Interview with... Rachel Patterson
What author/books influenced you in your early days of being a pagan/following your spiritual path?
When I first began my Pagan Witchcraft journey it was pre internet, so it was harder to find information. The very first book I got my hands on was To Ride A Silver Broomstick by Silver Ravenwolf and it was really useful in getting me started. Her books had lessons and exercises to work through which I like. Later on I discovered authors such as Rae Beth, Kate West, Christopher Penczak and Yasmin Galenorn, all of their books influenced me in some way. From a fiction point of view I think the author Terry Pratchett also influenced me, I love his portrayal of witches, and still do.
I read anything and everything! Currently in my ‘reading’ pile are books on Cornish folk magic by Gemma Gary, books on Roman practice by L Vitellius Triarius (both for my own practice) and research books on ancient Britain by Barry Cunliffe (for a Sulis book I am writing) and books on dragons by Richard Freeman and Jacqueline Simpson (for a dragon book I am writing).
What drew you to your path?
Being born on 31st October I suspect it was partly in the hands of fate. As a child I loved tales of dragons and witches and was fascinated with the moon. My father has always been a history buff and would take us to all sorts of ancient sacred sites for visits, even sitting in the middle of Stonehenge on occasion for picnics (before it was all fenced off). I think it was all sorts of things that drew me in. Then somewhere just over thirty years ago I discovered a book on witchcraft in a charity shop and picked it up, read it cover to cover and knew that I had ‘come home’.
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
Sometimes people will suggest a subject to me, on occasion my publisher has prompted me with a theme. Other times an idea just pops into my head and won’t stay quiet until I have done something about it. All of my books are on subjects I work with regularly in my practice.
How did you become an author? Was it something you intended or was it by accident?
Totally by accident, it was never something I had dreamed of doing. Although I had written a few magazine articles and lessons for the Kitchen Witch School. Somewhere in the early part of 2012 a publishing company, Moon Books were looking for subjects for their new Pagan Portals series. I suggested Kitchen Witchcraft, the editor, Trevor contacted me and suggested I write it. The rest as they say is history.
What do you feel makes a book worth reading?
A book needs to grab my attention within the first few pages. For me it also needs to be written in ‘easy speak’. I want to read the book believing the author is sitting across the kitchen table from me with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, having a good ole natter. If I need to consult a dictionary to understand the first page then I won’t read any further. It also needs to be well researched and sourced, something I have learnt along the way. There is so much misinformation and repeated false information out there on witchcraft, always check and double check your facts and sources.
Are you working on a book right now and what it is?
Always! I have four signed contracts with the publisher Moon Books at the moment, currently I am focusing on writing Pagan Portals Dragon Magic but I also have Pagan Portals Sulis, Household Magic and Witchcraft: Daily Practice waiting in the wings. I also have a contact with the publisher Animal Magic Dreaming to write and produce four oracle decks.
Do you write full or part time?
I have a small part time job out in the ‘real’ world, and I co run the Kitchen Witch School so probably half of my time is spent writing.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep at it.
Keep it original.
Check your facts and sources.
The life of an author in the occult genre will not make you a millionaire, in fact you may be hard pushed to make it your main source of income, but it is wonderful to do.
A huge amount of your time will be spent marketing.
There are a lot of pagan books on the market - what do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?
Honestly I have no idea, I just know that I am very grateful that people find them useful. I believe witchcraft experiences and knowledge should be shared, we all learn from each other. But possibly because most of my books include at least one cake recipe may help…
Which one of your books are you most proud of?
I think an author is probably most proud of their recent book, but there are some that I really enjoyed writing and would put front and centre. Beneath the Moon is one, it has a huge amount of information about moon magic. Witchcraft into the Wilds is another because it is all about working magic with only the things nature supplies. And of course my next one released is Gods and Goddesses of England which I loved writing because it is very dear to my own pathway, to rediscover and shout out about forgotten English deities.