We had the good fortune of connecting with Patricia Carrigan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Patricia, why did you pursue a creative career?
I pursued art and creativity, initially, because it was an escape from school and responsibilities. Now, I pursue it because if I’m going to do something for the rest of my life, why not do something that brings me joy? Being a writer and a dance teacher does that for me. I get to create something that is mentally and visually appealing for more than just myself – and seeing others enjoy it is so much more rewarding than what I did for a ‘career’ before.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My writing has been very solidified in Vampire Literature. It’s been that way since I was 15 and, to this day, I’m still enamored with it! My published trilogy, The Antiserum Novels, is based on the growth of Jocelyn Bairen as she travels from her teens into young adulthood – with the addition of puberty turning her into a vampire. Along the road, she has to endure – young love and heartbreak, along with overcoming more serious problems, such as addiction and attachment.

Writing was a very fun past-time when I was younger and in high school. I would stay up until the very early hours of the morning to get things written down in my tiny little Acer laptop, and then wake up for school a few short hours after I was finished. Then once I got to college, I rediscovered my old passion for dance and ballet which took the creative front seat as I was feeling a little burnt out from having to update my Author Blog on my website and keeping up with my social media platforms. Looking back on it, I think I just wanted to be more like other young adults at the time and not have to be marketing and creating a name for myself – although, I feel that if I kept up with it, I would be in a different world now!

Unfortunately, I had to also pay for my college courses on my own, which means I had to have a job (or five), that would not only work around my class times, but allow for some time to live a good life – but lets be honest, I did nothing but work outside of classes! During semesters, I was taking anywhere from four to five classes AND had one, sometimes two, retail jobs at a time, along with work at a local shotgun range, and a job as a Dance Motivator with a local entertainment company. I was BUSY.

Did that leave time for my writing? Sadly, no.

I had to leave Jocelyn’s world on the shelf for a few years, until I was miserable. I was about 21, living with a boyfriend in our first apartment, there was awful communication from the both of us, I was insecure and had my problems, and I just needed to ESCAPE. Insert NaNoWriMo. National November Writing Month. I heard about it from a handful of my fellow author friends on social media, and I signed up for it, knowing I’d have to log something like 25,000 words by the end of the month. Getting back into writing and finishing my character’s story felt like getting back into therapy. I was happy, I was motivated, and I was doing something with my time that wasn’t an obligation. I could put it down, I could start it or stop it at anytime of the day, I could create a completely different scene, and I could be something or somewhere else than where I was.

An escape is exactly what my writing is for me. It’s my happy place when I’m not feeling up to anything or it’s a welcome additional dose of happiness when life is where I want it to be!

Venom, Part III of the Antiserum Novels was finished in November in 2015, and wasn’t published until December 2020.

The harsh reality was that, in order for me to make a strong living off of just writing, I would have to dedicate all of my time to just that. Book after book, title after title, would have to be produced and put out there, along with returning to marketing and updating my blog and website weekly again – and it had been a couple years since I had done that.

From 2015 to 2017, I did a complete overhaul of my school and work-life. I went from working about five jobs (2 retail, range officer, dance motivator), to working one (Entertainment at Six Flags – dancing and costumed), to being laid off for a total of one week before finding the job that I stayed with for the next FIVE years.

To answer any curiosities: no, it was not a job that had to do with writing or dancing, though I did help out at the studio I’m currently with for a couple months while the Director was on maternity leave!
I was an Assistant Manager turned Store Manager at a retail store with a company that really had it together. I love them still and left on good terms, I promise!

Enter, the pandemic! Malls were not a thing during that time and we were closed down for months. Eventually, I was brought back to process shipments and such, and about a month after I came back, I got to bring my assistant manager to come work with me. But like many other people during the pandemic, I really thought about the things that made me feel accomplished outside of my 40+ hours that I spent with my company.

I started writing again. And this time it was like something clicked. I threw all three of my books together, read, tweaked, and edited all of them, sent them off to a beta reader for reviewing, and then got it published. I also reawakened my old facebook page, twitter account, and website! I was determined to make writing work alongside of my current job in retail, which meant actually using my two days off a week for myself, and not as an on-call helper (which I was very guilty of at the time – USE YOUR DAYS OFF, PEOPLE! They are meant as a break from your job!).

