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In The Originals, Lizzie, Ella and Betsey look like triplets, but they are really clones. Since clones are forbidden, they must live in hiding. To the outside world, the three girls are one person but to make this happen, they have to share one life; only one of them can leave the house at one time. Everything is fine, until one of them falls in love and things can never be the same again...
CAT PATRICK talks to us about her new book:
Q: Your books to date feature 'displaced' characters whose lives aren't what they seem. Why does this step away from everyday reality intrigue you?
A: I think everyone has got a little 'strange' in them, and I like to explore that in my books. I don't love the word normal. Normal is boring. I've embraced my strangeness from a young age and, through my books, encourage others to do so, as well.
Q: Why do you write for YA readers?
A: My first a-ha! book idea happened to be about a teenager, so that's how I got started in YA. But I found that it was a place I loved to be. There are so many possibilities in the teen years. I truly love revisiting that stage in life.
Q: Which has been your favourite book to write so far, and why?
A: That's like asking me to choose between my children!
Forgotten was amazing in that it was my first novel, and it was really complex, and I had to try very hard to keep straight what the main character could remember from her future and what she could not.
Revived was an homage to a person I loved who died, so that was emotional and also very challenging because of what I like to call Second Book Syndrome.
The Originals was easy to write, and therefore I felt like no one would like it, but it seems that some people think it's okay... and turns out, I'm pretty darn proud of it. I love them all for different reasons.
Q: Would you have liked to have been born a twin or triplet, like your characters in The Originals?
A: I have two brothers, and I share a birthday with one of them, though we're not twins. (And I have twin daughters.) So that's where I'm coming from here.
I'm not sure, honestly. On one hand, it'd tough sharing your birthday or everyday with another person... you struggle for individuality. On the other hand, you have a rare bond. It's a tough call.
Q: Was The Originals inspire by having twins?
A: The Originals was inspired by being a busy person more than having twins. I was facing a day, like everyone has, where I had a to-do list for five people, and I thought, "I need a clone!" My active imagination ran wild and I landed on the first human clones as sixteen year old girls splitting a life.
Q: Was it difficult making the Elizabeth 'triplets' the same but different?
A: I really drew on my experiences with my three siblings to make the clones similar but different. Maybe it's because I put so much of my own familial sentiments into the book, but in the end, Lizzie has a lot of my personality traits - much more than any of my main characters to date.
Q: If you found yourself sharing a life, whose life would you most like to 'share'? And what part of the day would you choose to 'own'?
A: It may seem small but I'd share my own, to do all the things I'd love to do but haven't got time for. I'd own the part that travelled, and that spent more time with my daughters, because they grow up too darn fast.
The worst side of sharing would be feeling disconnected, like you aren't a whole person. But the best part would be knowing that somehow, everything is covered.
Q: Do you always know where a book is headed when you start to write? Did any part of The Originals surprise you in its outcome?
A: I always generally know what the ending will be, but not necessarily what it'll take to get there. The path of Lizzie's mom surprised me in this book. I won't say more as not to spoil it for readers.
Q: Do you enjoy the 'events' side of being an author, or would you prefer to stay home and write?
A: Other than raising my kiddos, writing is my reason for being, so that's my favourite.
That said, promoting that writing is critical. We live in the age of social media. F. Scott Fitzgerald never worried about his number of Twitter followers, but I and most other authors I know do.
To help on that plight, I've been travelling with a group of fellow Seattle YA writers and having a blast speaking at schools and bookstores about books, writing, and randomness. Truly, all of these stops have been phenomenal -we've spoken with 200 students at a time down to smaller classrooms of kids who want to be writers like us, and it was all amazing.
Q: How does your writing day go? What are you writing next?
A: I'm lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband who allows me freedom to write in the mornings while he wrangles our preschoolers. I do that until about noon, then get kiddos and play for the afternoon. I tend to work Saturdays, and, when I'm editing, vampire hours.
After The Originals, I have a book launching in August 2013 called Just Like Fate, which I co-wrote with the amazing Suzanne Young. Think Sliding Doors for teens: It's a book about how the choices we make in life can impact us, and tracks two possible paths of the same main character after she's faced with a pivotal decision.
Beyond that, I'm working on something very different for me, which I hope to share details on in the coming months.
Q: What do you do to relax? (when not writing...)
A: I live in a beautiful area and love to hike and explore my surroundings. I love travel, great food and wine, music, movies, and, of course, books.
Q: What is your favourite meal?
A: I'd like to be fancy, but I have to admit: This girl likes a really great cheeseburger.
Q: Where is your favourite holiday destination?
A: Currently: Hawaii. But I am a huge fan of London and hope to visit again someday.
Q: Why are you wearing chain mail on your blog?
A: Why am I not wearing chain mail right now?
I helped organize an event in March called YAppiest Day on Earth, which was the first YA day at Disneyland.
At the cocktail party book signing the evening of the event, there was a man attending who'd made his own chain mail hoodie. We all loved it so much that we tried it on and took pictures, hence the chain mail on the blog.
I will admit, though, that it has something to do with my WIP, so that lovely garment has a true place in my heart. In fact, my friend and fellow writer Martha Brockenbrough (Devine Intervention) and I have vowed to spend portions of advances on chain mail apparel in the future.