Patricia Leslie is a Sydney author with a passion for combining history, fantasy, and action into stories that nudge at the boundaries of reality. Urban fantasy is the ideal genre for exploring alternative history and Patricia does just this in her debut novel, The Ouroboros Key; a contemporary quest story set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Her second novel, A Single Light, leaves known history behind, and joins fantasy with beach and bush south of Sydney where the mild seeming landscape becomes the setting for a potential world-altering event. Walks through the bush will never be the same again! Patricia actively explores locations taking photos, touching walls, and listening to her surrounds so that she can bring realistic experience to her descriptions. She is also a dedicated, some say compulsive, reader and collector of books. “Being an author gives me the excuse I need to spend my spare time exploring, daydreaming, and reading! Patricia manages writing and family-life with aplomb as long as there is a cup of tea or a nicely chilled glass of white wine somewhere close by. Keeper of the Way is Patricia’s third novel.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your latest novel, Keeper of the Way.
I love history and learning about the stories hidden, through time or neglect, in our past. I came across a newspaper article about an artist using Sydney’s Garden Palace as the foundation for a major public art installation. I’d never heard of the Palace and immediately started delving further. It’s a fascinating story from start to fiery end; it’s destruction is still a mystery. Roughly coinciding with that was a trip I’d made to reconnect with some my ancestral links in Scotland.
Are any of the characters and settings based upon your own life experiences?
A little. Some of the characters are derived from my family history; the McKinnons and their origins on the Isle of Skye and of course their lives in Australia, but that’s about it. Some of the settings are the same heritage places and structures that I’ve been interested in and visited to take photos.
What adventures can we expect your characters to take in future books?
Journeys. Rail and sea for the main part. Facing unexpected trials, coming to grips with death, and learning new powers and beliefs.
What is your biggest motivation for writing?
Writing is how I take stock of the world around me. If not writing stories then jotting down book reviews, ideas, notes, even writing lists. I enjoy the physicality of writing as much as the creative release.
How many books have you written?
A dozen or so but only three sent out into the world via my publisher.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
The publication of my first novel. It’s something I thought beyond my reach, but I persisted with my dream and finally made it. Publication of a first novel is about more than writing being recognised. It’s about persistence, bravery, not giving up, and facing fear.
What advice would you give a young writer trying to get published?
Make sure your work is the best you can make it, research agents and publishers, have a broad view of the market, and persist.
What inspires you when you hit writer’s block?
Reading. I’ll go for a mix of books and authors from someone whose writing style I aspire to or find inspiring, non-fiction in the area my own work is based (in other words, research), and reading in a completely different genre. I also find attending writers events, talks, museums, and galleries can also inspire writing, and I always carry a notebook just in case.