Interview with Patty Jansen

What do you read for pleasure?
Space opera and hard science fiction, also a bit of fantasy. I love writers like Kim Stanley Robinson, C.J. Cherryh, Sean Williams, Stephen Baxter, Robin Hobb and Glenda Larke. I know that's a varied bunch. This is how I tick. I also read a lot of non-fiction.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My little Kobo Touch. In all honesty, I'm not too fussed about technological preferences as long as companies don't make it hard for me to read what I want whenever I want.
Describe your desk
Uhm. It's a mess. That's a prerequisite for a writer. At any one time there will be note books, various computer/camera linkage cords, camera lenses or other photography-related debris, school notices and astronomy books on my desk. It faces the window that looks out over the driveway. I can see the wild turkeys in our front yard.
What's the story behind your latest book?
At the point of writing this, my latest book is Innocence Lost. A while ago I wrote an alternate history story as part of a challenge. I needed some historical event to write about, and chose the first known landing of Europeans on the Australian coast (there are rumours of earlier ones, but that is subject for another question), but Willem Janszoon and the vessel Duyfken in 1606. To make the story halfway historically accurate, I needed to read on the background of the ship, their reasons for coming and other stuff that related to the time period. I discovered that: 1. Hey, the history of the VOC operating out of Amsterdam was a totally interesting period that deserved more attention! 2. I hate writing historical fiction because I dislike mucking with someone's history while pretending to know everything about it, 3. I could TOTALLY twist this history around and turn it into a history-inspired fantasy. So that was how For Queen And Country came about.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The GFC! Don't laugh, I'm serious. In late 2008, I had written book 1 of the Icefire Trilogy. I sent it to 5 agents and got three requests for manuscripts. I sent it to a few more agents and got more requests. Then the GFC hit and publishing went into shutdown mode. Many months later, I had still heard nothing from those submissions. In fact, at the end of 2009, a well-known agent posted that in the previous year she had not signed a single new client.

I wanted to write the rest of the trilogy but in tradepub, there's not much point until you've sold book 1. I was getting frustrated. I had also sold a novella to a small press, but they were dicking and dicking me around. Then I sold another novel to a small press, but their contract was so restrictive that I ended up returning it unsigned. Meanwhile, I also couldn't write the sequels to that book while it remained unsold.

It was time to do something. I figured that by the time the publishing world had pulled itself out of its collective GFC-induced funk, I'd have written some new books, so I self-published the lot. The rest is history. I'm not particularly interested in a tradepub deal anymore.
What are you working on next?
Far too many things. In the near future, I need to write:
1. Book 2 (and 3 and 4) of For Queen And Country
2. Book 4 of the Return of the Aghyrians series
3. Book 3 of the Ambassador series
4. A sequel to Shifting Reality
5. The first book to a new Icefire Trilogy
6. A bunch of other things.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Explain to me what is "not writing"? Even going shopping is writing to me because I'll experience things I can use in my fiction.

OK, I do other things. I like art, I play the flute in a band and I like gardening.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Sorry, advertising and promo have absolutely no effect on me. I usually scout out authors, either because I've heard of them or because I know that they write what I like to read. I buy whatever whenever suits me.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No, I don't. I'm betting it was really, really terrible.
What is your writing process?
I'm a pantser, but need to know how a story ends, or, for a series, at which part in the overall arc I'm going to stop this particular book.
Then I'll have a wet-spaghetti draft where I'll just fling it at the wall and see what sticks. This draft is usually about a quarter to a third of the intended word count.

Then I go back and work through it to make it a coherent story. By the time I've gone backwards and forward through the story a few times, it's pretty polished, typo-free and ready to go to the editor.

