Monday, December 3, 2012
Marilyn Levinson Interviews Author Pat Hernandez
Fellow author, Pat Hernandez, has become a good friend over the past few years. We met through a mystery writers' listserv, and discovered we have a lot in common. We were both Spanish teachers, we've traveled a lot, we write in various genres, and we're about the same age. Here are some questions I've been meaning to ask her for some time:
You grew up in Oklahoma. How do you think that impacted on your becoming writer and what you write?
I’m not sure Oklahoma had anything to do with my desire to become a writer. However, the first five years of my life were spent on a farm. My mother read many stories to my little brother and me. Those stories instilled a desire to read and eventually to make up my own stories. I've blogged about those early experiences of living on an Oklahoma farm without running water and electricity.
What made you decide to write novels? Did you take courses? Join groups?
I created most of the characters in my Vv Tiger novels when I was a teenager, but didn’t start writing the books until I was in my forties. In fact, the first in the series has not been submitted for publication. However, I've written two prequels that have been published. I never took writing courses in college. I’ve belonged to a couple of critique groups, and was a member of the Dallas chapter of RWA for four years.
You've not only traveled extensively, but you've lived in various countries. Tell us about some of them.
I spent one summer in college taking courses at the Instituto Tecnológico in Monterrey, Mexico. After teaching Spanish for a year in Las Vegas, Nevada, I headed to Mexico City for adventure and romance. I worked for Sears in Laredo, Texas for three years,
then moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico with my young son to work in Sears' Retail Distribution Center as a bilingual training coordinator. Four years later, I transferred back to Oklahoma and eventually taught again in Texas. About twenty years later, a friend and I headed for Spain and Portugal. I have an idea for a novel based on that experience.
After returning to the States, I lived in England for a few months. Several years later I returned to England to spend a vacation with my granddaughters. This was the happiest time of my life.
We both write mysteries, romance, and books for kids. Do you find writing in one genre very different from writing in another?
Yes, they are different. In my mysteries, I tend to kill people right and left, and in my romances no one gets killed. The mysteries are dark comical farces or satires. The romances are sweet and slightly sensual. I’ve written a YA for my grandchildren--The Happy Tigers by Vv Tiger—which is perhaps my favorite of all the books I’ve written. It's comical and sweet, with paranormal elements. Actually, it’s a family story. Grandmothers are the readers who have given me the best feedback.
Who has published your books? How was your experience with indie publishing?
My three romances were published by Wings ePress. So far I’m very happy with indie publishing. The industry changes so fast that one never knows what will come next. Right now I publish with Kindle and CreateSpace. The most important thing to remember in Indie publishing is to get a great editor.
I loved reading two of your books—Who’ll Kill Agnes? and The Chameleon Chase. Briefly tell us about them.
Agnes is a wacky dark satire on gracious southern living. It’s one of those books that either you “get it” or you don’t. I also call it a ricochet murder novel. One person kills someone and then someone kills that person and so on.
Chameleon is another of my personal favorites. However, it isn’t a comedy like Agnes or my latest Lea Chan novel Death by Salsa. It’s an adventure in which a dying man wants to find the long lost heir to his fortune.
Why do you have so many pseudonyms?
My first response is because I have multiple personalities. I’m joking, of course, or maybe I’m not. But each pen name represents a different genre or brand.
My Tricia Lee romances are generally sweet, sensual, have a bit of drama and usually a bit of humor. My first published romance, A Caribbean Summer, is a favorite of mine. Lea Chan is satirical and farcical. I originally started writing as Chancey Hernandez but discovered that name was too long for book signings so it morphed into Lea Chan. Vv Tiger is otherworldly, and future novels will be time-travel featuring one of the Tiger sisters.
What are you working on now?Le
Four Lea Chan Twisted Tales that will comprise one book: The Doorbell Rang. Oddly enough, there are no murders, and the few deaths that occur will result from natural causes.
Thank you so much for inviting me. I have enjoyed the experience.
My website is: http://palmaltas.com/