Interview with Patricia Scholes, Author of Her Darkest Beauty1.
1. Tell me a little about Her Darkest Beauty.
In order to survive in the hostile world left by the Nevian invasion, Karra has done everything wrong. She is now left with the choices she made as a child and as a young woman, one of which has separated her from the only person she holds more dear than life itself—her daughter. But Karra is now in the hands of the enemy, the Nevian High Commissioner. But that is a minor problem compared to the Moloch, a nearly invisible entity, who has an even firmer control over Karra. He wants complete control to be able to manipulate this very talented woman into her darkest beauty.
2. Why did you write this story?
I have been a foster mother for quite a bit of my adult life. Some of these children’s stories are far worse than Karra’s. Although this story is science fiction, and there is no Moloch to dominate the behavior of these children, it sometimes seems as if there is. They are dark and angry and terrified and helpless in all the wrong areas. Furthermore, many times they have done terrible things. But everyone is redeemable. Karra does not believe she is, and neither do these children. But as she plows through the things that hold her back from becoming a whole human being, I hope that should one of my children, or another foster child, read this book, they will understand that nothing they have done is beyond redemption. That is my prayer.
3. Your story has a strong moral fiber throughout. To what do you attribute this?
Although based on another planet, not Earth, my story reflects my core Christian beliefs. I never write about other gods, for example, unless I also introduce the One True God, the maker of all. However, I often don’t call Him by names by which we are familiar. I doubt if another race would.
4. How long have you been a writer?
I can’t imagine being anything else. A long time ago I found a picture I had drawn before I could write. In that instant I remembered drawing that picture and the story that went along with it. To me, both art and music are also stories, but in a non-verbal format.
5. What made you decide to write fiction?
I had a difficult childhood. Fiction was then, and is now, my escape from reality. I could never imagine being homesick. There was nothing at home I wanted to cling to. Although I now have a reality I love, am surrounded by people who love me, and my God who loves me more than I can imagine, when I was a child I had too little of that. So I invented stories that sometimes I wrote down.
6. What other things have you written, and where can we find them?
I have written numerous short stories that never became published, nor should they ever become published. Recently I threw most of the old stories away.
I have also written and presented (but not published) numerous Bible studies. I have only published one of my Bible studies: I AM – The Words Jesus Said About Himself. This study was written as a result of so much misinformation about Jesus, so I decided to go to the Gospel of John for the answer. I chose John because he was the youngest of Jesus’ followers and lived the longest. He was the one who wrote, “That which I have touched, heard and seen for myself, that is what I write about to you.” He was an eye witness. He knew.
Surviving Hard Times – A Livingbook was a book written to help following generations learn the life lessons I lived through in my young adult years. It is a handbook on how to live when the worst happens, and survive with grace and dignity. Half of it is low-cost recipes. Half is sound advice.
I didn’t write the third book I published. The Fox and Abd al-Qadir was written by my (several greats) grandfather who survived being a prisoner of war of the Third Jihad (1840s). My grandfather heard Abd al-Qadir talk about invading and conquering Europe in the name of Allah, which I am delighted never happened. Qadir was captured and imprisoned first. After reading his story I was amazed at how little things had changed regarding militant radical Muslims.
I have also written a short story, The Blackstone Inheritance, that was published in The Wirter’s Chest, a compilation of thirteen short stories. Jason Moser, who has a site for fiction authors, published this book as an encouragement for all of us who also write short fiction. His website is www.write-and-publish-fiction.com.
Her Darkest Beauty is my first novel. It’s like my first newborn baby. I have two others that will be out soon that are a part of this same series, Steps of the Dance and Her Dark Inheritance.
All of my books can be found on Amazon.com.
7. How do you structure your day?
I write about six hours a day, from 9am to 3pm, sometimes longer if I have a project to finish, sometimes less if I have appointments that eat into my work schedule. Because of physical health concerns I cannot hold down a “real” job, so I work from home. By 3:00 I am ready for a very long break, so I do other things, practice my piano, weave baskets, catch up on mending or sewing, work on my garden, or a number of other craft projects. My husband usually fixes supper, which is terrific. He is my best supporter in the whole world.
8. What music do you listen to while writing?
I can’t listen to music while I write. It’s a conflict, hearing one story while I’m trying to write another. When I do listen to music, I listen to classical. When I play music I play Christian contemporary. I also love jazz, rock, both old and new, show tunes and ballads.
8. What does a typical day look like to you?
After my self-imposed 9-3 work schedule, I often read. Two evenings a week I play RPG games with friends. One evening a week I go to church because it’s easier for me to get around in the evening than it is to get ready to anywhere in the morning. The evenings I’m not busy, I watch a movie with my husband. We don’t have TV, so we just watch movies occasionally.
9. What do you eat while writing?
I don’t. I drink water, coffee or tea. But one of my favorite snacks is unsalted sunflower seeds, and I’ll take a break away from the computer for that snack.
10. Tell me about your character development. Do you base your main character after someone close to you?
My characters are hybrids of me and others I’ve known. That’s why most of my main characters are female. I know how I think, but I’m not sure about anyone else.
11. What do you do besides writing, your passions and interests?
I love crafts. Right now I’m doing some basket weaving. Someday soon I’ll be making a tied quilt. There are some needlecraft projects I want to finish, maybe some sewing to do. And there’s always mending, which I hate, but I hate shopping even more. I also love to walk. I’m learning about foraging plants, and looking for those that grow close to home. This year I’ll also be planting an herb garden, since I no longer have the space for a vegetable garden.
12. What about you or the world around you would you like your readers to know?
To my Christian family, take nothing for granted. Be thankful for everything you have, and that includes each breath you take. You cannot guarantee you’ll ever be able to take that luxury bath again, so enjoy it. Life happens. And so do disasters. Jesus said, “In this world you WILL have trouble. But cheer up. I’ve overcome the world.”
And that’s what I base my hope on.
When Caesar came into town, he was heralded with great fanfare: “All bow! All bow! Caesar your lord commands you to bow before him.” Those who didn’t were put to death.
When Jesus arrived on the scene, it was not as a king in a palace. No, instead he heralded God’s presence among us. He didn’t have to announce that he was lLord of all. He already was. And when he died, he paved the way for all of us to follow him into eternal life. When he rose, he demonstrated his authority, even over death.
All of us were created as eternal beings. But God has left up to us where we will spend that eternity.
If you want to discuss any of this this in depth, please do. You can reach me through my personal email: email@example.com.