Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Author Interview: Patria Dunn Rowe

I have been corresponding more often with the authors of the books I am reviewing. In doing so, I kept wanting to ask questions I had about the books I was reading. Things like, "where did you get that idea?" or "what would you do if you were given the same choice." I think a lot of readers would love to ask their favorite authors these questions.

In an effort to do just that I have decided to try something new with Moonlit Reviews. In the future I will be including, where I can, a short question and answer session with the authors. 

I felt I would be remiss in not going back and asking a few questions of one of my favorite new authors, Patria Dunn Rowe, and luckily she agreed to be my very first interviewee. 

CHRISTINE: Welcome to Moonlit Reviews, Patria. Could you please, introduce yourself to your readers? 

PATRIA: Hey Everyone!!!! 

My name is Patria Dunn-Rowe (author of The Gifts:Trilogy) and I'm super excited to be doing my very first author interview with Christine Butler! I’m a 29 year old mother of three children (ages 4, 5, & 7) from Louisa, Virginia. Writing, while it is my passion, and will hopefully be my full time career one day, is only a side hobby at this time. During the day I am a full time financial editor for Standard & Poor’s, in the afternoons I am a full time mom, friend, playmate, and mentor to my three beautiful children, and finally, once they are in bed (whatever time that may be- LOL-) I am a full blown full time writer!

My interest range from classic to unimaginable, and everyday I find that I've 
begun to live within my imagination instead of it within me. Reality is  becoming what I dream it to be and it’s amazing how liberating that is after finally admitting to myself that I was meant to be a writer. Now, while The Gifts: Trilogy is my first work, it certainly won’t be my last. Now that I’ve finally found my innerself, I’m never letting go! Other things many people don’t know about me is that I am also a Pianist, & Poet. I never look at my accomplishments as being my best because I always feel like the best is yet to come.

CHRISTINE: Have you always been a writer? Please, elaborate on when you started writing and how you started the process of writing your novels.

PATRIA:  This question leads to a very complex answer for me, but I’ll try to keep it short!
In my heart, I think I have always been a writer, but I didn’t figure that out until about a year and a half ago. My eleventh grade year of high school, I had the honor of being in an advanced English class of one of the best teachers of all time (in my mind) –Ed Buhrer.

That first day I was terrified of what would be required of me, but English was a subject that I was most passionate about, and I was ready to give it my all. That first day I walked into the classroom there was a small 3x5 index card on every desk that read:

This is my daybook.
In it are my dreams, my imaginings and crazy, random thoughts. In here are 
recorded both my good and bad days; lurking in these pages are clues to my 
inner selves. THIS IS NOT MY DIARY; I do not have time to record what I ate 
for lunch, or why I failed that midterm I studied so hard for, and to be honest, I probably don’t care why a friend had a fight(again) with a boy/girlfriend. I care more about what that friend does. Someday, I will re visit these pages to discover how I have changed and what dreams and hopes and lives I wrote about today I still have to live.

This one little index card is what changed my life. I followed the instructions to a T and I began to write. From then on, through college, and up until I had my first child - I wrote what I imagined; I wrote what I felt; I wrote what I dreamed. I didn’t know at the time that what I wrote then, would later lead me to become a self published author.

A year a half ago I sat down and read the whole Twilight Saga in four days. I even took the fourth day off of work just so that I could finish Breaking Dawn! In the months that followed, Stephenie Meyer’s writing style stayed with me, and I knew that I could write something just as great, but I wasn’t ready yet. So…for months…I read other books, and thought about what I wanted my first book to be about. And then…it hit me!

From the very first sentence that I wrote of book one of the Trilogy, I became a writer. I’ve been writing ever since.

CHRISTINE: Where do you find your inspiration for the books you write and the characters that inhabit them?

PATRIA: Inspiration, for me, comes from everywhere and anywhere. I’m so glad that other people can’t read my mind because they would probably think me, certifiably crazy. My imagination runs wild throughout the day no matter if I’m at work, home, in the car, or even at church. One minute my mind is focused on the task at hand, the next I’m a new character in a not yet created story, living out a fantasy in my head!

