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In the spotlight [21]: Author Interview – V.J. Patterson

VJ Patterson

It is a HUMONGOUS pleasure to host V.J. Patterson, author of super stellar masterpiece When the Crows Fly Low one of my very few 5-star reviews in my Book Hall of Fame.

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.

D: I think my review speaks for itself: I’m POSITIVE that When the Crows Fly Low will become a classic. When people ask you directly, what do you say to them about When the Crows Fly Low?

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.

VJ PattersonV.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







Want to know more about V.J.? Leave a comment! V.J. and I would love to hear from you! 🙂

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  1. I loved this book. 5* read for sure.

  2. I haven’t heard of this author or her book before. So i read your review of the book to get a feel for it and I love how you mention that good writing can make you read anything. I try and step out of my reading comfort zone now and then and it can work out really well.

    The cover does make it look a bit like a fantasy book, so i can imagine why you thought that. I haven’t read a lot of historical books, but I am trying to branch out in some historical fiction and romance.

    And great interview! I always think it’s interesting to hear that reading is so important for when you want to write. Rejection is always hard to deal with and I think never give up is the best advice in that situation.
    Lola recently posted…Book Blitz: Saven Deception by Siobhan DavisMy Profile

    • Glad you liked the interview, Lola. Thank you for your comments. Daniela is awesome and made me feel right at home! I’m so glad you are branching out, finding new genres. Some of my favorite books have been outside my comfort zone. The other day my 10 year old son told me I had to read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I tried to wiggle out of reading it but 10 year olds can be persistent! I knew what he really wanted was what everyone who reads a good book wants…someone to talk to about it. So I read it and it was great. One of my all time favs. I hope you have the same experience should you read my novel:) Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

    • It is hard for me to do justice to this book because Im not used to review this genre. I’m not even sure it falls under historical romance or just romance (gotta brush up on genres definitions lol) but it gave me a POWERFUL emotional experience. That’s why I recommend it so highly and think I will becomes a classic
      Daniela Ark recently posted…Writing Tip: Get it done! Join Camp NaNoWriMoMy Profile

  3. It sounds like I should hunt up a copy! Thank you so much for the interview, V.J., and thank you for sharing your love of the book, Daniela!
    Annika @ Hiding Books recently posted…Why I Love the Blogging CommunityMy Profile

  4. I’ve hadn’t heard of this book, but it sounds like I might like it, what with all the darkness and broken characters. I really like the quote. I don’t normally venture out of SFF anymore, but, Daniela, you did mention in your review that you thought it was fantasy and then ended up liking it anyway… so maybe I will too? I’ve saved it on my list for consideration 🙂

    This is a great interview too, lots of great advice and inspiration for aspiring authors!
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Discussion: Do You Prefer Male or Female Protagonists?My Profile

  5. I read ‘When The Crows Fly Low’ in July, for the blog tour of CBB Book promotions and I completely fall in love with this book. It’s really a great book and I still think about it often. You really did a great job writing it VJ!! Your book definitely deserves more notice!! I’m recommending it, that’s for sure.

    Love the interview Daniela!! Great questions!!
    Maureen’s Books (@MaureenHinten) recently posted…The Sunday Post #12My Profile

    • So good to hear from you Maureen! I really appreciated you taking a chance on an unknown author and being part of my blog tour in July. I’m so glad you still think about it. When I was writing it, I had hoped it would be one of those stories that stayed with readers forever. Your comments made my day! Thanks for stopping by. I hope I can contact you when my second novel is complete;)

    • I think about it often too! 🙂
      Daniela Ark recently posted…Writing Tip: Get it done! Join Camp NaNoWriMoMy Profile

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