What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I worked 18 years at an elementary school in the library and attended college writing courses since 2004. I’ve won several writing scholarships and was able to attend a Society for Children’s Writers and Illustrators conference in New York City. I also won a scholarship through Highlights Magazine and attended a weeklong writing retreat in Chautauqua New York.
What is the first book that made you cry?
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Procrastination, distraction especially if I’m stuck or know I have a big change in a chapter to make.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Each book will stand on its own even though the subject matter or genre may be the same. I have written for adults, children, and family magazines.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Since I had never planned on writing a book, it was all a learning experience. Mostly all good. Way more decisions than I had ever imagined. Whew!
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A dragonfly. (For it’s amazing transformation and free spirit)
What did you edit out of your books? (keep it family-friendly, please)
My picture book, I edited word count and scenes. Had to tighten for a better story. My memoir I had to rename everyone and everything once it was decided the best course of action would be for me to use a nom de plume-a pen name. Some publishers are pickier than others about permission documents. My publisher wanted a notarized document from each person, business, and or quote that I used in my first book, including my children and husband. I tried for three months without any cooperation from the business’s so decided I would publish under Patti Rae Fletcher. (This name is a story in itself)
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
My Time, for education and craft to become better.
What is your favorite childhood book?
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
What is the easiest part of your writing process?
The ideas, passion and first drafts.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The memoirs span years-the picture book- Whoa Nilly a Nymph Grows Up!, began from an experience I had gone camping years ago and have loved dragonflies ever since. Because of my interest/fascination/maybe obsession- I did research on them for a long period of time. But I didn’t begin my writing education until much later and then I tried to publish a story in a magazine as a poem and it was rejected many times. It finally evolved into the creative non-fiction picture book it is today. After all that time, I’m so amazed with the final product, illustrations, photographs and how it all came together.
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
I don’t agree. Maybe because I wasn’t always a writer. That didn’t happen until the early 2000’s. I love to be social.
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be an author?
That came with working in the library and actually reading some horrible books to the children. After my complaining, my husband suggested if I could write one better than I should do it. The seed was planted. And after that I felt guided in every step.
Who are your biggest literary influences?
For children’s books, Jan Brett, Barbra Park, Shutta Crum, Eve Bunting, Mem Fox – Adult inspirational books, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Mike Dooley, for inspirational and for fun reading I love Janet Evanovich, the Stephanie Plum Series. Just finished book 26. She never fails to make me laugh out loud. Her characters hit a bit too close to home.
What’s your favorite movie which was based on a book? Why?
The original Charlotte’s Web. Because it has all the emotional elements. Amazement, believability, humor, tension, and of course the happy ending.
How did it feel when your first book got published? How did you celebrate?
I was still in disbelief of all that was gifted to me and then the scenarios poured out of me. It was meant to be a journal to find myself/my purpose, to process…after the loss of my parents and it began with looking back at the most monumental moments in my life and figuring out the reasons behind all the synchronicities that became absolutely crystal clear. I was able to figure out who I am, why I am here, and am living life in a whole new perspective with a joyful purpose.
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about authors?
How hard we work in creating, rewrites, editing, formatting and all the little details that no one thinks about so our books can be the best they can be. There’s time and effort that goes into research, listing resources, writing back matter, front cover copy, back cover copy, acknowledgements, dedications, picking or finding your perfect front/back cover, finding editors, agents, publishers, and then there is the marketing aspect. There is so much more than just the writing part. Also, it’s a team effort, even when publishing independently. I’ve learned to read differently - now I try to savor all books I read, instead of devouring or rushing through. I have learned even the books that aren’t my favorites, or I find a mistake in that it had a ton of work go into the process. I’m appreciative.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
My second unplanned memoir book is in the final round of edits, my talented husband painted my cover for this one-It brings great joy to my soul, as I hope it does for everyone who sees life as a celebration. The title is, Celebrate Life’s Miracles It’s formatted like my first book (This Sign Was Mine, Message Received!) that is about life’s perfect timing and how synchronicites align for our greater good and in perfect timing weather we can see it or not. It is about how to recognize our Universe/divine signs. I believe we are guided, but mostly unaware. My second book has a “ponder” question at the end of each chapter to figure out your own signs and how everything showed up when it was supposed to.
Are you attending any conventions/festivals where readers can meet you and/or buy your books?
At the moment I’m doing outdoor local farm markets. Also, some outdoor story-times. When schools closed, as with all authors, my calendar cleared.
Please provide all the “find it” information.
If you are interested in a talk about writing or a reading of my books, you can contact me through my FaceBook page: Whoa Nilly or This Sign Was Mine.
Please provide links and/or instructions about how readers can purchase signed copies of your books.
I have a website that is being worked on at this time, so if you want me to mail you an autographed book, I will be honored to do that. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
Work on your craft. No one likes to read a poorly written book of any genre. Know or expect to have or grow a tough thick skin through the criticism. It’s what’s needed to grow as a writer. Don’t rush the process. Attend writing workshops and conferences online or in person. Some are expensive, (check for scholarships) but so far, I have not been to one that wasn’t worth every penny I spent. I have learned so much, met so many generous, helpful, and kind people. They have turned out to be the best connections of my writing career. They are who led me to publication, and the best part is, I have built some lifelong wonderful friendships. Write ON!
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