In 2009 my eleven-year old daughter came home and told me her friend asked where her mom worked. My daughter told her that I was a “mom”. I’d been a stay-at-home mom since giving birth to my son in 1994. I suddenly realized that both my kids were in school from 8 until 3 each day, so I had a good chunk of the day in which to do something other than being “mom”.
Who encouraged you along the way?
What drew you to write about broken-hearted couples and atypical families?
Are you active with any critique groups?
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part of writing for me is finding an idea I can run with and create a story that interests me enough to develop it into a full-length novel. I love writing dialogue and creating the different characters who make up the life of a good book - characters who will add enough push and pull to the scenes and can capture and entertain me, as well as the reader from the beginning to the end.
What’s your inspiration for creating the locations for your series?
I love to write books set in places I know well which is why my books are set in either the San Francisco Bay Area where I grew up or in the Santa Barbara area where I went to university and spent a lot of time after I graduated. I might create an imaginary city near these areas, but the town or city will always be set in a real place of which I have personal experiences.
Most often my editor reminds me to “show, don’t tell”. There’s a fine line between telling the reader what she needs to know to understand what’s going on and showing that reader through dialogue and action what’s going on. A book isn’t made up entirely of dialogue nor endless explanation of the how and why. There has to be a balance as well as the ability to “get into the head” of each character so the reader understands who the characters are and why they act the way they do.
What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
The best encouragement I’ve ever had has been my publicist whose clients were bestselling authors (I am not) and who believed in my writing so much that she encouraged me to “write the next book” no matter how well my books are selling.
What has surprised or frustrated you the most in writing/publishing?
What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
I wish I had known about development editors. It would have helped me enormously from the “get-go” had I had someone who could guide me in writing a cohesive, flowing story with suggestions on how to add points of interest to the stories in my books.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
The best writing advice I ever received that I’d pass on to new writers is to “write the next book”. The last book I wrote, in my opinion, is the best book I’ve written. The more I write and with the help of a developmental editor, the better I write.
Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
There are many suggestions for “how to write” that I found were completely ridiculous and failed to make my writing better, like “don’t use adverbs and adjectives”, for example. It’s one of my favorite ones to throw out the window. Words are meant to be used in a way to enhance your writing and taking away adjectives and adverbs, in my opinion, is silly and makes writing boring.
Tell me about your next book coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
During this corona virus period, I took a number of classes to gear up to writing a sequel to A Heart Life. I want to find out what happens to the main characters: Leena, Michael, and Leena’s daughter, Joy. A Heart Life storyline needs to continue because the characters at the end of that book experience something that will change their lives forever.
Patti, thank you for taking the time to share your writing journey with my readers. If you'd like to learn more about her books, go straight to her website at www.patriciayagerdelagrange.com