My Interview with Author Mary Schmidt for Passing Through Brandiss

Today I’m glad to present Patricia Yager Delagrange whose book Passing Through Brandiss I will post my review in the next two weeks. My blogsite is:

But the interview first, hello Patricia, and welcome to my blog, please tell my readers, how did you come to writing?

In 2009, my daughter was 11 years old and she told me that a friend at school asked why her mom didn’t have a job. I had been a stay-at-home mom since 1993. After putting a lid on my irritation that being a mom wasn’t considered a “job”, I paused and thought a bit. I did have more time, since my two kids were in school most of the day. So I went to the Apple store and bought a MacBook and wrote my first novel.

How did you come up with your stories?

All my stories involve a woman who must jump over life’s hurdles to find her happily ever after. I’m intrigued with topics I’ve either read about or seen on the news. Passing Through Brandiss involves a husband who is in a car accident and how his wife and young son deal with that tragedy. Moon Over Alcatraz deals with a couple whose baby dies at birth and how that tears them apart. Taken Away deals with a man whose wife and child disappear.

Is there a message in your novels you would like your readers to grasp?

My message is definitely that if you’re a strong woman, you can do anything, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

You have created great characters. Which one is your favorite?

Actually, one of my favorite characters is in my novel that’s not published yet. She’s a young woman who finds a baby in a dumpster and decides to keep the child. It was fun writing that since the circumstances are so unusual.

How much of your books are realistic? Are the experiences based on someone you know or events in your life?

I incorporate personalities of people I know into my characters and I also include places I’ve lived and circumstances I’ve experienced into my books. In Moon Over Alcatraz there’s a young woman who wants to give up her baby for adoption. We adopted our daughter and I wanted to write about that topic.

Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?

Wow. Well, in Passing Through Brandiss I would have Andie MacDowell play the main character Annie. Dylan Neal from Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series would play Prescott. I’d cast Jennifer Lawrence as Allessandra and Tom Taylor would be Annie’s son Rafe.

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?

I feel very much like Annie in Passing Through Brandiss and maybe that’s because I know what it feels like to adopt a baby. There was definitely a connection between Annie and me with regard to her thoughts and feelings about adopting a child.

Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

I don’t outline my books from start to finish. I’m a “pantser”, i.e. I have an idea of what I want the story to be about then I start to write. Characters come onto the page and things unfold as they happen, and all my books have a happy ending.

What is your main reason for writing?

I love to write the type of books that I love to read.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

The best aspect of writing is creating a world that I totally made up in my head and writing about it on my computer. The worst thing about writing is trying to promote it so that people know it’s out there for them to read.

Would you like to share a little of your current work in progress, or ideas for your next novel?

The novel I just finished editing is Maddy’s Phoenix about a young woman who finds a baby in a dumpster and decides to keep the child.

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?

I wait until I have the majority of my marketing in place before I devote time to writing another book. I have to be very focused and not distracted about a past novel, in order to keep my head in the game on the current book I’m writing.

What do you do when you don’t write?

I have two kids at home, ages 17 and 22, and they aren’t going anywhere for several years. I try to be there for them even though they aren’t “little kids” any longer. My son is in college part-time and my daughter just graduated high school and got her first job. My priority is always my family.

Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?

My editor is Lisanne Cooper who I met through my publisher, Ravenswood Publishing. She’s a great editor and we work well together. When a book is finished being edited, I give it to Kitty Honeycutt at Ravenswood, and she takes care of all the formatting and publishing aspects.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors are Joy Fielding, Debbie Macomber, Richard Paul Evans, Nicholas Sparks, and a writer I just discovered, Barbara Hinske.

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book would be She’s Not There by Joy Fielding about a missing child.

What books or authors have influenced you the most? Is there a writer that you consider a mentor? Do you have a favorite?

My favorite writer is Joy Fielding. There’s a raw emotion about her writing that I only wish I could emulate but I’m light years away from being able to pull that off. She writes great internal dialogue and you really get into the head of the main character.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

I read on a Kindle and my current book is Uncovering Secrets by Barbara Hinske, the latest one in her Rosemont series.

What makes you laugh?

Hmmm. If you’ve ever seen the movie Best Friends with Ryan Reynolds, that’s my type of humor. I also love Vince Vaughan’s movies. He’s hysterical.

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

I would take my dog Jack.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

I’d love to talk with author Joy Fielding.

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?

My best quality would be my non-judgmental attitude. My worst quality would be that I’m a worry wort.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

If you have a good editor, you get a lot of criticism. I can handle it because I often don’t see the forest for the trees which is why I need an editor.

Mary Schmidt writes under the pen names of S. Jackson and A. Raymond. She also wrote a memoir When Angels Fly.

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