Indie Support Sunday: Maria Patrick
It’s always a good feeling when you meet people (and fellow authors) who seem a lot like yourself than you expect. While I don’t know if Maria will feel the same way, I totally like to think that we were meant to find each other in the sea of people on Instagram and become friends. So obviously when Maria announced her debut, I was stoked and excited and ready to dive into her wonderful mind. And having finished it this week, I can promise you that picking up Maria’s debut will be in your best interest.
Like a lot of us, Maria grew up reading Judy Blume’s stories and inspired us to write the kind of stories we loved as kids. While her stories straddle the line between women’s fiction and romance, it’s the ‘real world’ essence that really makes it so captivating. Maria also has some great advice for aspiring authors that I’ve taken to heart as well.
So if you’re looking for small town stories with real character and the hard stuff (and amazing stuff) they go through, you should keep an eye on Maria Patrick. While she’s hard at work on the second in her debut series, the first Nothing Left to Lose But You is out now and available in Kindle Unlimited.
1. BEING AN AUTHOR
Who or what inspired you to write?
My earliest inspiration was Judy Blume. I devoured her books as a young reader and they taught me that storytelling is magic. My inspiration now lies in the unseen moments, the hurts we all toil with but are afraid to speak of, and the tender love I believe we all deserve.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
Best: not having to ask anyone's permission to write what you want, building genuine relationships with readers, and connecting with a community of authors who are so kind and helpful
Worst: figuring everything out on your own and sometimes the hard way, learning how to market and get your work in front of readers
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
I have very little patience, and when I want something I want it now. I didn't want to spend months or years querying before my book would be deemed 'worthy' to be in the hands of readers.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?
Reading and walking. I believe to be a good writer, you must first be a reader. I prioritize reading always, but especially when I'm not writing. I also love taking walks because my mind wanders and finds stories and solutions for my writing.
If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?
Thriller: The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
Don't take yourself too seriously.
A rough draft is supposed to be rough—you're not supposed to have everything figured out yet.
You don't get anything you don't ask for.
You have to believe in your story before anyone else can.
Don't underestimate the power of relationships with other authors and with readers.
2. ROMANCE AS A GENRE
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?
I love that romance is broad and has room for so many kinds of stories. Characters fall in love in my books, so there's certainly romance, but I also explore challenging topics through their process of finding each other.
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
My books toe the line of women's and contemporary fiction, as well.
What are your most and least favorite tropes?
Favorites: friends to lovers, small town romance, second chance, grumpy/sunshine
Least favorites: enemies to lovers (it's hard to do well), miscommunication
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
There are so many I want to explore, but one that I think would be fun is fake dating or marriage of convenience. I don't have any immediate plans, though.
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
I love seeing more 'real world' romances being written that address the real life shit that comes up after the happily ever after. Don't get me wrong, I adore a good rom com read. But what happens next?
I'm inspired by seeing more diversity in the characters and stories being told by new voices with their own insights.
If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?
I'm not sure if I'll only ever write open door romance, but I selected it for now because I enjoy creating intimacy between the characters on page. Crafting the background and conversations that lead to the scenes that make you sweat is so much fun.
3. YOUR BOOKS
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
My debut novel, Nothing Left To Lose But You was inspired by genuine challenges I see in the community where I was raised. One theme that is a huge part of the novel is choosing to inherit a responsibility that wasn't yours. I was adopted and raised by my grandparents, so in some ways writing that portion of Noah's story felt full circle.
Can you briefly tell me about your debut?
Nothing Left To Lose But You follows Noah as she's coming to terms with her brother's addiction and his daughter being caught in the crossfire. Noah has no maternal instinct, but she's determined to keep her niece out of a foster system that failed her brother and herself. Logan moves from California to Noah's small town of Alexandria, Kentucky after suddenly losing his wife and becoming a single father. He's a highly-skilled laborer that can't land a job and just needs someone to take a chance on him. Their friendship slowly burns into romance and buoys them through some unthinkable choices that are thrown at each of them.
Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?
Logan's Aunt Claire is one of my favorites. She's a pure and loving Southern-woman, but also a little meddlin' and funny.
If you were to cast your book for a movie/television show, who would you cast in the lead roles?
I've actually never thought about this!
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
All authors bury some parts of themselves in their work. There's pieces of me scattered here and there, but I'm not Noah and her story is her own.
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
I think it would be fun to write something set in a comic book store.
Is there one common element that readers can find in all your stories?
For the foreseeable future, my books will contain small towns and relatable tribulations characters are doing their damndest to overcome.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
I'm working on the second book in my "Nothing Left" series, which follows some characters introduced in the first book. It's a different storyline, however, and can be read as a standalone.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
Connected and not alone. I want readers to tap into the joy, sorrow, and hope of my characters to realize we're all going through something, even if it's not the same circumstances.
4. AUTHOR’S CHOICE
Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks
Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV (I'll die on this hill)
Standalones, series or standalones in a series
Open door, ajar door or closed door romances
Music or silence when writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser
Water, tea, coffee or….wine?
Cold or warm weather
Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?
Illustrated or photo cover? (I love a good illustrated cover, but I'm not sure they fit with the seriousness of some of the topics I cover, so for now I stick with photo)