Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Interview with Patricia Yager Delagrange, author of 'Moon Over Alcatraz'



Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and Jack. Her Friesian horse Maximus lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.

Her latest book is the romantic women’s fiction, Moon Over Alcatraz.

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About the Book:

Title: Moon Over Alcatraz
Author: Patricia Yager Delagrange
Publisher: Ravenswood Publishing/Black Hawk
Pages: 308
Genre: Romantic Women’s Fiction

Brandy Chambers was looking forward to the birth of her first child. She and Weston move from San Francisco to the small town of Alameda to start a family, she’s writing her second book, and Weston has a fantastic job working on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge project. Having this baby would make her already-wonderful life perfect.

But when the baby dies after a difficult birth, Brandy’s perfect life blows up in her face. Stricken with grief, she and Weston pull apart. This new distance leads them both to disaster. Not until a chance encounter with her high school friend, Edward Barnes, does Brandy pull herself together. Brandy and Weston agree to recommit to each other, striving to forgive infidelity and recreate their previous existence.

Everything is once again going according to plan—until Brandy discovers she’s pregnant. While she struggles to cope with this new obstacle, Edward Barnes returns to town and discovers she’s having a baby, while Weston is torn between his love for his wife and his anger at her betrayal. Can Brandy manage to keep her marriage to Weston together? Will Edward be a part of Brandy’s life if she and Weston separate?

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I have two children. I think anyone who has kids knows what it’s like to feel the fear of losing them, especially during pregnancy. My own experience at 42 years old and pregnant with my son was without incident. However that’s often not the case with many women. As an aside, the ideas for my books generally come from my mental meanderings, wondering “how would I feel if” such and such happened to me. Thus, I explored and dug deep and asked myself what my emotions would be if I were to carry a baby to term yet lose him/her in childbirth.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It was hard to write this book because I hadn’t had such an experience, thank goodness. But that’s what writing fiction is to me - writing a story that didn’t necessarily happen to me, which would make it an autobiography, but writing a story that could happen or happened to someone else, in my own voice.

My tip for other writers would be, don’t be afraid to put into words what your gut and your heart tell you for fear of exposing yourself. I believe a reader appreciates feelings and emotions because it makes them emote, pure and simple.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher is Ravenswood Publishing, run by Kitty Bullard. I was looking for a small publishing house because I’d heard an author has more hands-on help and guidance at a smaller house. I’ve found that to be true with Kitty. If I write her an e-mail asking any question, whether important or just a simple query, she gets back to me within a couple of hours. I already feel like a guppy in the ocean of authors, and I don’t want to feel the same with my publisher.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I think many authors would agree that to be published at all is a dream often thought of as unachievable. Somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 books are published each year, so I feel privileged to have my book picked up by a small publisher who’s interested  in my work.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I’ve written five books. Taken Away was published in June 2015. Moon Over Alcatraz will come out November 15, 2015. Passing Through Brandiss will be published in 2016. I just started writing my sixth novel. I’m sure it will be published in 2017, if not sooner.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I like Facebook because I’m able to see photos of my family and friends. I read about what they’re doing because most of them live far away from me. Also, I/m enamored with elephants and I follow numerous elephant rescue and sanctuary groups on Facebook.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

I always, no matter what time it is, read a book before falling asleep. If I don’t have my Kindle in my hands, I can’t shut off the night light.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

The message I want to get across with Moon Over Alcatraz is: no matter how tragic your situation or experience, it’s possible to find happiness again, or for the first time.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank you for hosting me. Final words? Every subject has been written about. What’s important is how you write about it -in your voice. Just do it!