Thursday, 12 January 2017

Coffee chat with Aussie author, Patricia Leslie

How is everyone settling back into the working week? Slowly, I hope. Slowly and with a cup of hot beverage and a book as your weapons to beat the wolf at the door. Today's coffee chat guest is Patricia Leslie. A visual writer, Patricia dedicates time to exploring locations and allowing snapshot scenes to run through her head before combining them together into one story.
She is also a dedicated, some say compulsive, reader and collector of books. “Being an author gives me the excuse I need to spend my spare time exploring, daydreaming, and reading!"
Welcome Patricia,

DL: As this is a coffee chat, my first question must be, how do you take your coffee (even though I know you don't LOL)? And what is your favourite time of the day to partake?

PATRICIA: I always start my day with a cup of peppermint tea, but I do enjoy a coffee every morning as well. I order a long black (americano) at my local café and sit in the corner with book/IPad/notes and spend up to an hour catching up on news, researching, writing, or just enjoying a relaxing read. For the rest of the day I drink mainly peppermint tea, several cups.

DL: You write your stories running visual scenes through your head. Do movies influence this style of writing or is that just how you've always written books?  

PATRICIA: Yes, coupled with the fact that I am a committed daydreamer (and something of an insomniac) and always have been. I run through lots of different storylines in my head inspired by books, movies, music and lyrics. It helps me put myself in a character’s shoes. Some of those storylines find their way to paper or computer screen, many don't. Quite a few of the inspirations may only appear as snippets or as a character trait. I’m lucky that I eventually graduated to writing some of the “daydreams” down so I could turn them into proper stories.

Ideas come from a wide variety of sources as well though not usually the daydreaming kind. Daydreams are for background and motion. Ideas jump out from their source a little more obviously. For instance, the initial inspiration for the manuscript I'm working on now came from a newspaper article. The initial inspiration for "A Single Light" was a poem by Donald Justice (A Poem to be Read at 3am) and "The Ouroboros Key" from a book by the late Laurence Gardner.

DL: Research trips can often be crucial to the novel. For example, I travelled to Colorado for skiing a few years ago, and had I not enjoyed a stopover in Los Angeles, I wouldn't have solved the major plot hole in my novel "Feedback" (it's based in Los Angeles). How much has field research enhanced or made more credible your storytelling?

PATRICIA: A lot for two reasons: field research helps give a realistic sense of place (streets scenes, buildings, gardens, time period, fashion, food etc etc) and 2: I really love exploring and photography.

Stories and their characters need a sense of place so that readers can relate, imagine themselves in the scenes, and visualise the world the story inhabits. Getting out into the settings allows a writer to share the experience: the feel of sandstone when you drag your fingers along an old wall, the heavy heat trapped by thick bush and tall trees as you walk through; the sound of cicadas, waves hitting rocks, people working on a construction site, the view from a cliff top or the top floor of a tall building. A writer takes those experiences, notes them all and is then able to add realistic description in a few words relaying the sights and sounds and feelings as they know them.

DL: This question is because you write urban fantasy. If, during one of your research trips, you came across a secret society of fantasy creatures what sort of creature would you most like to discover? And would you keep their existence a secret?

PATRICIA: Funny you should say that, as there was this one time I was wandering the back streets of Sydney with my camera looking for ghost signs and there was this narrow cobbly laneway with an odd looking building and the biggest oldest tree I've ever seen….

But to be completely serious: Elves and yes, mostly, I would have to tell my daughters because they would be just as thrilled as me.

DL: You're active in your local writing community. Is speaking at events a piece of cake for you or do you have to work at it? And what has been your most memorable writer event so far as guest or presenter?

PATRICIA: Public speaking is a skill I'm still working on. I'm not a natural by any means. However, I do kind of enjoy it and it does get a little easier each time I force myself to do it.

My most memorable event was a recent Local Author Showcase held in Sutherland. There were six of us and about 20 guests. The best part was listening to what the other authors had to say about their projects, processes, and their love for what they do. It's a learning journey for all of us and having the opportunity to share our achievements and hurdles enables us to grow as writers (and speakers).

DL: And lastly, are you a biscuit or cake kind of person? And what is your favourite biscuit/cake?

PATRICIA: Chocolate Montys and chocolate Peppermint biscuits, but I also really love lemon tarts and fruity muffins….


Patricia Leslie is a fantasy author from Sydney whose writing explores a life-long obsession with history and mythology. She weaves stories that bring to life forgotten people and connects them in a visceral way with our contemporary world.

Patricia’s first novel, The Ouroboros Key, published in 2014, is a modern quest through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to fulfil an ancient prophecy. A Single Light, published this year, dabbles in horror when a pair of ghouls starts to haunt her local stomping grounds: The Royal National Park where the mild seeming landscape becomes the setting for a potential world-altering event. Walks through the bush will never be the same again! Both novels are published by Odyssey Books, an independent publisher in Canberra.


Facebook: Patricia Leslie Author          

Twitter: @patricialesliea  

Instagram: @patricialeslee


When Rick Hendry is contacted by a federal agent to help investigate a growing number of mysterious vanishings across Australia, he finds
himself immersed in a world where normal is a very narrow view of
reality. The two men are joined by a doctor, an archeologist, a
journalist, and an Afflür Hunter.

They soon discover that in the bush, south of Sydney, among the
beach goers, walkers and picnickers, a menace grows. The mysterious
Bledray monsters are preparing for a Gathering; a feast of epic
proportions. Only the Afflür Hunter and Guardians can stop them,
but their strength is failing and humans are needed to help prevent a
second devastation.

"A Single Light" is an urban fantasy tale of ghoulish monsters and
non-human protectors battling to save humanity amid the spectacular
and rugged landscapes of the Royal National Park south of Sydney.


Don't forget to leave a review if you're read any of these Aussie authors' books.
Thanks to Patricia and to you for stopping by my virtual café.
Cheers for now

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