That's pretty much it.
How do you approach cover design?
You remember the art bit in the question about what I do other than writing? Well, I do most of my covers myself. I just love that stuff. I think the most important parts of cover design are to convey genre and to be eye-catching. Truthfulness to story is low on the list.
Published 2014-03-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ambassador 8: The Alabaster Army
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 99,930. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Deadly creatures, hostile climate, and that is just the scenery. For many years, mysterious things have happened on the ice world of Tamer, but when a scientist goes missing from Barresh thought to be on Tamer, Cory is forced to take the issue by the horns.
Going Wide Unboxed
Price: Free! Words: 10,360. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: October 2, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing, Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills
(5.00)
A companion guide to Self-publishing Unboxed and Mailing Lists Unboxed, for those who want to start selling on all ebook platforms. In this book, you will learn: The major non-Amazon platforms and their quirks Tips about promoting your books and increasing non-Amazon sales The greatest hack for maintaining website pages with multiple retailer links.
Mailing Lists Unboxed
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 26,070. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: October 8, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills, Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing
(5.00)
Self-published authors are coming to realise that a stable career is about a backlist of titles and keeping that backlist selling. Invariably, advice given by other authors includes holding promotions and lowering the price of the first book in series, or even making it free. However, few people mention one of the most powerful ways to keep your backlist selling: the author mailing list.
Self-publishing Unboxed
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 32,080. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: October 8, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Publishing business
(5.00)
You intend to self-publish or have published a book or two. You’re not selling very well and wonder why not. You feel you should be doing something, but the thought of “marketing” gives you nightmares. You would love to start selling some books, and pay some or even all of your bills with your writing income. That is now more possible than ever. Grab a copy of this book to see how.
Observation
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,260. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: September 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Crime, alien danger and politics do not mix in fragile space environments, as Jonathan Bartell and Gaby Larsen find out.
Ambassador 7: The Last Frontier
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 94,320. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: August 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
After many years of indecision, Earth finally faces the referendum, whether they will join gamra, the organisation that governs the FLT space travel network. Much is at stake, but the people who are against join forces to thwart Cory Wilson's ten-year efforts to bring Earth into the future.
Contamination
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,510. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: May 16, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Out in space, your worst enemies are your fellow travellers
Ambassador 6: The Enemy Within
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 96,700. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: March 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
In the 6th book in the popular Ambassador series, diplomat Cory Wilson returns to Earth to accompany an alien witness to a court case. From the moment they leave, everything is rigged against them.
Moon & Earth
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 108,470. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: December 13, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
The shocking conclusion to the Moonfire Trilogy.
Sea & Sky
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 90,220. Language: English. Published: September 20, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Book 2 in the series. The world is under increasing threat from icefire, but no one is watching the skies. No one is tallying up the disasters. No one is searching for the source of icefire, even though it will kill the whole world if left unchecked.
Sand & Storm
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 91,650. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: June 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
The entire world laid to waste. There are no second chances.
Ambassador 4: Coming Home
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 94,800. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 29, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00)
The Aghyrian ship that left over 50,000 years ago has come back. Where have they been, who have they met and what do they want? By isolating the captain from the ship, Cory hopes to neutralise it, but the captain is a manipulative bastard who will stop at nothing to re-capture his home planet.
Ambassador 5: Blue Diamond Sky
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 82,020. Language: English. Published: May 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
A businessman from Earth goes missing on an alien world. Foul play, but by whom? Former Nations of Earth representative Cory Wilson is roped into helping solve the case, which proves much more complicated than he anticipated.
Ambassador 1A: The Sahara Conspiracy
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 72,400. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: January 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
An aid worker in Djibouti discovers a shipment of alien guns. Diplomat Cory Wilson is sent to investigate and uncovers an conspiracy that spans the whole of northern Africa.
The Necromancer's Daughter
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 58,240. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
The finale to the series. All forces gather in Saardam, and Johanna fights both evil magic and powerful rulers who want control over her tiny country.
The Dragon Prince
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 54,490. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: October 7, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Newly-crowned queen Johanna faces a choice between letting her country starve or working with rival kings and magicians who want to wipe her country off the map.
Shifting Infinity
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 95,360. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: June 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
Melati escaped New Jakarta space station when it fell into Allion's hands. Her family was left behind the enemy lines. She signed up for active duty with the International Space Force in the hope they would liberate the station. Instead, they chose to maintain a crippling siege that has lasted for ten months. The siege is about to break and war will begin.
