Monday, April 20, 2009

Author Interview ~ Patricia Snodgrass

Yay, it's another Monday, and we have another brave soul for the leopard print couch. Our guest today is Patricia Snodgrass, Whispers author of Marilyn as well as Destiny's Mark. She's also published at Samhain.

Welcome to The Menagerie, Patricia! Let's get started: Where are you from?

I was born in inner city Dallas. Oak Cliff to be precise. Once upon a time there was a thriving Cherokee community there. But my family and I moved back to Cherokee Nation when I was little. When I was in the second grade we moved back to Dallas, and in 1969 we moved to rural northeast Texas where I currently reside with my husband and son.

Wow, lots of moving around when you were younger. Tell us your latest news?

Mundania Press has accepted my Southern Gothic novel, entitled “Glorious.” It’ll be out next summer. I’m very excited about it. I hope it becomes one of my “signature pieces.”

Oh, congratulations! You'll have to let us know when it releases so we can celebrate with you! So, when did you first consider yourself a writer?

Well I was a storyteller before I became a writer. I fell in love with stories when I was very young and still living in a tiny town called Foyil, Ok. My ability and desire to tell stories came from my father. When the neighbors came to visit my father would build a bonfire out in the yard, and the men would sit together and talk while the women were inside in the living room talking. I would go out and sit and listen to my father as he stood in front of the fire, telling wonderful stories from when he was a kid or he’d tell war stories. They always seemed more interesting and exciting than what the ladies were talking about.

Isn't that how it usually is. One group always has the better stories, lol. Then are your character experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Perhaps a little bit of both. Although my characters aren’t based on any one person, there are elements of various people I’ve encountered, plus things from my own life tossed in for good measure. I have to admit I had Carlos Mencia in mind for Bobby Chandler when I wrote “Marilyn”, but he’s not Carlos. Not Hispanic and no where near as funny. And Vincent Cleburne from my novel “Destiny’s Mark” is a composite of two writers and an actor I knew a long time ago.

I love it when people I know sneak into my brain and won't go away. At least we have the option of changing things to suit our imagination. :-D What books do you think have most influenced your life?

I’ve probably read thousands of books in my 45 odd years of literacy. There are two books that are great loves in my life. One is "To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. It started out as a summer reading assignment in high school. You can imagine what I at sixteen must have thought about that. So the week before school started, I picked up the book and found out that I couldn’t put it down. It’s now a tradition with me, that every summer I pick up my old hardback of TKAM and sit outside in the afternoons and read it. The other book that I love so well is “Hearts in Atlantis,” by Stephen King. “The Stand” comes a close third, but “Hearts” is one of his best novels in my opinion. It’s another summer reading tradition.

What a wonderful tradition! I may have to start doing that more often. Okay, if you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Oh that’s easy, because back in the 1980’s I had the great fortune to meet one of the greatest Science fiction writers of all time. That would be L. Sprague de Camp and his wife Catherine. The younger set probably wouldn’t have heard of him but he was one of the most influential science fiction writers of his age. He was also a very darling man. He and his wife Catherine gave me tremendous encouragement. Another hero would have been the artist Kelly Freas and his wife Polly. They were often guests of honor at science fiction conventions my friends and I held during the early to mid eighties. Good times.

Wow, you must have been doing quite the happy dance there! It's amazing how encouragement from the right person can have you walking on clouds for a long time. Do you see writing as a career?

Writing is my career. I don’t play when it comes to my writing.

That's a great attitude to have about it. Even when it's fun, it's what you do for a living. How long does it take you to write a book?

About three months providing I don’t get sidetracked. I’m really bad about that. I have the attention span of a ferret sometimes. I’m currently writing about four books at once.

LOL, I get sidetracked, I think we all do. Especially when something is just a little bit shinier. :-D To churn 'em out like that what is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Like Michael Crichton, it’s an 8-4 job.

Wow, I'll bet more of us wish we had that kind of dedication. Okay, :::rubbing hands together::: now for our "absolutely nothing about writing" questions. Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

Yes, I hate how I look in pictures, I’m not at all photogenic. Like the old joke: I have a face for radio. I’ve made local television appearances in the past and I never ever look at the broadcast.

