The girls of Night Owl Romance are pleased that you have granted us an interview
We would love to get to know you
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was in eighth grade and my entire life seems to have been a journey to that destination. I have a degree from the University of Minnesota in advertising copywriting, and because the School of Journalism required we take classes in many different areas, I ended up with an eclectic education. I know a little bit about a lot of things, but a lot about very little. This fit my personality really well because I do have a wide range of interests and it allowed me to indulge them and receive college credit.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
Oh, tough question! After giving this one a great deal of thought, I chose Mika from THROUGH A CRIMSON VEIL. She's assertive, bold, daring, sassy, fun, and isn't afraid to go after what she wants with all guns blazing.
What's your favorite genre to read?
Romance. When I was in school, I'd go to the library and read anything that caught my interest, but if there wasn't a romantic relationship between the characters in the book, I'd create one in my head. This worked until I read a mystery where my chosen heroine ended up being the killer! I still read other genres, but romance holds my heart.
Who or what influences you when you write?
The characters, particularly the hero and heroine. I don't have much say about anything, not even their names. They tell me who they are and what they want to do. If I try to get them to do something they don't want to do, I spin my wheels until I figure out where I went wrong. Once I fix it, I can move forward with the story again.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
My typical day goes something like this: up at 4am, read email and drink coffee, get ready for the day job at Northwest Airlines. I usually get back home around 3pm, take a walk, check email, do other stuff and then start writing about 5 or 6pm. I work until 9 or 10 at night (sometimes later), fall into bed and wake up the next morning exhausted, only to repeat the above schedule.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
My next book is a paranormal romance titled IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR coming out August 2007 from Tor and it's a story I'm really excited about! The quick blurb is:
When a troubleshooter for a society of magic users rescues a private investigator from a dark spell, she finds more than an ally as she faces down her former mentor.
Ryne is a kick-butt heroine, but at the same time, she's vulnerable. She's been hurt profoundly in her life and then along comes Deke, who absolutely makes her insane, but she can't walk away from him because he needs her help. Ryne's journey is learning to reach out to others and realizing that she doesn't have to stand alone. This story has action, adventure, romance, humor, and it's pretty sexy too!
Please tell us what you have planned next?
Next is IN TWILIGHT'S SHADOW, scheduled for May 2008. This story is a spin off of IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR. The heroine is Ryne's older sister and the hero also makes an appearance in ITMH. It's Maia's journey and I'm enjoying watching her get shaken up. She needs it.:)
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
If I had to choose a perfect fictional hero, it would probably be Marc Chastain from Linda Howard's KILL AND TELL. He was hot, but he was also protective, caring and trustworthy. And did I mention hot? :) To me, the perfect hero is a man who's honorable and loyal. In my books, my hero and heroine always end up working together, and no matter what the state of the relationship is between them, my heroines always know they can rely on the hero (and usually vice versa). And considering how shaky things were between Mika and Conor at one point in THROUGH A CRIMSON VEIL, that's saying a lot. :) What do you do for inspiration?
I like to daydream. Even if I'm not thinking about the book I'm working on, just playing another story in my mind helps replenish the creative well. I also like to scrapbook because it's a way to be creative, but it doesn't use the same part of my brain that writing does, and it allows me to return to the computer recharged.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
I've been lucky that I've been able to write the books I've wanted to do, but I have this proposal I've been working on for a romantic suspense that I'd love to finish and sell. These are characters that have been in my head off and on for about fifteen years and I'm sure they'll continue to bother me until I write their story.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
Do I enjoy research? It depends. If it's a topic I'm reading because I find it interesting, then yes, I do I like it. It's less fun when it's some small piece of information that I can't find easily, and believe me, there are some really minute facts I want verified. For example, when I was writing ETERNAL NIGHTS, I wanted to know all kinds of stuff about the military that I would have had a really difficult time hunting down. Fortunately, I was able to talk to some guys at work who are in the Minnesota Air National Guard and get answers to important questions like "where, exactly, do the dog tags hit on your chest?"
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Deadlines usually help me. They keep me focused on the story and the characters even when characters from other stories show up and try to tempt me to work with them instead.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
I finished my first book a few years after I graduated from college and sent it off to a publisher without telling another soul that I wrote it or submitted it, so no encouragement was needed. :) For some odd reason, I used to find it easier to send my work to complete strangers in New York City than to show it to my friends.
What would you like to tell your readers?
Just thank you for reading and for letting me know you've enjoyed my stories! There's nothing better than receiving an email that says, "I stayed up till 2AM because of you." :) These notes are really inspirational for me especially if I'm bogged down with the next book.
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
The worst advice was from the How To Write books I read in junior high. They were all written by plotters and recommended using 3x5 index cards to outline the book. Since I didn't realize there was any other acceptable way to be successful writing a story, I tried to follow this method. I almost quit altogether because I hated it so much. I didn't realize it was okay to write the fly-into-the-mist way which was my natural style.
The best advice I ever received was when another author told me that my writing process would change and not to fight it, just go with whatever works for that story. My process changes with each book, so this advice saved me from worrying about why what I'd done before wasn't working this time.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I just start writing. After I have a few chapters down, I'll write a synopsis outlining some turning points in the story, but I don't like a lot of detail. Sometimes I do character sketches too, but not always. The method I like the most while the book is in progress is to sit down before I start writing a chapter and come up with scene goals. I don't always get all of them in, but it gives me an idea where I'm going when I write that day.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
Kind of. I have a couple of writing buddies that read my work for me and help me find plot holes or things that don't make sense or aren't working. They've been invaluable to me--especially their encouragement--and have helped me make my stories stronger.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
My first book was RAVYN'S FLIGHT. It was released from Love Spell in November 2002.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
Email is the best way to reach me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog: http://pattioshea.blogspot.com I also have a newsletter. Readers can sign up on my website. How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Information on all my books, complete with excerpts, can be found on my website. I'm really good about keeping it updated.
Thank you for this opportunity!