Patricia Lanchester was recognized this month for "Ariana in E Flat Major." She was kind enough to talk with us about herself and her success.
Q. Hi Patricia, Could you tell us a little about yourself?
A. I'm the oldest of five children. I was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and went to Catholic schools. I attended Tulane University and studied Architecture and Art before moving to California to pursue a career in Fashion Design. Presently, I'm self employed as a CAD Designer after spending 20 years in clothing design.
I've written many short stories over the course of several decades and not until now have I chosen to publish them. My career and family hadn't afforded me the luxury of time. Now that my children are older I've found time to share my works.
I built a website in April of this year to showcase some of my graphics and writing. It's called Patricia Florence http://hometown.aol.com/pfmlandco/writers.html. Each month I post a short story. Read "Always Melody", a dark ghost story with an unusual twist.
Q. Do you write in a particular genre? If so, what genre is it?
A. I have a great fascination for the macabre and have written many stories in this genre. Growing up in New Orleans, a city that surrounds itself with tales of horror and great superstitions, I reveled in the telling of such stories. But, in addition to that life experience, I was surrounded by a household of avid readers and took from those books elements of creativity that have shaped my writing.
Q. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
A. Imagery is an important element for writing. A writer must be able to use words in such a way that his reader can step into another reality played on paper. This involves creative details without being too wordy or over expressive.
Q. How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
A. Once I've chosen a storyline, I create an introduction, which stimulates the reader to read more. There's a beginning that sets up the story, a middle that builds it up and finally the end, which is the pay off. I allow the story to take its own course with new ideas and twists all the time while maintaining that general structure.
The characters I create are molded from real personalities that I've encountered. In my mindseye, I put real faces to the make-believe characters. They look, speak and act like someone I already know.
Q. What do you do to unwind and relax?
A. I have many hobbies and like working with my hands. If I'm not reading a good book or writing, I'm either drawing plans for a dollhouse or making custom cloth dolls.
Q. What inspires you? Who inspires you?
A. The things that inspire me are music, a great movie, a great book, beautiful art and my talented children.
Q. Are you working on any projects right now?
A. Currently, I'm writing a sci-fi novel, bordering the macabre. It takes place in present-day Deep South. The story has several plots and will likely be a series. Its first installment should be completed by the end of the year.
Q. What is most frustrating about writing? Most rewarding?
A. I tend to throw myself into writing a particular story with such gusto that I find myself creatively exhausted after a period of time. It's often hard to find the same energy or stamina without taking a break. Inspiration returns soon enough with just the right stimulation. The most rewarding thing is to have my work recognized by my piers as being exceptional.
Q. If I were sitting down to write my very first story, what would your advice be?
A. My advice would be to think beyond the lines. Write your tale from a perspective that is different from other writers. Be imaginative while keeping the characters and events true to the story.
Q. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
A. I would tell a new writer to first put as much of his story on paper as he can without rewrites. Forget misspelled words and grammatical errors. This way, you can do as many rewrites as you'd like later without loosing the focus of the storyline.