Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I'm happy to welcome Beth Patillo to the blog. And don't you just love the title of the book? Beth, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

My characters are usually composites of certain personality traits or quirks that I’ve observed in myself or in others. The only character I’ve felt was pretty close to being me was the Rev. Betsy Blessing in Heavens To Betsy. A lot of her thoughts and observations came directly from my experience as a female pastor.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Sadly, I’m not very quirky. I double-pierced my ears in college. Does that count?

Yes. I double-pierced my ears when I was working for a very conservative Christian curriculum publisher. And I had some earrings with three stones held together by tiny wires, so it looked like I had four holes in my ears. Right after I wore them to work the first time, we received a memo that only two earrings per ear were permitted. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I think I knew I was a writer in first grade. I still have my creative writing notebook from that year, and it’s a hoot to read. I started my first novel in fourth grade. If I remember correctly, it was a mystery.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I’m a sucker for a good romance or women’s fiction novel. I enjoy memoir and I read a fair amount of Christian non-fiction, especially books on spirituality. I also own every how-to-write book ever published.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I’ve written two historical romances, which were my first love. But since I tend more to the sweet than the steamy, I had a difficult time there. Heavens To Betsy was my first contemporary, a Bridget-Jones-meets-Mitford story, followed by the sequel, Earth To Betsy.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I write in my prayer journal every day. The first thing I do is list five things for which I’m grateful. My ‘things’ are usually people, by the way. I also look for any moments of quiet I can find. Now that I’m writing at home full-time, the dog and I are pretty tranquil during the day. As a working mom, I’ve also learned to embrace the motto, “When all else fails, lower your standards.”

How do you choose your characters’ names?

The characters’ names usually just pop into my head. My biggest worry is that if I use a name of someone I know, they will think that I based the character on them. So I have to be careful about that.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

After recently listening to Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture in which he encourages people to pursue their childhood dreams, I realized that all of my childhood dreams have already come true. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. I’ve been fortunate enough to have several books published. I have had the opportunity to live in England and to travel, and I have also had the chance to pursue my profession (ordained ministry). While my efforts did make a difference in achieving these dreams, I’m also aware how fortunate I am to have had the opportunities that allowed me to do so. I’m far more blessed than I deserve.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I would be my dog, Angie, because she’s loved, indulged, and happy.

What is your favorite food?

Well, I never met a refined carbohydrate I didn’t like, but if I have to be specific, I would say Mexican food is my favorite.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Getting started is the most difficult part of writing for me. I latched on to an idea called Club 100, where you challenge yourself to write at least 100 words a day for 100 days. When I use this practice, it’s easier to get started, because I only ‘have’ to do 100 words. By the time I get that far, though, I usually keep on going and pile up several pages. I run an email group for folks who use the Club 100 method, and new members are welcome. You can find out more at .

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Perseverance is the key. Whether it’s learning your craft, finishing your first manuscript, or querying agents and editors. Publishing means being rejected – over and over again – but all it takes is one ‘yes’ to get you started.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is a fun read for all ages. You don’t have to be a knitter to identify with and enjoy these characters. The women – from thirteen to sixty-five – cover the gamut of female experience and problems. I hope that readers find the book to be both funny and heartwarming.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Beth, thank you for spending this time with us.
Readers, you can order The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society using this link:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society. Check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. If you don't, you can use this link to order the book.


windycindy said...

I have read about the various ages portrayed in this book! It would be interesting to see how they interact together. I am also glad one doesn't need to understand knitting terms in order to enjoy her book! Please enter me in this delightful book giveaway drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

Lindsey said...

This looks great, thanks for the interview and of course the giveaway! I don't know how to knit but I DO love to crochet - working on some Christmas presents now in fact. :-)

God bless!

ladyufshalott at

kalea_kane said...

OOOH. I just read more about The Sweetgum Knit Lit Societ, and I would really love to enter. It looks like the ladies really kind of impact the life of Hannah the teenager. Please include me in the drawing. Thanks!


Kristi said...

Would love to win a copy of this book - and I am a knitter.. and a crocheter.. and a needlepointer.. and a Book Blogger!


Ausjenny said...

dont enter me just wanted to say I really loved this book thanks for the interview.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lena and Beth

Thank you for the interesting interview.

Beth,I love the Club 100 idea and have signed up for your email loop.

Please enter me in the book drawing

God bless

Ruth Dell

ruthdell (at)

Anonymous said...

I have just discovered you and would love to win the book. I will be looking for more books that you have written. I did enjoy the interview.

lilac grandma said...

Love the Title! Please enter me for a chance to win this very interesting book!

Sandee61 said...

I'm slowly but surely learning to knit, and enjoying it. I would love to read this book...please enter me in your drawing. Thank you!



Pamela J said...

I don't need entered in the drawing, just wanted to say I finished reading this book in the last few weeks and absolutely LOVED it!! All the ages represented "knitted" together in a Society made a great story. I still find myself occasionally wondering about those ladies!
Pam W

Wanza Leftwich, The Gospel Writer said...

This was a great interview. I'm glad someone left your blog link in our email loop. You have a lot of good interviews on this site.

Congratulations to Beth! I'm apart of Club 100!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! This sounds like an intriguing book. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.

RAnn said...

I really enjoyed this book. Here is my review:

Cherie J said...

Sounds great! I love books that reflects the views and feelimgs of women of a variety of ages. So refreshing. Thanks for the contest!


Martha A. said...

This sounds like just a fun book! I would love to read it!

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful! Please enter my name.

angelahipp at charter dot net

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an interesting book with an intriguing title. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks.

Stormi said...

I have been wanting to read this book, please enter me in the drawing.