Book Profile: The PSS Chronicles by Ripley Patton

RPatton cover

What genre do you write, primarily?

I write young adult paranormal thrillers. Think Hunger Games or Divergent or Twilight with less romance and more thrill. That’s not to say that there isn’t any romance, but it isn’t the driving force of the narrative. When I set out to write GHOST HAND, I wanted to create a page-turner that people just couldn’t put down until they were done. And I’ve been told by my readers that I succeeded.

Tell me a little about your series? 

The series is called The PSS Chronicles. PSS stands for Psyche Sans Soma, the paranormal birth defect I created to inflict on my characters. In the world of my series, Olivia Black has been born with a right hand made of ethereal energy instead of flesh. Thus, the name of the first book, GHOST HAND,which was a 2013 Cybil Award Nominee and a semifinalist for the Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards. The second book, GHOST HOLD, was released last year. And I am thrilled to announce that GHOST HEART, the third book, is coming out October 14th, just in time for StoryCon.

How many books planned in the series?

Four for sure. GHOST HOPE will be coming out fall of 2015. I think that will be the last book of the series, but you never know. Story has a mind of its own, I’ve found.

What is the target audience for the series? 

The book is targeted at young adults and onward. I say onward because I know from studying the market that YA is read by adults of ALL ages, and I see that in my fan base as well. Young adult designates the age of the main characters in the book, not the readers. Don’t believe me? Then be sure to come to my panel at StoryCon titled “I read YA: Why Young Adult Themes and Stories are for Everyone,” and let me convince you.

What will I enjoy about this series when I read it?

I’ve been told that the paranormal element is unique and yet realistic. If you’re tired of predictable vampires, werewolves, angels, and demons in your YA, PSS might be just what you’re looking for. And despite how weird PSS sounds, it’s actually based on the real phenomenon experienced by amputees known as Phantom Limb Syndrome. I did a lot of research for the series with my best friend who’s a nurse, and I frequently get comments from readers saying that PSS seemed so viable they actually looked it up, thinking it was real.

Secondly, I think you’ll like the characters, especially snarky, goth girl, Olivia Black–the girl with the ghost hand. Olivia is no damsel in distress. I modeled her after the teen girl I wished I’d been brave enough to be and my 16-year-old daughter, one of the strongest, kick-ass females I’ve ever known. Both my teens beta read all my books to make sure I keep the teen element current and real.

If you were to make a pie chart of your book using Nancy Pearl’s four doorways, what percentage would each story element contribute to a reader’s enjoyment of the book?

Plot; 40%  With the originality of PSS, the fast pace, and the surprise twists most readers don’t see coming, I think this one is big.

World Building (Setting, culture, magic system, technology, time and place etc.). 15% The setting of the series is our world in modern times, so not heavy on world building. However, I do explore how society reacts to the PSS phenomenon, both positively and negatively.

Characters: 35% Olivia and Marcus are flawed, complex, realistic characters that most people would love to know in real life. I also develop my side-characters in ways that tend to surprise readers.

Language: 10% I tell a good story, but I try not to let my writerly desire to impress people with my craft get in the way. Personally, I would rather read a good story told in simple language, than a poor story told poetically. Let me explain what I mean, I’ve read “language rich” books where I stopped to jot down an amazing quote, thinking “Wow, this author has a great command of language.” As nice as that is, I’ve just been pushed out of the story to think about the author. And many times, I haven’t finished those language-heavy books because the story gets lost under all that impressive wordiness. Writing should serve story. Not the other way around.