I met Patricia Marcantonio in a creative writing class more than twenty years ago. Sharing a love for reading and writing, we became writing buddies and remain so today. Any time I have a question about writing or publishing I can call Patricia and brainstorm my way back to productivity. With the release of her latest novel, Felicity Carrol and the Perilous Pursuit: A Felicity Carrol Mystery, I’m pleased to introduce Patricia Marcantonio and share with you some of her writing secrets.
1) Why did you become a Writer? How did you get started?
I became a writer because I loved telling stories. I was a voracious reader and I started making up my own stories when I was a kid. I would tell them to my parents. I was a full on nerd and loved writing assignments in school while the other kids moaned. I started writing my own stuff seriously when I got out of college. I wanted to be a novelist but there was no degree in that so I became a journalist to earn a living while writing books.
2) What is your writing routine? How do you discipline yourself to keep at it?
I work out in the morning and write in the afternoon until evening Monday through Friday. If my husband is watching football or going bowling, I’ll write then as well. If I don’t write I get cranky so I write to keep happy.
3) How many drafts before you feel the book is finished?
So many that I feel I have memorized the book. Maybe three to four drafts until I think it’s good, I print out the manuscript, let it rest for a while, and read it out loud. After that I go back and make changes and rewrite again. I’ll also make extra passes on the lookout for what I call lazy words, for phrases I’ve repeated, and to charge up the story with active verbs. Then I go through again. I get to a point where I say this is the best I can get it. Sometimes I’ll go back after a few months and see if I need to make changes.
4) What was the best thing that happened with regard to your writing career? The worst?
The best thing is getting published and having people love your work enough to want to put it out into the world and pay you. The worst? When people don’t get what I’m trying to do with a particular book or story. Then I think I have failed at getting them to share my vision. Rejections are a bummer, too.
5) What part of your job do you love the most? Hate or dislike the most?
I just love coming up with stories and it doesn’t matter what the genre. I’ve had a children’s book, a drama courtroom novel, and now a mystery published. I also write screenplays and plays. So I consider myself a storyteller rather than a genre writer. I’d love to tackle a sci-fi, fantasy, or magical realism novel. Maybe that’s a weakness not to stay in one genre. I don’t know. What I dislike? It’s a hell of a lot of work and I don’t think people appreciate how much of your heart, soul, liver, and spleen you put into those pages.
6) What do you like to read? Do you read while working on a novel? Favorite authors?
I don’t read nonfiction at all unless I’m doing research for a book. I have very eclectic tastes. I love to read sci-fi, fantasy, drama, women’s fiction, mysteries. Favorite authors are Kate Atkinson, Alice Hoffman, Taylor Sheridan, Neil Gaiman, Dennis Lehane, Margaret Atwood, Joseph Heller, and Charlotte Bronte, to name a very few. When I’m writing I do read but not in the genre I’m writing. So if I’m writing a mystery, I’ll read a fantasy. It’s a nice break.
7) What was the best advice you received as a writer? The worst?
The best advice was to keep writing and know your theme because that’s the heartstring of your story. My own advice to myself is to keep learning about writing so I will read articles and go to conferences to hear speakers. I don’t know everything and I’m also striving to get better. The worst advice? I can’t remember and that’s probably good.
8) Who has influenced you the most in terms of developing your personal writing style?
By reading other writers I admire and hearing their voices and figuring out how the hell they did that. I’ve also noticed my writing voice does change with the type of book I’m writing.
9) Do you have a good luck charm or superstition?
No but I’m open to one.
10) If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I got accepted to law school but didn’t go. I think I would be a lawyer if I wasn’t a writer. Lawyers tend to make more money than writers.
11) What quote or personal saying do you live by?
Sit in that damn chair and write. Do it because you love it.
12) What’s next up for you, writing-wise?
Another mystery and horror screenplay, plus I’m rewriting a middle grade book. I like to mix it up.
13) If you could do anything over again, would you and what would it be?
Go to film school and make movies.
14) What advice would you give beginning writers?
Read good writing, keep telling stories, and don’t expect to get rich. Writing is part of what I am. If you don’t feel that strongly about writing, maybe find something else to do. I say that because it is tough and demands a lot of time and energy and love.
15) Something we don’t know about you?
I love Star Trek.
And: what would you like us to know about your latest release?
Amidst the heraldry of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, a string of brutal murders rocks Britain’s upper crust―and could threaten the realm itself.
The mystery features a brilliant resourceful young woman finding her place in the world. She’s a fun character set in the middle of Victorian England.
To learn more about Patricia visit her at https://patriciasantosmarcantonio.com