Thursday, December 31, 2015

Interview with Patricia Yager Delagrange, author of MOON OVER ALCATRAZ

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and Jack. Her Friesian horse Maximus lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.

Her latest book is the romantic women’s fiction, Moon Over Alcatraz.
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About the Book:

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?

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Thanks for this interview, Patricia.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

My daughter came home from school one day in 2009 and said her friend asked her why her mom didn’t have a job. I had been a stay-at-home mom since my son was born in 1994 and I realized then that, because they were both in grammar school and gone until three in the afternoon, I had time to do something besides washing clothes and feeding the dogs and ferrying the kids to and from sports activities. So I went to the Apple store and bought a MacBook and sat down and wrote my first novel.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation?

I love to ride my big black Friesian horse in the Oakland hills. I started riding around the year 2000 and bought Maximus in 2004 when he was four years old. He’d just come off the plane from the Netherlands and he was so beautiful and kind, I just had to have him. I have a tattoo of him on my left forearm.

Do you have a day job? Or a night one?

For me, writing is a day and night job. I can write when my husband and son are watching football and yelling and I can write in the silence when everyone’s gone.

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

After I wrote my first novel I submitted it to many contests because I’d read that was a good way of getting critiques about your writing. Little did I know that I was not writing romance but rather women’s fiction. The rules for writing romance in my opinion are pretty strict, i.e. the girl meets the guy by a certain page and there always has to be a happy every after. I write about a woman’s journey where she overcomes her problems. There’s always a romantic element and the story has a happy ending but there are hurdles to jump over and tragedies unfold. I gave up looking for an agent to represent me and went directly to a small publisher to get my books “out there”.  It’s worked for me.

What is it about the women’s fiction genre that appeals more than any other genre you would choose to write?

I like to put myself in the middle of a personal problem and/or tragedy and think about how I’d feel about it and how I’d work through it. Then I create a character who has to do just that. I may never have actually experienced such a problem, but it’s all about feelings and emotions and, hopefully, it’s the same for the reader.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

Brandy Chambers is a young woman full of hopes and dreams of a great life, until everything falls apart.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

Dealing with the death of a child is not a topic I think most people want to read about. However, though that’s how my book begins it certainly is not a depressing novel filled with sadness and gloom. It goes “up” from there, showing how Brandy works through such a tragedy. And she does it! And there IS a Happy Ever After.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

My ideas come from seeing and hearing about something that has happened to someone else and wondering how I would feel if it happened to me. Then I make it happen to a fictional character and voila’ - out come my emotions and feelings onto the page. I hope to make the reader feel something. That’s why I write.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

For a long time all I did was write and I stopped reading books. That was not a good idea. An author should read what she likes to write, in my humble opinion. My favorite authors are Debbie Macomber, Richard Paul Evans, Joy Fielding, Nicholas Sparks, Mary Higgins Clark, and many others.

What’s next for you?

I just had a long two-week bout with the flu and I got so bored sitting on the couch, coughing, that I finally, finally started my sixth novel. I’m half-way through it!

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