Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meet Patty Kilson!

Meet Patty Kilson the great author of the children's book Song of the Raven about life and death in the Alaskan wilderness.

To start off, tell us a little bit about your background:

Heather: How long have you been writing?

Patty: I have been writing since I was a senior in High School and took a "Writing for Children" class. Since then I took an additional class at the college level and a few workshops.

Heather: What started you writing for publication?

Patty: I had written three children's stories (one as the result of my class in high school) and wanted to know if they were good enough for publication. I sent one of them out several times but received nothing but generic rejection letters. At the time I didn't understand about researching for the most likely publisher and I doubt my proposal letter was as strong as I could have made it.

Heather: Do you have a set time when you write, or just whenever you get the urge?

Patty: I must confess that I only write when I get the urge. I am not a very committed writer. I go in spurts and will write every day for weeks, then stop for months. I often find that my artwork takes over my creative side for long stretches of time.

Heather: Who is your favorite author?

Patty: That changes as I read new books. Right now I really like J K Rowling because I love the Harry Potter series.

Heather: Have you ever had writer's block, and if so how do you get rid of it?

Patty: Yes I've had writer's block. In the past I've just kept writing sentences, kind of like brainstorming, until something comes to me. I've also stepped back from the writing and instead worked on something else like chapter structures, plot, or research.

Heather: What do you recommend to aspiring authors?

Patty: Keep trying. And get the honest opinions of your family, friends, co-workers, etc. I've found that although my mom loves everything I do, my sisters will be more honest and give me constructive criticism. I also paid for an editor to look at the first chapter of the book I'm currently working on. She gave me lots of suggestions such as how to make my writing more concise and how to avoid repetitive wording.

Heather: How do you invent your characters?

Patty: I haven't written any fiction so have not yet created characters. So far I have one Children's book published and have a factual story about my life living aboard a sailboat when I was in my teens currently at my publishers, waiting for the go ahead.

Heather: Some authors say that they feel as though his or her characters are real, do you feel this way, and what do you think about this?

Patty: I can only answer this from a reader's viewpoint. The characters I've seen others create are very much real to me. I've even found myself wondering what happens to them after the book is over. I'd like to be able to create characters like that!

Heather: Do you have anything in the works?

Patty: Yes. I've written a book about my life onboard the sailboat 'Carina'. I lived on the boat for three years with my parents and sisters. It is at the publisher's right now.

Heather: What would you say is the neatest thing you know?

Patty: I know what it's like to be perfectly happy in life. I've been through difficult times, but overall I love life.

Heather: What was your favorite part about writing your book?

Patty: My favorite part about writing this book was reminiscing with my sisters and parents and researching the places we had visited. I gained such a historical prospective after my studies.

Heather: Has music ever inspired your writing?

Patty: No, I'm not really a music person. I do have favorite music, but it's not something I listen to while writing. Although I did listen to a little reggae to get me in the mood for portions of my book about living in the Caribbean.

Heather: Do you like to write in complete silence or does it have to be noisy?

Patty: I prefer silence. I need to concentrate on sentance structure, flow of the words, and proper grammar.

Heather: Keyboard or pen?

Patty: Mostly keyboard but I carry a notebook when I'm writing so that I can jot down sentences, phrases and words that just seem to fit what I'm looking for. Then I review it later when I actually sit down at the computer.

Heather: What do you think is the hardest part about being an author?

Patty: I dislike book signings. For me that is difficult. I have a hard time "selling" my story. If people are interested I'm more than happy to discuss it with them, but I don't like to be pushy and shove my book into their hands.

Heather: What do you usually do while writing?

Patty: Drink tea or soda. I might also have a snack like popcorn sitting to the side. I often sit back and ponder sentences and words to see how they fit into my story.

Heather: What were the circumstances surrounding your decisions to become an author?

Patty: I have always wanted to do something that puts my name in print, whether it be artwork or writing. I enjoy both. I wanted to do something that would outlive me. My grandkids can take my book to school and say, "My grandma wrote this book."

Heather: Some people say that you need to live life before you write a book, do you think that it's experience that writes a book or imagination?

Patty: I think it's a combination of both. I have always been advised to write about what you know. The more you travel and live life, the more you will have to write about.

I like the colors of: autumn.

The sky is most beautiful when it's: wispy.
My favorite feature of a computer is: spellcheck.
Thing I love most in the world is: nature.
My favorite thing that has been available since the year 1960: computers!

If you want to learn more about Patty, you can check out her blog here -


Bob said...

Wonderful interview to the both of you! I enjoyed learning more about you and your book, Patty, it sounds very interesting.

Heather, there is a formatting issue in the interview - check all of your bold names in front of the questions.

PAK ART said...

Thank you so much for promoting my book on your site! I'm sorry I've been down with a headache for a few days so missed the actual day of posting. Again, thank you!