Patricia Loofbourrow, MD is an SFF and non-fiction writer, PC gamer, ornamental food gardener, fiber artist, and wildcrafter who loves power tools, dancing, genetics and anything to do with outer space. She was born in southern California and has lived in Chicago and Tokyo. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three grown children.
- When did you first discover your love for writing?
I began writing in high school, mostly journals and poetry.
- Do you have a favourite place to write?
At my desk, upstairs. We have a large room where most of my family keeps their computers, games, music and so on.
- Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
I’m more of an addict. I write when I feel like it which fortunately is most of the time.
- Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
I love what George RR Martin has done in his Song of Ice and Fire, mainly because I love books with multi-dimensional characters and political intrigue. I also love the Dune series by Frank Herbert for much the same reason. Every time I read Dune I learn something new.
- What inspired you to write The Jacq of Spades?
I just recently wrote an article about that: http://www.pattyloof.com/blog/how-i-went-from-sentence-to-series/ A couple of years ago, a couple of sentences popped into my head which struck me as reminiscent of film noir. Since I also like steampunk, I decided to combine the two. On plotting the story, I realized I was starting in the wrong place. The Jacq of Spades is really a prequel to the book I originally wanted to write.
- Can you tell us a little about your book?
The Jacq of Spades is the first book in a series about a female private eye in a neo-Victorian domed city split between four crime families.
- Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
My protagonist’s mortal enemy is a man known as “Black Jack” Diamond. He has about as bad a reputation as a man can have (and is quite possibly insane) but is protected by his Family, who own the prison and most of the court system. Jack Diamond is very fun to write.
- Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
I try not to write moralistic stuff. But it’s intentionally noir. As such, it deals with choices and how they may or may not make a difference to anyone but yourself.
- Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?
The once-beautiful domed neo-Victorian city of Bridges is now split between four crime families in an uneasy cease-fire. Social disparity increasing and its steam-driven infrastructure failing, a new faction is on the rise: the Red Dogs.
Jacqueline Spadros has a dream life: a wealthy husband, a powerful family. But her life is not what it seems.Kidnapped from her mother’s brothel and forced to marry, the murder of her best friend Air ten years before haunts her nightmares. She finds moments of freedom in a small-time private eye business, which she hides in fear of her sadistic father-in-law.
Air’s little brother disappears off his back porch and the Red Dogs are framed for it. With the help of a mysterious gentleman investigator hired by the Red Dogs to learn the truth, Jacqui pushes her abilities to their limits in hope of rescuing the child before the kidnapper disposes of him.
- What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Jacq of Spades?
I had to rewrite it a lot to get to where I wanted it. I wrote one large section of the story at least six times, trying to understand a certain character’s background and motivations. Moving around scenes and adding subplots three months before publication was pretty harrowing: I feel like I went through almost as much as my characters did! The achievement, I think, was pushing through and getting the book to where I wanted it.
- What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Jacq of Spades?
I have a lot more grit than I thought I did.
- Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Write a lot. I feel that the “million words” advice is good. You need to find your confidence and perspective, and you need to learn how to write. It’s hard to do either if you’ve only written one or two stories. I began writing novels in 2005 and I think I’m close to the two million word mark. I’d have to go back and check.
Find a team. You can’t do this alone. You need readers you trust who will tell you the truth. You need the best editor you can afford. You need a fan section. This takes time. Start participating in writing groups while you write your million words, making friends, finding who’s good and who’s not.
Don’t try to publish a novel unless you really feel ready, because it’s a lot harder than it looks. You have to really want this bad and have a story you really believe in. That said, once you decide to do it, put a realistic deadline for your book and draw a line in the sand. Tell everyone you know. Doing that made me step up to the plate in a way I never thought I could.
- Anything else you would like to say?
Self-publishing a novel is like being the first one on a new rollercoaster in the dark. You don’t know what is going to happen – you just sort of have to trust that it all will work out. But it’s fun.
- And finally, do you have any future works planned?
I’m plotting my second book in the series and plan to write it during NaNoWriMo 2015.