Here's part two of our Q&A with Mirella Patzer, author of Bloodstone Castle.
11. If your works were made into movies, whom do you envision playing the heroes and heroines?
Heinrich the Fowler would most definitely be Brad Pitt. And Angelina Jolie’s unselfish acts of charity exactly mirror those of Matilde, his wife. For Bloodstone Castle, Amoro would be a younger Richard Gere and Morena would definitely be played by Julia Roberts.
12. Your novels are rich in detail and heavily researched. How do you do your research? How long does it typically take?
In 2002, when I first began researching the 10th century, I spent an entire year gathering information before I began to outline the novel. It was like putting together a puzzle. Each time I found a new resource, another piece of the puzzle fell into place. It took me a long time to understand relationships and motivations between characters and their actions. I continue to purchase books about this period through antique booksellers and online. They sit right in front of my computer on a shelf on my desk, always within reach. And I do lots of research on the internet too.
13. The settings of your stories are wild, romantic places. Where are your favorite places to travel?
Italy is my favourite place in all the world. It’s where my roots are, where my mother still owns vineyards, and the site of the historical World War II battle. I’ve been there only four times in my life. Now that I’m retired, I hope to someday return for several months to research.
My second favourite place in all the world is Tahiti. I’ve never been there, but it has always been my dream to go there one day. This desire was born after I read The Bounty Trilogy in the seventh grade. I have longed to travel there ever since.
14. In addition to your writing, you are an author of several blogs and participate in several writing groups. How do you balance your writing with other pursuits?
To tell you the truth, finding balance continues to be a struggle now that I’m working from home as an author. I wrote more when I was working full time out of the home than I do now. This is because I care full time for my grandson while my daughter is in law school. I use my Alpha Smart Neo to write first drafts or polish previously written chapters. This allows for the constant interruptions and it’s light enough that I can carry it with me outside in the back yard or to a restaurant or coffee shop. Many days, I don’t write at all and can only blog or critique for my groups. So progress is very, very slow, but steady at this time.
15. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Just do it! If you’ve got the desire to try to write, get the basic tools and start. Some people need a computer, others a paper and pen. You must take the plunge – technique and talent can improve only when and if you start! Also, a good critique group is critical. It’s the best way to hone your skill and receive knowledgeable feedback from those who are experienced with your genre. Family and friends are fine for feedback, but they cannot provide the level of analysis provided by fellow authors of your genre.
16. What are your future writing plans?
I am currently re-writing Heinrich The Fowler, enriching the detail and enhancing the characters. I’ve given it a new title – A Scarlet Mantle. I’ve also completed the sequel, The Lance of Destiny. I’m also at the half way mark of a first draft of a novel entitled Orphan of the Olive Tree, a medieval romance actually written in short story format in the middle ages.
Last, but not least, I’ve plotted an entire novel about a woman serial killer which is based on a true story. I’ll be fictionalizing it and changing the historical period and enhancing the story. I haven’t yet decided what era to put the story in, but the basics are laid out.
17. What prompted your interest in writing historical fiction?
Ever since I was a very young child, my favourite stories have been about princesses and queens. I read every fairy tale book my library had at the time. I never outgrew my passion for the medieval era. Books like Anne of Green Gables and Gone with the Wind and Mutiny on the Bounty fueled my desire to expand into other eras of history. Rarely do I read something contemporary. There are too many historical fiction books out there and I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to collecting them.
18. What do you enjoy most about writing in this genre? What challenges have you found?
I love learning about people and how they lived in historical periods. The biggest challenge I’ve faced when writing about the 10th century is the historical research. Not everything was recorded back then and many books contradict each other when it pertains to dates, names, and places. Accuracy is very difficult to assure. And I know there’s many more books in Germany in German, but to translate them would be very difficult. But I’m satisfied that I’ve collected the most important research and that I’ve managed to keep the accuracy true.
19. Please provide your website and blogs where readers can learn more about you.
My main website is http://mirellapatzer.com.
Here are a list of my blogs:
20. Any closing thoughts you would like to share.
I can’t begin to tell you how many friendships I’ve made in cyberspace since becoming an author. Authors are a special breed – they are always willing to lend a hand and share their experiences, knowledge, and expertise with new aspiring authors. It is a positive environment and many of these friendships I’ve made have endured over many years. I’m truly blessed.
Thanks for your time, Mirella, and best of luck with Bloodstone Castle.