Please welcome Author Patricia Gilliam to THE KATY today!
Patricia is the author of The Hannaria Series, a science fiction drama centered around an alien ambassador and his family. Her shorter works include the novella Thaw (Kindle Worlds: Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga) and “The Backup,” a short story featured in The Immortality Chronicles anthology. She and her husband Cory live in Knoxville, TN.
Patricia started making copy paper “books” for her family when she was four. “I believe it’s something that’s always been with me,” she says, referring to dreaming of being an author one day. “I remember reading Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary in elementary school, and I’ll always be thankful to my third grade homeroom teacher Mrs. Stafford for gifting them to me. My mom also took my brother and me to the our county library, and I branched into reading thriller and mystery novels.”
However, she didn’t see writing as a possible career until her early twenties. She joined a website called “writing.com” in 2006 to post fiction stories as a hobby. Several of her friends suggested a few websites that actually paid writers for nonfiction content. “Many of those sites no longer exist, but they introduced me to creating content that generated a residual income or royalty.” Patricia is primarily self-published, but has partnered with others in a few different projects. “My short story “The Backup” is in The Immortality Chronicles (Windrift Books), and Thaw is published by Kindle Worlds.” Regarding the advantages versus the challenges of self publishing, Patricia says it’s been worth it. “Long-term, it allows you more creative control and tends to yield more income per sale.”
While it took Patricia several attempts to find the novel-writing process that worked for her, she loves it now. “I think as a writer that both forms can teach you different skills. I’d compare short stories to learning still photography (capturing a powerful moment in a limited frame) and novel-writing to filming a full-length movie (massive amounts of planning before you even shoot the first scene).”
A few quick questions!
Why do you think people feel drawn to the Science Fiction genre?
The core of science fiction is exploring human nature and potential. Technological possibilities tap into our curiosity (and sometimes fears), and characters tap into traits we see in ourselves. I believe the best sci-fi stories have the right blend of both. Three of my biggest television influences on The Hannaria Series were Babylon 5, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, and Firefly. They all share a sense of wonder, but the technology and characters have realistic imperfections.
What scientific advancement do you feel is right around the corner?
We have just scratched the surface of augmented reality applications. There’s a lot of novelty in it right now (Pokemon Go being the current example). In less than a few years, we’ll likely accept virtual overlays and advertisements the same way we see mobile ads and digital billboards now.
Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?
I don’t like gore for the sake of gore, but horror movies with a suspense element are fine to me. My favorite movies either have humor (The Princess Bride, Guardians of the Galaxy) or some element of psychological suspense (Inception, The Prestige, A Beautiful Mind).
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep yourself open to learning and growing. Compared to when I first started, one of the greatest advantages we have now is the ability to network and learn from each other. There are dozens of ways to build a career as an author, and finding the right set of people can pull you forward and keep you motivated.
It’s also important to remember that your growth as an author is a process and will likely take multiple books. In researching my favorite authors, it took them 10-20 years to build full-time careers. Approaching my writing with that long-term view helped me make better decisions, and some things have happened faster than I expected.
Patricia is currently plotting the last three novels of The Hannaria Series at the same time (to have better control over the ending), and she’s also leaving herself open for smaller anthology projects.
GIVEAWAY ALERT! Patricia Gilliam is giving away winner’s choice of a signed paperback copy of Out of the Gray or one e-book from her collection.
Description for Out of the Gray: When an Earth-based terrorist group targets Hannaria’s Ambassador, two teenagers become entrapped in the conflict.
Alex Verin is the son of an Earth Independence Party representative and doesn’t want to follow his father’s path of political manipulation and corruption. Rica Miller is the adopted daughter of an engineer and nurse who later discovers she’s not human but Hannarian.
Alex must decide between his family loyalties and saving the life of an alien he’s been taught to fear and hate while Rica searches for the truth of what happened to her birth parents.