Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Author Interview: Ripley Patton

I read the first chapter of Ghost Hand, and was instantly hooked. So hooked, I invested in the Kickstarter project, because I wanted to read this book as soon as I could! The book is finally ready, and I don’t want to put it down – just when the plot was getting good: it got even better.

And lucky us! Author Ripley Patton agreed to answer a few questions below. I hope you enjoy…

Do pick up Ghost Hand when you get a chance. It’s terrific!

~ Kelly

Why did you write THIS book?

The short answer is: an agent told me to.

The long answer is a bit more complicated than that.
In 2009, I had been writing short stories for about five years, and really enjoying it, and I’d even won some awards and contests, but I wasn’t making much money. I had thought about writing a novel and had started a couple, but I always lost interest a few chapters in. I was beginning to doubt I could even be a novelist. Then, out of the blue, a New York literary agent contacted me on Facebook. She had read one of my short stories online and wanted to know if I was working on anything longer. After I picked myself up off the floor, I told her I wasn’t, but I could be. What followed was three weeks of frantic writing and outlining. I don’t think I even slept. All in all, I managed to prepare four different novel synopses with sample chapters for her to look over. She read them all and gave me feedback on what she liked and what she didn’t. And of Ghost Hand she said, “I could sell this. Write this one.” And so it began…

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, by the time I had Ghost Hand done, the agent had quit the business, so I ended up publishing it myself.

Do you have a “story” about the writing of this book? Something fun, crazy or frustrating that happened while writing?

Ghost Hand took me three years to write, so yeah, a lot of fun, crazy, and frustrating things happened during that time. Probably the craziest thing was that my home city was destroyed by two devastating earthquakes. I was living in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time, and in September 2010, we had a 7.1 earthquake that, among other things, took down a wall of our house and we had to move in under six hours. Then in February 2011, Christchurch was hit again by a 6.3 which was actually much more devastating than the first one because it was shallower and hit smack in the middle of the city. This time our house wasn’t damaged much, but my neighbor was killed, my husband lost his workplace, and my daughter lost her high school. After that one, the city was under a national state of emergency for three months while we suffered the 7,000 aftershocks. Water, food and fuel had to be brought to us by our friends in the safe zone for several weeks. It was a harrowing experience for me and my family, and many other people, and I have a feeling that someday I will have to write a book about it. But at that time, Ghost Hand was my escape into a world a lot less shaky than the one I lived in.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it. Every last word is as realistic as I could make it. If a girl did have an ethereal hand that could reach into people and pickpocket their souls, I’m pretty sure it would look and act exactly like Olivia Black’s ghost hand does in the book. That being said, it is a paranormal thriller. It is fantasy. I personally don’t like books that are too realistic. If I wanted realistic, I wouldn’t read fiction. I’d just step out my front door.

Perhaps one thing that people might find too realistic is that my teen characters do swear. Honestly, I debated that, taking words out and then putting it back in again. Ultimately, I asked my own two teens what they thought and they said, “Mom, teens swear.” To them, it wasn’t authentic without some swearing. But I’m sure it will bother some people.

What books do you love, and what authors have influenced you?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked this. Probably my two favorite YA books in the last few years have been Lisa McMann’s Dreamcatcher series (Wake, Fade, and Gone), and Neal Shusterman’s Unwind. Both are grungy and dark, have amazing plotlines, and are a unique take on your typical YA story (no werewolves or vampires). Those books heavily influenced Ghost Hand. And Neal has just come out with a sequel (promising to make it a trilogy) to Unwind called Unwholly. Which reminds me, I haven’t bought it for my Kindle yet, and I don’t know why. I shall now go and do just that.

What’s next?

When I first started writing Ghost Hand, I didn’t know it was going to be a series. But as I wrote the book, the story grew, and I soon had a three book plot arc that I was really excited about. I love to read books in a series because then you don’t feel as sad when you finish the first book, knowing there are two more to look forward to. So, what’s next is book two of the PSS Chronicles, which I will start writing in earnest in January. I’ve already done research for the book, which takes place mostly in Indianapolis, Indiana, and I have the basic plot line in my head. Given the fact that scenes have already started to write themselves, I don’t think it will take me three years this time. I’m shooting to have the first draft done by summer, and release book two of the PSS Chronicles in fall of 2013.

You can read the first five chapters of Ghost Hand using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. Go there now, click on this link to read!

Where can you find Ripley and her books? Right here:

Ripley Patton’s Web Site:

Kindle Version of Ghost Hand:

Paperback Version:

Barnes and Noble:


Ripley Patton on Twitter:

Ripley Patton on Facebook:

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