Finally..the interview I promised you all with a fellow author. I met Patricia Puddle through our on line Critique Circle group. We are fellow critters. I love this lady. She not only is an accomplished writer but a very funny lady. Her life hasn't always been easy, but humour has carried her through.
The characters in her books hit a chord with children who enjoy these naughty, mischievous kids who just as they're about to cross that invisible behaviour line that would make parents uncomfortable, something dramatic and so hilarious happens that it pulls them back to their senses and leaves the reader in stitches. Children relate to their antics and gut laugh at their disasters. I bought my granddaughter "Star Crossed Rascals" and she loves it. I took her on Patricia's website and she chose "Molly Gumnut Rescues A Bandicoot" as her birthday present. She is reading it as I write this.
Here is the interview with Children’s Book Author Patricia Puddle. Sit back and enjoy!
Hi Patricia, welcome to my blog.
Hi, June, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.
Before we get into your writing, tell us a little about yourself, education, etc. and how you came to be a writer.
I always wanted to write children’s stories, but I didn’t have a very good education. I was a slow learner due to missing school at the ages of six and seven. I contracted measles and spent a month in hospital, then a year later I had trouble eating and began spitting my food onto my plate, much to the horror of my parents. They didn’t realise at first that I had swollen tonsils and thought I was just a fussy eater. Of course, eventually I kept getting tonsillitis and had to have my tonsils out. I was off school for quite a while, and when I did go back to school, my tonsils began to grow back again and I had to have another operation. I ended up missing an important part of my schooling and the teacher I had at the time didn’t help me to catch up. So I became the class clown and ended up spending most of my school days sitting outside the principal’s office.
Haha (me laughing). You sound a lot like your characters, Molly and Polly.
You’re right. I’ve added all my memories to my children's stories and hopefully make them funny enough for reluctant readers. I left school at the age of fourteen and had no experience with anything except being a clown and making other children laugh, but I did manage to get a job in Sydney Australia with a typewriter company. My boss sent a typewriter to my home for me to learn how to type and that’s when I began writing my stories.
Definitely. Of course I couldn’t spell and I had no idea where commas went so I filed them away. I worked until I married at the age of seventeen, had two children by the age of eighteen, then went back to work as soon as they were in school.
It wasn’t until I was fifty-three that I learned how to write properly. I joined online critique groups and websites for writers and studied hundreds of children’s books. Five years later, here I am with three published children’s books, all are series, all in paperbacks and also eBooks.
That’s a pretty amazing story and impressive. A self-taught author. Now tell us, self publishing or traditional?
Self publishing. I tried the Publisher/Agent way, but got nowhere. Although I sent the first book to agents and publishers, after three years of rejections, I decided to self publish.There aren't many Australian publishers that were taking on new authors in these hard times, also overseas publishers probably didn’t want to take on authors that couldn’t go to book signings in their country. Not sure really, but I never sent my best work to many publishers, only to three, and when they rejected me, I decided to self publish.
So tell us about your experience in the self publishing world.
I’m so glad I did because my books are just starting to take off and I’m already getting five-star reviews. I’ve also sold many books to pensioners at my mother’s retirement village as her pals love my stories and are waiting for my next book. I’m selling on Amazon and CreateSpace. As well as selling directly to people in Australia in coffee lounges, community centres, art shops, gift shops and even to people I chat to. I’ve sold many this way as I always carry copies of my books with me.
Wow, not only a writer, but a saleswoman. Some writer’s are scared to death of the marketing side. How many books have you written?
I’ve published three books, but I’ve written many more stories. Trouble is, they all need editing before I publish. Most are sequels to my three published books.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
That’s easy. It was Star-Crossed Rascals, which is my childhood diary turned into a fictitious chapter book for reluctant readers. I’m writing the sequel at the moment called Return of The Grotty Rascals. (Though I might change the title.)
Great name. I like it. When did you decide to become a writer?
I was born in England and the first time I told a funny story, I made other kids laugh. I became addicted as I was considered to be scatty and one teacher named me Wishy-Washy and mostly used that name when talking to me. I was about seven at that time and I loved to read, so I decided I would write funny books, but first I had to learn how to write properly.
I think I know the answer to this but why children’s books?
I don’t really know, but I think back to how I was at school, not knowing how to write, but knowing how to read. I guess maybe I’m still stuck there - in my childhood memories, plus there’s nothing better than hearing the laughter of children.
Do you write an outline? Do you start at Chapter 1 go to 2, then 3 etc in order or follow wherever your muse takes you?
No, I never write outlines or anything. I just sit down and write and the story unfolds. I amuse myself along the way as I never know what I’m going to type next. I let the characters take me wherever they want. I try to imagine what that character would do in that situation, and then take the route that I think a child that age would take. To do that, I have to put myself inside the head of that character, which is easy for me as they are all part of me. Hahaha. My ideas come from my experiences as a child, and as an adult all merged together. Tee hee. I’m a child that never grew up.
Hmm…that probably applies to all us writers . Do you like researching?
Yes, I love that, but don’t have to do too much as my stories are from experience. Though I do check that factual things are correct. For example, if I’m writing about native animals, I have to get that right as children are reading and learning. I use my experience with animals I’ve cared for, but if I’m unsure about something, I research or contact my supervisor at the wildlife rescue I volunteer with, also with other experienced members.
What’s next for you?
Oh, well, I’m so overwhelmed with it all as I have a dozen stories started. Now, I have to work out which one to work on first.
Marketing – what is the most important thing to know about marketing your books.
Marketing is so important and you have to do it every day. I use my blog, my website, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, writing forums, and most importantly, use the community on Amazon and Smashwords, as well as emails. I’m thinking of having a newsletter too, so I can send out updates to all addresses on my emails.
I’ve been lucky enough to have an old childhood classmate see me on a website, contact me and offer to host a new website. I’m so happy with it too. He’s done a wonderful job. Then another lucky thing happened to me.
Tell us about it.
A local DJ offered to advertise my work on a local radio station and send listeners to my websites as well as the coffee shop where my books are for sale. How lucky can an author be?
It sounds like through your friends and social media you have a lot of support. What about family support? How do handle the naysayers?
Hahahahaha. I have been walking around for the past seven years, telling all my family and friends that I’m an author. Many laughed as they knew I couldn’t spell or write, but I kept it up. I would probably have annoyed some of them as I kept saying , “I’m a skinny, best-selling author.” Well, I’m not skinny yet, but I’m an author of children’s books because my website name is Patricia Puddle Children’s Books Author. I’ve got five-star reviews, but have only been published for a short while, so I’m on my way to the best-sellers list.
I’ve always believed that if we say something every day that we can make it happen. So to make it happen, I now I say this every day, “I’m a best-selling author of children’s books!” (And if there are any publishers out there that are interested, I’m open for a reasonable retainer. LOL )
Trish, you’re truly an inspiration and I’ve enjoyed interviewing you. You’re as funny as your characters. I wish you every success with your book writing and your sales. Thank you for coming.
Thank you and thanks for having me.
Patricia Puddle's comedic timing is right on. Just as she uses humour in her own life, her characters follow suit. Her books are well represented by this very talented writer who not only entertains children, but adults alike.
To buy Patricia’s books visit her website or blog.
Here is her website and blog address:
Have a great writing week and keep on keeping on writing!