Meet new crew member Patrice Caldwell (a.k.a. Calypso)

If you thought we were done introducing our new crew members, you were wrong! Last, but certainly not least, let's give a hearty AHOY to our newest matey Patrice Caldwell, a.k.a. Calypso! Before we dive into her interview, here's a little about Patrice: 

As an Aquarius, water has always been Patrice's natural element. She identifies as an introvert-gone-wild and is, at times, as whimsical as the sea itself. When not luring sailors to their watery ends (or rather, reading a good book on the beach) she writes genre-bending fiction for young adults and middle graders. Most of her stories feature life-changing secrets, forbidden friendships, and the coolest girls you'll ever meet. Patrice currently lives near the port city of Boston, MA, but soon she'll be sailing down the Atlantic to NYC, where she'll be working as an Editorial Assistant at Scholastic!

CURLY McGEE: I'm so happy to have you on board! And you're a water lover - that'll come in handy when we hit the high seas. But first things first - how did you come up with your pirate name?

CALYPSO: ARrrgh. Calypso! I love this name for two reasons 1) I’ve always been fascinated with her story. Calypso is the nymph in Greek mythology who kept Odysseus for several years until Zeus forced her to set him free. But, more than that, her name means “to conceal” or “to deceive.” Unlike Calypso, I don’t purposely conceal my true intentions, but my close friends will tell you it took them years to be able to read me. And 2) I loved Tia Dalma/Calypso in Pirates of the Caribbean (I’m a huge Pirates of the Caribbean fan!). I guess I’ve always identified with those who walk the line between good and evil. (Or, haha, are outright villains.) Maybe that’s why the characters I write often tiptoe that line as well.

CM: Wow, the original Calypso sounds like a badass! That makes two of you. :) I'm excited to get to know you better myself. Which brings me to...if you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

C: Ambitious. (But I’m also pretty friendly…hi!!!)

CM: Nice - you'll go far with both of those! Since we're all book lovers here, do you have any favorite authors or books to share?

C: LOL, is this question legal? Alright. But this is in no way a complete list (I will think of at least 5 more after naming these).

All-time favorites: Little Women (I identify with Jo March/Louisa May Alcott so much), Harry Potter, Yoruba Girl Dancing by Simi Bedford, and At Her Majesty's Request: An African Princess in Victorian England by Walter Dean Myers. I re-read these all the time (especially when I’m having a rough time). They’ve influenced who I am and want to be.

Recent favorites: The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi, Tease by Amanda Maciel, Pointe by Brandy Colbert, The Dresden Files, The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, and for two newer titles that are out in April (!!!) The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas (anything by her really, I love the Prep School Confidential series) and The Mysterious Moonstone by Eric Luper (it’s a super fun chapter book coming out from Scholastic (disclaimer: The editor is my boss, but I read it before I started the job… It’s going to be an amazing new series!)).

And, for a final book… Beloved by Toni Morrison. I wouldn’t describe it as a favorite but it haunts me and I return to read it and rediscover more from its pages regularly. 

CM: Ohh, great picks! I haven't read all of these but I'll be adding them to my TBR list. And congrats on your new publishing job! That's so exciting. Alright, if you were stuck on a deserted island, but could have 3 things delivered to you, what would you ask for?

C: Chocolate, chocolate, and coconuts… haha. Um, okay for real… 1) a never-dying Kindle with my favorite reads 2) journals and pens so I could write and 3) my dad (because he would definitely get us off that island ASAP and teach me how to forage for food)

CM: Aww, I love that you would bring your dad! Add the books and journals, and it probably wouldn't be so bad! So, now that you're officially a YAB crew member, which of our buckets are you most excited about, and why? 

C: I LOVE the bootcamps. I’ve discovered an amazing community by participating in those. But, as a member, what I’m looking forward to most is sharing favorite books, writing tips, etc. with the YAB community (<333). I love how everyone’s always commenting on posts and sharing new ideas… a few years ago, as a newbie to this writer community, it was just what I needed. I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with others who are starting out.

CM: That's great! I can't wait to read your posts. Quick - what's one fun fact about you?

C: I have a lot of stuffed animals. But the real fun(ny) fact is that most of them are recent acquisitions, as in I got them at/after turning 18 (I’m 23 for reference).

CM: OMG that's amazing! I might need to see a picture of your collection sometime... For fun, is there any question you'd like me to answer?

C: If you could write anything and be assured publication success (however you define that) what story would you write? (I’m always interested in hearing what is the story of people’s hearts… the one that never leaves us even if we trunked it long ago.)

CM: That's a great question! Let's see...I still really love my first manuscript - a YA contemporary that I queried (and got a lot of requests and great feedback) but it was ultimately rejected because it's too "quiet." I happen to like "quiet" books that show a sliver of a character's real life. But of course I understand that the market is tough and competitive, so those kinds of books aren't necessarily what publishers are looking for. I've shelved it for now, but still believe in that book and hope the market shifts one day so it has a better chance of reaching readers. In the meantime, I'm working on slightly less quiet stories. :)

Before we go, any last words?

C: Thank you, thank you, Curly!! Thank you, everyone, for reading this. I’m thrilled to join the crew!

CM: Thank YOU!!!

To find out even more about Patrice, please check out the following:

Twitter: @whimsicallyours
Instagram: @whimsicalaquarian