I asked Patricia: How do you use your own life experiences in fiction, and why did you decide to write YA?
Here's what Patricia has to say:
I write about issues I find interesting, controversial, or about which I have questions. The writing process is fascinating to me. It clarifies and alleviates any tension I might have around the subjects. Writing fiction gives me the opportunity to place myself in each character’s position as they experience an event. It gives me a better understanding of the subject and allows me to feel more compassion for all characters involved.
I find young adult fiction especially interesting because young adults are still in the process of developing multiple perspectives on any particular subject. Through story telling I like to illustrate the contrast between having only one perspective on a subject, which increases drama, tension, and disconnection, and having the ability to see multiple perspectives on a subject, which leaves you feeling more compassionate and connected. The mama character is an example of an adult who never developed the empathy that comes from seeing situations from different perspectives. The Oma character on the other hand, is an example of someone who has developed immense empathy, which comes from seeing multiple perspectives.