Monday, December 23, 2013

She's just Whimsically Yours!- Blogger and Writer Patrice Caldwell sits down with Twinja Book Reviews!

Diversify YA is such a great site for finding more about diverse experiences, especially from those promoting diversity in their writing. Patrice Caldwell was the first interview-ee I reached out to, and for good reason! Now she's here to talk about diversity in YA fiction!

1. We connected through a Diversity YA article of yours, but for those who didn't catch that interview, why dont know give us a better glimpse of who you are.

Of course! Hi Everyone *waves*, My name’s Patrice and I’m a 20 year old writer, reader, blogger among many other things (one of them being a college student but I’m currently going through finals so let’s not mention that, shh!). I’m originally from Northern Texas but now I’m in the Boston area because of that thing I said we weren’t going to mention right now ;) But actually, Marieke from DiversifYA did such a great job with that interview that you should all just go read the full thing here. While you’re there, be sure to check out all the other awesomeness that is DiversifYA (so many amazing interviews & discussions!!!).

2. You're an active presence on your blog "Whimsically Yours." You also balance going to college. Do you feel as though you sacrifice one for the other at times?

Haha,yes. After all, it is finals time right now and though I have three papers due in a week-few days, here I am  But, I love the writing community, and I’m honored to be interviewed here. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it, my friends and those who know me joke that I’m a vampire (shh!), but 1. I don’t spend much time thinking about the craziness that is my life. 2. Writing is what I do. 

I used to play sports and do theater intensely before college. To me, it’s the same thing. When you love something enough, you make time for it. Is it overwhelming at times, reading for pleasure, reading for class, writing, blogging, being the president of my college’s black student organization and an officer in my college’s literary society? Yes, it is. But, I signed up for it. Not to mention, I rarely differentiate between all the readings I do as I love reading my course assignments as much as I do all the other things I read. 

I embrace the crazy, it works for me. You have to do what works for you. I learned that a long time ago, the hard way. 

Don’t compare yourself to others, go at your own pace, you’ll get there. 

Yes, some days I do decide I’m going to watch a bunch of episodes of TVD, The Originals, Alias, The West Wing, Lost Girl etc… or work on my current WIP instead of doing all the readings for class but that’s my choice. Other times, like now, I have to focus on my classes.

In my opinion, this is great practice/training for when I’m a published author and have a ton of deadlines I have to meet!

3. On your blog, you've talked a bit about diversity, or the lack of it, in books. You have many lists featuring books with diverse characters, and have written many blog posts in reference to diversity. In your own words, what does diversity mean to you?

Short version: Good (great would be better) representations of the world as it truly is. The world is so diverse, not just skin color but cultural, social, economic. National Geographic just did a series titled “The Changing Face of America,” take a look Changing Face of America article. The world’s changing has always been a diverse place, and it’s important for us to reflect that in our books. Yesterday I saw The Hobbit Part 2. I’m a HUGE fan of the franchise (books + movies). But, I was so irritated the entire time because I could the number of POC in the movie on my hands. If you can create an entire world with creature of myth and ones you made up, you can have, for example, gay characters in that world without their “gayness” being their main defining feature.

Long version: read this (Diversify YA article), this (Round Table discussion-Sexuality in YA-DiversifYA discussion w/other writers on Sexuality in YA/NA. FYI, there are 4 parts.), and this (White Girls in dresses post), and this (Countering the White Straight girls in dresses post ). They’re all posts/discussions I’ve been a part of that discuss diversity!. 

Also, here’s my Diversity in YA list (Patrice's Goodreads diverse bookshelf) in case you’d like to see some great books that do this well (I’m always taking more recs for the list).

4. You've had many discussions on the amazing website "Diversify YA." Did you seek Diversify YA out yourself, or did they find you?

I reached out to Marieke, and I’m so glad I did. It was such a wonderful reflective interview for me. It raised a lot of questions I’d never really thought about that deeply. It took a lot of courage on my part because though I’m black and can’t and don’t want to hide that fact, my sexuality isn’t something I talk about all the time. I’ve never understood why queer people have to “come out.” Straight people don’t. That being said, I do understand that for some it means everything to have someone who has “been there/done that” to look up to and know it’s going to be okay and you’ll figure everything out 

5. I recall reading a blog post of yours calling out covers with White girls/women in dresses. What inspired this post? If it were common to have girls of all races in dresses in books, do you think you would have written this post? 

