Welcome to The Author Visits! It’s our pleasure to introduce the amazing talent, Patricia “Pooks” Burroughs.
Author Visit Details
June 8 – All about Patricia “Pooks” Burroughs and her current work June 10 – Book review of This Crumbling Pageant June 12 – Guest blog by Patricia Burroughs (Pooks) June 14 – Teaser of WIP and announce winner of author gift
And the Winner is…
Congratulations to Denise M. You are the winner of the gift giveaway!
My Life Right Now…
By: Patricia Burroughs
Writing. Writing The Dead Shall Live, the next book in The Fury Triad. Writing my heart and soul out. Writing, writing, writing.
Oh, wait. You want details?
Well, the setting caught me by surprise. When I got near the end of This Crumbling Pageant and realized where the second book had to take place, it was so damned obvious I felt really silly for not seeing it all along. But I didn’t. How obvious is it? Well, let’s play a game. You guess. And I’ll let you know if you’re right or wrong.
One thing about the second book that has my psyched is that the world of possibilities for different kinds of characters is about to get blown wide open. Instead of being trapped in the very insular world of Regency England, Persephone’s journey is going to take her to a port city where people from around the world will be present. One character who is taking form in my head is a tattoo artist who creates magical tattoos. The artist is from Barbados, and she’s a girl.
And finally—one other teaser. This goddess is one pissed off goddess.
Okay, if you read the book, you already know this.
But—seriously pissed off.
And that’s why I have to dive back in now, before things get out of hand…
Thanks for having me this week at The Author Visits, Veena. It has been great fun!
Guest Blog – Do As I Say, Not As I Do
By: Patricia Burroughs
As a creative writing teacher I constantly tell my students that being a true fan of the genre they are writing in is the best credential ever. Back in the glory days of romance writing, when every women’s magazine had a cover story, “You Too Can Write a Romance Novel and Become an Overnight Millionaire Sensation,” published writers flocked to the genre to hop on the bandwagon and get a piece of the cash cow. Funny thing, though. Those writers rarely if ever did more than just fill a hole in a slot on the publisher’s calendar and then disappear, replaced by women who had never written professionally in their lives, but now turned to their typewriters and became stars.
Why? Because those women loved the genre, they understood the genre, and they shared a kinship of story and emotion and experience that they wrote into their books. They wrote the kinds of stories they longed to read, and because they were the target readership, they didn’t just have their fingers on the pulse—the pulse was in them.
I entered romance on the tail end of the boom, but unlike those fans-turned-writers, I had to find a way to worm myself in. I wasn’t a romance reader, and I was a brand new writer, but I was lucky. My strengths were character and emotion and relationships, and those are the backbone of romance. However, I also resented knowing how a book would end before I started reading it, and resented the walls built around romance at that time. Of course what I saw as ‘walls’ were really ‘preferences’ of the readers.
But if you enter a genre chafing at the very things readers love about that genre? You will have an uphill climb, if you ever find a way in at all.
When I decided my first attempt at a novel would be a historical romance, I realized that the story I wanted to tell best fit in a western setting. Again, other than enjoying the occasional John Wayne/Maureen O’Hara movie, I was not a fan of westerns, and had to figure out what made them tick. I had to research the western genre, the western romance genre, the subgenre of ‘lady and the out, the outlaw, to figure out what had already been written so I could do something new. Then I had to do the heavy lifting—the era, what people ate, how they dealt with things we take for granted, everything—in order to tell the story I wanted to tell. *
I eventually published five novels successfully, complete with critical recognition and recognition from my peers, but it was never an easy fit.
Eventually I started writing scripts instead of novels, but even there the genre thing haunted me. I was sitting in a producer’s office in a meeting when one of said producers asked, “So, have you loved science fiction all your life?”
I must have looked gobsmacked. “Erm… no?”
They looked a bit surprised. “Well, how long have you been writing it?
Inside my head: OMFG my agent sent them somebody else’s script!
