Happy Sunday, RG2E Peeps!
Welcome to The RG2E and/or Welcome Back!
It’s time for another one of Alicia Street‘s Reader2Author Interviews!!!
Take it away, Alicia…
Hello, everybody! I’ve got another Reader2Author Interview where Authors mix it up with one of their readers.
Welcome Patrice Fitzgerald, indie author, an attorney, and a mezzo-soprano who sings everything from jazz to opera. She writes thrillers about strong women in powerful positions and is the founder of eFitzgerald Publishing, a small indie press that publishes others.
Our reader today is Lesli Dodge-Harrer. Lesli is a doula and lactation counselor who lives on an island off of Massachusetts. She’s an Anglophile who recently returned from a walking tour of the Cotswolds in England. And of course, she is an avid reader. Even jam jar labels can’t escape her eye!
Alicia to Patrice and Lesli: When did you first become and avid reader?
Patrice: When I was three, I would “borrow” my six-year-old brothers books and try to read them. I can remember the first lines: “David. See David. Run David, run!” I would grab those books and imitate him and say the words. But my parents were told by the nuns not to let me learn to read too early… so they kept them away from me. (I think the nuns had enough on their hands with 50 kids in a classroom… they didn’t encourage eager beavers like me!)
Lesli: As a child in a British boarding school I was terrified of reading. We had to read out loud and I had some undiagnosed difficulty that made me unable to read fluidly and I would stutter over even the easiest of sentences. When I was about twelve everything changed when I discovered Shakespeare! No one in my class understood him and suddenly I was not alone! I was able to ask questions and reread passages until I understood the meanings. This was a revelation to me and I fell in love with the Bard and through him the written word. I remember my mother being cross with me the following summer because I was always reading!
Alicia: Where do you read? How often?
Lesli: I read every night in bed. After all the chores are done, the children fed, animals settled for the night and the house quiet, I end my day with an hour of bliss! But I always have a book in my bag (and now often my Kindle which was a gift) so that I have something to read ‘just in case’.
Patrice: I have a real comfy chair in my office where I can read. But as a writer, there is so much to do – not simply my daily quota of writing, but the business and marketing end as well… so I rarely read during the day. I pick up my book at night, which is exactly when my husband does. Except that he reads for 5-10 minutes and then nods off, whereas once I get started I don’t want to stop until about 2 a.m.! So he’ll be snoring away beside me…
Alicia: Do you read across genres, or stick to mainly one?
Patrice: I do read across genres, mostly because a good book is a good book. I’m right now in the midst of “Wool,” a post-apocalyptic thriller/mystery combo, which goes on for five short volumes, totaling about one typical novel. Love it!
Lesli: I enjoy mysteries and historical novels. Those I read for fun but I also read a lot of British history books.
Alicia to Patrice:Was there a particular book that first made you want to write?
Patrice:So many books! I loved Silas Marner, and The Outsiders, and Pride and Prejudice. I read everything I could get my hands on as a kid. I remember reading “Walden Pond” when I was about 12. I had really no idea what was going on, and it was quite dull to a twelve-year-old, but I carried on out of curiosity. I loved the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, and then stumbled on one of his adult books – the one with the naked green lady, I think, floating along on the waves? At least, that’s the way I remember it. I was completely puzzled. I should go back and read that one and figure out what the heck was going on!
Alicia to Lesli: How did you discover the first Patrice Fitzgerald book you read?
Lesli: I met Patrice in a writers’ workshop and we kept in touch. When she mentioned that she had finished a novel I was game to read it.
Patrice to Lesli: Did anything surprise you about my writing?
Lesli: I was expecting a light, romantic novel and was thrilled to get glued into a mystery thriller that I couldn’t put down. All housework and weekend chores were left undone as I curled up in my reading chair and was swept along in RUNNING.
Lesli to Patrice: What’s the toughest thing about writing a novel?
Patrice: Well, when you write your first novel, it seems like a mountain too big to climb. All those words! All that story! But after you’ve completed the first one, you can see the stages and appreciate it in smaller sections. The exciting beginning, a chance to set up your characters and situation… followed by the middle, where you can’t let the story and action bog down, even though it sometimes wants to… and then the ending, when you don’t want to rush, although you may be quite ready to be done — you need to give the readers the pay-off they’ve been waiting for.
Alicia to Lesli: Which one of Patrice’s characters is most compelling to you?
Lesli: Catherine is a very likable and real character to me. While she has her faults she also has an inner strength and resolve that I can relate to.
Alicia to Patrice:Is there a character you’ve created that is your personal favorite?
Patrice: Well, I’m having a lot of success and a lot of fun with Catherine, the presidential candidate from RUNNING, and so I’ve started a sequel to that. After a few dozen readers asked me to go on with the story, it seemed the logical thing to do. I’m about 10,000 words in. It’s great to dive in with familiar characters and find out what they do next.
Alicia to Lesli: What kind of heroine or hero do you usually like to read about? One that you will go back to again and again?
Lesli: I like my protagonist to be believable, they don’t have to start out as likable but they do have to develop in character in to someone I care about and want to see succeed. A heroine with a few flaws and a bit of a history is always a good mix too.
Patrice to Lesli: How would you describe the moment or kind of scene that hooks you at the beginning of a book?
Lesli: I know the book is for me when I read a few chapters, engage with the characters and plot, but have no idea where the story is leading. I enjoy reading and have found some books rather formulaic, that tends to bore me and I find it hard to finish those. When I started to read RUNNING I found myself caring about the characters and wanting to find out how the story played out. To me that is the sign of a good read.
Alicia to Lesli: What is the reason you continue to read Patrice’s books?
Lesli: When I like an author’s writing I tend to read all their new material. Patrice is no exception. I have read her short stories, they are very different to RUNNING but are just as compelling in their own way. I look forward to each new work and only hope that I have nothing serious planned that will have to be postponed while I read it!
Alicia to Patrice: What was the most satisfying response you’ve gotten from a reader?
Patrice: I really enjoyed it when a self-described conservative Republican said he loved RUNNING and would vote for my protagonist, even though she is a liberal Democrat!
Alicia to Lesli: What prompts you as a reader to contact an author?
Lesli: I have been lucky to have grown up with some rather distinguished authors around me and my family so they are just people to me. People who have an extraordinary talent but still put their pants on just like anyone else, so the shock and awe is not something I think about. If I like someone’s work I think it is nice to tell them. Doesn’t every one like to be acknowledged and praised once in a while?
Lesli to Patrice: what do you hope to give to readers in your books?
Patrice: Entertainment, provocative ideas about people and their actions, a sense of being in someone else’s skin. The occasional gentle moment of titillation during the rare sex scene is fun. I like to amuse and thrill a bit, too.
Patrice to Lesli: Describe the ideal novel for you.
Lesli: My ideal novel is one that keeps me guessing. I don’t like to be two steps ahead of the writer while I am reading. I like to be totally lost in the story, so much so that I think back to it during the day and am eager to return to it when I get home.
Patrice: Thanks so much for inviting me for this interview, Alicia. What a grand time!
Here’s where you can find Patrice online:
The Best of RG2E Reader2Author Interview Wishes — Alicia Street, RG2E Contributor
(D. D. here): Who all would like an Ebook Gift Copy of RUNNING?! Let us know below, and you just might win one!!! And thanks bunches to Alicia, Patrice and Lesli for a terrific RG2E Reader2Author Interview!!! Y’all rock!!! 🙂 — D. D. Scott, RG2E Founder