Interview with Rachel Pattinson

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the north west of England, surrounded by lakes and fells, and where it's constantly raining. I loved it. I loved waking up and being able to see such a dramatic landscape every day, and I think this has definitely impacted on my writing. Not only do I love writing dramatic scenes, I also love bringing the world I've written to life - I want to draw readers into my world, just as much as I was drawn to all those lakes and mountains. Plus, the north west of England is fairly isolated, so I was forever coming up with new story ideas as I tramped around the countryside. I strongly believe that if I hadn't been brought up on a farm in the middle of nowhere, if I hadn't had that time and space to come up with all those ideas, I wouldn't be a writer today.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
If I'm completely honest, I never thought I'd ever become an indie author. The topic for my major project in university was 'How viable is self-publishing for a first-time author?' and I had to look into indie publishing in a lot of detail; by the end of my project, I decided it sounded like far too much work! But there was a period after university when I couldn't get a job no matter how hard I tried, so I turned to writing to keep me sane. After being rejected not only from job applications, but from literary agents too, I decided I had to take my writing career into my own hands.
I can't tell you how much I absolutely love indie publishing. Yes, it's A LOT of hard work - even more than I originally thought during my major project - but I love it. I love writing at my own pace. I love writing my own stories. And most of all, I love the indie community - everyone is so friendly and helpful and there's no way I could've done this without them. It's so much fun, and at the end of the day, that's all I've ever really wanted from my writing - to have fun doing it and to have the opportunity to share it with others.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've always loved sci-fi films and books, although I never thought about writing sci-fi myself until I got the idea for Synthetica. The book is set in a future world, where everyone's actions are monitored by an ID picochip inserted behind their right ear. When technology giant, Civitas, finally announces the launch of their highly anticipated Scholarly Learning Programs, which allow people to download and learn any subject instantly, seventeen-year-old Anais Finch can hardly wait. But when a man calling himself 'the Hacker' manages to manipulate Civitas' programs to his own advantage and starts a war against the Imperial City, it's up to Anais to stop him before he commits his most appalling crime yet.
The idea for Synthetica actually came about while I was watching The Matrix and I began thinking to myself, what if anyone could download knowledge about any subject they liked directly to their brain? And then, what if someone hacked into these programs and used for their own means? It took a couple of months for me to get all the details of this plot worked out, but once I had, I knew this was a book I simply had to write.
What are you working on next?
I've just started the first draft for the sequel to Synthetica. I'm so excited to dive back into Anais' world again! I'm also attempting to work on several other projects, including a standalone YA sci-fi, and a brand new fantasy series, but I think I need to complete Anais' story first...
When did you first start writing?
I don't remember a time when I wasn't writing. Even in primary school, I remember folding up coloured pieces of A4 paper to make a book, scribbling a story in the first few pages and then abandoning it (that habit hasn't actually changed that much – only, I now use a computer rather than random bits of paper). Making up stories has been the only thing that's been constant throughout my life – I've never doubted I'd become a writer one day, but it's only in the past few years that I've decided to take that ambition seriously. I first started writing novels three years ago, when I was about to graduate from university. It was while I was waiting to hear back from the hundreds of job applications I'd sent out that I decided to write my first novel and see what became of it. I've stopped and started a lot of books over the last few years, but I finally feel like I'm ready to take my writing seriously.
Describe your desk
If it's a flat surface, close to a kettle, I'm sorted. I don't have a proper desk at home - I generally have to clear a space on the dining room table and make do. I'd love to have a writing desk of my own one day - a white one, set by a window so I can daydream while looking out over the garden, with a nice set of colouring pencils, pens and other stationary in the drawers. That's the dream anyway.
Who are your favorite authors?
J.R.R Tolkien is without a doubt my favourite author. I can understand how people think that Lord of the Rings rambles on a bit, but I just love it. I doubt I'll ever be able to create a world as intricate as Middle Earth, but it's definitely something I aspire to. I do love J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter too, but over the past few years, I have to admit George R.R. Martin has probably overtaken J.K Rowling for the second top spot. I adore Game of Thrones, and again, I think he's an author with incredible world building abilities. What I love most about GoT are the characters - I started out hating certain characters, but now they're characters that I love and that I root for, and vice versa. You can never predict what's going to happen next in the books, and I love that.

Or maybe I just have a thing for authors with initials in their name. Who knows?
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm pretty easy when it comes to books to be honest. I do love reading YA, especially science fiction/fantasy/paranormal, but I also love reading chick-lit, general science fiction, thrillers, any book that's recommended to me...I'm also partial to a good non-fiction book (namely Bill Bryson books). The only thing I won't really read are crime books - it's funny, I don't mind writing about violence and I love Tarantino films, but I hate watching/reading crime or murder mysteries. They're a real turn-off for me, though I don't know why.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love making up new worlds and new characters and seeing what will become of them. I'm forever making up stories in my head, and it's that creativity, that sense of taking an idea and shaping it into something new, that gives me a rush. I love stepping back after I've finally finished a story and thinking, 'I created that.' There's nothing better than knowing you created something from scratch, and to finally be able to see the product of all your hard work.
What keeps you awake at night?
Worrying about the little things. And then realising in the morning I shouldn't have worried and I'd be better off sleeping.
Describe yourself in three words
Crazy, weird and tall.
Published 2015-07-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Synthetica
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 100,390. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
In the Imperial City, everyone is born beautiful and every dream is a possibility - in theory. When a man known only as 'the Hacker' wages war against the city and it's inhabitants, it's up to seventeen-year-old Anais Finch to stop him before he commits his most appalling crime yet.