  • Here’s the post in case anyone want to read it: - it’s basically me critiquing the trend of white girls in dresses (with flowing hair, who happen to be straight) on covers on books especially when the book’s protagonist never wears anything like that, etc…
  • Yes. I would have. We aren’t all flawless, model-esque girls/women who wear dresses while slaying zombies. I think we’re doing a disservice to young girls by representing what may be characters they look up to as such. 
  • Also, I’ve never really been a people on books person. Mainly because I don’t like to force the reader into seeing the character only one way. Now I know you might be thinking how do you describe your characters so people know they’re POC etc…well, I try to rely on culture and ethnicity, etc… because that can be more important to who a character is than the color of their hair, usually. It’s a challenge but I try not to force it. (Malinda Lo, author of ASH (one of the best books I read in 2013) among other amazing ones has some great posts about it ( ( But like I said, I would have because I believe covers shouldn’t just be shiny objects that draw the reader near, they should be reflective of the actual book. In fact, the covers that draw my attention—because there are so many with girl in dresses—are the ones with something different that leaves a hint about the book…loved DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE’s cover!! But it’s a trend that’s whining down (for the most part) so that’s that. Ultimately though, it’s the book because I know and understand that many authors don’t have a lot of say in their book cover.

6. "What has been your favorite way of connecting between social media so far?" Jointed with "Do you have a favorite hashtag, or tweet?" 

I really like Twitter, it has connected me with some of my favorite authors, writers who have given me so much support, critique (in the best ways), and laughter. 140 characters…genius! I don’t have a favorite hashtag but I really like @camphalfblood aka Rick Riordan’s tweets, they’re funny and he gives great advice to aspiring authors. I also am in love with tumblr as it’s like #FandomCity for me 

7. What are your favorite genres to read and write? Is there something that connects you to these genres more than others?

No favorite genre to read. Though I do lean toward Speculative Fiction with my writing and though I grew up reading a lot of Spec Fic, a good contemporary can win over me in a second. I have phases, I go through all genres & categories. One day I’ll be reading Margaret Atwood, the next it’s Laini Taylor then some J.D. Robb or Jennifer Estep (love Urban Fantasy) and the next it’s Kara Taylor whose debut PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL wowed me, some great characterization + plots twists.

I like good books. Great writing. Poignant stories. Complicated and courageous characters. Settings that sweep me away. Tales that take me out of this world and into a world I never thought of that make me question what it means to live the life/way I do. Any good book will do.

8. What was the last book you read that effortlessly displayed the society you identify with today?

I’m going Dystopian here. 

I want to say REBOOT by Amy Tintera, loved it, but that’s a frightening a prediction for the future even for me. I think my picks would be a mix between PROXY by Alex London and DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. If you’ve read both of them, you can probably see how each has bits of our world, especially the world of PROXY’s takeover/rule by corporations and DIVERGENT’s fear-mongering society. 

9. What types of stories can we expect to see from you in the future?

Let’s see. Under my belt I have a story about a young girl who discovers she’s the descendant of the Egyptian Goddess Isis and must defeat God Seth to save her world (it’s set in Egypt) & one about a young criminal mastermind, living in a futuristic society, who must find a high-tech cube her best friend has been framed for stealing before 1. It ends up in the wrong hands only to 2. Find out that it’s actually a ticking time bomb and will blow up thus destroying her world in a few days. 

I’m working on a YA Sci-Fi Thriller that’s a Snow White retelling + The Matrix + I have no idea, It crept up on me in the best of ways. It’s set in a post-antibiotic future which, according to some articles I’ve been reading, might not be that far off. I’m also working on a MG Adventure that’s about two siblings who inherit an antique shop holding magical/mythical artifacts from around the world/throughout time and who must journey to “The Otherworld” (for lack of a better name) to find their missing aunt, the store’s real owner, who has just been kidnapped by a sorcerer who wants to take over the shop thus controlling both worlds. 

…I’m all about chaos & destruction & what people do when they’re put in a situation where they could lose someone/s they love. 

10. Where can people go to find out when to expect your updates?

My website can be found here and it includes a listing w/descriptions and excerpts of my completed and current writing projects. It also has links to other interviews/guest posts I’ve done, articles I’ve written (I’m a staff writer for college newspaper + other publications), my favorites list and other fun things.

My blog can be found here. Whimsically Yours. I post book reviews, author interviews, guest posts, random fashion posts, posts about writing, inspirational quotes, and whatever pops into my head.

My Tumblr: Whimsically Your Tumblr Warning: Contains high amount of posts regarding: LOTR/The Hobbit, The Originals, especially Marcel/Charles Michael Davis’s 100-watt smile, women in pretty dresses (lol yes, the irony…I did almost go to fashion design school), The Vampire Diaries, book & writing posts, Jennifer Lawrence and, of course, Tom Hiddleston (basically fandoms 24/7 + inspirational quotes and random things). 

My twitter (anything goes but usually more writing/reading related): Whimsically Yours Twitter Account

Patrice is offering the diverse read "Killer of Enemies." Tu Books, an imprint of Lee and Low published it, and it is a steampunk story with Native American culture and characters! Interested? Scroll down to enter the rafflecopter widget!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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