Welcome, Robin. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Thank you for letting me invade your blog today. I’m sure you don’t remember this, but about eight years ago, you spoke at my local ACFW chapter, and you critiqued the first few pages of my story. It was the first professional critique I ever received. I was so sure my book was destined to be a bestseller. After looking at your critique, I realized I had a long way to go. All of your comments were spot-on, but you found a way to encourage me, too. For that, I will always be grateful.
Back to your question:
The longer I write, the less of myself I see in my characters. The heroine in my first book (which has not been published) was just like me—only better. She was the me I wanted to be. Now, I’m able to create characters who don’t always think like I do. That being said, there’s a little of me in all of them.
I’m so glad I encouraged you. I do try to do that when I crit someone’s work. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Don’t we all like to think of ourselves as normal? It’s a funny little fantasy. I’m sure I’ve done a lot of quirky things in my life, though not many are coming to mind right now. I love to wander around in cities and watch people walk by. Whenever I visit a
new city, I find a way to spend time alone on
the streets. The first time I did this, I was in Montreal on business, and I had to be at a
meeting at eight in the morning. The meetings were to last all day, so before
dawn, I went out and walked the city. Up and down street after street, trying
to remember my college French and read the signs on the buildings. I ended up
at a patisserie, where I bought a cup of tea and a yummy pastry. Unfortunately,
I got a bit lost and had to run back to the hotel in order to make my meeting
on time. My coworkers were just dragging themselves out of bed when I barreled
in. They’d already known I was weird, though, so they weren’t surprised.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always loved to write, but I never thought of myself as a writer until I started writing fiction when I turned forty. Even then, I only wrote down that first story because it had been bouncing around in my brain for so long, and I really wanted it out. When, after three months, I had finished that novel and enjoyed every minute of the writing, I realized I wanted to be a writer. It was another year before I allowed myself to believe I could make it happen.
I didn’t start writing professionally until after I turned 40. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Oh, my. I love to read all sorts of books. I read both Christian and general market books. I love suspense. I love literary fiction and women’s fiction. Some of my favorite books are young adult titles. I enjoy historical fiction, especially epic tales written by authors like Edward Rutherford and James Mitchener. And I read romance, though not as much as I used to. I’m also an editor, and most of my clients write romance, so I usually get my fill of that genre in my day job.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I fear I don’t keep it very well. I begin every day in the Scriptures and prayer. My morning time with the Lord helps set the tone for the rest of the day. And I have always tried to build a lot of margin into my life. I hate feeling like I can’t get everything done, so I try not to put myself in that position. Lately, my schedule feels like it’s spinning out of control, though there’s not much I can do about that. My family is getting ready to put the house on the market and move to another state, and that’s adding all sorts of tasks to my already full to-do list. I’m looking forward to getting settled in our
so life will go back to its normal hectic pace.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
It’s so hard! Often I go to babynames.com to search for names popular when my characters were born. Occasionally, I’ll immediately know a character’s name, but more often, even after I’ve chosen them, I consider changing them. And I have a terrible habit of picking the same last names. I’ve used Nolan twice and MacKenzie twice. Why? I have no idea.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m not sure proud is the right word, but I think my biggest accomplishment is my marriage. My husband and I have been happily married for 24 years, and the last five of those have been really difficult. I won’t get into the details, but let’s just say there are teenagers involved. Our family has gone through some difficult trials, and my husband and I have come out of them stronger. I’m humbled at how much the Lord has done in and through us. All the glory goes to Him.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Probably a dog, because I love people, and I tend to be a bit overeager to please.
What is your favorite food?
I hate to be cliché or predictable, but honestly, nothing beats a good pizza.
I agree, but what I consider a good pizza and what my husband considers good pizza are worlds apart. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I understand words and always have. For me, the struggle has been with storytelling. I can easily see how another person’s story isn’t working, but with my own stories, I’m often flummoxed on how to fix the story problems I tend to create. I struggle with telling a compelling story without it feeling predictable or cliché or, frankly, boring. I’ve read a lot of books on storytelling, and I’ve learned to use a story outline (my favorite is the beat sheet from Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat). I’m not sure I’ve overcome my storytelling issues, but I’m definitely working on them.
Tell us about the featured book.
Innocent Lies is the fourth and last book in the Hidden Truth series. Like all the books, it is filled with suspense and laced with romance. It released January 19, and early reviewers seem to like it. One reviewer said this:
“Robin Patchen again gives us a book filled with heart-pounding suspense. Her well-crafted plot pulls us through the book, surrounding us with vivid characters. I loved every word and so will anyone who loves romantic suspense. I eagerly await her next book.”—Goodreads Reviewer
Here’s the blurb:
"Kelsey huddled in the corner, tried to make herself invisible. Outside, she heard a muffled voice, a shout, and the pounding of footsteps across the porch. Then, the unmistakable jingle of keys. The lock turned. The door opened. And her last chance for escape melted like snow.”
About Innocent Lies:
A lost little boy steals his heart.
When Eric finds eight-year-old Daniel alone in the woods, he has no idea where the boy came from or how he's survived the wintery
New Hampshire weather.
He figures once he hands the boy off to child services, his part in Daniel's
drama will be over. He couldn't be more wrong.
She’ll do anything to keep her son safe.
Kelsey sneaks into Nutfield with a goal and a secret, but when she's arrested and sees Eric, her first and only love, all her plans to expose her enemy fall apart.
The past catches up with them.
Together, Eric and Kelsey fight to protect Daniel, an innocent child caught in a dangerous game. Can Eric help Kelsey bring down her enemies without risking his heart...again? Will Kelsey have to walk away from the only man she's ever loved...again?
Sounds intriguing. Please give us the first page of the book.
“My name is Daniel Anderson. My mama’s name is Carrie. I don’t have a daddy. I am eight years old.”
Daniel repeated the words over and over, holding onto them the same way he was gripping the skinny tree in the forest.
Mama had told him to walk to the white house and knock. Not that there were any other houses around here, deep in these woods. Seemed easy when Mama was standing beside him. With her gone, the house seemed far away, and he had to get through all the trees and bushes and stuff.
He shivered, and his teeth chattered. He couldn’t make them stop. He let go of the tree and stuck his hands under his armpits. Didn’t help. Nothing was warm. Not even his toes. He wriggled them but couldn’t feel anything. They should have been toasty in his new boots.
It hadn’t been snowing when they first got here. Now, Mama was gone, and snowflakes were falling everywhere, sort of hiding the house.
And it was getting dark. What would happen if the sun went all the way down before he got up his nerve?
I want to know what comes next. I’m sure my readers do, too. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Would you like a free book? Download Convenient Lies, the first book in the Hidden Truth series, absolutely free to get a taste of the series: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/nzg359rlts
Readers, here are links to the book.Innocent Lies (Hidden Truth) (Volume 4) - Paperback
Innocent Lies (Hidden Truth Book 4) - Kindle
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