Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview with Patricia Mason

Hey, Patricia! It’s nice to meet you! Tell us something about yourself.
I write steamy contemporary and paranormal romance under the name Patricia Mason and young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy as P.R. Mason. I was born in the Midwest, and while I had lots of friends and an established career there, I moved to the strange and wonderful city of Savannah, Georgia in 2001. My sister and I had visited Savannah for a long weekend and couldn't resist its siren call. Now I've been here for about ten years and every day is still a treat. I love it here. My home is in the historic downtown and is ruled by a couple of benevolent overlords: my two black cats.

I’m about to embark on a journey of writing romance and YA. What have you learned from this approach? What were some of the challenges?

The biggest challenge, I think, is in branding yourself and your writing. Some readers will cross over between YA and romance but some won't. It's important to let the reader know what they're getting. That's why I've used two different pen names. However, the names are obviously very close to one another so I think a reader could easily find all my books if they would like to. In my writing, the story and characters dictates the heat level or genre. Right now, the stories in my head are urban fantasy/paranormal romance in the YA or New Adult category. I think you have to write what you love, what you're passionate about. If you don't have enthusiasm for what you're writing, the reader won't have enthusiasm when they read the book.

How did you stumble on the quantum mechanics theory of entanglements that inspired this story? #GeeksRULE #GeekIsTheNewBlack  

I was watching a television program on the Discovery channel (I think) about string theory. There was a mention of the entanglements phenomenon and quote by Einstein about the theory. Einstein had called it "Spooky action at a distance." That totally intrigued me. I found out scientists had observed that a particle might be tweaked and a second one, miles away, would turn in response even though there was no discernable connection between the two. They theorized that the two particles were linked or entangled in some alternate dimension. Once I started reading about entanglements and multiverses, I found some very cool facts such as the fact that cause and effect don't always occur in that order. Sometimes the effect happens before the cause. There is so much paranormal activity in Savannah that I've often thought about what sort of scientific basis could be behind these hauntings. I really think we may not understand all the science yet, but there are explanations. The theory of entanglements could be one of them. Anyway, I began thinking that if particles could be linked in alternate dimensions then people could be also. What if people or other beings were linked? The plot emerged from there.

You said Savannah, Georgia and my internal paranormal investigator geek got super excited! LOL! What’s the most haunted place you’ve been to and what did it do for you as a writer?  

My sister and I used to own an antique shop. The building we leased was built over the first burial ground of Savannah, an extremely haunted area. And our building had a number of spirits. More than once we opened the shop to paranormal investigators who found fascinating results such as an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) of a panting dog and a child saying, "he likes you." Items in the shop would regularly move on their own and we would hear the sound of breaking glass. No glass was broken, only the sound. In fact, my sister and I were called by our alarm company so many times after hours for breaking glass (they thought the front window had been broken) and movement in the shop, that we stopped having them monitor for those occurrences. However, the mediums who investigated our shop said that the spirits liked us, so they didn't break any of our good stuff. The shop owner in the space prior to us was an art glass seller and they had a lot of broken items.  My sister's carriage house is also very haunted. Paramount Pictures, in fact, sent a team to investigate and film at her house for a bonus feature they included in the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Poltergeist. These are just a couple of many hauntings I've had experience with. I think what it has done for me as a writer is open my imagination and start me thinking about things I never would have considered before.

You mention that Savannah, Georgia has a high quantity of alleged vortexes. As a paranormal investigator, I’m interested to know what type, what are people saying, what are the claims, because that’s something I haven’t heard about in Savannah. But most of my paranormal research has been here in Denver…where we don’t have a lot of those. *chuckle*

Savannah was voted the most haunted city in America by a parapsychology group. A medium I talked to believes that not only are there a plethora of hauntings here because Savannah is one of the oldest cities in America (founded in 1733) but also because of vortexes. Savannah is laid out in a grid and originally there were twenty-four squares, i.e., little parks that would serve each ward or neighborhood. Twenty-three of them are still greenspace. One of my friends swears he observed a figure pop up out of the ground in the middle of one of these squares from out of a vortex. And since my friend isn't mentally ill, I have to give his personal experience some credence. Part of my book Entanglements was inspired by a vortex reportedly in the basement of a local 'haunted' restaurant. The basement is connected to the riverfront through a tunnel system originally used to shanghai sailors and to transport slaves to and from ships. I'm acquainted with the owner of a local paranormal tour company, which was developing a paranormal investigation tour for the basement. They brought in a medium. Her remark was "no wonder the building is so haunted, someone drew a vortex opening symbol on the floor and never closed it." I investigated the location and the symbol and used a symbol like it in Entanglements.

