http://www.pattilacy.com/blog/ God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
At fifty-five, I’m struggling to keep with God but so grateful He has given me work. Just this month He planted the idea for a series, which will be my first. My agent fell in love with it at first sight (also a first).
Here’s the hook: Evelyn Secrest, a recently widowed homemaker, and Jamie Sue Symmes, a mentally challenged grocery store bagger, blend their vastly different skill sets, spice them with the love of Jesus, and push past civic and family opposition to open a soup kitchen.
I’m also writing my first book sold before completion, Reclaiming Lily (Bethany House, Fall 2011) (deadline of 11/15) and editing The Rhythm of Secrets, which will be released in January 2011 by Kregel.
Writing has been redefined as a full-time passion in the Lacy household.
We can see from that last answer that you worked on these questions a while ago. Tell us a little about your family.
My husband Alan shares my passion for ministry, not just through writing, but as Sunday school teachers to 3rd and 4th graders at Grace Church in Normal. When we married, we followed a tradition in both our families to teach. Day by day he lives that commitment in the halls of Illinois State University. My daughter Sarah and fabulous son-in-law Josh moved to Nashville to pursue postgraduate work with a passion to one day be involved a la Three Cups of Tea in South American villages. Son Thomas calls school locker rooms home and aspires to teach and coach after completing college. Our canine family member regulates the Lacy exercise patterns and sits in my office chair to supervise writing. We love our mongrel Laura!!
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Yes, ma’am! I hone the craft, pen in hand, with nearly every word I read. It’s SO fun to scribble “Wow!” and “Look at that POV use!” on the pages of my friends the books. There’s SO much to learn from experienced writers. Like you, Lena.
I don't thing we ever stop learning. What are you working on right now?
Three books: The Rhythm of Secrets, Reclaiming Lily, and Those Below Normal
I'm going to add Reclaiming Lily to the schedule now so we'll be sure to have a spot when it releases. What outside interests do you have?
What outside interests do I NOT have? In that way, I’m like Cynthia, Father Tim’s wife in At Home in Mitford. I love gardening, running, films, of course reading and writing, sharing the gospel of Christ, leading Bible studies, housework (really), cooking, ART, teaching, environmental issues, traveling. I’ll stop there!
Settings are so integral to my stories, they become characters. As I “meet” my heroine, I also “meet” the mystical cliffs o’ County Clare or the swamps of Louisiana, tawdry Thai brothels, the hallowed arch of Moody Bible Institute, far-from-plain ole Normal, Illinois!!!
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Of course our Lord and Savior, for a taste of what lies ahead. Perhaps Moses. There’s so many things I’d like to ask him, like was he really slow of speech. Did he tremble when walking through those parted waters?
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
Hmmm. You know, Lena, I’ve loved this crazy ride. God has been so good to keep my focus on Him MOST of the time. I guess it would be those moments when I got caught up in the whole publish rush, the $$ side of the business, the hurry up and do SOMETHING urge instead of writing solely for Him and letting everything else take care of itself.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
How to reach out in love to EVERYONE, even enemies. Even those I don’t like. To die to self so the Holy Spirit can REALLY work.
Learning to see everyone through the Lord's eyes will revolutionalize your life. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Take the readers God gives you, one by one, and make them feel like the most important people in the world.
Write SOLELY for the Audience of One and surround yourself with people who feel the same way you do. Cling to those soulmates and make them feel like the most important people in the world.
Wrestle with God to determine if He wants you to write. Then become a professional. Put in long hours. Support other writers by purchasing their books, trumpeting their talents, attending their functions. Read those craft books. Spend $$ to get professional edits. Don’t play around with God’s talent.
Tell us about the featured book.
A phone call threatens to destroy the security of Sheila Alexander, the wife of a prominent Midwest pastor, and expose secrets Sheila has managed to conceal for decades. Will Sheila save the one she loves most of all…or protect her husband and her church? The Rhythm of Secrets will transport you from bawdy Jazz era New Orleans to the turbulent Vietnam War era in Chicago. As with all her books, Patti weaves music into the manuscript, this time focusing on classical, jazz, and blues tunes.
Sounds very intriguing. Please give us the first page of the book.
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Spring 1969, Chicago, Illinois
Stormy days call for Rachmaninoff. Rain thrummed the window and blended with cantata chords Sheila Franklin coaxed from her piano. Soon she’d be done with the choir piece and could continue her Rachmaninoff affair. Or maybe she’d play jazz, wild and free, though Edward had forbidden it. But Edward wasn’t here . . .
“Jesus is love.” She sang as she played, but her movements jerked rather than flowed; a second-year music student could do as well. Eager to be done with it, she glanced at the clock. Ten more minutes, that would do it. Ten more minutes, and she’d play the jazz she’d heard when Papa set a needle on a scratched record in their marvelous Esplanade parlor. Or Rachmaninoff. Yes, Rachmaninoff would be better. Safer. Sheila sat up straight, precisely positioned her hands on the keyboard, but her past refused to be disciplined. Her past . . .
Oh, New Orleans! Images of the noisy French Quarter and Maman’s heart-shaped face pulled her into a keyboard promenade, slow and sassy, toward the Mississippi. A tugboat sounded . . . or a wrong note. She glanced at her hands, again heard the musical hiccup. She hadn’t missed a key. It was that darned phone, threatening to shut down a riotous Mardi Gras parade. Irritation clapped through her. She continued to pound the keys, but the wretched thing buzzed insistently.
When icy resentment froze her hands, she stared at them. Her diamond solitaire dazzled her eye and reminded her of her commitment eighteen years ago. She’d agreed to interruptions like this when she’d married Edward Franklin . . . and his congregation. Life, death, or a dozen things in between waited at the other end of the line; the knowledge propelled her toward his phone. She and Edward had battened down their marriage with the surety, the safety, of Christ. And it was enough, Lord. Yes. It would have to be enough.
As she moved to his study, she kneaded her knuckles but could do nothing for the memories. Beautiful memories. Painful memories. The lonely Russian composer understood—she knew from his music—but Rachmaninoff would have to wait.
She picked up the phone from its perch on Edward’s roll-top desk. “Hello?”
Static answered, and a noise like the wings of a large bird taking flight. She leaned against the desk, reminding herself to be polite, even if it was Mr. O’Leary, ringing up Edward from the pay phone outside the neighborhood pub. Or someone who needed money. “Franklin residence. Can I help you?”
“Is this Sylvia Allen?”
She tried to breathe; nearly choked. Her elbows banged against solid oak. Nobody knew she’d once been Sylvia Allen except . . . What was this? Blackmail?
I can't wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
http://www.pattilacy.com/, www.pattilacy.com/blog. I also LOVE my Facebook fam and enjoy sharing Art Bites with them five days a week.
And thank you, Patti, for the fun interview again.
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