Aw, hon, I'm sure it's more a case of we see ourselves differently than others see us. How about: You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

There are a number, but probably one of the worst was a blind date I went on. The guy was handsome, charming, and I was head over heels as soon as I met him. He took me to dinner at a ritzy restaurant, took me dancing at the Elks lodge, and then afterwards he took me to the mall. The problem with that was the mall was still under construction. He wanted me to, ahem, pay for the date. Now this was way back in 1977, when coke still came in heavy glass bottles. When I refused his advances he made the mistake of hitting me. I retaliated by smashing the bottle upside his head. I got out of the car and ran into one of the darkened loading docks and hid underneath a ramp until daylight. When I knew he was gone at last I hiked up the street to a gas station and called my brother to come get me. I found out later, the guy was at the ER getting his face stitched back on.

My brothers got hold of him a week later and ruined what was left of his good looks. Needless to say I never saw him again.

Thank GOD for big brothers! But, sounds like you handled the situation just fine on your own. Still, what a scary way to find out a guy is a dirtbag. Okay how about this one: When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

Jesus, I need a haircut.

Hey, that was MY first thought this morning... not that YOU needed one but that I did. LOL What were you doing at midnight last night?

Watching the silent film, Nosferatu. Talk about classic! The filmography was great for the time, even though it was faded in places and the film jerked a bit, but that added to the atmosphere of the movie, I think. The use of green and purple filters for lighting up the landscape was quite innovative and it also added to the spooky atmosphere. The vampire wasn’t one of those sexy hunky vamps with lots of emotional baggage, a la Anne Rice. This thing looked scary. It looked like it’d have no compunction whatsoever in draining out every ounce of your blood. It looked like something that came up out of the grave and refused to go back. And believe me, you wanted it to.

And there was no vampire angst with this character, no. He knew fully what he was and enjoyed every minute of it. If you haven’t seen this movie, I encourage you to do so. It’s really good, even if it is a silent film.

I've always loved that movie, but I think they SHOULD have made him handsome, somehow that would seem even more evil to me, yanno? Hmm... let's see... What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I’m very particular about my food, although when I was pregnant I craved raw steak. Vitamin supplements killed the craving though.

Steak Tartar huh? I craved Banana Cream pies. What is your favorite animal?

I love all animals, but horses, dogs, cats and ferrets are my faves.

Those are all wonderful animals! But, ferrets make me laugh, in a good way. What is your heritage?

I am Cherokee, Kiowa and Anglo-Celt. But I consider myself Cherokee because that was the culture I was raised in at a very young age.

And that is where your heart is. At least you know your heritage, so many people these days have no idea where they come from or what their traditions are. What stereotype would you label yourself as?

I used to joke about being of mixed heritage. My typical joke was that if you ticked me off I’d scalp you and put a bomb in your car. Because of the post 9-11 era I don’t say that any more. I’m afraid the FBI will come knocking, lol.

*snicker* I'd vouch for ya. But that is a funny comeback. Do you like thunderstorms?

I love a good thunderstorm.

Do you sleep with the light on? Why or why not?

I’m a chronic insomniac. So the room has to be nice and dark, and very quiet and preferably a little cool. I don’t use sleep aids, I meditate until I fall asleep.

It's no fun when your body is ready but your brain won't shut up. I'm glad to hear you've got a routine worked out that works for you. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

I don’t drink sodas any more. Not after I found out that one of the chemicals found in both beverages is also used as a wood preservative. No kidding. Why would I want to drink something that can be used to bleach out wood? I drink water, decaf tea and pure fruit juice. And Mexican hot chocolate if I can get it.

LOL, I didn't know that... wonder if that's the chemical that makes it addictive.... Okay, last question: If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

Bigger royalty checks, of course. :D

OH, HA! Don't we all! Well, thank you so much for being here with us today at The Menagerie. Be sure to come back and visit us! It was great fun getting to know you better.

Thanks for stopping by and getting to know Patricia with us. See ya next week!

Destiny's Mark by Patricia Snodgrass

Vincent’s obsession with one woman leads him into the dark recesses of Nepal where danger lurks around every corner, and things aren’t always what they appear to be.

Believing he is following his own destiny, Vincent is willing to do whatever Yolanda would have him do, even risking his own life. What he doesn’t realize is that obsession isn’t love and that destiny can leave a lasting mark.

1 comment:

Franny Armstrong said...

Patricia, you sound like a well rounded person who knows who she is and will be in the future. Not many of us can say the same. Though I am not one drop Native American, my heart is 100%. I'm sure I've been a warrior in my past and many of my stories (umpublished) have handsome modern-day native hunks as my heros.
It was nice to meet the real you in the interview. Thank you.
Franny Armstrong