Welcome, Patti. Please tell us what or who inspired you to start writing?
In 2009 my daughter came home from school and told me her friend asked her why her mommy didn’t have a job. I had been a stay-at-home mom since becoming pregnant with my son in 1993. This gave me pause. I realized I had more time since my two kids were becoming more independent. So I went to the Apple store, bought a MacBook, and told my family that I was going to write a book.
How did you come up with ideas for your books?
Ideas come into my head for whatever reason. For Moon Over Alcatraz I’ve always been intrigued by how parents live through the death of a child. Being a mom, it’s always bothered me to see Amber Alerts and news reports about children who are kidnapped and found murdered. How do parents get through that? So I decided to write about the loss of a child at birth and how the couple deals with their subsequent grief.
What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?
I write women’s fiction with romantic elements which centers around a main female character and how she deals with whatever difficulties are thrown in her life path. Women’s fiction novels may or may not have a Happily Ever After, but my novels always do. I believe attitude is everything and in my books the woman always finds her inner strength, jumps through life’s hurdles, and makes it through to the other side.
What expertise did you bring to your writing?
It's the simple fact that I’ve lived a varied life which I believe enhances the quality of my novels. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and have attended universities in Madrid, Santa Barbara, and Oregon. I’ve traveled throughout Central and Eastern Europe and lived abroad for a year. I’ve worked in various offices, from Price Waterhouse in San Francisco to an office of a Chinese entrepreneur in Alameda. I own a horse and have been learning to ride for the last ten years. I love all animals and have two chocolate labs. I am a mother of two teenage children. I think a full life has given me the opportunity to write about a wide variety of characters and themes.
What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?
That “riding” my 1,425-pound horse Maximus is harder than “writing” an 80,000-word book. Learning to ride has been the biggest challenge of my life and I bring that persistence and determination to my writing. I am an extremely determined person and when I decided to write a book, nothing was going to stop me. And when I finished, I knew then that I could do it, so I started writing another one. I now have four completed, edited, and critiqued novels.
As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
My plans are to write a fifth book as soon as I have a bit of time. Right now I’m in the end stage of edits of my fourth book and will be sending it back to my agent in a few days. That’s when the REAL intense “waiting period” will start - finding a publisher for Brenda’s Wish. I’m already nervous.
If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would be Jessee Bradford in my book Taken Away. Jessee is a veterinarian whose wife and child disappear. He moves away from his home in Santa Barbara, California, and takes over his grandfather’s vet practice in Earlham, Iowa. There he finds love, a family connection, and his own happily ever after.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
For my first three books, I was a complete “pantser.” I had an idea of the theme for the book and the people involved and I would sit down and start writing. When I finished I would spend as much time editing to get it right. For my fourth novel, I had complete writer’s block. The author who edits and critiques all my work suggested I write out a synopsis and chapter outlines after we talked about possible ideas for a novel. I did as she suggested and was able to write my fourth book much easier than ever before. So now I’d call myself a “plantser” where I do have a plot, yet I don’t outline everything down to the last detail.
Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
My biggest hobby is riding my horse. I have incorporated that in Taken Away. Jessee Bradford, the veterinarian, meets a woman who is a horse trainer in Iowa and their relationship blossoms. There are several scenes with her and her horses and it’s obviously a big part of her life.
Do you have an all time favorite book?
One of my favorite books is the Horse Whisperer, for obvious reasons. I loved seeing Tom Booker bring an extremely damaged horse back to its owner through his kindness, love, and understanding.
What is your favorite reality show?
My favorite reality show would be Animal Cops: Houston. Although sometimes it makes me cry, I love the happily ever afters for a lot of the animals. I am an animal lover to the max. I often blog about endangered animals.
Who is your favorite actor and actress?
My favorite actor is Russell Crowe. When I saw Gladiator (for the first of a gazillion times) I fell in love. My favorite actress is Meryl Streep.
Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
When Brandy and Weston are at their baby’s funeral you can feel she’s in the pit of depression. He’s also very sad, but since she carried the baby to term, she’s having a very hard time accepting it wasn’t something she did during her pregnancy that caused her child’s death.
If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?
I’d love to see Sandra Bullock as Brandy and Keanu Reeves as Edward. I love the way those two work together.
Weston and Brandy’s marriage splinters beneath the burden of sorrow following the death of their child, and after an accidental meeting with her high school friend, Brandy ends up carrying more than just the weight of grief inside her heart.
Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty. But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return.