Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meet Mirella Patzer - Author of Bloodstone Castle

Hi Mirella,

Your website kept me spell bound for the best part of an hour. What a delightful place to visit. Pull up a comfy cushion, dangle your feet in the pool and enjoy a glass of your favorite iced beverage while we talk.

Billie: Bloodstone Castle is a historical romance that takes place in medieval times. What about this era draws you in so that you will spend hours researching and writing about it?

Mirella: Ever since I was 7 years old, I was fascinated by fairy tales - kings and queens, knights and ladies, princesses and princes. I devoured every fairy tale book over and over again at the library. From fairy tales I progressed to other books such as Nancy Drew and other child hood favourites.. When I was 12, I read Gone with the Wind. Since then, historical fiction has always been my favourite. I think my love for medieval fiction stems from the fact that it can sweep me into another place and time. Life was more brutal back then. Lots of opportunity to learn about our fascinating past through novels. What better way to enjoy history?

Billie: Reviewers are raving about this Lyrical and rich historical novel of intrigue, danger, betrayal, seduction, adventure, and not the least of which is an exciting romance — How do you manage to wrap all this into one novel?

Mirella: I tried to write the sort of book I like to read. I like to be shocked, excited, intrigued, when I read a novel. This is what I tried to achieve with Bloodstone Castle. I wanted the reader to want to turn each page and read, read, read. So I added a little bit of everything - evilness, murder, love, and mystery. I wanted the novel to be something a reader can escape into. We are bombarded with responsibility, pressure, information, and hard work in our every day lives, so I wrote Bloodstone Castle for pure enjoyment and something one can escape into. I hope I have achieved this.

Billie: Please give us an over view of the story Bloodstone. Who are our main characters and why will I love them/or love to hate them?

Mirella: Beneath Bloodstone Castle, the home of Contessa Morena Monterossa, is a lost ancient Roman treasure. As a child, she was betrothed to Ernesto, the Duke of Savona who grew to manhood and became a womanizer and obsessive gambler. In Genoa, Amoro Dragone becomes Duke when his father is murdered. He learns his father's last wish was for him to marry Morena and end a long-standing family feud. Amoro swears to fulfill his father's last wish. This sets the tone for two men too fight for one woman for different reasons. It is a story about duty and honor, obsession and desperation. It is a tale about learning to trust and following one's heart.

Billie: Italy plays a big part in your novels. I have been told more then once that Italian is the language of romance — I recently bought a CD of Italian Love Songs and I must say you can feel the passion in them, but then Italians do everything with passion or so it seems. What first brought you to love all things Italian?

Mirella: Ah, wonderful question. The answer is simple. I am of Italian heritage. My parents immigrated to Canada in the late 1950's and although I was born and raised Canadian, my heart and love for the culture prevail. There are so many books about English royalty. I wanted to be different and share my passion for my roots through writing about it. My mother still owns vineyards there, and I hope to one day go back and buy a small apartment and visit Italy yearly.

Billie: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Italy isn’t the only country that appears in your books. I seem to remember reading that you also did a wonderful take on a German medieval duke or two. Give us a title and tell us a little about this work.

Mirella: When I decided to sit down and write a book, I decided that I wanted to write about famous women in history. Because of my love for Italy, I began to research historical Italian women. I fell in love with the story of Adelaide of Burgundy. Further research led me to her second husband, Otto the Great, who was German, and family. So what started off as a desire to write about Adelaide has turned into a trilogy or 4 book series on the women of the Ottonian Empire - Matilde, Edith, Adelaide, and Theophano.

Billie: My readers are in love with the printed words and you definitely have a way of making those words visual. Are your books available in print, e-book or both and where might readers be able to buy them?

Mirella: Bloodstone Castle will be available in trade paperback and ebook format. I'm also in the process of recording the unabridged version as an audio book which hopefully will one day be available on ITunes and other sites.

Billie: What does the future look like for Mirella the author? Where are you hoping to be five or ten years from now?

Mirella: I have recently retired from a 28 year career as a civilian manager with the Calgary Police Service. I hope to have published two more books in the next two years - The Orphan of the Olive Tree and A Crimson Mantle. I also see myself doing a bit of travelling to Germany and Italy to the locations I'm writing about. My dream is to visit the homes and towns of where my characters lived and died.

Billie: This might seem backwards, but I wanted our readers to see your books before they find out how long you have been writing with the goal of being a published author? When did you decide to pursue this dream and do you write full time now?

Mirella: I have been an avid reader all my life. I never aspired to be an author. I also never believed I had the ability to write. Then one day in 1995, I saw a tv commercial about a group of Canadian war veterans who were trying to raise funds to visit the Moro River and Ortona, Italy. This caught my attention because my mother is from there. In fact, our vineyards are on the shores of the Moro River. The Italian government also wrote asking for permission to erect a monument on our land. This really caught my interest and I began to research. It was then I learned of the Battle of the Moro River and how my mother and her family survived this major battle which occurred. My mother never spoke about the war. She was an 8 year old child. Since then, I have been able to have 2 conversations with her about what happened. It is so painful, I dare not ask her again. So I have been conducting research for several years now with the hopes of writing this story some day, but I'm still researching, so in the meantime, I dabbled in medieval fiction to get my writing career off the ground.

