Today, Patricia Grasso tells us a bit about herself and her writing. Patricia is an award-winning, and national best-selling author, who has been writing for many years. Patricia has several historical romance titles at Lachesis Publishing, including the Scottish historical romance Pagan Bride about a psychic heroine in Queen Mary’s court, and the Regency romance series The Douglas series about three sisters in Regency England.
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and why?
I never (consciously) realized I wanted to become a writer until I actually became a writer. Ditto for teaching. My late-parents lived through the Great Depression so, even if I’d had a great yearning to write a book, my father would have told me to get my teaching credentials first. Teachers get regular paychecks and health insurance. Later, I realized that my favorite authors wrote one book per year. Once read, I would need to wait another year. So I decided to write a book, but only talked about writing for five years. Finally, a friend asked when I was going to stop talking and start writing. So I started writing. I wrote for five years before I sold my first book, which was my actual first book. Sounds great, huh? No way. Most writers have a few unpublished manuscripts collecting dust under the bed. With my first book published, all my mistakes were “public” mistakes
Describe your favourite place to write?
I create at my writing desk, not my computer desk, facing a blank wall. No television, no music. My book planning and first draft is done with pen and paper. Only then do I sit at the computer.
What would I find on your desk at this very moment?
The short answer is usually a cat. I know you want the long answer so here goes. I keep a dictionary, the old fashioned printed-in-a-book kind. There are also two other books: a book of proverbs and a book of Shakespeare quotations. I also keep extra large index cards for my planning and first draft. The extension of my writing desk is the walls beside and in front of the desk. Here I place poster boards: one is for hero and heroine, one is for secondary characters, and one is for information I will use frequently. Beside my writing desk stands a floor lamp, the kind with a swing arm. Hanging from the arm is a good luck charm Hannah Howell brought me from England. Resting on the chair is a red briefcase that holds my “stuff” for my work in progress (schedule for writing, printed chapters, scraps of papers with ideas). I did leave my “stuff” on the desk until my cats trained me to put my “stuff” away.
What is your tea/coffee beverage of choice when you’re writing?
I drink six to eight glasses of water every day, mostly with meals. Through the day, I drink strong coffee with soy milk, no sugar.
What do you love to read?
I love to read happy endings. Most genres: romance, historical, horror, mystery. I don’t want 21st century “realism” when I read. I want an “escape from real life” interlude.
What is some good advice you can give to an emerging writer?
Persistence, persistence, persistence. Quitters never win and winners never quit. I know authors who received close to a hundred rejections and now sit on the New York Times and USA best-selling lists. Have faith in your ability. Never stop learning about writing. Be kind to other writers.
What do you do after you finish a book? Do you celebrate or take a nap?
I start the next book. Honestly, I really do start the next book. No nap, no celebration.
You write wonderfully rich historical romances – including Regencies. Your Regency Historical Romance series about the Douglas sisters features three heroines who each carry a heavy burden. Tell us about them and why you chose to write stories that explored very real issues in addition to the romance.
Angelica, Samantha, and Victoria are the daughters of a deceased, alcoholic earl who had fallen on hard times. Angelica is the oldest and most confident who wants revenge on the man who scammed her father. I can relate to that. My Irish-Scots mother taught her children never to hit anyone first. If someone hit us, then we should always hit back. I believe characters and real-life people should get what they deserve. Samantha and Victoria are different from Angelica. Samantha walks with a limp and Victoria suffers from dyslexia. Both sisters must overcome feelings of inferiority. Think back to your own childhood/teenage years. Most of us had something that made us feel insecure. I use real problems because perfect people make boring characters.
You have a gift for writing child characters. The children in your books are a joy and often steal the show. Where do you draw inspiration from when creating your child characters?
I love kids. Everything we needed to know we learned in kindergarten. Five and six year olds emulate their adults, repeat what they hear, develop adults’ attitudes.Their lack of experience makes them humorous. I taught older children (grades 8 through 12) for 30 years and discovered that, no matter how old or big we are, the inner kindergartener is still there. I had an English class of juniors, most of whom were the big bad linemen on the football team. At five feet tall, I had entered the land of giants. Most were six feet and weighed more than two hundred pounds.These big bad linemen made me laugh every day because they were kindergarten kids in a full-grown body.
What are you working on next for Lachesis?
I love fairy tales, and my next two books are inspired by two favorites—Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.
Isabelle Montgomery (book one) is an orphan with an absentee brother who enlists a duke (the hero) to act as Isabelle’s legal guardian while he (the brother) leaves England on business. Isabelle has the proverbial evil stepmother and two nasty stepsisters. Everyone believes Isabelle is “unhinged” because she talks to herself. Isabelle is actually speaking to a smart-mouthed fairy godmother/ guardian angel
Miles Montgomery is the hero of the Beauty and the Beast tale. Several years after Isabelle’s story, Miles is burned trying to save his wife. Having retired from society, he wears a mask on the scarred side of his face. Enter our heroine, a princess in need of a husband. Like most men, Miles wants an heir, and a marriage deal is struck between him and the princess. With the princess’s help, Miles learns that true beauty comes from within.