Smiling quizzically: I don’t write science fiction…?
They looked gobsmacked. One of them held up my script. “’Dreamers’ is science fiction.”
Me: It is?
Me: Huh. I just thought it was a fun idea.
Can you tell I was hell on wheels in meetings? Yeah, I knocked ‘em out of the ballpark every damn time. Sigh.
Which brings me back to telling my students, if you are a fan of the genre, you have a head start. If you aren’t, you’d damn well better start reading it and find something to love about it, find a connection, find something that makes you think not only, “I can do this,” but, “I’d be proud of this.”
All of which brings me to my heroine, Persephone Fury.
She and her world popped into my head. Her story wouldn’t just be a fantasy; it would be an epic fantasy. It would be a trilogy. It would be awesome!
Once I figured out if every idea in my head was a stale cliché or not.
If I had anything new to bring to the table.
If there was a readership for the kind of story I wanted to tell, the kind of story I wanted to read.
In other words, once I figured out how to write an epic fantasy which, by the way, I’d read very few at that point.
I began leaning on friends, firing off questions about this trope and that one, firing off scenes for feedback, trying to figure out whether my idea had legs. And while I got the thumbs up from various directions, the publishing industry was crumbling around me. Epic fantasy stopped meaning 250,000 words or even 200,000 words [unless you were Patrick Rothfuss or GRR Martin] even as my book kept getting longer. Agents said, cut it in half and send it back and we’ll look at it. And I was staring at three storyboards [for the entire trilogy] on my wall with a complex plot that did not want to be cut. Three research trips to the British Isles, a couple of hundred new research books and resources on my bookshelves and several years of passion had poured into that first book, and I didn’t see a way to cut it without gutting it.
And then Story Spring Publishing found me. They were new, enthusiastic and smart, and determined to make a go of this crazy publishing biz. And after reading the book, they were more interested in editing for content than length. Diane Tarbuck, the editor, loved the book and ‘got’ it.
And that’s how I arrived here, on this blog, with this book to promote: This Crumbling Pageant, Volume One in The Fury Triad.
But I did it the long way. The wrong way, if you will.
And I still will tell my students, do as I say, not as I do.
Because seriously, it takes me four times as long to write as it should, because of how much time I spend learning.
And yet because of this grand, passionate love affair I’m having with the characters in my head and universes they are building, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Get ready to be swept away into a dark fantasy series that combines swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance and plot-twisting suspense in equal measures.
Expect to hear more about Persephone Fury.
A lot more.
* A signed copy of La Desperada, my first published novel, is the contest prize this week. Its adaptation, “Redemption,” was awarded a $30,000 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2001.
Review of “This Crumbling Pageant”
Review by: Veena Kashyap
This Crumbling Pageant, an epic romantic fantasy set in Regency-era England, tells the story of Persephone Fury, a young woman with a dark secret.
Born with extraordinary magical powers, she has been shielded by her family, keeping her magic a secret in a society that would penalize her for being different.
We meet Persephone at the age of thirteen, when all she wants is to learn and explore the world that surrounds her. Enter Vespasian Jones, the antagonist to Persephone’s protagonist.
Vespasian happens to be the tutor to the Fury boys but his intentions for positioning himself at the Fury residence are all but noble. His motives are the stuff that makes this book a pleasurable quest to read.
Set between the Ordinary (human) and the Shadow (Magi) worlds, the only similarity between the two is the societal propriety of the times. The differences are vast. The Shadow world exists in parallel to that of the Ordinary. With its own traditions steeped in a history molded by the Fury family, the Magi world is intriguing.
At the age of seventeen, Persephone is set to make her societal debut and embark on a new life offered to her through marriage.
But destiny has other plans for her. Ripped away from her family and the man she loves, she is taken away by the devious Vespasian to fulfill a prophecy set in motion at her birth.