*stashing the inner geek* LOL! Tell us about your book!  

In Entanglements, teen KIZZY TAYLOR is just hoping for an evening of fun when she joins her friends in a spelunking expedition through an under-city tunnel. But fun turns bizarre when Kizzy accidentally opens a vortex and her stepsister is swept through to an evil alternate dimension. The only way to rescue her stepsister is to reopen the vortex and go in after her. But is her new boyfriend, ROM CALIXO, going to help Kizzy or try to stop her? And if she can get past Rom, will she be able to get back home?
What’s something about your characters that your readers wouldn’t know after reading the book?

The villain of Entanglements is His Royal Highness, The Prince Leopold. He is the son of Queen Victoria. In his dimension, which has an alternate history to ours, he was transformed into a vampire when an attempt to cure his hemophilia didn't quite work out. He became monarch of the Empire of the Dark after killing off his entire family, including his mother. Since then he's been busy creating a vampire aristocracy and gathering all sorts of paranormal creatures into his sphere. Only trouble is, humans are becoming scarce in his world so he'd like to get control of Kizzy so she can open up other dimensions for conquering. But what readers wouldn't know is that Leopold is in therapy. He turned the famous Dr. Sigmund Freud into a vampire so that he could enter psychoanalysis to help him deal with his traumatic past.

Where can readers purchase your book, Entanglements?
May we read an excerpt from the book?

