AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: PATRICIA SNODGRASS
Author Patricia Snodgrass spends a little time chatting about her latest book Marilyn, and even lets us know how to lure her into following us home….
What is your most current work?
Tell us a little about Marilyn and the inspiration behind the story.
Funny story. My friends and I were at a cookout. We were sitting around the kitchen table drinking wine while the guys were outside grilling. Then someone showed up in a red 67 mustang. It was cherry. Of course all the guys went over to check it out. My friends and I watched as they fawned over the car. Someone commented, “They’d screw it if they could.” We all laughed. Thus the premise of Marilyn was born.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
Sometimes I’ll write a brief synopsis just to get the story from my head and onto the paper. Much the same way an artist does a base sketch of a painting. Then I sit back and let the characters do what they want. More often than not, the story will deviate substantially from the synopsis.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I write about a wide variety of topics. My first novel. Mercer’s Bayou, for instance, was a good old fashioned ghost story. Glorious was a Southern Gothic tale. I don’t think I have a preference for any particular genre, I just write what interests me at the moment.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
There are several. I liked many of the characters in Glorious. I was especially fond of the kids, of course, and I admired Jaydene Wilkes for her strength and courage. In The Man Who Loved Yolanda Dodson, I adored Vincent Cleburne, the silent movie star and big game hunter. I loved the relationship between Bobby and Carol Ann in Marilyn. And of course, writing about an amorous Edsel was a hoot.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
In Marilyn, it’d have to be the car herself. Since she is a character in the book, I really wanted to make her unique, and not just a haunted car that liked running people down. I certainly didn’t want to write a low rent version of Stephen King’s Christine. This was supposed to be a dark comedy about a car that gives sexual favors, and yet is very protective of the people she loves. Vinny Ostrander, the original owner, was a tough guy from the fifties who had died in the car along with his girlfriend Chloe. Vinnie was real Marlon Brando kinda guy. Tough, dangerous, smoking hot; nothing like that silly Fonz character from the old Happy Days television series. Vinnie could actually be quite dangerous if the occasion called for it.
And Chloe Myers, his date, was a sensual Marilyn Monroe lookalike. She’s the one who gives the car it’s sexual qualities, whereas Vinnie is the ‘muscle,’ so to speak.
Both of their personalities imprinted on the car after their deaths. That gave me the blend of characteristics I was looking for: a hot, sultry vehicle that could be potentially dangerous. After all Vinnie does kill the car jackers, but only to protect Carol Ann. But the violence isn’t graphic. You don’t actually see Vinny kill anyone, but you do get to see the aftermath. Don’t be afraid, it’s not bloody. I prefer an Alfred Hitchcock approach to my horror scenes.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Occasionally I do draw inspiration from someone. But I never ever pick a person in real life and write about them. As a child I watched a film called Return to Peyton Place, (1961) where an author wrote about her community, and once the townspeople found out they lost their minds. That made quite a mark on my young mind and even now I never write about a living person. Usually my characters are a composite of traits that I’ve observed simply by watching people.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Writing is a joy. It’s the promoting what I’ve written that’s murder.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I recently found out that I am of French, not Irish ancestry. Yeah I know it surprised me too. French? Ah yeah, I like that. I like that a lot.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I love really good French food. No snails, tho.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Not too long ago, I’d write while listening to rock music. Nowadays I find its better just to write in peace and quiet. I turn off the TV, the radio and get to work.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Yes, Marilyn is a perfect example of that. Marilyn is a low rider. So every time I think of the book I can hear the song. ‘All my friends love a low rider’…You know, the song by War? .Hahahaha. ..If Marilyn is ever made into a movie, Low Rider must be the opening song.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
I’d love to see Carlos Mencia as Bobbie Chandler, simply because Carlos has such wonderful facial expressions. Sandra Bullock could play Carol Ann. Vinnie and Chloe could be more of a challenge. I can’t think of anyone I could cast in such vintage roles. Maybe those reading this interview could come up with some suggestions. Perhaps the best answer can win a copy of the book?
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
At the computer. I just got my son off to school and sat down to check my emails when I found the contract. I did a fifteen minute happy dance. Who did I tell first? My husband of course.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Around ten or eleven I think. The book was called Paintbox Summer. Before that I was reading every horse and dog story book I could find. But romance…yeah….After Paintbox Summer, I moved into doctor/nurse romance novels that were popular when I was a kid. I get nostalgic about those. I wish that genre would become popular again. And then came the gothic romances, and historical romances. Then I veered off track for a while and indulged myself in science fiction, fantasy and horror. And mysteries. I still love Agatha Christie’s little Belgian detective. I’m sorry, what was the question again? Hahahaha.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
I love Rebecca Well’s Ya Ya Sisterhood series of stories. Maybe it’s because I live close enough to Louisiana to smell the gumbo cooking, but I just love her Ya Yas. They’re like women I’ve known my whole life. I can’t wait for her to write another.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
Sorta. I’m helping out friends who have two special needs children. It helps with the food bill every week, and I get to help out two people I love dearly, so it’s all good.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I have a vampire novel in the works. Yeah I can hear all my friends laughing now since I said I’d never write one. But then I heard this old song by Lee Hazelwood and…well, I just couldn’t help myself.
I will tell you this: Lee Thunderstone is no angsty sparkly vamp. Lee has only one team, and that’s ‘team me.’ He’s the real thing, powerful, angry, and driven. Like Lestat on steroids. And he’s mean too. Really mean. And who wouldn’t be after going to bed with a red hot siren and waking up dead?
I have a science fiction novel to finish and the sequel to Glorious to finish. And a fantasy story called The Colony to do. And there’s a post apocalyptic fantasy that’s rummaging around in the back of my mind. That’s what I have scheduled for my 2012 writing list.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
No. I don’t care to do tag-team writing. I’ve done it a couple of times and found it unsatisfactory. Unless Stephen King would care to or Dean Koontz, which is frakking unlikely. . . but even then I’d have to really think hard about it.
How do you pick your characters names?
It depends. Sometimes the names just come to me. Other times, I have to dig through names in a phone book.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I prefer a steady growth approach to romance, although I have done the love at first sight approach, but only because my leading man was being a self important trog.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
It happens to me regardless of what I write, whether its horror, suspense or paranormal romance, I hear the same tired thing: ‘You’ll go to hell writing a book like that,’ ‘ why don’t you quit this writing nonsense and get a real job?’
How do I deal with people who treat me this way? They are not welcome in my life. It’s that simple. I don’t care if they’re a relative or a friend, if they cannot respect my work, and they disparage me for what I do, then they are not my friends. I may love that person with all my heart, but I don’t have to put up with that kind of attitude.
Sound’s cruel perhaps, but that’s the way it is.
Where can readers find you?
Word Press: http://patriciasnodgrass.wordpress.com
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
All chocolate is my favorite. But my very favorite is Lindt dark chocolate truffles. Buy me a box and I’ll follow you home.