Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Short Con Week 47 - Patricia Abbott

Patricia Abbott first came to my attention way back in March when she reached out to this green blog writer and offered me a chance to take part in her Friday Forgotten Books series of reviews.  Needing as much attention as possible, I said yes without even knowing who the woman was.  If she was willing to take a chance on me, the least I could do was the same.  So I checked out her site, was instantly impressed, and immediately was terrified.  I still wasn't confident in my ability to review a book (something that still troubles me) but Patty accepted my words with grace and encouragement.  The boost she gave my confidence is one of the reasons I'm still writing this blog today.

Fast forward a few months, and the more I check out internet magazines and publishing, the more I see her name pop up.  A contest win here, her name on a cover over there, this woman was everywhere, and every story I've read has been quality.   It's no surprise when I see her name in a collection, and it usually causes me to take a chance on an unknown book.

She recently took on another experiment, a writing challenge called La Ronde, where different writers, myself included, pick up the pieces of a previous writer's story and run with it.  Six stories in, and I'm feeling those nerves ramp up again, especially considering I'm writing the chapter before she wraps it all up.

If you're not familiar with Patricia Abbott, please check out her blog.  You'll find her post archives as well as links to her work, well over twenty-five stories.  You won't be let down.  In the meantime, enjoy this quick little Q&A.

First, tell everyone a little about yourself.  How did you get into writing and such?  How much time do you spend writing? 

I always wrote stories for my kids and a little poetry, but I took writing up in more seriously after taking four writing workshops in a MA program in the late nineties/early 2000s. All of my initial stories were literary, but they also were dark. So moving into more crime-oriented stories was a natural progression for me. I spend anywhere from no time to six hours a day, averaging about 3-4 hours most days probably. Most of the real writing takes place in my head when I am doing something else entirely.

What are your favorite stories to write?  Long? Short?

My favorite length is between 2500-4000 wrds. I always feel too much character and atmosphere must be left out of a flash story and the opposite is true for stories over 5000 words.  And I really dread reading stories that are all dialogue so I try not to write them.

It seems you are all over the internet with your short stories. What is the appeal of writing for internet publication for you?

In the beginning all of my stories were in print literary publications. I never met anyone who read them. Nor did I meet any of the other writers in them. I also disliked waiting months for acceptance and months to see them in print. One story had a two-year birth process. I prefer quicker gratification. And I especially like reading stories by writers I know through the Internet. I like knowing that that story is a Sandra Seamans story or a Kieran Shea. I feel like we are all working on one big project. It feels very communal to me, something I see through my blog as well.

I've noticed you've edited some anthologies as well.  How does that compare with writing for them?

I found almost no satisfaction in editing an anthology. It was all about sending out mass emails, waiting to replies, contracts. There was no creativity in it. Too much like a regular job—and I already had one of those where I did this very same sort of thing.

You first came to my attention when you asked me to write up a Friday forgotten classic.  Be honest, how many books have come as a complete surprise to you.  I'll be honest, after each Friday, it seems I've got a list of at least five new books to add to my shelf that I'd never heard of before.

Here’s a surprise. The great majority of books come as a complete surprise. Most of my regular writers read a very different sort of book than I. More fantasy, science fiction, western, pulp. I always feel woefully under-read. But on the other hand, I could list hundreds of books I have read that they probably have not. We read a different sort of fiction, I think. In the beginning I thought I would be able to read a lot of the books mentioned, but that has not turned out to be possible.

What upcoming projects would you like to promote?

Of course I am hoping more people will read Discount Noir, available anywhere ebooks are sold. I am contemplating trying to put together a collection of the forgotten book reviews but not very fervently. I have two novels I would like to see in print—but seem unable to do what I need to make that happen. Other than that, write on


  1. Patti's a smashing woman who has an essential blog. Oh, and she writes short stories that are as good as you'll read anywhere. And are usually better.Top interview.

  2. Patti's cool. Way cool.

    Good interview. No fluff.

  3. I've just become familiar with Patricia's work and her generous contribution to the writing community. I really appreciate what she said here about writing for ezines and being able to get to know the authors rather than waiting months for a print zine and not knowing anyone. The internet really has brought a new chapter to the table when it comes to literature as a whole. Great interview!

  4. A great interview with one of the finest short story writers of our time.

  5. Thanks for all the great comments folks. Glad to see some new faces. Also, Paul might have been to gracious to mention it, but please check out his blog (pdbrazill.blogspot.com)where Patti was just a guest blogger. Great stuff.

  6. Patti is a quality writer and a generous human being. She's got staying power, too, so I expect to see one of her novels in print at some point.

  7. Top interview from an excellent, prolific author.