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Patchree Jones - Author

Updated: Jan 20

Patchree Jones is Thai-American and currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and one lazy dog. As a girl, she grew up watching Thai dramas with her mom and dreamt of being a playwright as a teen. While life took her on a different path, her love of stories never faltered. It takes a fighter to share their vision with the world, and Patchree hopes to blaze the trail for all children to go after their dreams unapologetically. Her forthcoming middle-grade novel, Skylight, will be her debut work of fiction and is slated for publication on June 25, 2024 with Sorra Books.

1. What inspires you?

This is such a wonderful question, but I feel like my answer is so predictable. Honestly, I am inspired by everything around me. Whether it’s a show I’m watching, a song I’ve heard, or other books I’ve read, my world inspires me to create the scenes of my series. More importantly, my kids are very inspirational to me too because I began writing Skylight with my daughter almost seven years ago! I think it is important for stories to feel real, even if it’s a fantasy because our emotions are real and the situations we live through are real. So, I tend to look

back on things I’ve lived through and draw upon those experiences in the stories I write.

2. What’s your favorite genre to write?

Obviously, I love to write fantasy because the sky's the limit! Fantasy has rules, but they’re also meant to be broken. I feel like this genre allows me to explore very serious topics in an alternative world and then connect it back to the real world whenever it is possible. I dabble in other genres like contemporary fiction and picture books, but my stories tend to run long for younger readers. One day, I’ll learn to be less wordy.

3. How often do you write?

I don’t write on a regular schedule as I’ve never had to write under a pressing deadline.

Truth be told, it took me just over four years to finish my first draft of Skylight. It took me another year to revise that draft before it was ready to submit to publishers. Now, I try to write at least a chapter a month (which I know is very slow) but the story is clearer in my mind, which makes drafting it a bit quicker than when I first started writing.

4. Do you ever stop writing and start something different?

In my head, I have too many story ideas to count! I have a running file of book ideas that

I keep and I’ve started many different book projects over the years. But, I found that it is easier to focus on one book at a time, while continuing to research and brainstorm plotlines for other projects. I’ve stopped working on Book 2 of my series to write a few short stories that are tangential to the world, but I tend to jump right back into this main book.

5. What are the essential characteristics of a hero you can root for?

I want my heroes to be flawed because I know that I am also flawed. As much as I want to think I am perfect, I know deep down that I’m not and I really want my heroes to be okay with that idea. My heroes should be realistic, even if they have fantastical superpowers. Their emotions and reactions should be real and remind me of what it means to be human. At the end of the day, my heroes (and my villains) are all really gray and the lines between what’s good and evil can often be pretty muddled. So, I have to say that I root for the underdog and the imperfect hero most of the time!

6. Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?

I am quite embarrassed to admit this, but I actually prefer ebooks over physically printed books! I feel like this is a terrible thing to say as an author, but as an adult, I find it easier to have my entire library with me on a device than to haul around every book I’m reading. Plus, I read through books so quickly that I find it easier to be able to jump on my phone and check out a new ebook from the library or buy one.

7. Does anyone in your family read your books?

This question is closely linked to the next question, but my short answer is yes. At first, I wouldn’t let my family read my drafts. They read excerpts, but never the entire draft. Now that the book is done and ready for publication, my immediate family has read my book. Or at least they’ve read most of it!

8. Do you let people read your work before it is finished?

For Skylight, my answer is NO! While I talked about it a lot with my daughter and the rest of my family, I didn’t really want them to read the draft. Now, my perspective on writing has changed and I recognize the value of sharing “work in progress” pages. I have two critique partners that I met through Julie Artz’s MeetCute event and we have been exchanging chapters for over a year now! Both of them have early access to Book 2 in the Mehk Light series (as I slowly write it) and I value their opinions so much as it takes the story out of my tunnel vision and lets me know if I’m getting my point across.

9. What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

I tend to write in a very private bubble, but as I ventured out into the writing community, the best piece of advice I hold on to is from Mary Kole with the Good Story Company. I can’t remember which event it was, but when I heard Mary explain that the first draft of any story is you telling the story to yourself, my mind was blown. First drafts are meant to be rough, and that’s okay. Even if we’re plotters, our stories will slowly reveal themselves in the first draft and it doesn’t have to be perfect. So, MVP advice is to remember that your first draft is YOU telling the story to yourself!

10. If you could spend a day with another popular author, who would you choose?

This one is a toss-up because there are so many amazing authors out there! I’m going to have to cheat on this one and pick two - Christina Soontornvat and Genevieve Cogman. I feel like Christina’s kidlit work opens up the door for Thai creators and reminds others of our existence. That representation is so important because we are a major minority within the AAPI community and everyone deserves to be seen. In terms of fantasy authors, Genevieve’s Invisible Library series captured my heart from the very first chapter. I would love to pick her brain about world-building and see if she has a giant map of all the various universes she creates!

11. What do you do when you feel stuck?

Whenever I feel stuck, being it in writing, in my professional work outside of writing, or even as a parent, I take a break, listen to music, play games with my kids, read a book, or watch anime. I try to pick funny things, quick reads, or return to my favorite shows to simply relax and not worry about whatever is stressing me out at the moment. It’s okay to take a timeout in order to refresh yourself and return to your work when you’re ready.

Thank you, Patchree, for your insightful interview! Please follow Patchree on her social media links and order her debut, Skylight, through our Bookshop!

Discord: patchreejones

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