Indy Author Talk with Ripley Patton ~ The Perfect Book

Ghost Heart pre-order teaser

The best thing about the Indy Author Talks is getting to know the authors during the preparation of the feature and then of course reading the finished product.  Every talk is special for me and every talk is unique.  When I scouted Ripley I especially loved the hooded character on her Facebook profile picture and the way we were able to speak to each other.  Just like “riding a bike”, even though I don’t know how to ride one.  I truly enjoyed this weeks edition of Nerd Girl Official’s Indy Author Talk and I hope you do too!

Gladys #XOXOtheNerdGirl #NerdGirlOfficial

*****Indy Author Talk ~ THE PERFECT BOOK*****

PSS cover triptic

If you’re a reader, you know there’s no such thing as a perfect book. You wish for it. You hope for it. You probably even spend a good portion of your life in search of it, but you still haven’t found it. And that’s because The Perfect Book doesn’t exist.

Don’t get me wrong; there are good books. Even great books. But there are no perfect books. Every manuscript ever written and published by humankind has typos, grammar and spelling mistakes, character flaws, plot holes, and formatting issues. That includes works by the greats like Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf. It includes EVERY traditionally published and indie published book. There is no perfect book anywhere in the universe.

Except…in every writer’s head.

Every author and aspiring writer I know has a perfect book, or even a whole slew of them, stuck in their head. The problem is those books can’t get out. Not perfectly anyway. Because the process of birthing books is messy and complicated, and the stories we create on the page are always less than we imagined they would be.

That can be discouraging. It can feel like we’re failing, even when we write a very good book. When I was writing my first book, GHOST HAND, the perfectionist in me didn’t want to let it see the light of day until it was perfect. I revised it seven times. I combed it endlessly for mistakes and typos. I had numerous professional editors and beta readers look it over. Still, I kept finding mistakes and errors.

That’s when I came to the realization that I’d never read a perfect book, and I wasn’t going to be the first to write one.

And that was a very freeing realization, both as a reader and a writer.

We must tell our stories, as messy and imperfect as they are. We have to keep unperfecting them right onto the page, because the good book that you write is better than the perfect book you don’t.  All readers are flawed too. They don’t want perfection. They want to lose themselves in the story only you can tell. 


*****Ripley Patton Bio*****

Author Photo New1 - Copy

Ripley Patton lives in Portland, Oregon with one cat, two teenagers, and a man who wants to live on a boat. She is an award-winning short story writer and author of The PSS Chronicles, a young adult paranormal thriller series (GHOST HAND, GHOST HOLD, and the forthcoming GHOST HEART).

Ripley doesn’t smoke, or drink, or cuss as much as her characters. Her only real vices are writing, eating M&Ms, and watching reality television.

Facebook:  Goodreads: 

*****Book and buy links*****

GHOST HAND on Amazon:

GHOST HOLD on Amazon:

GHOST HEART on Goodreads:

*****Q&A with Ripley Patton*****

Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

I discovered my skill at storytelling when I was very young, but it wasn’t until I was a teen that I began to understand the power of it for myself. It was when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer that I began to write in earnest, finding it both an escape and a way to create meaning out of life’s chaos. I distill and process almost all my life’s experiences through story, and writing has always been my bliss. But it was a long time before I believed it could also be my livelihood. It wasn’t until 2005 that I dedicated myself to being fully a writer, and it was one of the best decision of my life. From 2005-2009, I wrote sci-fi and fantasy short stories, having over 25 published and winning several awards. But what inspired me to write a novel was a FB message from a New York City agent asking me if I was writing a book. She’d read some of my short work and encouraged me to write something longer. So, I did, choosing the YA paranormal genre because it is my favorite thing to read. 


Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

Growing up, I devoured Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Lois McMasters Bujold, and Juliet Marillier. I read books by men too, but I was drawn to sci-fi and fantasy stories from a woman’s perspective. Later, when the YA genre really took off, I found new loves like Neal Shusterman and Lisa McMann. I like my YA a little dark and gritty, and Neal Shusterman’s Unwind series and Lisa McMann’s Wake, Fade, Gone series were huge inspirations to my PSS Chronicles Series.

Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be?  Have they been in your head for a long time?

Olivia Black in my main character and she is a combination of my inner Goth girl, the teen I wish I’d been brave enough to be, and my daughter who is one of the most kick-ass sixteen-year-olds I’ve ever known. I feel like Olivia hasn’t just been in my head since I was a teen, she’s been in my heart and my soul, and maybe even in my DNA.

Q. What motivates you to write?

The answer to that question kind of links back to my post about The Perfect Book. I’m an avid reader. I love books, But many times I’ll read a book and it isn’t quite the book I hoped it would be. I could see the story going somewhere else, somewhere I wanted to go more. I can see another story that no one has written yet. So, instead of waiting around for someone to write it, why not write it myself? I write the story I want to read next. The one that doesn’t exist yet.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing?

Ha! I once had a friend ask my how to publish and market a book, so I gave him some advice and then asked what his book was about. He said, “Oh, I haven’t written it yet, but writing is the easy part.” No, no no. Writing IS NOT the easy part. Revising and editing IS NOT the easy part. Publishing and marketing IS NOT the easy part. There IS NO easy part. It is all hard, but it is also all worth it. Nothing worth doing is easy. 

Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Well, the first thing I learned was that I could, in fact, write a book. That was a huge revelation because I honestly hadn’t been sure. I also learned that writing is a one part magic, one part just-sit-down-and-write-so-the-magic-can-happen. You have to have both the magic and the work. Finally, I learned to trust the story. It knows what it’s doing and where it’s going. Mostly. Sometimes you have to rein it in, but a lot of times, if you’re brave enough to give it the rein and let it lead, you’ll end up somewhere more interesting than you ever imagined. 

Q. Where do you get your ideas?

The main idea in the story world for The PSS Chronicles came from an actual medical phenomenon known as Phantom Limb Syndrome in which people who are amputees or were born without a limb can still feel or sense the physical presence of that missing limb. I have a friend who is an amputee, and one day when I was visiting him and we were walking in his back yard, he said, “You know, I can still feel the grass between my toes on the foot that I don’t have. And sometimes I still get a cramp in the middle of the night in the leg that I don’t have.” This was such a fascinating concept to me that I asked myself “What if these phantom limbs really existed? What would they look like and act like? What power would they hold? And how would society react to those who possessed them.” That is how the paranormal birth defect featured in my books came into being. But at first I didn’t have a name for it. A nurse friend of mine came up with the term Psyche Sans Soma (PSS) which loosely translated from Greek means”Life without flesh.” And I guess I did a good job of making it a convincing because readers often tell me that they stop mid-read to go look it up on the internet to find out more about it. 

Q. What does your family think of your writing?

Some of them read it and are huge supporters, like my Grandma Lucille who calls me after the release of each book to tell me what she thought (I’ll give you a hint- she loves them). Others don’t read them because it just isn’t a genre they read. As for my husband and kids, they love my writing and support me every single day. My husband has heard my plots backwards and forwards and both my teens are brutal beta readers of my books. In fact, my son seems to think he gets to choose the next series I write out of my oodles of ideas. 

Q. What is the best advice you would give to aspiring authors?

Tell the story you want to read. Tell it to the best of your ability and get it out into the world. Then write the next one. Don’t let people tell you it isn’t good enough. Writing is a process and a journey, not a destination.

Q. What book are you reading now?

I’m not reading anything at the moment. Binge reading will be my reward when I get GHOST HEART, book three of my series, out to the world and my fans. It’s releasing next month. But I can recommend a couple of books I’ve enjoyed recently. The Bone Road by Mary Holland is fantastic. And Murder of Crows by Athena is a gem. 




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The NerdGirl

Blogger, Reviewer, Promoter extraordinaire, I don’t think you will find ANYONE that loves books more than her. Gladys will read anything but prefers paranormal and fantasy. She likes historical and some contemporary ….. as long as its not predictable.
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