Quite often I'm thinking of two things at once, writing out a major cliffhanger to a new chapter -I just thought to add-, while simultaneously cooking dinner, giving the kids a bath, and adding up the work I need to do at my full time job the next day. It's never ending!

One quote that has always stayed with me I actually heard spoken, first, by Whoopi Goldberg In the movie: Sister Act 2 when she quoted Rainer Maria Rilke –Author of Letters To A Young Poet-. “A fellow used to write to him and say: "I want to be a writer. Please read my stuff." And Rilke says to this guy: "Don't ask me about being a writer. lf when you wake up in the morning you can think of nothing but writing...then you're a writer."

It’s my inspiration, and it’s what keeps me going when I feel like I might as well just give up. I wake up every morning and I dream every night about the stories I want to write. I am inspired, and I am meant to be a writer.

CHRISTINE: You decided to self-publish your trilogy. Can you explain to your readers why you chose to self publish and a little about what that experience has been like?

PATRIA: My decision to self publish was almost by accident, but a Godsend. When I finished book one of the trilogy over a year ago, like any newbie author, I immediately began querying agents, just knowing that I was going to get a yes in there somewhere. Boy oh Boy were my eyes opened quickly as I got rejection letter after rejection letter. Sixteen rejection letters later, and discouraged beyond measure, I took a full year off from writing. My disappointment wasn’t the only factor in deciding to take time off from my new hobby. At the time, my children were even younger than they are now, and I was spending so much time away from them, writing, that I felt guilty. If there was going to be no reward at the end of the journey, then why go through all the trouble right? WRONG!

“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

How true the words of that quote rang for me a year later when I finally sat down and asked myself why I began writing in the first place. My answer: I needed something that was just ME. Over the last ten years I’d been so busy becoming a wife, a mother, and a career woman that I had somehow lost myself. I no longer knew what made me happy (besides my family), I no longer dreamed of anything more than what I already was.

Once I realized this, I began writing again, determined to finish the trilogy I 
started. It was always in my mind to go after agents again, but not until the trilogy was finished this time. An article about Amanda Hocking –a self published indie author- changed my way of thinking on this. The money that she made –while mesmerizing to say the least- was not so important. I wanted what she wanted: for people to read my books, for them to share them with their friends, for them to talk about it, and talk about me as an author. I wanted it, and her success story sealed the deal for me. With a little research and time, I was a self published author a month after I finished book two of The Gifts: Trilogy. A month after that, I’d written and released the third book of the Trilogy!

Did I mention that I’m a super fast writer? LOL

I also have a wonderful friend/ co-worker –Tonia Louden- who has devoted part of almost every afternoon she has to helping me edit and proofread my books.

Self-Publishing is what is best for me right now, however, in the future my 
sights are still set on pursuing an agent to represent the Trilogy. I’ve always 
dreamed big, and in the dream I have a being a full time working author, I see 
myself becoming a household name, my books in brick and mortar bookstores 
around the world. I say this, not to be self-righteous or conceded in any way. It took a long time for me to believe in myself, and now that I do, I am my biggest cheerleader –even if I’m cheering alone-.

CHRISTINE: Now that all three books in The Gifts Trilogy are out, do you have any other projects in the works? If so, tell us a little bit about it.

PATRIA: Wow I don’t know which to mention first! LOL Remember when I said that my imagination ran wild day in and day out? I wasn’t lying! I have three projects outlined and am halfway through my first erotic lit novel: Killer Temptations. I don’t want to be bound by the fantasy fiction genre, so I have plans to write in other genres to give myself a break from the one I’m most passionate about.

On the agenda for June and July I plan on writing a semi SciFi novel titled: SEED and am seriously debating on a sequel for it called: Plant

The last five months of the year I plan to dedicate to my next fantasy fiction 
trilogy (Possibly Saga): The Stepping Stones

CHRISTINE: What inspired you to write about Nephilim?

PATRIA: The concept behind The Gifts: Trilogy came to me after the frenzy of released Vampire stories following Stephenie Meyer's success with the Twilight books.

