Happy sunny Saturday! Today we’re taking to Phaedra Patrick about her new book, The Library of Lost and Found (being published in UK on 27th June), why she’d like to meet Mary Shelley and designing stained glass windows……
Curiously Charming Fiction!
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a full-time writer who lives in Saddleworth, in the North West of England. I’m probably best known for my debut novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, which was a USA Today bestseller and translated into twenty-two languages worldwide. My third novel, The Library of Lost and Found, has been recently published in hardback in the USA, and will be available as a UK paperback 27thJune 2019.
What inspired you to start writing?
I knew from the age of eight that I wanted to write. I remember loving going to the library and being surrounded by all the books. I was an avid reader, but I also knew that one day I wanted to write too, and to see my book on the shelves. However, I didn’t think people like me did that kind of thing. I thought all writers were aristocrats, so I didn’t set pen to paper until my mid-twenties, and even then it took a long time to be published.
How many books have you written and published?
I wrote around six books before I got an agent, then a further two with her, but she didn’t manage to get me a publishing deal. So, I left that agency, wrote something completely different, and I’m now publishing my third book with HarperCollins in the UK and US.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
My debut novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, will always hold a place in my heart because that’s the one that broke through after years of my trying and thinking it would never happen. I wrote it completely from the heart, telling the story I wanted to, without thinking about agents or the marketplace. I told myself if this one failed, then at least I’d been true to myself. But fortunately, this one made it.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
With my current heroine, Martha Storm, her surname came from an exhibition in Whitby, I can’t remember what of. I saw the name Storm and liked how it also applied to the character’s stormy upbringing. Martha’s first name just came into my head.
Some names come through organically, as if the characters already exist, and others I have to think about and devise.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Probably Martha Storm, because she’s just so helpful! She can’t help herself from volunteering and would be very practical. I wouldn’t take advantage of her nice nature though, as some of her friends and family members do in The Library of Lost and Found.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
I didn’t have a favourite author until recently, but I really enjoyed Daisy Jones and the Six, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’m looking forward to reading more by her.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
An essay in secondary school about a visit to the beach. My English teacher read it out aloud to the class and I remember squirming with both embarrassment and pride.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
I firstly qualified as a stained-glass artist before gaining my professional marketing qualifications. I have worked as a waitress, stained glass designer, film festival organiser and communications manager. I enjoyed my first real writing success when I entered and won several short story competitions.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
It would be fascinating to meet Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. I’d tell her how her book is still a phenomenal success today and how she was a real pioneer in horror fiction. Her success story is even more interesting because her book was published almost eighty years before Dracula. We also share the same birthday, 30thAugust, so I wonder if we’re similar in character.
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d spend time with my grandparents, who died when I was in my early twenties. It would be nice to see them again and tell them how I’m doing. I’d treasure them more now.
What are your favourite things to do?
I love walking, visiting art galleries and going to cafes with friends. I love watching films and often take a pen and paper to make notes of plot points. I should say I love writing too!
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
I think it was going for lunch at the Beverley Hills hotel with film producers in Los Angeles. It was strange but very exciting.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Go for it. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do it, or you’re not worthy. Just pick up a pen and have a go.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
Any of mine, please! Every little helps 😉
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My third novel, The Library of Lost and Found, will be published by HQ on 27thJune 2019. It’s also available as an ebook and audio book.
It tells the story of Martha Storm, who has always connected more with books than people. When she takes delivery of a mysterious book at the library, a message within its pages sparks the journey of a lifetime as she delves into her family’s past.
A massive thanks to Phaedra for a brilliant interview! I’ve got The Library of Lost and Found on my TBR list and I can’t wait to get round to reading it, so keep an eye out for a review on my blog! If you read it in the meantime, I’d love to know what you think.
Any questions for Phaedra, then give her a shout.
Enjoy your day lovely people!