Patti Lacy has worked with me in ACFW/American Christian Fiction Writers, so I got to know her cheery attitude from that experience. Then, she came out with a novel about an Irishwoman transferred to the U.S., so of course, I wanted to know more about that as my family has Irish ancestry (Rileys from County Cavan of Ireland.) I talked her into answering some questions about how she does her writing and comes up with book-length stories, and now you can know these secrets, too!
CLM: What are three key elements for you in getting into your writing mode?
Patti: Oxygen, Nitrogen—sorry, Crystal. I have to tell you science with its logical way of doing things has eluded me for years.
CLM: LOL! Try, Patti, try!
Patti: Okay. I’ll give it a try.
(1) Set a writing goal to instill discipline. My little rule is at least three pages a day. That’s about three manuscripts a year!
(2) Pray, asking the Holy Spirit to infuse your writing with truth and grace, before you sit down in your computer chair.
(3) Drink coffee or green tea to caffeinize your mind.
CLM: I especially appreciate that number 3--and Patti gave me some Irish tea that is so strong it could float yer horse shoes (that's Sharon Lavy's son's quote, so I can't take credit for that!)
CLM: Can you tell us how you decide on a character? Are there certain types of characters whom you gravitate toward for a heroine/hero more
Patti: A newspaper article, a person in a dream, or a real-life friend grabs hold of my gray matter and won’t let go. When the images keep me up at night, I open a new computer file and label it Novel #3 or whatever, then start adding snippets of information when they float into my brain. So far, my characters have been women with deep, dark secrets that have stained their lives. They’re colorful, edgy, and walk in wet grass rather than on a sidewalk.
CLM: How did you decide on your setting?
Patti: I take a mental vacation to the places I’ve visited and loved—or maybe hated—and try to include them in my books. New Orleans and Ireland are two of the former. However, my bossy women usually command me to place them where they want to be. Imagine that?
CLM: What is special to you personally about the setting and
characters of your book?
Patti: Now we’re talking specifically about An Irishwoman’s Tale, right?
CLM: Yes, I really want to know how you came up with such a fascinating story!
Patti: Since I fictionalized a true story first told to me on the front porch of my home in Terre Haute,(INDIANA!) part of my heart and soul is embedded in the pages of that book. Since I’ve known the Irishwoman, she’s symbolized friendship and forgiveness to me. That’s about as special as you can get. And after our 2005 visit, the mystical, marvelous country of Ireland grabbed hold of me and has yet to let go.
(And, so lasses (and laddies, if you dare) come join Patti in her weaving of an Irish tale, based in truth and set to grab your hearts.)
CLM: What process do you go through to brainstorm a new book? How do you come up the idea? (Do you keep an idea file? Or use photos? News
Patti: Oops! I got ahead of myself up there! Definitely news items. It’s also fun to surf the net and look for character and scenery images.
CLM: When your well runs dry, how do you recharge your creativity?
Patti: I dig through dusty shelves of eclectic CDs and choose something that will set off certain emotions. When I want to be sad, I play Rachmaninoff. Happy? Some of my oldies, like Don McLean, Harry Chapin, Tracy Chapman. Lots of Christian music for pick-me-up times, like Third Day, Switchfoot, Selah. And, of course, Eden’s Bridge and other artists that utilize marvelous minor key Irish flutes and whistles.
CLM: Answer this...The only thing I know for sure about my creative
Patti: God has to direct it or it’s no good.
CLM: What's your favorite way to celebrate after a project is complete? (Gotta talk about food here in the cafe'!)
Patti: A delectable dinner served family style at our favorite Thai restaurant. And a toast and hugs with my beloved “peeps” (soul mates and relatives.)
CLM: Where is your favorite place to work on your writing?
Patti: My daughter’s old bedroom, which I commandeered when she went off to college. Creamy yellow walls soothe my soul, while Scott Mutter posters and an Angel Ambrose painting inspire. A couple of succulents and an airplane plant oxygenize the room and help detract from the piles of books and pens and notes and envelopes and…Of course there’s a crammed-full-to-sagging bookcase.
CLM: What are your favorite things to eat while in the creative
process? Or do you forget about eating and drinking? (As if!)
Patti: Black coffee, green tea, dark chocolate, crunchy nuts.
CLM: What's one piece of advice to anyone reading who wishes to write their own stories?
Patti: At times the publishing world progresses at an agonizingly slow rate. Try to be patient.
Patti: Thanks so much for having me, Crystal! It’s been a blast.
CLM: I love your sweet spirit, Patti, so of course I'm delighted to have you.
Be sure to go to Patti's web site and enter her September contest!
The days shorten. A cool breeze goose bumps bare arms. It's time for
school again. Are you glad you never have to ride another school bus?
Or do you yearn to purchase supplies, label and sort papers and
folders, then polish a perfect apple for that...perfect teacher?
What is your favorite school memory?
Please stop by http://www.pattilacy.com/and visit the news/contest tab to enter the September contest.
An Irishwoman's Tale at Amazon.com
Far away from her Irish home, Mary Freeman begins to adapt to life in Midwest America, but family turmoil and her own haunting memories threaten to ruin her future. It takes a crisis in her daughter's life—and the encouragement of Sally, a plucky Southern transplant—to propel Mary back to the rocky cliffs of her home in County Clare, Ireland.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (July 8, 2008)
List price: $13.99
If you would like to win a free copy of An Irishwoman's Tale, leave a comment with your contact (your name AT your ISP. com) and you'll be entered into a drawing for it. Be sure to leave a comment by September 12th!CARLA STEWART WON! (Must've had the luck o' the Irish.)