Today a special author has accepted to join us. She is a very optimistic and radiant woman and is always a great pleasure to read her books and have the chance to know her better.
I’m so thrilled to introduce…
She lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. She is the award-winning author of The Bridge Club and the best-selling Love in Provence trilogy. Her fifth novel, Drawing Lessons, also set in France, was released on October 1, 2017.
Describe yourself with three adjectives.
Patricia: Optimistic, Grateful, Compassionate
Choose three adjectives for your last novel, Drawing Lessons.
Patricia: Emotional, hopeful, engaging ~ if I might add a comment here, I would just like to say that a common theme in all of my books is that of friendship and how priceless it is to have in our lives. In Drawing Lessons, the value of new friendships is something I wanted to write about to show how strangers brought together can bond in such meaningful ways.
Who was your favorite character to write and why?
Patricia: Apart from the main character, Arianna, I enjoyed writing the Englishman, Bertram Lloyd-Goldsmith. He was a challenge in many ways and I had to figure out what made him tick and who he really was.
Patricia: As a writer, it’s satisfying to create a character that surprises the reader … and the writer. Often as we write fiction, we don’t know for certain where a specific character might take us. That’s part of the fun … and challenge … of writing fiction.
Could you tell us about your emotions while writing Drawing Lessons?
Patricia: Having been widowed myself when I was 43, I related strongly to Arianna’s experience. I also interviewed a friend for research on this story, who had gone through the same kind of situation as Arianna. My talks with her had been filled with grief, sadness and heartbreak. I often found myself in tears as I wrote. All of this helped me to create a more meaningful story.
In Drawing Lessons, we observe Arianna, after facing her husband’s disease and losing her certainties, has to completely change her life. Thanks to her family and a lot of friends, at sixty-two years she embraces the idea of being a possibilitarian and finally follows her artistic dreams.
What does it mean for you to be a possibilitarian?
Patricia: As we journey through life, our collective experiences must be used in a positive way to help us face the future. Again, being widowed at a relatively young age, with two young sons, had a major impact on my outlook for the future. I learned to embrace opportunities and to be grateful for each day. I think being a possibilitarian is all about having an attitude of gratitude and recognizing that we are strong enough to handle whatever comes our way. We must believe in our own strength, first and foremost. It’s a process that I truly believe we all are capable of achieving.
What is your best memory in France?
Patricia: Now there’s an impossible question for me to answer. I love everything about France and every year when I am there the wealth of memories simply increases!
What inspires you to write?
Patricia: I never thought about being a writer until ten years ago. Now I can’t imagine life without it. In retrospect, I realize that I have been telling stories through photography all of my life. So writing seems to be a natural progression. I’m inspired to write by the life that I experience around me, the people I observe, the stories I hear, and my own personal journey through the years. Of course, my travel experiences factor into my writing in a major way.
If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?
Patricia: I would be Katherine in the Love in Provence series, living a life in beautiful Antibes.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Patricia: Again, this is an impossible question to answer. The writing community is large and incredibly collegial and supportive. We all talk to each other about everything from our personal lives to the craft of writing to marketing. We share information, ideas and assist in all sorts of ways. We meet up at conferences and retreats. In my ten years of writing novels, I have met and become friends with so many wonderful people it would not be right to single out a few. Let me simply say writers are wonderful people. As part of the Lake Union Publishing community, the friendships continue to grow.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
Patricia: I love receiving messages, emails, from readers telling me how my story has touched them personally. This to me is the greatest reward for an author.
What are you working on now?
Patricia: I hope to submit a draft of my next manuscript to my editor this week. I am excited about the story and can assure you it is set in the south of France. Once I know it’s a “go”, I will share more with you gladly.
What do you think are common traps for aspiring writers?
Patricia: It’s easy to become discouraged when you are starting out. I believe it’s important to remember to write every day, to keep learning about your craft and to interact with other writers.
Could you share a happy photo and tell us more about that moment?
Patricia: The photo I have attached is of me in Antibes, where I spend time every year. I always say my heart lives here. One of the great results recently, from writing books set in that area, is that once a year I lead a women’s tour (no more than 16 people) on a 12-day trip, and share my love of the area as they have read about in my books. It’s an incredibly joyful experience for all!
If you’re interested about the women’s tour Patricia and her good friend, Deborah Bine (aka Barefoot Blogger) are organizing this September, read more at Absolutely Southern France
Thank you, Patricia, for chatting with us and for sharing a signed copy of Drawing Lessons or The Promise of Provence with our readers!
Thank you, Elisabeth. I’m so pleased we have connected!