Women’s fiction author Patricia Yager Delagrange plays 20 Questions with us today. Learn more about Patricia at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I’ve been an at-home mom since 1994 when my son was born. We adopted our daughter in 1998 when she was hours old. One day in 2009 she came home from school and said one of her friends asked her why her mommy didn’t work. After feeling insulted, then thinking it was sort of funny, I realized I actually DID have more time. My son was 15 and my daughter 11. I had to be available to drive each of them everywhere and tend to their needs, but I had extra hours during each day so... I asked myself what I’d like to do. I had a girlfriend who always told me I should write a book. So I went to the Apple store and bought a MacBook and wrote my first novel.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
Moon Over Alcatraz was published in 2012 by Musa Publishing in e-book format.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I want to be traditionally published. I’d love to have an agent and see my books in print one day. That’s my dream.
Where do you write?
I write in our family room, which is located in the back of the house. I have a view of the back deck, a huge green tree and the sky, as well as sunshine blaring in the window. I sit on the couch beside my two chocolate labs.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Oh, I must have complete silence in order to write. Once I get going and have the ideas set in my mind and I’m on a roll, then I can be interrupted. During editing I don’t need the quiet. I can usually edit no matter what is going on around me.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
Portions of every story I write have circumstances identical to my personal experiences. My fifth book is loosely based on my family. I use names of people I know for characters in my books but the characters aren’t really the people they’re named after.
Describe your process for naming your character?
The way I name a character is totally random. It’s not based on anything in particular. I just have to feel that a name “goes with” the person I’m writing about. I use names of people who I like and dislike, depending on the characters in the book.
Real settings or fictional towns?
I’ve written five books and they are all based in cities and towns in which I’ve lived or visited except for one. I wrote about a veterinarian who leaves California and moves to Iowa. I’ve never been to Iowa and know about it only from what I’ve researched on the internet.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
I don’t know if you’d call it a quirk, but my main character in one of my novels suffers from panic attacks. It’s a behavioral trait she’s trying to overcome and yet her life is filled with so much stress, it’s hard for her to stop them.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I don’t like to eat meals prepared by other people besides myself. Hence, I don’t really enjoy eating in restaurants. This stems from my husband who remodeled kitchens for a living for several years. He’d always tell me these horrible stories of how filthy people’s and restaurant’s kitchens were. It turned me off completely.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
I’d love to have written Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. That book has stayed with me forever. It’s such a wonderfully written novel dealing with real people going through a terrible tragedy that lasted 19 minutes - during which time a young man shoots several people in a high school. It made me cry.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
Sometimes I wish I had had more children. I have two kids and the empty nest syndrome is looming and I’m dreading it. I guess in the back of my mind I think the more kids I have, the more often they’d return to visit and I wouldn’t be so devastated to see them leave.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I hate to have my entire day planned from morning to night with appointments and things to do. I love to look at the calendar and see it empty.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
An implement to start a fire, a container for water, and a sharp knife.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I cleaned the women’s restroom after the flea market closed on the weekends. Talk about an “OMG moment”. Gross.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.
Ocean or mountains?
City girl or country girl?
Although I’ve always lived in a small city (80,000 people), I would never live in a big city like New York or Chicago or whatever. I’d rather live in the country.
What’s on the horizon for you?
While writing my answers to these questions, I received an offer from an agent to represent me and my fifth novel. Now I look forward to signing the contract and having my book published.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
Thank goodness for the community of writers online. They’ve helped me immensely with this tireless process of writing a good book, having it edited by a good editor, then writing the next book while looking for an agent. The rejection process could kill your spirit if you let it.
Moon Over Alcatraz
Brandy Chambers was looking forward to the birth of her first child. She and Weston move from San Francisco to the small town of Alameda to start a family, she’s writing her second book, and Weston has a fantastic job working on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge project. Having this baby would make her already-wonderful life perfect.
But when the baby dies after a difficult birth, Brandy’s perfect life blows up in her face. Stricken with grief, she and Weston pull apart. This new distance leads them both to disaster. Not until a chance encounter with her high school friend, Edward Barnes, does Brandy pull herself together. Brandy and Weston agree to recommit to each other, striving to forgive infidelity and recreate their previous existence.
Everything is once again going according to plan--until Brandy discovers she’s pregnant. While she struggles to cope with this new obstacle, Edward Barnes returns to town and discovers she’s having a baby, while Weston is torn between his love for his wife and his anger at her betrayal. Can Brandy manage to keep her marriage to Weston together? Will Edward be a part of Brandy’s life if she and Weston separate?