Welcome, Patricia. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
At least 50 percent or more, (whether I realize it or not).
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I was asked to speak at a conference and stopped along the way to fill up my car with gas. As I went inside the convenience store to pay, the clerk gave me a strange look. Returning to my car, I looked down and realized that I was wearing a half-slip instead of the pencil skirt that went with the suit. I hurried home to change, thankful that I’d caught my wardrobe malfunction before speaking to a group of over a hundred people.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
At the age of 17, my cousin, a professor of English Lit read some of my poems and began to encourage me. This inspiration helped me move forward and develop as a writer. I had been scribbling all of my life, so in many ways this discovery came as no surprise. But I still have much to learn about the craft.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love the classics, especially Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence. C.S. Lewis (The Great Divorce) and I adore the poetry of Emily Dickinson. I also like the modern inspirational genre. At present, I am reading Catherine's Pursuit and enjoying it very much. I also like the work of Tina Radcliffe, Ruth Axtell, and Joan M. Hochstetler.
I’m glad you like Catherine’s story. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I pray a lot. Sometimes, just a few minutes with our Lord sustains me. Also, over the years, I have learned to say no. Some things must wait. Other things are still waiting. LOL!
The learning to say no is a hard one for all writers. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I let my character’s name themselves. I toss out a few possibilities and one of them usually works right away. Sometimes that’s not the case. One character in my book constantly changed his name as we went along, until I finally said, “Look—this is your last name, and we are not changing it again!” (The character was Douglas Van Demark, Anna’s nemesis in Escape to the Biltmore.)
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Raising my son and watching him become the man that God created him to be. As a divorced single parent, it was not always easy, and I constantly prayed that we would not become a negative statistic. My son has his Master’s in History and teaches. He loves his work, and I enjoy gleaning information from him!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I love dogs, but I think I would choose to be a cat! They love gazing out the window, and so do I, especially when I have writer’s block!
What is your favorite food?
Mexican. Especially Guacamole.
I love it when the waiter makes the Guacamole tableside, because they put exactly what I like in mine. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Like most writers, my greatest roadblock has always been the lack of time. I work as an editor for Woman’s World Magazine and often find myself drained from the constant demands of a weekly magazine. But turning on the computer and reviewing my own personal writing helps restore the creativity within me.
I enjoy reading WW. Tell us about the featured book.
Sure! When Dr. Richard Wellington saves Anna St. James from being trampled to death outside Grand Central Station, her pronouncement that she’s also a physician is so farfetched that he diagnoses her with a concussion. But America in 1895 is on the cusp of change. Just as the internal combustion engine will soon make the horse-drawn vehicles of their time obsolete, a societal shift will give women the right to vote and to have careers. Anna is a pioneer, but as a “lady” doctor who has also lost her place in society following her father’s death, she doesn’t dare to imagine she can have it all. As Anna and Richard travel by rail between New York and Asheville, they become colleagues and friends along the way. By the time they meet again at the luxurious Biltmore House, their inconvenient romantic attraction is undeniable, as are the impediments to their happiness. They will be influenced by both friends and foes, as well as their own faith and reason as they struggle toward a resolution.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Grand Central Train Station, New York
A scream pierced the chill December air, freezing Dr. Richard Wellington’s descent from a hansom cab. Yards away, a woman stood in the path of runaway horses, her white scarf fluttering behind her like the wings of a frightened bird before a predator.
Dropping his bags, Richard dove for the woman, catching her up into his arms. With a bone-jarring thud, they landed in a snow bank at the edge of the busy street.
A roar of silence filled his ears. Then, with the immediacy of danger alleviated, the city noises returned—the rumble of a nearby train, the jog trot of a horse, and exclamations of the crowd surrounding them.
“Is she alive, sir?” A man with sharp eyes bent over her.
“She was that close to those horse’s hooves!” Another onlooker’s pudgy fingers and thumb were held a fraction apart to illustrate the averted tragedy.
Ignoring the anxious questions around him, Richard placed a practiced finger on the woman’s wrist and breathed a prayer of thanks. Her pulse was almost normal.
The crowd had thickened. A low murmur of expectancy crackling through the onlookers.
“She’ll be fine,” he announced to the mob. Pulling a handkerchief from his pocket he began to wipe the snow from her cheeks. Wavy strands of red-gold hair had escaped from beneath her pert little hat, and now cascaded against the snow, their color reminding him of autumn leaves spilling from a basket. The gentle action seemed to revive her. The woman’s eyelids fluttered and opened to reveal stunning turquoise eyes.
“I’m Dr. Richard Wellington,” he said. “You’ve taken a hard fall. Can you hear me?”
A slight frown formed on her smooth pale forehead. “Yes, I can hear you.” The next second, panic filled her eyes and she breathed out, “The horses!”
He glanced over his shoulder. The runaway team that had been pulling a mail coach was now halfway down the block where the driver had brought them to a standstill. Richard turned back to the young woman whom he judged to be not more than twenty-two or three. “It’s all right. You’re safe now.”
He remembered how she had stood motionless. “You appeared glued to the street. What happened?”
She rubbed a gloved finger against her temple, her frown deepening as she struggled to remember. “I—I looked both ways before stepping off the sidewalk and all was clear. But then those horses appeared as if from nowhere and I couldn’t move my legs.” She gave a rueful shake of her head. “I’ve read about such instances in medical journals, but I never thought temporary paralysis could happen to me.”
His eyes narrowed at her remark. “You read medical journals?”
She drew a long breath, as though frustrated with his questions. “Yes. I read medical journals because I’m a doctor.”
A doctor? Had he heard her correctly? His fingers probed the soft kid leather of her boots. “Any numbness or pain?”
“Good. Any loss of movement in your arms?” He reached over and gently bent her elbow. She raised both arms and wiggled her fingers. “All seems well. I don’t think anything is broken.” She attempted to sit up and he placed an arm around her shoulders to assist.
“I believe you have suffered a mild concussion.” He continued in the unhurried manner he used when examining a patient. “Sometimes a hard fall will bring about confusion. I want you to sit quietly for a moment while I arrange for an ambulance to take you to hospital for complete bed rest.”
She drew her brows together. “What makes you believe I have a concussion?”
Her question startled him. Unaccustomed to patients expressing skepticism in his ability to identify the nature of their illness, he drew in a long breath. “Because you seem a bit confused. Nothing to worry about though. In fact, it is quite normal for someone who has taken a hard fall.”
I love this taste of your novel. I can just see the sparks that are going to fly. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Patricia, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it. I had a novella in a Barbour collection that came out in November where my heroine is a doctor. I did a lot of research on "lady" doctors.
Readers, here are links to the book.Escape to the Biltmore - Paperback
Escape to the Biltmore - Kindle
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