For Queen And Country Books 1-3 Omnibus
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 175,220. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Omnibus version of the first three volumes in the For Queen And Country series. A tale of historical fantasy, magic, wizards and ghosts.
Fire Wizard
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 46,420. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Book 4 in the series. Johanna and her companions return to Saardam, where the fire wizard rules. They don't have a magician strong enough to defeat him, and plan on living in hiding until they find someone. Unfortunately, things don't work out that way.
Ambassador 3: Changing Fate
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 95,470. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: January 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(4.00)
An ancient ship that was thought lost returns to inhabited space. Where have they been and what do they want?
The Return of the Aghyrians Book 1-4 Omnibus
Price: $13.99 USD. Words: 415,540. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: November 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
All four books in one volume: Watcher's Web Trader's Honour Soldier's Duty Heir's Revenge
The Idiot King
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 61,090. Language: English. Published: October 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Continued from book 2: Johanna, Roald, Nellie and Loesie arrive in Florisheim, where their kinsmen struggle with evil magic.
Heir's Revenge
Series: Return of the Aghyrians, Book 4. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 95,930. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: July 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
For years, a dictator has ruled the mountain city of Miran. Actions by outsiders have failed to unseat him, but must the nail in his coffin really come from a young woman whose only weapon is that she directs the state theatre?
Willow Witch
Series: For Queen And Country. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 52,400. Language: English. Published: May 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
The second book in the saga. Johanna, Prince Roald, Nellie and Loesie have been captured by bandits. Touched by evil magic, Loesie behaves ever stranger and may be a danger to attempts to escape. Every step they take brings them closer to the duke who is said to be the source of evil. Is he the necromancer who has burned all of Saardam?
Innocence Lost
Series: For Queen And Country. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,440. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: March 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(4.00)
Johanna sees the past when she touches anything made of wood. A basket made of twigs tells her that an attack on the port city of Saardam is imminent. As daughter of a rich merchant, she belongs to a class where it is forbidden to speak of magic, she can't warn anyone. Worse, it seems that the attack is in response to something done by the royal family.
Icefire Trilogy Omnibus
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 297,890. Language: Australian English. Published: March 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
All three volumes of the trilogy in one book. "Love the writing, characters and story." --Kevin Anderson, author of the Dune novels about the Icefire story on which this novel is based.
Ambassador 2: Raising Hell
Series: Ambassador, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 89,950. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: January 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.00)
Cory Wilson goes on a hare-brained mission to save a friend's position, messing with alien cultures and going where no human should go.
Seven Days to Save The World (and Other Homework Projects)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 46,210. Language: Australian English. Published: December 24, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
To save the realm of Celestia, Florian has to deal with magic, cranky unicorns and elves riding motorcycles.
Soldier's Duty (Return of the Aghyrians Book 3)
Series: Return of the Aghyrians, Book 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 103,350. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
As guard of the world of Hedron, Izramith takes security job to find her uncle. She finds a world entangled in spying and bribery, where one wrong action can lead to war.
Ambassador
Series: Ambassador, Book 1. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 107,340. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: November 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.33)
Extra-terrestrial humans, a cowardly attack on a top politician, and a lonely, broke, frightened but very stubborn young diplomat.
Trader's Honour
Series: Return of the Aghyrians, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 131,890. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.50)
To keep her position as interplanetary Trader, Mikandra needs to prove her employer's innocence. Instead, she discovers secrets that explain her people's history and threaten the foundations of her proud nation.
Shifting Reality - A novel in the ISF-Allion universe
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 104,350. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(4.00)
In the chaos of the worker population on New Jakarta Space Station, Melati needs to find a mind traveller with dangerous knowledge before the enemy can lay their hands on him.
Blood & Tears (book 3 Icefire Trilogy)
Series: Icefire Trilogy, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 102,440. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Continued from book 2, the saga of the people of the destroyed City of Glass, the neighbouring steam-age Chevakians, and the evil magic that pursues them
Dust & Rain (book 2 Icefire Trilogy)
Series: Icefire Trilogy, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 97,680. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
The continuation of the Icefire Trilogy. After the explosion destroyed the City of Glass, Loriane is in a convoy of refugees heading towards neighbouring Chevakia, a country deeply hostile to them, while Tandor is still bewitched and can't tell her why he wants her unborn child.
Fire & Ice (book 1 Icefire trilogy)
Series: Icefire Trilogy, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 90,560. Language: English. Published: October 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00)
In his despair to right the wrongs done to his family, the sorcerer Tandor takes a huge risk that could lead to the destruction of his homeland.
Watcher's Web
Series: Return of the Aghyrians, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 89,130. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.50)
When Jessica ends up on a strange world, she knows it's not an accident, even though locals pretend it is. But two men are telling her different versions of what happened and why they want her, and with no knowledge of the world, she has to figure out who is right.
The Far Horizon
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 51,260. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(4.00)
Of all the things ten-year-old Cory Wilson expects to do when he moves to Midway Space Station, saving aliens from humans isn't one.