Monday, February 11, 2013

Interview with Ripley Patton: The Writer behind the Ghost Hand @rippatton


 Please join me in welcoming Ripley Patton who has just released her first book, Ghost Hand, the first book in the PSS Chronicles Series.

Hello, Ripley Patton, and welcome on board. What genres do you prefer writing?

Thanks so much for having me. In my short story writing, I like to experiment with many different genres, but I mostly dabble in science fiction and fantasy. However, I love to read young adult fiction, so that is what I decided to write for my first novel series. In this case, Ghost Hand is a YA paranormal thriller, which was a lot of fun to write.

Who among various writers have influenced you most?

For my novel writing, I was heavily influenced by YA writers like Neal Shusterman and Lisa McMann. Shusterman's book Unwind is probably my favorite YA book of all times, and Lisa's grungy Wake, Fade, Gone series blew me away.

Tell us about your childhood, school and college days.

I was born in the southern wilds of Illinois on December 16, 1968, into a house full of boys. My father was a philosophy professor and my mother was a Kindergarten teacher/musician turned stay-at-home-mom. Growing up in a small college town in the lap of academia, my childhood was filled with intellectual debate and the freedom to read whatever I wanted. I quickly found that what I loved to read were science fiction and fantasy, and I devoured writers such as Ursula Le Guin, Madeleine L'Engle, and Anne McCaffrey.

In college, I studied education but also excelled in the school's writing club nabbing myself the Writer of the Year Award my sophomore year.  

What was your journey like after college?

Upon leaving college, I married Pete Patton, a Native American social worker, and we lived and worked in Chicago, Illinois for six years, during which time I wrote and published my poetry and made my first professional non-fiction sale to a national magazine. 

In 1996, we moved to Portland, Oregon with our newborn son where we quickly added a daughter to the family the next year. 

When did you start writing for a living full-time?

When my children entered school full-time in 2005, I began to write short fiction in earnest and quickly made my first sale, a sci-fi story titled "A Speck in the Universe." Since then, I have sold over twenty-five short stories to an online and print magazine and anthologies, have been nominated for awards multiple times and have won several contests with my fiction. 
 
You lived in New Zealand for five years. What was that transition like for you and your family?

When we moved to Christchurch, New Zealand in 2005, I felt the lack of a professional association for genre writers in my new country, so I decided to start one. I became the founder and president of SpecFicNZ, the national association for writers of speculative fiction in and from New Zealand. Also, while, in New Zealand, I won the Sir Julius Award for Best Short Story of 2009, and that same year a New York City literary agent read some of my short fiction online and sought me out through Facebook to ask if I was working on anything longer. I promptly wrote up four novel synopses with sample chapters of each, and the agent suggested I work on developing my YA paranormal novel Ghost Hand, so that's what I did.

And then you guys moved back to Portland?

Eventually, yes, after surviving the Canterbury Earthquakes that devastated our home city of Christchurch. Throughout the two large earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks, we lost one home, my daughter's high school, and two of my husband's work buildings. So, in August 2011, we returned to Portland, the city I consider "my soul's homeland," and I put the final touches on my novel which, all told, had taken three years to write. Unfortunately, by that time, the agent who had been interested was no longer working in the publishing industry, so I decided to publish the novel herself. To do so, I funded the publication through Kickstarter, raising more than my $2,500 goal in 30 days. 

Tell us a little about Ghost Hand and the PSS Chronicles Series.

Ghost Hand is about Olivia Black, a girl born with a rare birth defect known as Psyche Sans Soma or PSS. Her right hand is made of ethereal energy instead of flesh. Other than that, she lives a pretty normal teenage life until the day her hand reaches into the back of the girl who sits in front of her in Calculus class and pulls something out of her soul. Ghost Hand is a page-turning thriller that follows Olivia as she discovers the unfolding power of her hand and runs from the militant group determined to eliminate her and anyone else with PSS. The entire series is about a group of teenagers like Olivia with PSS trying to carve out a place for themselves in the world that isn't quite sure whether to eradicate them or venerate them. 

What are your plans for 2013?

Ghost Hand is the first of a three book series, so I am plugging away on book two right now. It is slated for a September 2012 release. I also plan to release some of my many award-nominated short stories and novella's in e-book format throughout 2013. 

Where can people connect with you and your work?

My website at http://www.ripleypatton.com/ is pretty much the hub of my work.
I can also be followed on
Twitter: @rippatton
And of course, Ghost Hand can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AF1CM0A The e-book version is currently 99cents for a limited time, so it's a very good time to go grab it.

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