show was playing). The guy was saying something to this effect to the girl, "Why were you trying to be normal when you were meant to stand out." It clicked for me. The lesson was Don't hide your talents/intelligence.

I also love what you said about playing with language. I am a huge Scrabble fanatic, even competing in tournaments. Some of the words aren't normal words---my family won't play with me anymore because they say these are made-up words. But if you look in the Scrabble dictionary, they are legit. Who know, "hucked" may become a word before you know it!

Debra Parmley said...

Hello Julie and thank you for such a lovely comment. I am adding that quote to my list. (I collect quotes)

I thought the trying to be normal is because we want to fit in, but the best thing is to be ourselves, our authentic selves, quirks and all. Then those who love us will love us for who we really are.

Scrabble is a great game. I play it on Facebook quite a bit.


Julie Robinson said...

Hey Debra! I collect quotes too. I used to write them in my daily calendar journal, but I started putting them on MySpace. I have Facebook, but don't really use it. I didn't know you could play Scrabble on it!!