Chapter One

June 21st
No one had ever lived after jumping from the Talmadge Bridge. Until now, in my entire fifteen years, I had never been particularly special or unique. So the chances I, Kizzy Taylor, would be the first to survive were probably slimmer than the cheerleading captain at my high school. The nighttime Savannah skyline, with its gold domed city hall, loomed in the distance, serene and beautiful. Leaning over the railing, I peered down to the water far, far below me. The whipping wind slammed my ponytail against my forehead.
In the darkness, the black sheen of the water’s surface had the appearance of asphalt after a rain. It would probably feel like asphalt on impact. At the thought, my knees buckled. Even if I wasn’t particularly afraid of falling, I was suddenly very afraid of heights…Weird.
Straightening my shaking legs with defiance, I dragged my gaze away from the river and deliberately stared at my feet. They weren’t as scary as the height. From the purple polish on my toes to the blister on my right heel, they were the same feet I’d slipped into clear plastic flip-flops this morning. The garishly happy sunflower appliqué of my shoes mocked me.
 “Kizzy.” Adam’s tiny four-year-old fingers tugged at the denim of my pants. He held his favorite plastic pterodactyl toy in his other hand.
Glancing back at him, I pried his fingers away. “Get back,” I ordered, giving a little push behind me. Okay. Maybe my life was over but I was going to save my little brother.
“I want to go home and see Mommy.” Adam's blue eyes were wide and glistening with fear.
“I know, baby. We will. But get back now.” I tried to keep my tone firm but loving.
A car’s horn blared. Rising as it approached, the tone of the honking then fell as the car left us behind. The lights of the enormous suspension bridge must be illuminating us as if we were on a theater stage. Why didn’t any of these passing cars stop to help?
Adam’s sobs tore at me as I balanced my belly against the icy metal of the railing and climbed over. With barely enough room for my feet, their tips hung over the concrete edge.
“Shhh.” I glanced back over my right shoulder at Adam to try to meet his eyes but they were scrunched tightly shut. “We’re just playing a game. We’ll go home soon. I promise.”
“This isn’t a game.” The baritone voice, so agonizingly familiar, drowned out my brother’s cries. “You have to do it,” the man shouted prodding me in the back with his revolver.
The muzzle jabbed into my skin through the thin fabric of my t-shirt and pushed me forward. I would totally have a bruise tomorrow...if I survived until tomorrow.
“Jump,” the man screamed.
Gripping the rail behind me, I clung. A jagged piece of metal on the rail bit into my flesh and I winced as liquid pooled in my palm. I couldn’t help jerking that hand away to hold it in front of me. Blood dripped off my palm before disappearing into the darkness and becoming part of the Savannah River water.
“Kizzzzzy!” My brother screeched.
“Shut up.” The man started with a jerk. “Do you want to make me shoot?”
The pitch of Adam’s wailing heightened.
Clutching at my necklace as if it were a religious medal, I turned to try to talk to him.
“Can’t you just leave Adam alone? I’ll do what you want.” My pleading had the same effect on the man as it did on the steel of the suspension cable a few feet away.
“This is because of you,” he said. He. My dad. He didn’t even look like the hero I’d always known. My once handsome father was now ugly with his face set in angry angles and with unrecognizable wild eyes. "This is all because of you."
Tell me something new. I’d always suspected I was to blame for my parents’ divorce. But could the breakdown of a marriage actually send my father into this kind of craziness?
“What about Adam,” I said. “Will you take him home…after this?”
“That’s not important.” He—I refused to think of him as Dad again—waved the gun around as if he weren’t even aware of it anymore.
His monotone statement sent an uncontrolled shiver rushing through me. Suddenly, my heart raced so fast and hard it wouldn’t have surprised me if it burst through to the outside of my chest like that creature in the movie Alien. I was terrified for myself and for Adam.
If I tried to get past him, my father could easily block me and throw me over. Mind racing, I remembered the door in the concrete tower—one of the two supporting the deck of the bridge—we’d passed walking up here from our car. I hoped that door led to a stairway down or possibly an elevator. The tower and its door to freedom tantalized me at only about fifty feet away. I could walk the edge of the bridge like a balance beam and make it there pretty quickly.
But what about the gun? It occurred to me that, for some reason, shooting me wasn’t what he wanted or he would have done it by now.
Carefully turning my feet and preparing to get away as fast as I could, I gripped the rail with my right hand and held out the other toward my brother.
“Come to me,” I said.
With complete trust Adam ran and hopped so I could lift him into a “seat” on my left elbow. His arms wrapped tightly around my neck. The smell of chocolate in his hair bolstered my resolve.
“What?” The man blinked as if coming out of some kind of trance. “What are you doing?”
Not bothering to answer, I inched my way along. A wall of wind I hadn’t counted on thwarted my progress. Worse, a sudden gust threatened to sweep us over the side.
“Stop,” the man ordered.
A popping from behind me was almost immediately accompanied by a burning in my right bicep. The arm I’d been using to anchor us to the rail went numb and I lost my hold. Apparently, he was willing to shoot me after all.
Only a few more feet to the door. We could still make it, but I needed to go back over the rail to get there.
Twisting, I prepared to set Adam down on the safe side. Another popping noise sounded from behind me and a thud reverberated in my body as if I'd been slammed in the side with a twenty-pound barbell. The numbness in my arm expanded into the rest of my body and fog seeped into my brain. I know I dropped backward and lost the precarious balance I’d had with my feet.
Falling seemed to take forever as the water slowly rose to meet me. The dome of city hall continued to gleam in the distance, with its golden reflection extending to the river water. Strange that I hadn’t seen that before.
No, I thought. The glow wasn’t on the water it was above the water. A luminous oval pulsed between the river and me. The oval transformed into a circle tinged not only with gold but also with violet.
This must be some dying hallucination the brain generates, I thought as I passed into the shimmering ring. The teacher hadn’t covered this in Biology I. Maybe death tripping was in next semester’s material. The stuff I wouldn’t be learning.
Hitting the water felt like a giant wet mouth sucking me in before swallowing me down.

Where can your readers connect with you on the web? 

I love to hear from readers. Here are my links:

Thank you so much to Patricia for letting us interview her! She's giving away 2 copies of her book. For a chance to win one of them, please leave a comment in the following format: parayournormal(at)blogspot(dot)com.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for having me on this fantastic blog and for the awesome interview last night. Cheers. P.R. Mason