Billie: When you begin a new story, how do you start? Plot—character—idea—Theme—what?

Mirella: This depends upon the story. With my series about the Ottonian Empire, I use a year-by-year account as my plot. For Bloodstone Castle, I simply set out wanting to write a romantic suspense, so I chose the setting first and built a story around that.

Billie: Your characters seem to be as important as any other element in your stories they are well-rounded, believable people not cardboard cutouts. How do you go about developing them, how do you choose names to suit them or, does the name come first?

Part of the fun about writing a novel is creating the characters. All the names of my characters are actual Italian names in existence since medieval times with the exception of Amoro. That name I stumbled upon on a fantasy name website. It is not Italian, but sounds Italian. I liked it a lot because it closely resembles the word "amore" which means love in Italian, yet it seemed strong enough and unique enough for my hero.

Billie: Tell us about your works in progress, I’m assuming you have one or more. Which also leads me to ask do you work on more then one story at a time—or do you finish one before you begin another?

Mirella: I always work on two projects at once. Why? Simply for variety. It helps keep my interest and alleviate any boredom. So currently, I'm working on a novel entitled Orphan of the Olive Tree. It is an actual medieval romantic short story written by a queen in the 14th century. I've taken the basic plot and am expanding it into a novel that takes place in medieval Italy. I'm also currently working on A Crimson Mantle which is the first book of the Ottonian Empire about Queen Matilde who was Otto the Great's mother.

Billie: Every aspiring or seasoned writer needs a good editor, they seem in short supply. Tweaking your story before you send it out is so important, I understand you are an editor who does take on editing jobs for writers. Would you like to give us an over view of those services? And perhaps tell us why you feel it is important to edit or have your manuscript professionally edited before you send it out the first time?

Mirella: I first learned to edit when I joined a critique group. After receiving some excellent feedback, I became hooked. When you are critiqued and learn to critique the work of others, your own writing improves. We as authors are often blind to our own work. We cannot always catch simple problems or plot holes unless we have an independent person read our work. Self-editing is extremely important because your final product must be highly polished in order to make it out of a slush pile and get noticed. So my passion for editing was born from my participation in my critique groups. I enjoy editing because it is meticulous work and I think I have a good eye for finding ways to strengthen a manuscript. And editing is a task that always evolves and where you continually learn. Aspiring authors should take self-editing very seriously and do as much as they can to learn the basics. It really makes a big difference.

Billie: Thank you so much Mirella for taking time from a busy schedule to come and chat with us. One last thing would you tell our readers how they can find out more about you? Where can they buy your books, stay up to date on your new releases, and such. Do you blog? Do you have a page on any of the social networks like Ning, MySpace, or A Manic Readers page? (oops guess that was a bunch of things, but I know my readers will want to track you down and stock up on some great reading.

I really enjoyed visiting with you too, Billie. I really appreciate all your time and effort. Your questions were terrific. I would love to host you and any other authors who are interested at: http://authorcookies.blogspot.com. Check it out and if you are interested, send me an email at: mirellapatzer@yahoo.ca. I have web presences at MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Gather, and many more. You can also learn more about me and my work at:



Mirella Patzer said...

Hey Billie,

This is my first stop here today. I'll be hanging out here all day. Here in southern Alberta in western Canada, we have had rain for nearly the entire month of June and most of May. So it's a good day to write and visit with readers and blogs.

Word Crafter said...

Hi Mirella,
I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy day then visiting with friends on a blog tour. I'm so delighted you could make it.
Please feel free to add some stuff about Bloodstone and your research into all things Italian - How often do you visit Italy?

Bradley said...

I stopped in, Bloodstone Castle sounds like a fantasic tale. Now I might have to add it to my want list. I recently got hooked on the Outlander series.. historical time travel romance. *ack* As if I don't already have enough to read. =) You seem like a very insightful woman Mirella. Glad to make your indirect acquaintance. =)


Mirella Patzer said...

Hi Bradley and Billie, nice to meet you. I haven't visited Italy in many years. I plan on visiting in the next couple of years in order to reserach the trilogy of the women of the Ottonian empire that I'm currently writing.

I love Diana Gabaldon's books. I read Outlander 4 times. So I'm not surprised that it's still going strong this many years later. It appeals to both men and women because of the historical facts and strong characterization.

Bloodstone Castle can be multi-classified - suspense/murder, adventure, historical romance. I'm always thrilled when a man buys the book and says they enjoyed it. One even said, "You don't write like a girl!" I've cherished the compliment ever since.