Welcome to the six hundred and fortieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with author, blogger, singer, and musician Pat Garcia. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Pat. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Pat: Hi Morgen. Officially, my name is Patricia Anne Pierce-Garcia Schaack, but I write and sing under my pseudonym, Pat Garcia. I am an African-American, currently living between Frankfurt and Aschaffenburg Germany, in a small German village. As long as I can remember, I have been writing. I started school at the age of five, and I remember coming home from school after my first day and sitting in a chair and writing out my first story that no one could read except myself. My mother was extremely upset, because both she and my father had hoped that the tablet would last me for two or three weeks. I come out of a very poor community where every penny counted, and needless to say, in my parent’s opinion, I had just wasted an entire tablet. Today, I laugh at it, because I was the happiest little girl in the world. I had written my first story, and although no one else could read it, I had cornered anyone who would listen and read my story to them.
Morgen: What a lovely story, and to be the happiest little girl in the world. I hope you’re still one of them. 🙂 You live in a lovely part of the world I don’t know Aschaffenburg but I have fond memories of Frankfurt (and seeing a mouse in a dress shop window there!). What genre do you generally write?
Pat: I began to acquire readers for my writing with my blogs. I have six blogs that I write for on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. These fall into different categories.
- The oldest blog is Wind, Rain, Winding Roads & Sunshine, the By-Ways of Life and can be found at www.patgarciaschaack.com ,which is a blog by Typepad. This blog has a history because it began with me sending hope and inspiration per email to some of the people I knew whom had sons and daughters stationed in Iraq. It was not intended as a blog, and every week I would write an inspirational article. One of the mother’s asked if she could send it to her son, and so an email that was intended for the mothers became a blog posting that went to Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to the soldiers who where stationed there at that time. It was a beautiful experience for me and after their companies left that area, I really didn’t know what to do. They all thanked me and I stop sending the weekly email. It was only afterwards that I realized how much I missed meeting my Monday morning deadline and decided to learn how to do a blog and bring this blog back to life.
- The second blog began with my journal, Quiet Times. It is edited postings of what I have written in my journal and is also an inspirational blog. This blog appears on my website and is the only one that appears in English and in German. It can be found at www.pgs-patgarciaschaack.com.
- My third blog is Garcia talks about Apple products, and the name of the blog is much longer than I have written here (I have a fable for long names), but it is designed for the non technical user like myself who love Apple products and has migrated over to that side of the fence and buy Apple instead of other operating systems.
- The fourth blog started out as I was writing for Wiki U.K. They were taken over my Overblog Europe. It took me some time to find myself in this blog, and it deals with Health issues concerning the body and mind. It can be found at www.patgarcia.co.uk.
- I started a series some weeks ago about successful women from all over the world whom no one knew about, who had been the forerunners of the success that women enjoy today. The title of the blog is Walk On. The series is called, The Champions Who Walked Among Us and is on WordPress. It can be found at http://garciaandwalkon.wordpress.com.
- Finally, two or three weeks ago, I started a book review blog, because I am a voracious reader and love to read. I usually put myself to sleep by reading a book, and regardless of how tired I am or how late I stay up, I read a paragraph or two of a book, before I go to sleep every night. The blog is titled, Pat Garcia Book Reviews and can be found at http://patgarciabookreviews.com. I reviewed so far, Merlin Fraser’s Inner Space trilogy, L W Smith Death series, Micki Peluso’s And the Whippoorwill Sang, Jenny Worstall’s Make a Joyful Noise, Nichole Dunlop’s Miss Nobody, Marta Merajver Kurlat’s Just Tossed The Ashes and Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins’ Extraordinary Dreams Of An Ireland Traveler.
I also write literary articles. On 2 April 2012, the American Diversity Report in their Southern category published my first literary article. The title of the article is Returning to the Old Southern Landmarks with my pseudonym, Pat Garcia. Since then, I have become a regular “freelance staff writer” and write an article or two per quarter. The last article was published on December 31, 2012 and is titled Taking the Message to the Streets and can be found at the following link: http://americandiversityreport.com/2012/12/31/taking-the-message-to-the-streets.aspx.
So, that is basically my non-fiction or creative historical fiction as in the case with my blog series, The Champions Who Walked Among Us, which is now at article 14, but I also write fiction, which I love to write. My genres are inspirational, multicultural, romantic suspense and women literary fiction, because I believe I do a lot of crossing over with my writing. I am currently working on a series, which contains seven novels and two other novels, which are independent of this series. The first book in my series is currently awaiting its fate. I entered it into the novel writing contest for beginners in writing, and naturally I hope that I will win.
I love historical fiction and will one day like to expand my writing expertise and write a creative historical romance, as well as write a couple of non-fiction books, and maybe do an anthology with the short stories I write.
Romantic Shorts, an online Canadian Publisher, published my first short story last July. According to the publisher and her statistics my story was the hit and went beyond their expectations as well as my own. It can still be read online. The title is On A Rainy Day and it is under my pseudonym.
Morgen: My goodness, that’s some list – I thought I was busy. Congratulations on your short story success. You mentioned using a pseudonym?
Pat: Yes, I write everything under my pseudonym, which is also my stage name when I do concerts or appear to sing.
Morgen: Wow. A very talented lady. I’d love to be able to sing. I bought a ‘Singing for Dummies’ book and CD but haven’t got around to listening to / reading it yet. One day. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor (s)?
Pat: At the moment my favourite books are my series. It could be because it is my first step out into the unknown. The characters have been inside of me for years and they were screaming to come out. I finally released them, and I would like to see that series made into films.
I have an idea about how the characters should look. I want them to portray the characters as I described them in the book, and that is very important for me. I would love to have Tyler Perry as Producer and Director. Taraji P Henson as leading lady and Adam Rodriguez as the leading man.
Morgen: The author may not have any choice anyway (wouldn’t it be nice to be in that position). What are you working on at the moment?
Pat: I am editing the prologue in the second book in my series, The Mansion. The second book is called Daniel The Beloved. I am also writing an online novel, Heart’s Desire, editing my NaNoWriMo Novel from 2012, writing a new short story and researching for a new novel that will also be a series.
Morgen: You’re so prolific, presumably you manage to write every day. Do you suffer from writer’s block?
Pat: I usually write every day, but there are times when I need to step back and not write. When that happens, I do it. I go to a café, or go window-shopping, or visit a girlfriend who I have not seen for a long time. In other words, I get away. If I don’t do this then I end up being totally blocked and cannot write one word. It is so important for me to dash away for a couple of hours, and just daydream, or read something that is not related to the topic I am writing. It can be a book about writing techniques, or a fiction novel I love to read but the basic requirement is that it takes my mind away from the chapter or the blog theme I am currently writing about and help me focus on something else. I also read other people blogs and try to leave meaningful comments to encourage the writer and to share with them my ideas as I get to know them through their blogs.
Morgen: Having a break really does help. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Pat: Yes and no, which means I do plot my stories, by writing down notes as they come to my head for each chapter. I make timelines so I know who is where, because my characters talk to me and like me they have a temperament that is sometimes impatience when I don’t seem to understand what they are telling me. When I reached an understanding with my characters my words flow and time disappears. I am then writing in a nebulous and am unaware of what is happening around me.
Morgen: I love it when the characters do that. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Pat: Method no, I don’t have a method. My main characters are usually people that are developed from my heart, and my experiences. They introduce the minor characters to me. Their names come when I least expect it. I don’t try to figure out a name for them. I can be reading a newspaper and see a first or last name that suddenly catches my eye, and I know that should be the name of the character. I think that my characters are believable, because every person can relate in some way or another. Many of the career women who read my short story On A Rainy Day saw themselves as Tess Jordan, the leading lady character. Naturally the characters stem from within me and a part of me is in them.
Morgen: We put our heart and soul into writing them don’t we so I guess it’s only natural that they are part of us; although I’ve recently written about a male serial killer so that’s definitely a leap. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Pat: I really don’t have any preference, because I write in all three, and I practice all three. The point of view that I write in depends on how I want to get my point across.
Morgen: Most people haven’t heard of second person viewpoint, or certainly not written it so it’s always great to meet someone else who writes in it. You mentioned your short stories, do you write any poetry or non-fiction?