Persephone is no damsel in distress. She has mettle, the kind that is the perfect counter to Vespasian’s evil. That is what makes “This Crumbling Pageant” such a tremendous read.
I do not like period pieces. I am more about the urban setting and my fantasies almost always involve vampires. Nor am I fond of magical tales set against a mythological backdrop. But all my notions about what I like and do not like were squashed with this book.
What matters most to an avid reader aren’t elaborate settings or plot twists that are meaningless if not used to propel the story forward. And rest assured, you won’t find the use of such poor tactics in this work.
Instead, what the author of This Crumbling Pageant offers are multi-dimensional characters who undertake a call to action that keeps conflict central making me turn page after page until I reach a satisfying ending but am still left wanting to read more.
That is no easy feat. Not when I have very strong tastes in what I like reading and normally would never pick up a book like “This Crumbling Pageant.”
Patricia Burroughs is a talented author with an innate ability to first build then carry the story forward with great adeptness. Her storytelling is methodical but the outcome is riveting. She enjoys world building and took great pains to give us the world of the Ordinary and the Shadows, layering in classes and hierarchies against history and myth that is brilliant. To be honest, I haven’t read anything quite like “This Crumbling Pageant” and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first book in the Fury Trilogy.
If you are looking for a book to add to your reading list, might I suggest you pick up “This Crumbling Pageant.” My rating – a must read!
Where to buy:
Interview with Patricia “Pooks” Burroughs
It’s #MondayBlogs and as a bonus, here’s an interview with the award-winning author and screenwriter, Patricia “Pooks” Burroughs. Enjoy getting to know the talented author. I know I did!
Veena: Alright, let do this – shall we? So tell me Pooks, what’s on your nightstand?
Pooks: My kindle, my iPod, my MacBook Air [if it’s bedtime], my cell phone, and whichever print books I want to have handy just in case I don’t already have enough to read. Right now that would be Sex in Georgian England and The Illustrated Letters of Jane Austen.
Veena: I see we have the same number of gadgets hanging about our nightstands. Here’s a tough question – favorite book?
Pooks: I could never list just one. The Harry Potter series took over my life for a few years, as I was either reading, rereading while waiting for the next one to come out, or standing in line for midnight movies.
When it comes to literature, Lolita owns a piece of my soul. What a masterpiece, disturbing and yet magnificent.
Two series are keeping me enthralled right now. First, I love Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins mystery series, about a Church of England exorcist, a female priest with a teenaged daughter who is pagan, and a boyfriend she can’t figure out how to handle, being a priest and all. And by following Phil on twitter, I discovered Ben Aaronovich whose Peter Grant series has been described as a combination of London, CSI and Harry Potter. And it’s brilliant.
Veena: Me too! I love Harry Potter. I am reading The Sorcerer’s Stone to my six year old son. Can you believe the first book came out 17 years ago? OK, here’s another tough question – who is your favorite author?
Pooks: I’ve loved everything JK Rowling has written, yes, even The Casual Vacancy, and own all of her books in hardcover, UK editions. Does that make her my favorite? Again, I have trouble saying there is just one favorite.
James Michener probably had more influence on me than any other author, through his Pulitzer-award winning Tales of the South Pacific, though it was the musical adaptation (South Pacific) that introduced me to the stories when I was only five years old. My mother worked there and I loved the movie so much, I begged her to take me to work with her, so every day for six weeks I sat in that dark theater and fell in love with Lt. Cable all over again. When he sang, “You’ve Got to Be Taught,” I hurt inside. My five-year-old heart hurt that he’d been taught to hate the people his relatives hated, that they wouldn’t understand that he loved Liat and wanted to marry her, that he could never take her home to the United States. It was many years later before I connected the dots and realized that the Tonkinese people in South Pacific were Vietnamese.
Michener taught me the pain and evil of judging people because of ethnicity ofr skin color, and for that, perhaps he is my favorite author.
Veena: Very deep – isn’t it amazing how books can shape the way we think? What about your favorite quote?
