Thursday, October 2, 2014

Q & A with Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

Please welcome Mirella Sichirollo Patzer to the blog today!!

Thank you so very much for hosting me on your blog. As a writer, I love sharing insights with readers and authors about the craft of writing. Reading about my colleagues and how they work, or learning about what readers like and are interested in is very fascinating to me. I am grateful for this opportunity to share a little bit of myself here. 

Where so you get your inspiration for your characters and your plot? 

Most of my inspiration comes from the research I do when I am writing a bio on my website/blog History and Women. With simple Google searches, I look up famous women in history. Ultimately, one story leads to another. The more I research, the more I discover someone or some story that is compelling enough to want to write. So I keep a record of all my fascinating discoveries and file them under “Novel Ideas” in a folder on my laptop. I have amassed dozens and dozens of ideas. Picking one among so many is always challenging. It’s a case of so many books to write, so little time. 

Do you write outlines before you begin or just start writing and let the story evolve…do you know the ending before it is written? 

Each novel is unique. I do write outlines, but often find myself wishing I had written them to be more detailed. It is one of my goals to continue to hone my outline writing skills. I find as I am writing, new ideas or plot twists come to mind and I regularly stray from my original plan. 
As far as endings go, most of the time I do know what the ending will be, especially if it is a novel concerning real historic people. In the cases where I’m letting my imagination go free, like when I wrote Orphan of the Olive Tree, I do not know the ending and have to write several scenes before I’m happy with one. In the case of The Novice, because it is a love story, the couple had to reunite at the end, but their journey towards finding each other is where the real story happens. Because it is a tale of domestic abuse, it was important for my heroine, Sara, to be an example to all women to break free from abusive relationships for a better future. So a happy ending was imperative. 

Favorite place to write? 

My favorite place to write is in bed. I wake up each morning and go to the pool where I water-jog for 90 minutes. When I return home, I shower, don a fresh pair of pajamas and then prop myself up on pillows and write. It’s quiet, dim, and relaxing, which allows my creativity to flow. 

How do you choose names for your characters? 

Because most of my novels are Italian historicals, if my characters are true life people, I always use their real names or a close variation. If my characters are fictional, I have several websites I use that list authentic Italian names based on actual records from different eras and locations of Italy. I strive for accuracy and authenticity whenever possible. 

Do you treat your writing like a 9 to 5 job and keep writing hours or are you moved to write in a less structured way? 

The schedule I strive to maintain is: wake up, water jog, write, have dinner, and then read until bedtime. So I do try very hard to maintain a steady routine. However, being of Italian heritage, for me, “La Famiglia” always comes first. I love my family and dote on my grandchildren. We regularly spend time together and I enjoy babysitting my grandchildren several times per week. So maintaining a set schedule is always a struggle for me. Somehow, I manage, albeit at a slower pace than other writers. 

How do you research settings to make them believable? 

I try to choose places I’ve travelled so that I can recall the sights, sounds, and smells. However, when I can’t, I will stop writing to spend an hour or two with Google maps, or travel sites to get a taste of the architecture, set up, historical background, and general environment. 

About the Author

A true blue Taurean in every way, Mirella Sichirollo Patzer grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a city famous for the Calgary Stampede, oil companies, and the wild west. Historical fiction books are one of her obsessions, especially those that pertain to medieval eras and with Italy as a backdrop. Her fascination for women of history and Italy is often reflected in her work, her various blogs, and website. She lives in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada with her husband and family. Her house is brimming with books and toys. For her, life couldn’t get any better.

For more information please visit Mirella’s website. Mirella also blogs at History and Women & Historical Novel Review. Connect with Mirella on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.

You can purchase Mirella's newest book, The Novice, at the following stores:

Enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Novice (US residence only)

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  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog! I love how appealing and vibrant it is!

    1. Thanks so much! I really enjoyed reading through your answers!