LA BONEYARDRecently, Book Madness interviewed author, Pat Brown about her latest release. We are happy to share that with our readers!
Tell us a little about your latest novel and when and where we can get it.
L.A. Boneyard is my newest release. It’s the third book in the L.A. series featuring LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine. This time around 2 dead Ukrainian women propel David on a journey that takes him and his new partner from the bucolic streets of West Hollywood to the gritty drug warrens of South Central L.A. in search of a human trafficking ring smuggling Ukrainian women into the U.S. and forcing them into prostitution.
Information, links to reviews, excerpts and where to buy L.A. Boneyard can be found at my web site
How do you balance the creative process of writing with the demands of public appearances, maintenance of your website, and your family?
I live alone, so my time is pretty much my own. At this time I make very few public appearance, mostly because it’s difficult to travel. I’m hoping to do more next year. I maintain my own web site and with it in place, adding books or updates to existing pages takes very little time. Since I can write pretty much when I want, I feel free to go out and socialize whenever I’m invited.
Give us an example of a day in the writing life of. Do you stick to a schedule of X amount of hours writing, editing, answering email, etc.?
I don’t have any type of schedule. I will get up, check my email and depending on what I’m working on, I’ll get to it. It might be proofing a ms I got back from my editor, working on a first or second draft. I usually have a couple of stories on the go at any time. I just finished one up that I’m shopping around to agents, I have a sequel I’m working on and I just started a new novel, my second shapeshifter story. And I just took some books out of the library to look over with the idea of doing a story dealing with RCMP officers to add more content to my Canadian novels.
When a story is going really well I will often get up really early – 4 or 5 in the morning and write most of the day, staying up until 2 or 3, then up again early the next day. I get very little sleep when I’m deep in the creative mind-set. My mind literarly won’t shut down.
About the great ‘rule’ debate: we are told you can’t do this and you can’t write that. But it is stepping outside the lines that gets many authors noticed and eventually published. What are your opinions on the rules?
I think rules are often hobbles that can keep writers from stretching. My suggestion is to learn those rules, understand them, then break them when it suits your story. It’s not always easy. Once you start selling, it can be scary to break away and do something bigger or different. I’ve done that with that recently finished book. I stepped way outside my comfort zone. It’s not a romance, it’s not really a crime novel, it has some literary components and is semi-tragic. Plus it’s set in a Latino barrio in South Los Angeles, and deals with a young man and his fragile family that he is struggling to keep safe from the criminal elements around them. He meets up with an LAPD patrol officer and there is romance between them, but it’s only a small part of the story. I’m hoping to get a larger audience for it, which is why I want to go the agent route. Only time will tell if my gamble will pay off. But I’ve taken the chance to write it, even knowing it might never find that audience. Sometimes you can’t stay safe. Take chances.
What music do you listen to when you write?
I’m very partial to rock: Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Supertramp, Good Charlotte, Nirvana, The Killers, and U2 among others.
Has a song inspired you to write?
Good Charlotte’s song The River inspired me while I wrote L.A. Boneyard. I played it over and over again. I even posted a link to the video on my web site. That and Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Californication which I also linked to.
Do you have a favorite show on TV that helps in moving your muse?
I loved Southland until the idiots at NBC canceled it. I also like Numb3rs and Castle. I enjoy watching various documentaries on different things. I never know when inspiration will strike. I saw a show on the History channel about the underground city in L.A where speakeasies used to operate. But what was really interesting about it was that unlike eastern cities where the mob ran those things during prohibition, in L.A it was the cops and city hall that controlled them. This is the main reason LAPD had the reputation of ‘being hard’ on organized crime. Whenever they tried to break into L.A. they were told by the boys in blue to get lost, this was their town, so it had nothing to do with protection of the citizens, it was protection for their own money making ventures.. The LAPD had their men acting as doormen to keep people from bringing their own booze in. They were all in these elaborately set up rooms under the main city, with secret entrances. The image of all these gin joints being run by crooked cops and politicians fascinates me.
If you could collaborate with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?
It’s a toss up between Michael Connelly, Joseph Wambaugh or James Ellroy. With Ellroy we could write about those corrupt cops in the 20s.
What are your thoughts on promotion for books?
That it’s hard. The Internet is a great way to find readers and promote all over the world, but it’s also so full of other people trying to do the same that I think a lot of people get burned out with overload. Coming up with ways to get people to notice you gets harder and harder. It’s really important I think to build up a fan base, they’re often the best ambassadors for my books. I love talking to people who have read my books, it’s a lot more satisfying to get an email from someone who just read one of my books and had to tell me how much they liked it. I’ll take that over a good review any day.
What advice do you have for authors who haven’t quite gotten their manuscript to the next level, which for most is publishing?
Read, read, read. Then write, write, write.
Develop a thick skin. Make sure your story as polished as you can make it – and that means you have to get someone to independently review it, someone who can give you an honest appraisal. In other words find a good crit group online or in person. And learn to listen to what they tell you. It does no good to get into a crit group and get defensive or shut your mind to suggestions. If you ever put your story in front of an editor you can’t expect them to be gentle. Nor will they ‘fix’ your book for you. These days that’s your job. The days when an editor would see something good in your manuscript and take it and work with you to make it into a good novel are gone.
Don’t stop at one book. Write another. And another one after that. It’s rare that one’s first book is successful or published. I wrote something like 8 books before I wrote the one that got me both an agent and a publisher. None of those 8 have ever been published. Only one of them still even exists. But with each book I learned. I had some of them critiqued and learned from those critiques. After I had a publishing contract I went on and wrote more. Stories, books, whatever I could. Experiment. Read a lot. Read in your genre. Read outside your genre. Pay attention to what works and try to figure out why it works. Take writing courses if you can afford them. There are some good ones online that don’t cost a lot. Expand your mind with knowledge and your ideas will get bigger.
Thank you Pat for this great interview!