Thursday, March 08, 2012

The best and the worst of Antiserum author Patricia Carrigan

Today's guest post comes from Patricia Carrigan, author of vampire-genre novels Antiserum and Antiserum, Part II: The Rising. Patricia, as you'll find, is irrespressible and refreshingly open. A perfect victim contributor to the "best and worst" series.

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 CafĂ©, 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,

Get Antiserum on Amazon.
Get Antiserum at Barnes & Noble.


  1. Patti, you're a gem. I'm delighted that a youngster made such a great start with publishing and also that you accepted some of us older ones as friends so we can show we're not too long in the tooth to know the in crowd...even if that term itself is 50 years out of date now. Drat !
    Keep writing and keep making us all smile.

  2. I like the cover. Not a mistake.

  3. Thanks for sharing Patti with us, Scott ;) I find the whole writing process/world absolutely fascinating and it was fun to get Patti's insight. Great post!

  4. Thanks for the insight into your experiences. Young or not, you are doing it right. It's never too late to start marketing.

    Your cover is NOT a mistake. The audience for your genre is dominated by female readers. The cover is perfect for them, and I think male readers are accustomed to a girlie cover now and then.

    For what it's worth, your "process" is a lot like mine: sketch out the story in broad strokes, get into intense detail on the characters, and then let the characters fill in the blanks. It's the best of plotting and pantsing, IMO.

  5. Always interesting to learn how another author writes. I started out writing long-hand into legal pads, but with practice moved all my writing directly onto the PC. I still need to print everything for editing (I'm really not able catch typos on a computer screen due to the low resolution), but I definitely write faster now. Love that your laptop is ready-to-go by your bed! I'm wondering whether you write down your dreams in the morning?

  6. I am a graphic designer & the cover to me looks like an erotic vampire book that the title is barely readable on. Maybe a more standing out font that someone has altered a little & a darker pic... Many designers such as myself are offering covers for a small %, but I am not sure if that is working out & I have seen many ebook covers much cheaper than what a print design would have been..