If you haven’t read When the Crows Fly Low stop whatever you are doing and grab this book!
You can come back to read this interview later and then leave a comment for V.J. telling her what a FANTASTIC book she wrote!
Back already? you devoured When the Crows Fly Low, right? Isn’t it AWESOME?
Ok now another treat… meet the genius writer that made that masterpiece possible…
V.J. Thanks for the interview!
D: Twitter seems to be your favorite social media, at least as an author. If you had to create one tweet that define your work and you as an author what would it say?
V: Truth be told, I’m not a big social media fan. I’m trying, though and I feel so old, because so much of it, I don’t understand. I really don’t understand the hashtag thing! My kids have tried to explain it but it baffles me to this day. That said, one tweet and it’s a quote from When the Crows Fly Low compliments of Will Lawson…..“Blood from his knuckles, seeped into the varied cracks and spread making the mirror a kaleidoscope. His bloody image was now multiple images, twisted, muted versions of himself. There, he thought. That’s more like it.”
I think it sums up Will, my work, life in general, and me as a writer. Will was many different people inside one shell, a trait I think we all share at one time or another. Good and evil often battle inside us and for Will when he stares at himself in the mirror, that shattered, broken image was the “deep end” that no one wants to venture into. As a writer I often feel the same way. My head is out of control with thoughts and different characters. Whew, it’s overwhelming sometimes. It’s difficult to separate yourself from your characters because you are in them and they are in you. So that insanity that Will feels when he looks in the mirror, I can definitely relate to.
D: I think your work is OUTSTANDING. Please tell us about your journey to become an author. How did you learn to write, who mentored you, what inspired you?
V: Thank you for the wonderful compliment! Learning to write boils down to reading. Being an avid reader taught me how to write allowing me to learn from authors such as James Patterson, Sidney Sheldon (Master of the Game-Wow), Stephen King and various other greats out there. Without knowing it, these authors mentored me and guided me in learning this craft. And I’m still learning! What inspired me to write…Well that was my grandfather. He wasn’t a writer but he was an excellent storyteller and I was a good listener. What I can write, he could tell in a way that put you smack dab in the setting of his choice. One particular story he often told me was about his brother. Murder, intrigue, love, loss…the story had it all. I loved it so much it inspired my first novel. I published When the Crows Fly Low as fiction but so much of it is actually true, which makes it all the more heartbreaking. I dedicated the novel to the lovely person on which I based the story.
D: What aspect of writing a novel you consider more challenging? The writing? the voice? Character development? Editing? Or maybe those not related to writing like researching, publishing or promoting?
V: While I hate editing…it bores me to tears, I would say the promoting is toughest for me. I have never been the type of person to say, “Hey, look at what I’ve done!” I like to stay behind the scenes and allow people to discover my work. The bad part is, no one will discover your work unless you put yourself out there. So I have had to come out of my comfort zone for sure. I love talking to people, but I’m more interested in them than anything I’ve done.
V: When people ask me about it, I really try to convey how personal the story is to me. I told this story to honor my grandfather and to honor his brother. Something in me from a very young age connected to this story and I fell in love with it. It’s been part of my existence for so long, I really feel lost now that it’s finished. I still find myself thinking of Will and Sarah, saying “Oh, I need to add this line to that scene, only to remind myself…”I can’t, it’s published!”
It sounds weird because I created them, but my favorite part was getting to know Will and Sarah. I loved Sarah for her strength and kindness. She didn’t let her heartache destroy her and I admire that. Will was a trainwreck but lovable. In a way I felt like writing him brought me closer to this great uncle I’d only ever heard stories about. I remember when my grandfather would speak of him I would wish I could go back in time and say, choose happiness over all the bitterness and hate. My great uncle’s story fascinated me and I feel like in a way, through writing him, I got to meet him.
D: Can you share with us your experience to get When the Crows Fly Low published? The good, the bad and the ugly, please 🙂 ?
V: The publishing world it tough. As an author, handing over your manuscript to anyone whether it be a literary agent or a reviewer, is like handing them your new born baby and praying they think it’s pretty. That sounds dramatic but it’s totally true. I can’t really say I was ever treated poorly. I got rejected several times and finally I decided to self publish because I knew there was value in my story. I’m not interested in money or fame, I just want people to read it and get to know these great characters.
Sorry, but I have to stop here for a second to say that is CRAZY this book was rejected. Someday, somewhere, someone is going to regret that. 🙂 Like all those that rejected Harry Potter 🙂
D: If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
V: I would start sooner. I talked myself out of writing this book about a million times over the years. I wrote a full chapter when I was just 20 years old on actual paper only to throw it away because I told myself I couldn’t do it. Sixteen years later I finally had the courage to write/publish it. My grandfather passed away a few years ago, I only wish he was here to see this final product. I think he would be proud.
D: What advice would give to aspiring authors, especially about rejection?
V: Keep going. Never give up. My first rejection was just a standard rejection letter and I quit trying for six months because I thought they knew better than me. Self doubt has always plagued me and that was a big hurdle for me to jump. I did a major rewrite after that and tried again and this time I had a few that read the whole manuscript and then passed on it. No one criticized my writing, which was good. I didn’t get any ugly letters like some have received so I was fortunate there. Most of the rejections were based on the darkness of my story. But like I said, I saw the value in the story and I just wasn’t going to let it die.
D: What is next [I can’t wait!] are you working on now?
V: My first novel dealt more with eternal love. My next project has more to do with young love, growing up, and facing trials together. There will be drama, and sigh….there will be tears but it will be beautiful and I think readers will love Mason and Rowen’s love story. It will be out soon, hopefully 2016.
V.J Patterson lives in Tennessee with her husband and two children. She grew up listening to her grandfather’s stories, one of which inspired her first novel, When the Crows Fly Low. Find V.J. Patterson on: Amazon | Twitter
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