Friday, 20 January 2017

Getting To Know... Patricia Leslie

Today on Getting To Know... I am very happy to welcome the first Australian author to my blog, Patricia Leslie.

Your novels are urban fantasy, what is it that draws you to this genre?

My interests are hidden history and myth as well as exploring, and I like working with characters that could be real people and put them in situations where they are confronted with hitherto unknown realities and unrealised potential. Part of the "real people" aspect is also using real locations. With my novel A Single Light, I used my home town and stomping grounds. With the story I'm working on at the moment, I'm using a particular area of Sydney. The majority of the locations in all my novels are real places that I have researched extensively and visited many times so that I can describe them as they are experienced by the characters (and by anyone who cares to go exploring in my wake).

Or it could just be an extension of the fact that I really wish I had magic powers..

When you're writing do you have a set routine or schedule that you like to follow?

My routine is continually evolving. I try to keep marketing activities to Monday to Friday where I can work from my Ipad at a local café in the mornings or in front of the telly while I'm relaxing in the evenings. Research I will do as needed and writing is usually kept for the weekend, most often Saturday. The aim is to have everything else out of the way so I'm ready to jump feet first into storyland avoiding any interruptions and as many distractions to the creative flow as possible.

It doesn't always work out that way. Research trips to explore locations nearly always occur on a Saturday as well. Roughly once a month, I'll put on my walking shoes, grab my camera and head off into the city to either check on specific sites, views, walkways or just to wander around and take photos of old buildings.

Do you have a favourite character that you have written so far?

I tend to like them all actually, good and bad. They all have a purpose, within the story and as individuals. If I really had to pick, I'd say in A Single Light, Flo, who appears in the early chapters as a resident in the ill-fated town of Bellbird. In The Ouroboros Key, Professor Finn Shaw (just because I really like his name: Alisdair Finbar Shaw)

Have you always known that you wanted to be an author?

Yes, though for most of my life I didn't think it would ever happen. First off, I needed to realise that I could write stories and once I'd actually started writing, that they would be good enough to think about publishing, then of course, finding a publisher. The whole process has been quite a lesson in self-belief and self-confidence and not giving in to the Mind Monkeys.

Location is important to you, do you have a favourite location that you have used so far?

In A Single Light, I used the area I grew up in. Using it as a location was like going home and revisiting my childhood, but that part of childhood that is just my own, my memories of wandering around the Royal National Park, catching the Bundeena ferry, and exploring the Cronulla sand dunes. My next novel, set in Sydney also uses some of my favourite places to wander and my favourite heritage buildings to visit like the Australian Museum and State Library. I love old buildings!

When you're not writing what would we find you doing?

Reading: crime fiction/Jane Austen/travel books or fiction with a travel theme especially if there's food involved…

Exploring and taking photographs of abandoned buildings, heritage buildings, and hunting down ghost signs

Travelling: in 2016, I spent assorted weekends in Canberra, the Sunshine Coast, Melbourne, and Adelaide. In 2017, I'm already planning a weekend of exploring in Melbourne and pre-planning an international trip (destination to be decided)
You are a collector of books, do you know how many you own? And how are they organised?

Hundreds of books is probably not far off the mark. The books that are stored in the proper manner on the shelves are grouped by general topic. I have a shelf for Celtic and Pagan history, another for women's and feminist non-fiction, one for Australian history and another for native American, one for quotes and writing etc etc. The messy piles can be categorised as either "to be read" or "just shove it anywhere". I also have a John Steinbeck shelf and a separate book case for really old books I find in antique shops.

(Image below: a small sample of my messy wall of books)

Do you have a favourite author?

Stephen King, John Steinbeck, Ann Cleeves, and Camilla Lackberg just to name the four I thought of first.

If you could give younger you any advice about your writing journey what would it be?

Start writing now. Don't wait until you think you have something to say - your voice is waiting for you to set it free

What can we look forward to from you next?

I'm working on what I hope will be a 3-part series set in Sydney in the 1800s and the Isle of Skye (but mostly Sydney because it's much easier for me to explore on the weekends). I've based some of the characters on names from my family tree if not the personalities and used what I know about them to develop background and history. For instance, emigration to Australia from England in 1851/52, the barque they sailed on, where they originated from (Isle of Skye) etc. I've worked a lot on genealogy over the years, so I have all this information at my fingertips (and on my bookshelves). I visited Skye in 2015 and while I was there, naturally, checked up on some of my family history. I found the ruins of farmhouses, gravestones and even a couple of castles. Perfect fodder for storytelling!

The main Australian components revolve around everyday life, mysteries and incidents that occurred in Sydney in the late 1800s. It was a boom time in Australian history so a lot was happening and not all of it is well known today. Throw magic, pagan rituals, ancient relics and time travel into the mix and I think I'll be touching on just about every one of my personal interests…. it's all about writing what you know after all.

Thank you so much to Patricia for joining me today it's been wonderful!

To Connect With Patricia Leslie

Instagram: @patricialeslee
Facebook: Patricia Leslie Author   
Twitter: @patricialesliea  

Author Bio

Patricia Leslie is an Aussie urban fantasy author with Odyssey Books. Her novels, The
Ouroboros Key, and, A Single Light, deal with the major issues of today like mystical
magical beings living deep in Colorado's Rocky Mountains and hungry vampire-like spirits
devouring the population of southern Sydney. Evil powers abound in her next novel set in
Sydney and Scotland in the 1800s. Patricia enjoys the research as much as the writing so pay
no mind to middle aged women with cameras wandering around Sydney. It could very well
be Patricia Leslie hunting down heritage buildings and their stories.
Drop in on Patricia's strand of the World Wide Web and catch up on her adventures or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Ouroboros Key 

Prophetic dreams have haunted Dan Tenney since childhood, foretelling him of a life-changing event that is soon to take place. But before he can learn the meaning of his visions, he is attacked by a shadowy group of extremists: the Brotherhood of the Grail.

Finding sanctuary underground, an ancient relic comes into his possession and Dan begins to understand the path his visions have laid out before him. His quest will be fraught with an otherworldly people and an event that could tip the balance in favour of human existence—or disastrously against it. The mysterious Brotherhood will do everything in their power to prevent Dan from fulfilling his destiny as the Bearer of Ouroboros.

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