Wednesday, 28 February 2018

#WednesdayWords - The writing process, by Patricia Leslie


This Wednesday, Patricia Leslie talks to Pict about her writing process and how she creates the worlds in her novels - including immersing herself in real-life research.



By Patricia Leslie

Many thanks to Pict Publishing for allowing me to introduce myself and my writing to you, their readers. I love to write, read, explore, and take photos so sharing a little of that with you is a great honour.

Some people like to talk, some paint, I have always processed my thoughts through writing. I’m also a bit of a history and fantasy nerd so it’s not much of a surprise that historical urban fantasy is the genre I’ve graduated toward.

I especially love to combine history, fantasy, and action into stories that nudge at the boundaries of reality and, when it comes to history you don’t generally read about, the world is my oyster.

When I started writing The Ouroboros Key, my first novel, I was very much interested in Celtic cultures and their spread across Europe, and the Arthurian legends.

I picked up a book by the late Sir Lawrence Gardiner called Blood of the Grail and was fascinated by his theories on the Holy Grail and its connection with the King Arthur stories. He goes on to connect all sorts of historical fact together. I continued reading about the Albigenses, the Cathars and the Knights of the Templar.

 The sphere of knowledge this is often linked to includes many science fiction elements such as the Nephilim, Fallen Angels, the Illuminati and the evil alien lizard race… With all that in the mix, I just had to write a story.

My second novel, A Single Light, grew out of a desire to connect the real world on a more local scale to a vast culture that had almost died out, but were once more on the rise; not to the benefit of humanity.

I grew up near the Royal National Park just south of Sydney, a popular location for walkers and beach-goers. People get lost so easy when they stray off the sandy paths, not realising that a few feet away the bush is deep and thick.

It's quite deceptive, and it gets hot and noisy with the cicadas going off. And there’s that sense of transition coming from the town where you feel safe and going off into an area where there are bugs and spiders and snakes rustling under the leaves, birds sounding in the treetop, and you know you’re not safe at all.

Part of the joy of writing is research and exploring locations, becoming familiar enough with the sights and sounds to be able to recall them easily and with first-hand experience. I want to know what it feels like to walk along a sandy track with stifling air weighing me down. I want to be immersed in forest and bushes, lost in gullies, stuck in mud…

My latest release has a more urban focus, so far, and I’ve spent hours wandering around Sydney, finding historical buildings and following maps over 100 years old, sitting by monuments even older and imagining myself in the growing metropolis it was in 1882.

Keeper of the Way is the first book in three-part urban fantasy story set in Sydney in the 1880s and the present, and Scotland in a mix of times. I went to the Isle of Skye in 2015 and there’s a particular location there that called for a climactic scene (it got one), and I’m off to the Outer Hebrides in a couple of weeks with plans to include that area in Book 3.

After that, I think I’ll head over to France and wander around the Loire Valley trying to imagine what it may have been like in the third century… I’ve got an amazing story idea waiting on the backburner.

But it’s not all about location, my characters get just as much attention as well. I develop well-rounded people with a past and future, family and relationships, frustrations and hopes, and I bring them into the story to see how they will react when the world as they knew it turns upside down. Their innate responses to situations and surroundings carries the story so I need to know as much about them as I possibly can.

In The Ouroboros Key, Dan Tenney wrestled with depression and fear for his sanity. In A Single Light, Lael is torn between the base instincts of her species, the isolated life she has led, and the opportunity she has to join with someone who will complete her life story. Keeper of the Way has Florentine Ponsonby, a thoroughly modern woman, coming face to face with a thoroughly ancient family story while navigating her way through friendships and first-love.

Writing is a passion. It’s at my core. Nearly everything I do either feeds into, or is shaped by, the stories of my imagination. As a teenager, I was a committed daydreamer (Who am I kidding, I still am!), and feel lucky that I have writing as an outlet and even luckier to have a publisher who has the vision to work with ordinary people (like me) that have a story to tell.

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Patricia Leslie is an Australian novelist and speculative fiction writer, blending history, magic, and fantasy in novels that explore hidden and untold stories, giving a voice, through fiction, to those in our past who have too often been rendered voiceless. Patricia hails from southern Sydney where she fills her fast emptying nest with books, writing projects, and a chicken named, Edna.

For reviews, interviews, articles and updates on her novels and adventures, visit
👉her website: patricialeslie.net
👉and facebook page: Patricia Leslie - author

For photos of her adventures, books, and chickens, check out:
👉her Instagram feed: https://www.patricialeslie.net/photographic-evidence