Friday, February 20, 2015

P.S. Bartlett's adventure series

Today I have with me P.S. Bartlett, an energetic and prolific author of the romantic and picaresque adventure series. The gorgeous colorful covers alone won me over, and I cannot wait to read what’s inside. There are three books in the series, The Blue Diamond, Hope from the Ocean and Fireflies.

Gender-free pen name?
MJN: I see that your books are published under P.S. Bartlett.  In the bygone days, female authors would use name or gender-free pen names to get more credibility in a male-dominated atmosphere. I myself have used my initials M.J. in my fiction.  I mainly did it because my subject matter is more likely to appeal to male readership. What were your reasons for using your initials instead of your full name?

PSB: First of all I'd like to thank you having me on your blog.

When I was growing up, I signed everything P.S. Bartlett. I signed all of my artwork and my writings this way. I hoped by sticking with that, it may bring me good luck. 

Modern babes in historical costumes
MJN: Let's talk about the cover.  Even though your novel has a historical setting, the model used for the cover is very modern-looking.  More than that, she resembles you physically.  Did you have any say in which model would be used for the cover?  Is the protagonist your alter ego?

PSB: I suppose that was simply a strange twist of fate or a coincidence. I'm actually in the process of working with a new artist and revising the cover as I add new books to the series. I've chosen a whole new theme for all of the upcoming titles in the series, so the overall appearance of the books will be a lot different from the modern looking model on the cover of The Blue Diamond. 

I am flattered that you think she and I share a resemblance but I can assure you, Ivory and I are nothing alike. However, if I were to have an alter ego, I could surely do a lot worse than Ivory Shepard. Bold, brave and daring are three qualities I like to think I possess on some level but maybe not to the extent that Ivory has them. 

From Tudors to Robin Hood
MJN: You mention in your biography that you like to get your history fix from movies and books. Can you list a few that inspired you or influenced your writing?

PSB: Oh my goodness there are so many I could mention but in television: 
·         The Tudors
·         Black Sails
·         The White Queen
·         Movies:
·         Elizabeth the Golden Age
·         Pirates of the Caribbean (All of them)
·         Robin Hood
·         Books:
·         Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
·         Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
·         Endless Horizon Pirate Stories- Cristi Taijeron

I could go on all day!

The power of myth
MJN: I was tickled by your reference to the Irish in Fireflies.  Although Russian-born, I am fascinated by Irish history and have written three novels about the Easter Rising.  Do you believe that the Irish are romanticized in fiction?  Are there any myths you'd like to disband?

PSB: Let's just say there are a great many romance novels and love stories with Irish roots but I definitely did not romanticize Irish history in either Fireflies or Hope From the Ocean, except for one character's love of storytelling. Lochlan Flynn loved to entertain the younger children of the family with stories of Irish mythology.

Both of these books dealt with dark and desperate issues and although the landscape and background in both books was definitely beautiful and romantic, the subject matter was serious. There are romances in both books but these are what I suppose you could refer to as mellow-dramas. Both books in that series are about survival and a family saga; both in Ireland and in America. As far as disbanding any Irish myths, I definitely wouldn't want to do that.   

Writing backwards
MJN: I see that the second book in the series was actually published first.  Many authors have told me their work is not linear.  Sometimes they write the epilogue first, or the last novel in the series first and then work their way backwards in time.  Do you have any particular system for writing fiction?

PSB: I've dubbed myself the backwards writer. Yes, I wrote Fireflies first and then decided I wanted to know more about the characters' past. Instead of going forward in the story, I went backwards and wrote Hope From the Ocean.

Now, I've done the same thing with The Blue Diamond. I've just finished the second book in the series and you guessed it; I went all the way back to the beginning. Eventually I'll go beyond The Blue Diamond but so many readers wanted to know how the girls grew up and how they became the women they were in The Blue Diamond, that I decided to give them what they asked for and I've enjoyed it to bits! 

As for a system, I honestly don't know. I just sit down and write. From there, I listen back the next day to everything I wrote the night before with text to speech and decide if it's good enough to keep or if it needs work...It always needs work though. :) I also work with another author who is a friend and pirate expert who hashes things out with me either through messages or on the phone. Sometimes talking things out really gets the story flowing better than in just writing. 

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