I have a special guest in the Library today, fellow Dubliner, Patricia Hopper Patteson, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, Patricia, please introduce yourself:
Hello, I’m Patricia Hopper Patteson. I’m a native of Dublin, Ireland, now living in West Virginia. For anyone who is not familiar with West Virginia, it’s south of New York and west of Washington, D.C. John Denver wrote the song “Country Roads” for West Virginia. I came here as a young bride and have lived in Morgantown, home to West Virginia University (WVU), ever since. I hold a B.A. and an M.A. from there. I’ve received numerous awards from the West Virginia Writers’ competition and my fiction and non-fiction have been published in magazines, reviews, and anthologies. When I’m not writing or working, I enjoy spending time with my two grown married children Brian and Tara and my grandson Jackson.
Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
I read a lot as a child. I became absorbed in the books of Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene. I also liked the classics like Little Women and Ann of Green Gables. When I ran out of books in my age group I began reading adult mystery books. I didn’t read much for years because I was raising a family and working on my degrees, but now I manage to read a bit more. I like most genres except horror and love a good original story.
Are you self-published or traditionally published?
I am traditionally published through Bygone Era Books, which is a small publisher located in Colorado
Which genre do you write in and why?
I am currently writing historical fiction. I am happy I live in the technology age, but I like to imagine what it was like to live during times where people existed without all the modern conveniences and how restrictive the rules of society were in earlier centuries.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
I would have to say my creative writing professors at West Virginia University. It wasn’t until I began taking creative writing classes that I learned the tools to write a novel. Until then I never dreamed of attempting to write a novel. As my interest in creative writing grew, so did my ability to write a novel.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
Absolutely. But I’m a person of two countries and two cultures. I blended these in my novel Kilpara. However, sometimes my Irishness creeps into my American characters’ voices and vice versa. My sisters in Ireland are great at pointing this out to me on the Irish side of my writing, and my American author friends do the same for the American side of my novel.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
Probably letting go after the final edit. After finishing the first draft of the novel there is a tremendous sense of satisfaction. But then comes the part where the story must be moulded into the finished product and that means adding and cutting information from scenes. It takes several editorial passes to get that right and then comes the polishing. Accepting that the novel is as close to perfect as I can get it is the tough part.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
I am most productive in the morning, but it isn’t always possible to work then. So I write when I can.
What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?
I enjoy being out among the public, hearing people’s stories and talking to them about what they like to read. I also enjoy those times when the words just flow and a story takes on a life of its own. The worst part of being an author for me is when a story that I thought had so much potential gets bogged down and doesn’t pan out the way I imagined it.
Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?
Social media helps an author interact with other authors and readers in a way that wasn’t possible even ten years ago. So I like being able to have that immediate connection. The flip side is if I get caught up in social media, it can eat away at my time. I most often use Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
Probably what I do now, which is grant management. WVU is a land grant institution and faculties are required to do research to become tenured. The office I work in assists professors throughout the University to process their research proposals. The work I do requires focus, patience and perseverance. Some of the same skills sets that are required to be a writer.
It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?
A prayer book for comforting words to face the end.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
My novel Kilpara was published by Bygone Era Book in May 2015. It is an historical novel set in 1866 soon after the American Civil War. It is the first book in a 3 book family saga series about the O’Donovan family. In Kilpara, Ellis O’Donovan and his family have made it through the darkest days of the Civil War, but not unscathed. With the country healing in the aftermath of the war, opportunities abound for someone of Ellis’ business initiative. His future looks bright—until he receives an urgent telegram that his mother is seriously ill. His life takes a different turn when Ann O’Donovan, an Irish immigrant, pleads with him to take her to see Kilpara and her Irish homeland one last time. However, the estate has passed into the hands of a British aristocrat who will never allow an O’Donovan on his property. Ellis’ future begins to slip away as family responsibility pulls him into its grip.
Kilpara can be found at:
It is available by order through Barnes and Noble bookstores, Bradley’s Books, and any independent book store
If you would like to know more about Patricia and her work please click on the links below: