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Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?
Over twenty years ago, I kept seeing a scene running through my head. In an attempt to free myself of this persistent image, I decided to try out that newfangled type-writer my husband had brought home from work. I worked for several hours and ended up with one-half of a page. I found myself drawn back to the computer daily where the story seemed to channel itself to me. At the end of a year, I had finished Stained Glass Memories. As the years passed, I wrote five more novels.
During those five years I began teaching at a junior college and had the opportunity to teach beginner writing courses, which helped me to develop the technical side of writing – commas, sentence structure, flow, and editing.
In 2003 with my three children mostly grown, I divorced my husband of 32 years. Several years later, I decided I was ready to consider an intimate relationship. After dating a number of men, I got serious about one man who I married after knowing him for two years. Three months later, he announced his love for someone else.
Since writing has been my therapy, I decided to write a book lambasting him. It did not take long to realize that writing a book about what a jerk he is would do me no good what so ever – that concept was well established by his behavior. Instead I decided to focus on how I could turn this experience into something positive. My goal became a mission to understand why I had attracted this man into my life and how I could ensure that I would never find myself in this situation again. At the same time, I decided to benefit others, particularly women’s shelters because I felt the residents there were going through something similar to what I had experience but exponentially worse.
I released Too Much Gold to Flush, The Gift of Infidelity in the fall of 2012. In January I plan to release Too Much Gold to Flush in an e-book format. Recently, I have been re-working one of my original novels.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?
For me getting away from my normal routine is the secret to moving forward with a writing project. When I got down to the actually writing of Too Much Gold to Flush, I took a housesitting gig in Washington State for six weeks. While there, I wrote the rough draft. After that, I had my momentum going and was able to keep moving forward with it. I take lots of notes and outline by hand, but the actual writing I do on the computer.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My favorite part of writing is the creative process of figuring out how to say what I want to convey in the most interesting way. My least favorite part is that struggle to know when I have finished. For me there is no obvious end. I could always go through it one more time and find something else to improve.
How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?
My primary characters evolve with the story. They naturally grow out of what the story needs in order to tell it. My characters are real and usually a composite of several different people I have known. They are human (flawed) and they are each involved in their own struggle – the usual human dilemma.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
Website – patgrissom.com (reviews, blogs, buy button, information)
Facebook – Too Much Gold to Flush https://www.facebook.com/TooMuchGoldToFlush
Twitter – @patgrissom1
Networking for Potential Book Authors
Women Giving Back
Your Book Is Your Hook
Two Blogs a week- http://patgrissom.com/blog/
-one featuring various women’s shelters
-one a 50-week series on Affirming a New Vision – making positive choices
Speak to groups like Friends of the Library, sororities (speaking at the state meeting for Epsilon Sigma Alpha in May), church groups
Pay It Forward Book Club – groups can get my book for ½ price if they buy at least 6 and do a project for a women’s shelter. I have a group in Australia that is currently reading my book, and I am scheduled to Skype with them, so they can ask me questions. http://www.meetup.com/The-Perth-Girly-Book-Club/events/118136802/ They are doing a project for a shelter there in Perth.http://patgrissom.com/book-club/
Amazon – reviews (I have asked people who have read my book to post a review on Amazon.) http://www.amazon.com/Too-Much-Gold-Flush-Infidelity/product-reviews/0985381302/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1
Newsletter – every week to two weeks I send out a newsletter via Constant Contact to let people know what I am doing. I have a sign up option on my blog page. I always have links to my blogs on my newsletter. http://patgrissom.com/blog/
Teaching at a local shelter – In January of 2014, I am starting a 4 week class (one night a week) with the residents there on recognizing negative core beliefs, making positive choices, and setting goals for the future.
Magazine articles - I have gotten three articles in a local community magazine called Change. Here is the link: http://changemagazine.net/
You can view the past articles in the Oct 2013 issue: https://www.facebook.com/ChangeMagazine/app_116500211743808
March 2013 issues:
Another one is due out in Jan 2014.
Mind Movies – I was featured on a Mind Movie, an Internet site that features inspirational stories. Here is the link:
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
As I mentioned earlier, I like to get away from my regular routine to start a writing project. Once it is well underway, I am motivated to work on it to completion. Trying to start it with everything else going on can be a huge challenge for me. I have done a number of housesitting gigs in recently years, especially since I retired from teaching at a junior college. This has given me that much needed booster start while letting me experience other parts of the world – East Texas & NW Washington State. At the same time, I have met new friends and had interesting experiences (volunteered at an organic farm that grows vegetables for the local food pantry.)
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I am currently working on a novel Call It Quits that I started over 20 years ago. It is about a 30-year-old woman who is in an abusive marriage. She dreams of getting out on her own, but she is hampered by her location (conservative Panhandle of Texas and the times – 1973.) The book starts the first day of her going to college – a dream she has long held and a major accomplishment she negotiated during a “honeymoon phase” – a period of generosity and kindness that follows most abusive episodes in a marriage like hers. The book shows her growing independence and her determination to make a new life.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
Ihave five more books that I would eventually like to publish (besides the one I am working on and the one that I have already published.) Eventually I would like to sponsor other authors in publishing their work and doing the same thing I am doing – benefiting women’s shelters with ½ of the sales price of the book. My dream is to form a non-profit organization that will outlive me and will go on to support women’s shelters for many years in the future.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Write. Write. And write some more. Like anything the more you do it, the better you get. The wisest thing I’ve ever heard in reference to this is the concept of writing one million words before you call yourself a writer.
Read books about writing. Take classes. Attend conferences. Enter contests. I’ve done all of that and all of it helped me to build my confidence and hone my skills.