Concluding our conversation with crime novelist Patry Francis, member of the KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007. Patry has several published stories and poems, is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, and received a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council twice.
Her debut suspense novel, The Liar's Diary (Dutton), hits shelves in February. Best-selling thriller novelist Tess Gerritsen calls it "a twisting ride full of dangerous curves and jaw-dropping surprises. This is one of my favorite reads of the year!"
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WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
Write if and only because you're compelled to do it. It's a quirky business. You may wait a long time for publication (like I did). But if you truly love what you're doing, if you keep growing and learning, you will persist.
WHAT DO YOU WISH NON-WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
When writers are at work, it's no different from anyone else on the job. We're not available for non-essential phone calls; we can't drop everything and meet for lunch. It's not personal; it just how it is. If we don't keep regular hours like every other working professional, the novel will never get written.
WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
Most other authors seem to understand quite a lot -- at least from this newbie's perspective.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT PUBLISHING THROUGH THIS "KILLER YEAR" CAMPAIGN?
This is a wonderful, empowering time for debut writers. We no longer have to sit back passively and wait for our books to suceed or fail. We can find our own audience by starting a blog; we can share ideas through forums; we can try innovative things like Killer Year. Will all that translate to sales and make a difference? Come back and ask me next year.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF?
I've learned that I really enjoy the marketing aspect. I've learned that I love connecting with other writers and blog readers. I've learned that I have the best job on the planet.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOUR CRAFT?
I've learned that no matter how many times you revise a manuscript, you can always go back and find at least one sentence that makes you cringe. I don't remember who said, "Novels are never finished; they're just abandoned," but I agree. I love the characters in my novel; I lived with them intensely for more than a year; I shared their rage, their love and their nightmares; I laughed with them, forgave them, and wept over their fates more than once. But at this point, I no longer feel they're mine. Those characters and their tumultuous story belong to the reader now.
KILLER Q&A: PATRY FRANCIS, PT 1
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Many thanks to our guest, crime fiction novelist Patry Francis. Find her online at her blog, Simply Wait, and at her MySpace page.
You can also find more at the Killer Year website, the Killer Year blog and the Killer Year MySpace page.
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KILLER Q&A: ROBERT GREGORY BROWNE (Kiss Her Goodbye)
KILLER Q&A: MARCUS SAKEY (The Blade Itself)
KILLER Q&A: SEAN CHERCOVER (Big City, Bad Blood)
KILLER Q&A: SANDRA RUTTAN (Suspicious Circumstances)
KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007
Adopting Killer Year