Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am pleased to introduce you to Patty Smith Hall. Patty took the long road to become an author, and I very much enjoyed reading about her journey. Patty is giving away a copy of her latest release (paperback for US or ebook for International)! Read on to see how you can enter to win!
Thanks for having me, Hallee. My name is Patty Smith Hall, and though I’d always dreamt of being a writer, my parents talked me out of it. So I got a degree in something else they didn’t think I’d ever be able to do—nursing. Nothing against my parents! They just worried like all parents do that writing wouldn’t pay the bills and nursing would break my very tender heart. They were right on both accounts! Still, my writing is a ministry more than a way to make a living and I get great joy from it. I’ve been married to a fantastic man for 33+ years, have two smart and beautiful daughters, a wonderful son-in-law and expecting our first grandbaby (a boy!) at the end of January.
My latest release is Hometown Heiress which is part of the American Heiress Bride Collection from Barbour Publishing. Here’s a short blurb about the collection: Meet nine young women in America between 1866 and 1905 who have been blessed by fortunes made in gold, silver, industry, ranching, and banking. But when it comes to love, each woman struggles to find true love within a society where “first comes money, second comes marriage.” What kind of man can they trust with their greatest treasure—their hearts?
What made you take the plunge and finally start writing? It was kind of the perfect storm of events—my kids were growing up and being a stay-at-home mom, I began to wonder what I would do once they got out on their own. My grandfather who I’d helped take care of for ten years passed away. We moved to Michigan from our hometown of Atlanta and I knew absolutely no one. One stage of life was ending as a new one began. I found comfort in writing, at first in a journal but later in creating stories or jotting down events that showed God’s presence in my life.
How did you make your first step into writing a novel? What roadblocks did you face and how did you overcome them? My first novel started as a way to deal with the grief over my grandfather’s death. He suffered from Alzheimer’s and as anyone who has ever been a caregiver can tell you, you live with some guilt over the decisions you’re forced to make. Because I was a nurse, I felt that guilt more acutely and found writing about characters dealing with the same kind of decisions I faced help me put the situation into perspective. I will tell you, it took me close to four years to finish that novel but looking back now, I realize the emotions were still too raw so I’d put it away until I could better handle them.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? For me, I have to write—even if it’s the most horrible thing on the planet, I keep writing because eventually, a little nugget of something great will pop up. I also write everything longhand—it quiets my internal editor and gives me to the freedom to write as I see the story unfold. Extra piece of advice—if you write longhand, invest in an iPad Pro and Apple pencil. These two things have cut my typing time down to nothing!
What’s the first major headline you remember and what do you remember? Probably when Robert Kennedy was shot and killed. I was six years old and remember seeing the picture of him lying in the kitchen floor of the Ambassador Hotel on the front page of our local newspaper. That was when history became personal for me.
Who was your first Musical or Screen crush? I’m such a sap for old movies! Gordon MacRae from Oklahoma and Carousal comes to mind, but I also loved Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and Fred McMurray too!
Which of your characters reflects your personality? I believe every character I write has a very distinct part of my personality in them. But overall, my heroine in Hearts in Flight, Maggie Daniels is the most like me. She’s determined, too smart for her own good and refuses to let anything stop her, even if it puts her in danger.
Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you thought up this story? This story has been banging around in my head for a couple of years now. What got me started on it was an article in Georgia Backroads magazine about the mill towns in Southern Georgia during the early part of the 20th All the pictures were of children, some no more than five years old, working in these dangerous mills while their parents worked their farms nearby. I thought it would be a great backdrop for a story.
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