Pooks: You and your favorites! Gah!!! “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” –JK Rowling
Veena: Come on, you know you love my questions! Let’s change it up then — shall we? If you could have dinner and drinks with someone long gone, who would it be and why?
Pooks: I want to sit at this table with these two men [Richard Harris and Peter O’Toole] and just listen to them talk and tell tales and remember. I couldn’t keep up with either of them, which is why I want both of them there to entertain each other, and let me be their audience, willing to laugh in all the right places, weep when the tale calls for it, and bask in their glory.
Veena: What about your dream vacation?
Pooks: A month –no a year—in ‘our’ cottage on the coast of Cornwall, with the sea out the window and the freshest, cleanest sweetest air on the planet.
Veena: Back to favorites – tech gadget?
Pooks: It would have to be my MacBook Air.
Veena: What inspires you to write?
Pooks: Reading magnificent books. Reading bad books never inspired me, even though some people get inspired because they know that can do better. Bad books just make me annoyed. Wonderful books prime the pump and fill me with joy, and next thing you know, I’m writing, too.
Veena: 3 words that describe you?
Pooks: Anglophile. Story-teller. People-lover.
Veena: All right, last question and of course, I’ll end with another favorite — song?
Pooks: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture — complete with bells and cannons. I love how he began with the mournful Russian hymn, “O Lord, Save Thy People” and then you hear “La Marseillaise,” the French National Anthem, as Napoleon’s French Armies approach. The counterpoint of French military music and Russian folk song weaves and battles, following the course of Napoleon’s attempt to conquer Moscow and defeat the Russians. And finally, at the end, the glorious ringing of every bell in Moscow, the cannons blasting—it’s glorious! And to hear it live with real howitzers? Incredible!
I hope my fantasy series will leave people feeling as filled yet drained, as jubilant and exhausted by the time it finds its own ending, as I always feel after listening to the 1812 Overture. Soundtrack by Tchaikovsky? I could live with that!
There you have it! Hope you enjoyed getting to know the lovely Pooks as much as I did! Tuesday, I’ll post my review of “This Crumbling Pageant.” Stay tuned!
Book Title: This Crumbling Pageant
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Story Spring Publishing
Page Count: 606 pages (paperback)
Release Date: May 6, 2014 – Available in hardcover, trade paperback and digital
Book blurb: Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide. England, 1811. Few are aware of a hidden magical England, a people not ruled by poor mad George, but the dying King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon.
The Furys are known for their music, their magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. When Fury ambitions demand a political marriage, Persephone is drugged and presented to Society–
Only to be abducted from the man she loves by the man she loathes.
But devious and ruthless, Persephone must defy ancient prophecy, embrace her Dark magic, and seize her own fate.
Where to buy:
Patricia Burroughs–Pooks–began her writing career in romance with five published novels. She received nominations and recognition from RT Reviews and was a Finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Rita.
Then she got lured over to the dark side–screenwriting. Her first script landed her an agent, director, stars–everything needed for the movie to get made but money. Later scripts [action comedies, romantic comedies, science fiction and fantasies] continued the string of “almosts” until the years 2000 and 2001, when she became the only screenwriter in history to be a Finalist twice–with two different scripts–for the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. She received the Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for an adaptation of her first published novel, La Desperada, under the title, “Redemption.” Uncredited but paying work followed, and she was happy with her Hollywood dreams…
Until one day she woke up with a new story rooting itself into her heart, a story that couldn’t be told in a script but needed many more pages to spread out, flex its muscles and take wing. She returned to novels and is presently writing an epic fantasy trilogy. Story Spring Publishing released This Crumbling Pageant in hardcover, trade paperback and digital on May 6!
Pooks loves dogs, books, movies, and football. A lifelong Anglophile, she treasures her frequent travels in the British Isles researching current science fiction/fantasy writing projects. She and her high school sweetheart husband are living happily ever after in their hometown of Dallas, Texas.