Pat was born in the farming and ranching country of central Kansas. As the only girl with four brothers, it was inevitable that she grew up to be a tomboy. Her love of books began early in life. In 1996, Pat’s love of reading evolved into a serious desire to write, and she began work on her first novel. After seven years of writing and three completed, revised, and revised again manuscripts, all she had to show for her efforts was a pile of rejection letters. In the summer of 2002, Pat revised her third book for yet another time and the rest is history. To read Pat’s very interesting complete bio, click here.
What new book or project would you like to tell us about?
Prodigal Daughter is a November 2006 release from Steeple Hill. Melissa Hamiton has returned to Davis Landing broke, pregnant and embroiled in a serious family crisis. Attorney Richard McNeil is determined to help the troubled young woman find the courage and faith she needs to face her past mistakes and make a new life for herself. The problem is – he soon finds his interest in her is more than professional.
I’d love to tell you about the ms I just finished, only I haven’t finished it yet. I’m struggling with a story that I thought I was in love with. As it turns out, the idea was good but an idea does not a novel make. The book is called, The Color of Courage, and it is about a woman soldier in the mounted color guard at Fort Riley, Kansas. When I get it done, it will be an August 2007 release from Steeple Hill.
Tell us about your publishing journey. How long had you been writing before you got a contract? How did you find out and what went through your mind?
I have always wanted to write. I’m a born storyteller, but being a wife, mother and full time NICU nurse didn’t leave much time for hobbies. It wasn’t until my daughter left home that I began to think seriously about writing a book. My husband was very supportive. He happily read the first chapter of my novel and said , “This is good.” Boy, was I thrilled. I wrote and wrote and gave him the second chapter. He read it and said, “This is filler.”
NOT the response I was hoping for. In researching how to write a romance novel, I discovered RWA. Everything I know about writing I learned from my local chapter, The Wichita Area Romance Authors, and Romance Writers of America. I finished my first novel, landed an agent with it and thought I had it made. WRONG. After six years of collecting rejection letters for my contemporary romances I began to think it wasn’t going to happen for me. Then, Deborah Raney came to speak at my writer’s group.
What a blessing she is! I had no idea that there was a market for inspirational romances. Since my stories already had a strong element of faith, I made the revisions easily to my third manuscript and within a few months I got “the call” from my agent that Steeple Hill wanted to buy His Bundle of Love. My thoughts? Whoopee! Whoopee! It can’t be true. It is! Whoopee!
Then, I realized that God had only been waiting for me to find the right direction for my talent.
Do you still have self-doubts about your writing?
People who know me will tell you that I have an overabundance of self confidence. I think everything I write is wonderful. Thankfully, I have critique partners who will tell me when what I write is missing the mark.
Was there ever a time in your writing career you thought of quitting?
Sure, the thought crossed my mind more than once, but I’m a very stubborn person. I wanted to make sure that every editor who ever rejected my work would one day regret it. I bad. [A.M.: Nah, just human.]
What mistakes did you make while seeking a publisher or agent?
None, really. That is the beauty of organizations like ACFW and RWA. They can teach you about the pitfalls of the business and how to improve your craft. They are wonderful groups.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard?
Put your behind in the chair and put your fingers on the keyboard. That is the only way your book will get written.
What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Add more sex to your books and they’ll sell.
Do you have a pet peeve having to do with this biz?
I hate it when someone says that romance novels are smut but they’ve never read one. Or when they say, “Inspirational romance? Isn’t that an oxymoron?”
What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?
I might wish that I had learned about inspirational romances sooner, but in truth, I believe things happen for reason. Rejections were good for me. I had to walk the path I was given in order to become a better person as well as a better writer.
Was there ever a difficult set back that you went through in your writing career?
This year my husband became very ill and nearly died. I couldn’t write for almost three months and that placed me really behind on my current contract. But now I’m going to finish this book on time. I can do it. I can do it. I have faith.
What are a few of your favorite books?
Ah, my deep, dark secret. I know this sounds terrible, but I don’t read romances, inspirational or otherwise. I’m currently reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It is the most beautifully written work I have ever seen.
I will read anything by Elizabeth Peters and I loved all the medieval mysteries by Ellis Peters.
What work have you done that you’re especially proud of and why?
I’m very proud of my career as a neonatal intensive care nurse. Those babies are truly the least of God’s children and I have been blessed to help heal hundreds and hundreds of them. I have also been there to lay dying children in their mother’s arms and weep with them when no amount of high tech, modern medicine can help. You might not think that is a blessing, but I know that it is.
Do you have a scripture or quote that has spoken to you lately in regards to your writing?
Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
This is my favorite and I think upon it often.
Can you give us a look into a typical day for you?
Do I have to? You’ll think I’m weird. Okay, Monday through Thursday I rise early by 10:00 or 10:30 am. I drink my coffee on the front porch and feed the cat. Then, I’m off to the YMCA for my Arthritis Water Aerobics class and ten minutes in the hot tub. After that, I fix lunch for my husband if he is up, read and write e-mails and think about getting started on my manuscript.
I do as little housework as I possibly can and think about getting started on my manuscript. I’ll run a few errands and waste enough time until 7:00 pm or so then I’ll make supper. After supper I watch TV with my hubby until 10:00 pm and then I get to work on my book. I write from 10:00 until 2:00 am and then I go to bed. The last half of the week I work 12 hrs night shifts in the NICU, eat and sleep and that’s it. No writing on work nights.
Do you have a word or page goal you set for each day?
I try for 5 pages a day. With my current deadline looming, it is up to 10 and may hit 20 in a few weeks.
Are you an SOTP (seat of the pants) writer or a plotter?
Both. I plot, but the stories sometimes take on a life of their own and I let them.
What author do you especially admire and why?
I’ve been scolded by one fan who said that I shouldn’t admire Nora Roberts because she writes explicit sex scenes and as a Christian I need to be more careful how I witness. Truthfully, I haven’t read any of Nora’s books, but the woman writes eight hours a day, and turns out five to six books a year. I admire her success, but even more, I admire her dedication to her work.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?
I love making everything turn out all right in my stories. I love happily ever after endings.
The least favorite part of being a writer is facing a blank page and wondering where to start.
How much marketing do you do? What’s your favorite part of marketing?
I’m proud to say that I’ve done three book signings because they scare me to death. I great at talking to people, but I’m terrible, terrible, terrible at remembering names. I make everyone spell their name for me before I write it in their book. I have a website and I’ve spoken to nearly a dozen varied groups about writing and my career. I love doing that. I’ve given interviews to two local papers and they were fun to do. I guess you could say I just love to talk about myself.
Steeple Hill has been doing a wonderful job of promoting my next book, Prodigal Daughter, as part of the Davis Landing series.
Do you have any parting words of advice?
If you want to be a writer, put your behind in the chair and put your hands on the keyboard. That’s the only way the book of your heart will see the light of day.