Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Interview with Mirella Patzer

Helena, thanks very much for taking the time to host me. It’s always a great honor to talk about my work.

I’ve read on your bio that you have Italian roots. Did they inspire you to write this book?
Yes, my Italian roots most definitely inspire my reading and my writing. I have many aunts, uncles, and cousins in Italy and have visited there many times. The culture is in my blood and Italy’s history is fascinating from ancient Rome to the rise and fall of the Medici family and everything in between.

What made you choose this time frame (1270 AD)?
I love stories set in medieval times. I had a lot of research set during this time and was comfortable in this era. Also, the castle of Portovenere which is at the center of my story was built around this time, so to keep things simple, I chose that time period.

Is it easier for you to slip into the hero’s role or into the heroine’s?
Gender differences are very interesting but complex, so it’s easier for me to portray a woman’s point of view rather than a man’s point of view. I have some wonderful male critique partners that often help me get further into a hero’s head and help me accurately write their inner thoughts. I think it’s critical to have input from both sexes when writing.

Count Ernesto is such a hateful villain. Often readers want to know whether you draw the characters by using real life examples. Where do you get your ideas about characters?
I love books with really bad villains. I worked as a civilian manager for a local police service for twenty-eight years. During that time, I learned of many heinous crimes. Afterwards, I often wondered what kind of person would do such things? So, although Ernesto is not based on any person in particular, he is based upon some of the worst villains from true life and movies that I’ve heard about.

How long did it take you to write this book from the first ideas to the final proof for publishing? Would you mind share a bit from the book’s journey?
I’ve been writing a biographical novel about a medieval queen for several years now. I’ve done a great deal of research and completed the first of two books. Having been mired in so much research and striving to relate the true history as accurately as possible doesn’t leave much for creativity. Sometimes, I wanted to let my characters go and do things that entered my imagination, but couldn’t in a biographical novel. So I needed a bit of a break from all that serious stuff. Hence, I came up with the plot for The Pendant which allowed me complete freedom. It isn’t based on any real persons or circumstances. It was great fun allowing my characters free rein.

What was your biggest learning experience from writing this book?
I learned that writing a romance novel is a lot harder than it seems. There is a fine balance between telling a good tale and mixing it with a lot of sexual tension and love. Biographical and mainstream historical stories is where I am most comfortable. So I tip my hat to all those romance authors out there who have mastered this genre. They have my admiration.

Last not least, what are your next projects?
I have several projects in the works. I am currently focusing on The Blighted Troth of Emilie Basseaux, an 18th century tale based upon the Italian classic novel, The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni. I’ve changed the setting to New France (Quebec) in 1702 and modified and enhanced the story. This novel is 70% complete or 10 chapters away from completion.

After The Blighted Troth, I’ll likely complete Orphan of the Olive Tree, which is more than 50% complete. This is a tale of Tuscany in the 13th century.

Finally, I’ll return to The First Queen, which is about Mechthild of Ringleheim, the first Queen of Germany and complete her story.

For more details on my projects and progress, I encourage readers to check out my website at: www.mirellapatzer.com.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read The Pendant and for interviewing me, Helena. It’s been wonderful working with you.
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