I've also contributed a guest post on her blog, so be sure to check it out.
Over to you, Patti:
I think that the best thing I've done as a writer is probably being able to give back to The Burn Institute of San Diego after all the good that they've done for my family. It feels good that I could contribute in some way. I can’t wait to go back and volunteer as a Leader in Training for their Camp Beyond the Scars again!
Another great thing that I've been able to do since I became a writer was meet so many wonderful people just through the whole marketing experience. I have so many author friends, I don’t want to begin to name them or this will just be a big list of wonderful people! I’ve been amazed how many people accept me even though I’m young. It's all just been a very extreme and amazing experience for someone my age.
Biggest or worst mistake I’ve made as a writer? Honestly, it's kind of hard to really know what my biggest mistake has been. But if I had to chose, it would probably be, (even though I love it to death) the cover choice for my book. It was brought to my attention a long while ago that even though it's very appealing and shows that it's a vampire novel, it appeals more to girls and women more than it does boys and men. I have to agree with that. I guess it isn’t very manly for, say, my dad to hold (but he does it anyway because he is such a great daddy!) He says it’s girlie, but he carries it on business trips and in airports! Go dad, market that book! I just love that cover so much, and it seems to have turned into the picture that describes what my passion is. It’s funny: some people think it’s actually me.
Another kind-of mistake I made: I didn’t know when I published Antiserum that you are supposed to start marketing first and then publish. OH, Now ya tell me? So I took the backwards crash course in marketing. Since then, I have been chasing my tail and burning the candle at both ends to make things work.
It’s been a crazy ride! I started with three connections—all coworkers of daddy—on LinkedIn, and now I’m pushing 9,000 worldwide. I’m busy with Twitter, Facebook, Google+ … and I still don’t know very much. But I have made some great friends who help me all the time. I was even invited to a tweetup in San Francisco by the LinkedIn rock stars, Lori Ruff and Mike O’Neal. It’s funny, since it was at the Hard Rock Café, in the bar, and I was 17. So mom and my big brother took me. I had copies of my book and cool bookmarks that I used as business cards (still do). It was so much fun! I even met the owners of the Rock’n’Roll Fantasy Camp. They took an autographed copy of my book and took pics with me. I met so many people, learned how to network and gained a lot of confidence.
Believe it or not, writing is not something I do constantly, even though I’m thinking about writing most of the time. I really have to squeeze writing into my schedule. And that's mainly because it’s rather distracting to write during the day.I also have school, homework and work to do; I do try my best, though.
I’ve found that I do my best writing at night, when the house is quiet and I can pour all my thoughts into the silence to sort out before writing them down. My laptop is never farther than a few inches from my bed. It’s my buddy (gentle pat on laptop). Nearby, you will also find my composition book. I write by hand when I'm having a hard time typing out exactly what I want. It really helps. In fact, it's how I managed to write the whole middle part of Antiserum Part II: The Rising over the summer when I was travelling.
My writing process, on the other hand, is… complex??? I have no idea how else to describe it. I start by writing out what I want to happen or the guide lines (the skeleton, as I call it sometimes), and then I start adding in the details and connecting links as I go along. This stage is what I call the “flesh” of the story—fitting terms for a vampire writer, right? I also write complete back histories on my characters—and I mean really complete. They could be stories themselves, sometimes. I do a ton of research. Sometimes, though, I find myself going back and changing details because as I get further into the story, I find a perfect way to use a detail as foreshadowing. Then that detail becomes really important to the story line. Usually when I find small details like that I have this uplifting moment of, "Ohmygawd! I feel like a genius!” Then I giggle and bounce for a second or two before writing some more.
Before I started writing, I never realized how complex and how much thought had to go into it. Let's just say, I really enjoyed my crash course in learning that fact.
As I have mentioned before, my first book actually came from my personal journal. So it's almost a given that my personal life affects what happens in my writing. One example of that is if my twin, for instance, makes things hard on me at home, I make her character, J.B., do something ridiculous, like say "If I ever saw a frozen goat I'd probably piddle myself!" Mean? I like to think of it as a release of inner tension to keep peace in the house.
I will explain more about how this attribute affects my writing when Antiserum Part II comes out ;D (giggles mischievously).
Check out Patti's website, PatriciaCarrigan.com.
Get Antiserum on Amazon.
Get Antiserum at Barnes & Noble.