Saturday, October 18, 2008

Featured Author: Mirella Patzer Q&A Part 1

Mirella Patzer writes historical fiction and shares her background with us, as well as her experiences in writing her newest novel, Bloodstone Castle.

1. Please tell readers about yourself and your background.

I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to freshly landed Italian immigrants. Two years later, my family moved to Calgary, Alberta and there we have remained. After high school, I worked as a secretary for AGIP Canada before moving to the Calgary Police Service. I thought it would be a fun place to work until I figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up. I ended up staying over 28 years. It was a fascinating, but challenging career. Currently, I am newly retired and I live in a small town of about 15,000 people 15 minutes outside of Calgary.

2. Besides writing, what are your other hobbies and interests?

I have to say that reading is my number one passion. But I’m pretty advanced at crochet and can do even the most intricate doilies, even though I haven’t picked up a crochet hook since I began writing. Cooking, especially Italian food, is another one of my passions, which I practice freely on my family. I especially love trying out traditional recipes or that have a historical background. I also enjoy live theatre and watching historical movies.

3. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, to tell the truth, I never believed that I could write at all. It wasn’t until I learned that the World War II Battle of the Moro River occurred on my grandfather’s vineyards, that the spark to write was born. It’s an intense story and it amazes me to this day that my mother’s entire family survived it. I have begun compiling the research, but there is much more to be done, including walking these vineyards and finding the caves they were forced to live in during that terrible time, before I can do the story justice. In the meantime, I’ve been focused on writing other novels which has kept me very busy.

4. Please tell us about your published works.

The first thing I had published was a short story entitled The Holy Lance. It was one of the winners in the Hidden Talents of Alberta Contest and was published in an anthology by Tall Tales Press.

I was one of 18 Italian Canadian women who wrote about their experiences growing up in two cultures in the Canadian anthology, Mamma Mia: Good Italian Girls Talk Back. It was a wonderful experience. I flew to Toronto for the book launch where I met the other amazing women. Our bond endures even today, 4 years later.

My first novel is entitled Heinrich the Fowler and was published in 2004. I am currently rewriting it as part of a trilogy or a four book series. It’s a family saga about Otto the Great’s family in the 10th century.

5. Bloodstone Castle is your most recent release. Please tell us about the story.

Bloodstone Castle is a medieval romantic suspense novel with an Italian setting. It is my first venture into the romance novel genre. I wrote it to give myself a break from all the intensity and research in writing about the 10th century. It was incredibly freeing to not have to worry about historical accuracy and to savour the freedom of having complete control over the plot and characters.

6. How long did it take you to write Bloodstone Castle?

It took me two years on a part time basis. I worked as a Manager of a large department in the Calgary Police Service. I wrote on the weekends and after work each night. In July 2007, I was able to retire early and I looked forward to writing full time. However, that dream has proven illusive as I care for my 2 ½ year old grandson now on a full time basis. So I’m still writing part time.

7. What do you enjoy most about your heroine, Morena, in this story?

What I like most about Morena is her loyalty and her strong sense of duty. She is an honorable, caring person with much integrity. I took the best personality traits and values from people I admire and gave them all to Morena, so I like her a lot.

8. What was the inspiration for the hero, Amoro, in Bloodstone Castle?

I created Amoro to be the kind of guy I have always been attracted to – strong, honorable, with a strong sense of duty and family. Of course, I made his physical characteristics those that most appeal to me too. The inspiration for Amoro’s green eyes came from sitting in a dentist’s chair and looking up into my dentist’s green contact lenses. That’s when I knew I was a true author – when I’m plotting my book even while sitting in a dentist’s chair with the drill sounding off.

9. Do you have a favorite character from your stories?

I really loved Esmerelda. Being the child of immigrant parents, I never grew up knowing my grandmothers. Although I met them a few times during trips to Italy, I never got to really know them, or have them be a strong part of my life. So Esmerelda embodies my yearning to have a wise, older woman who truly loves me. She is the grandmothers I never got a chance to really know.

10. Who is your favorite literary heroine?

Hands down – Scarlet O’Hara. Her spicy, determined, faulty character has stayed with me ever since I read Gone With The Wind at the age of 12.

*** Please join us throughout this week. In addition to our review and Q&A part one, we’ll have part two of our interview with Featured Author Mirella Patzer and excerpts of Bloodstone Castle. Stay tuned and you could win a copy of Bloodstone Castle ***


Susan Higginbotham said...

Great interview! Enjoyed reading it.

Wendy said...

Hi Lisa and Mirella,
Good questions and interesting answers. Nice to get an insight from the author. I liked the exerpt too. Amoro comes across as a stong and just leader. We can't help butlove him.