This work/writing balance went on for nearly two years with continual growth with in my company position (being trained for audit certification and helping around the district in other stores), working on a new title, along with creating merchandise (stickers, buttons, jackets) and separately publishing the Remastered versions of Antiserum – Part I, The Rising – Antiserum Part II, as well as finally releasing Venom – Antiserum Part III through Amazon. I was happy and was feeling successful!

And then an opportunity (or two) arose. I was offered a teaching position at the dance studio I had helped out at, and my current boyfriend asked me to move in (which was something we had already been talking about). Moving in meant leaving my job – MY PRIMARY SOURCE OF INCOME – to a place that most would call “the middle of no-where”, but along with that came the ability to accept the studio position to do what I love, and TIME TO WRITE!

I was presented with a Catch 22 of passion and risk. I leave my job and financial security to actually see if I could make doing what I love work for me and my life with my boyfriend – or stay with my job and never know what could have been.

With the support of my boyfriend and my family, I took the leap of faith, moved, AND IT WAS SCARY. But, having mostly settled into my new lifestyle, I feel nothing but grateful that I had a support system and courage to actually try, because if worst comes to worst, I go and get another retail management job. For now, all the extra time that I’ve been able to dedicate to my classes and studio have been worth their weight in gold to me as well as the progress (though difficult here and there) on my new title has achieved.

I am not ‘rich’ by any means, but I am extremely lucky to have been put in the position that I was, with the opportunities that were presented and I can’t help but think that there couldn’t have been a better example of “I just have to try it and see if it could work out.”

So, if there is anyone out there that has a support system (family or friends) and the faintest possibility of being able to pursue something that makes you happy, makes your heart soar, and gives you a drive to keep going – just TRY. Otherwise, you might never know the ability that you have inside of you!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am surrounded by wineries, which means one of the first stops would be a wine tasting! Next, would be hitting the downtown area outside of where I live – food, drinks, and on Wednesday’s there’s a popular farmer’s market that closes down one of the streets! Also, I’m personally a big fan of Dutch Bros Coffee, so if anyone is visiting, they’re probably going to stop there with me one or two times! I do live in a very rural part of the hills, nearly an hour from town, so, the fun to have out here is, riding quads, barbecuing, exploring some abandoned mines, and an abandoned mining town, and visiting the bar closest to us, which is tended by a majority of the wives that live in our little area. We do also have some to-die-for ridges to watch the sunset from!

If our visitors aren’t opposed to a couple hour drive, there are tons of beaches we could visit – including Capitola, Carmel, and Santa Cruz. We took one of our last visitors on a day trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and dinner in downtown Santa Cruz.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
For my writing, the dedication goes to Author E.S. Brown, who has seen me through the remastering of my first two books, the release of my third, and inspired a character in my fourth work. Since 2020, he’s kept a healthy competition of comparing word counts with me and running scenes by each other. He’s also given me the wonderful idea of a short story based on one of my original characters. Also, to my twin sister, Mary, for creating the cover art work for The Rising, and Venom, and to my uncle, Jacob, for creating the cover artwork for my newest work in progress, Ruby Nights. For dancing, I would love to dedicate it to Director Sarah Brinkman, for bringing me into the studio family and allowing me to shape up the Ballet program. Having her support has meant the world to me over the last year.

Collectively, my immediate family is always supporting me in my creative decisions, even if that means moving away from civilization to do so!

Website: www.patriciacarrigan.com

Instagram: pcarrigan.author

Twitter: pcarrigan1

Facebook: www.facebook.com/patriciacarrigan

Other: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1698704410/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_zDOXFb2GC0PNK https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0948LNSHZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_418GGV0CZVRP8H6BTCR2 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0948GRSQS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_NN4XCAZR94FNF0SX4PKN https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094L52T3F/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_D8W48G3WJ85V5W6G6K86

Image Credits
Studio Director – Sarah Brinkman

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