It seemed like everywhere I turned, authors were jumping on the Vampire train to try and mimic or top the greatness she achieved with the saga. I wanted something new, something fresh, and I was tired of buying and checking out books that ultimately had the same story line, same plot, been there done that feel. Never have I ever read any author’s book that has done this concept quite in this manner with Nephilim. It's original and gripping to say the least (at least in my opinion, but I have a few reviews to back that up *smiles*).

Any time that you can re-read your own book and fall in love with the story and every character 101 times over, you know its a good read. I can truly say that I am head over heels…and still falling.

CHRISTINE: In the first book you describe how the Nephilim were created with the use of a very interesting backstory. Tell us how you developed that backstory.

PATRIA:  Before I actually began writing the trilogy I did some research on the background of the Nephilim. They are only mentioned twice in the Bible, and there isn’t much there to go on, so my research went further and led me to the Book Enoch (said to be a lost book of the Bible). The creation of the Nephilim in my book steamed from there -staying true to the way they came to earth, later being cast down for their sins against mankind, and basically becoming an extinct creature-. With the trilogy being fantasy fiction, this of course left the door wide open to add my own little imaginative twist, and WOW did I have fun doing it. By the end of book one I felt like I knew what it was like to become half human, half Nephilim. I felt like I was living their destiny, and that's what I want for my readers –to live the story, not just read it-.

CHRISTINE: The main character, Nahla, was not raised by her biological parents, nor was she raised within her race. What was your motivation for creating that dynamic for Nahla?

PATRIA: This question brings me back to two of my earlier points: Dreaming BIG and wanting to write something totally fresh and new. How often have you read a story about a Caucasian child being raised by African American parents? You see it the other way around all the time, with many different ethnicities replacing the African American child. How often have you seen a movie where all of the main characters are of different nationalities, ethnicities, and upbringings, yet they are family? Not many! I eventually see this trilogy becoming big enough to be made into a big screen movie -something that publishing houses will fight for, and something movie directors will argue over whose going to produce it-!

There is no girl next door in this story, and this would be an opportunity for 
African American, Hawaiian, African, Asian, Caucasian, and many other ethnic 
actors to come together in a powerful on screen production that could rock the YA & Adult book & film industry. All it needs is a chance.

CHRISTINE: If you were to find out you were a Nephilim and you found yourself faced with the same choice Nahla was faced with: to live forever as a Nephilim with a gift , but never have children or to give up the gift for a normal human life - what would you choose and why?

PATRIA: What a perfect question to end the interview with! I've thought this same question over, time and time again while writing this trilogy. How could anyone make such a difficult decision and still be happy for the rest of their life? For me, the one thing I wanted in life was to create a legacy -my children-. I knew I loved them more than I could ever love myself, even before they were thought of. To not have that choice to conceive, if I chose to keep my gift...unfathomable...in my mind. I still cannot answer this question without sounding completely selfish.

I would have given the gift back if I had a choice, but let me leave all of you 
reading this with a question of my own:

What good is immortality with a gift without the power to give yourself what you desire most?

CHRISTINE: And now that you have us all thinking about that, is there anything else you would like to add?

PATRIA:  I would truly like to thank Christine Butler from the bottom of my heart for purchasing and reviewing my debut novel. She has boosted my confidence in my writing, and has given me hope that my work will one day be discovered.

I would also like to thank every reader out there that has purchased and read the books of The Gifts: Trilogy, or plan to purchase and read them. You have helped me fulfill one of my lifelong dreams of becoming an author whose work is shared with, and read by many. I pray that this story has inspired you to read more of my books and support my journey to become even more than a self published author.

It is with most humble fervor that I give all glory to God for the many talents he has blessed me with.

I am looking forward to the journey that I have ahead of me, and I hope to include you all in my many adventures I have waiting in my imagination!

CHRISTINE:  Thank you, Patria, for humoring my first attempt at an author interview here at Moonlit Reviews. It has been a very informative and entertaining experience!

If you have not gone out to buy a copy of The Gifts: Trilogy books yet, please, do yourself a favor and add them to your "To Be Read" lists! 

You can find my review of The Gifts, the first book in Patria's The Gifts Trilogy, here: http://www.moonlitdreams.org/3/post/2011/05/the-gifts-patria-dunn-rowe.html

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