Author CP Patrick has learned three things from following her dreams: how to confront fear, that there are readers yearning for new narratives about the African diasporic experience, and that someone cannot wait to read the stories she’s crafting. We couldn’t agree more.
The proud indie author is also a lover of fiction and fantasy, and holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida and an M.A. in African Studies from The Ohio State University. She received her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.
“There’s no greater satisfaction than making your dreams come true,” said the West Palm Beach, Florida native. We’re so excited to have such an amazing author share some insight into her writing world and tips for writers who’d like to follow in her footsteps.
In graduate school, I learned a theory and a bit of folklore surrounding hurricanes—that tropical storms are not natural disasters, but rather retaliation by restless slave spirits. Essentially their rage and anger is embodied in the winds of hurricanes. This theory came about because some hurricane winds start off the west coast of Africa, travel across the Atlantic following the same path as the slave ships, and hit mostly the southern slave holding states.
The Truth About Awiti tells the story of a young girl in Africa whose life was forever impacted by the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Readers travel with Awiti throughout time as she searches for peace and also executes revenge through storms. Each chapter weaves in a bit of history about the Black experience. The story starts with the Portuguese entering Africa and ends with the onset of Hurricane Katrina.
2. Do you have any advice for fellow indie authors?
Yes! Lots! Lol I’m an indie author, but I also hope to become traditionally published. I think the term is “hybrid author.” I have an agent that I am working with on my next novel. That being said, I think there is a huge benefit when authors publish their own work. Indie authors get to learn the business-side of publishing. It is a lot of work, but it is so worth the time, resources, and energy to learn how to produce and publish your own work. I plan to continue to publish independently and traditionally.
3. How important is social media presence as an indie author?
Social media has been key in helping me develop a following of wonderful, loyal readers and fellow writer friends. Writing can be a very isolating experience. The only people who truly understand writers are fellow writers. So I am big advocate for social media, not only to interact with readers but also to connect with like minds for encouragement and support.
4. Explain your process of creating characters. Do you and any of the characters in the novel share the same qualities? If so, explain.
I know this is going to sound a bit esoteric but a lot of times the characters create themselves. Lol I have ideas about how I want characters to look, act, etc. And then as the story develops, so do the characters. I try to make them as real as possible, so they are complex. They love, hate, have struggles, overcome, etc. I do think I am a bit more forgiving them some of the characters in Awiti though.
5. What do you love most about fantasy fiction? Do you have any particular favorites?
I love the freedom of creativity. My current novel is standard historical fiction and I am definitely limited in what my characters can/cannot do. No one can fly or travel though time, etc. And I miss that! So that is really what I love most – creative and artistic freedom, no boundaries. My favorite fantasy fiction is Octavia Butler’s Parables. Her writing is just pure magic.
Here’s an excerpt from The Truth About Awiti.
We waiting for trial. All of us guilty of the same thing—not wanting to be slaves. Guilty of wanting to be free. We rebelled against the men claiming they own us, and we set to pay a hefty price. Seems like the fact our trial is in a few hours, that death will be there waiting to determine our sentence, don’t mean nothing. Guess they know like I know. Death will find us all guilty. We all gon’ die.
“You have broken the laws of this land, and you will pay for your crimes,” Master Destrehan said.
It’s supposed to be a trial. But no such thing as a trial if you got one drop of Negro blood in you. Having that one drop means you don’t have a voice. It means yes, you live and walk and breathe like a man, but you not a man. You not equal to men who don’t have that one drop. You tainted by that drop of Negro blood. Dirty. And tainted, dirty men don’t get a fair trial.
From The Truth About Awiti, Chapter 7, Heads on Pole
Visit CP Patrick at her website!