Pat: Yes, I do. I love poetry and have developed my own form that I sometimes use when writing my blog articles. I also write non –fiction and plan to write a non-fiction book sometime in the future and I have already mentioned my short story On A Rainy Day published by Romantic Shorts.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Pat: I must admit that I was so positive when I sent out my first queries that I thought my book would get accepted immediately. However, that was not the case at all, and I had to deal with rejection. I don’t like rejections, but I had to learn how to deal with them and turn them into a positive experience. Rejections make me do a double take and rework what I have sent out. So, I have started seeing rejection as a time for improving. It doesn’t mean I have fallen in love with them though. I still have to take it one day at a time and deal with them when they come. However, I know it is not about my person and that is for me important.
Morgen: Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Pat: Yes, I do enter competitions. I have entered my first this year and would definitely recommend it. The only experience that I have had so far is with Sunpenny Publishing, or Rose and Crown, and I can only say excellent things about them, because I have had a very good experience with them.
Morgen: Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Pat: No, I do not have an agent, but I have tried to get one. They are so swamped with receiving new novels that it is really difficult to get in. As for as vital is concerned, I believe a good agent is always vital to the success of an author, but notice I said, a good agent. (chuckle)
Morgen: 🙂 Yes, indeed. I’ve certainly had mixed reports from the authors I’ve spoken too. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Pat: My grammar deficit. You see, I live in Germany at the present, and practically forgot how to speak English. I was teaching it to German businesses with global connections, but in such cases you tend to narrow your vocabulary and simplify your language so that others can understand you. That happened to me, and I am still working to get back into the flow of my own native tongue.
Morgen: Oh dear. My brother’s the same; he lives in Switzerland and can be mid-sentence when he’s back here, then stall because he’s forgotten an English word. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Pat: Write as much as you can, find a good writing book that you can use as one of your primary tools to support you in your grammar while writing, and start a blog about something that you love, and write about it at least once weekly or twice a month.
Morgen: I’d heard to blog at least once a week. The trick is to find enough to say – I just leave it to my guests. 🙂 If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Pat: I would invite, Victoria Holt, Catherine Marshall, and Emily Bronte. It would definitely be takeaway because I dislike cooking with a passion, and I would not try to hide the takeaway.
Morgen: I bet Emily Bronte would be intrigued by it. I enjoy cooking but I don’t have a cooker – my kitchen’s too small to have one and storage so I have an all singing all dancing microwave and hob. I have a typical 1930s house; big everywhere other than the kitchen. (even my hall is bigger). Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Pat: Yes there is. One of my imaginary mentors is Vincent Lombardi. He was the coach of the Green Bay Packers in American Football and was the first winner of the American Super Bowl. He made a motivational speech that has accompanied me throughout my life so far. He said, ” I have been wounded, but not slain. I shall lie here and bleed a while, then I shall rise and fight again. The title of champion may from time to time fall to others more than myself, but the heart, the spirit, and the soul of a champion remain in me.”
Morgen: That’s a great quote. Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Pat: I am tutoring a young man in writing in English.
Morgen: I’m tutoring my Mexican lodger. 🙂 What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks?
Pat: When I am not writing, I am singing or playing my keyboards in our church band. I sing with the Jan Masuhr Jazz band and have my own band, Pat Garcia and the Circle of One. We sing in jazz clubs, auditoriums, churches and wherever we are invited to sing. I also do small solo concert programs with my pianist, Rainer Wahl. My church band plays rock music, and I am the oldest teenager in the band. J The kids love me, and I love them. I play chess, bid whiz, solitaire and I read like a starving child. I like to hide away and read a book, but I have so little time to do that these days.
Morgen: That must feel so rewarding. Are you in any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do find them?
Pat: I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WANA, Stumble Upon, Scoop It, Goodreads and MySpace. As an artist, I think they are very important if you want to reach the people.
Morgen: I don’t know WANA but I’m on the others. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter more than any other. I have an account on MySpace but I’ve not really done anything with it. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Pat: On my Facebook page, MySpace, Twitter or on my website:
- http://garciaanddigitaltechnology.com (blog)
- http://garciaandwalkon.wordpress.com (blog)
- http://patgarciabookreviews.wordpress.com (blog)
- http://www.patgarcia.co.uk (blog)
- http://www.patgarciaschaack.com (blog)
- http://www.pgs-patgarciaschaack.com (website)
- and Twitter http://twitter.com/pat_garcia.
Morgen: Thank you, Pat. It’s been great having you join me today.
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