How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?
The story of Reconstructing Charlie showed up in my sleep one night. You see, some people sleep-walk, I sleep write. A story comes unbidden in the night. In the morning, I begin to write.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
Charlie comes from a small town in Minnesota. I’ve never been to the state. She’s a teen. I always write about mature women. So here’s this kid, and I’ve raised a batch, and she won’t let go of me. Never have I experienced so much angst except in real life. Many times I thought about abandoning the story but no. Not my style. Not Charlie’s style. Tough, resilient, determined to carve out a new life, she succeeds and so do I.
Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)
Though I’m a native Chicagoan, I haven’t lived there in years. New York is my home. So I did a lot of research on Internet and talking with friends back home. Educating Charlie was a problem but imagination and research about Northwestern U proved to be the answer.
How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
Characters show up fully formed. I can smell, see, almost touch them as I write. This is a sense developed from years of acting, I’m sure.
How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?
The ending came in a flash and how grateful I felt at that moment.
Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?
All of my books have a theme of Survive and Thrive. No matter what life throws at you, still take one step and then another. Keep on going.
What has changed for you personally since you wrote your first book?
First I lived life as an Air Force wife and raised up the kids while writing and directing sketches to entertain at the Officer’s Club. Later as civilians, we moved to NY and I worked on television, daytime drama, stage, and movies accustomed to audiences. When I had an idea for a story and began to write, I discovered how solitary a writers life can be.
What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A thousand words a day does it for me. The next day I reread, edit and move on to the next thou.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m writing book three in a short series. Book one is RECONSTRUCTING CHARLIE; Book two is HAVEN out in ebook right now.
What advice you would give to an aspiring author?
If you want to be a writer, I say DO IT! Everyone has a story. You might begin with Remember When and take off from there. You’ll love writing. I do.
Thanks, Pat for this wonderful opportunity.