Monday, December 11, 2006
DEC FEATURED AUTHOR: Patricia Haley
SORMAG: Give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Patricia Haley: Patricia Haley, national bestselling author of Nobody's Perfect, Blind Faith, Baby Blues, and No Regrets is a trailblazer in the mainstream faith-based fiction genre. She self-published her debut novel, Nobody's Perfect, in 1998 and immediately sold nearly 20,000 copies in an industry where selling 5,000 copies is highly regarded. Her faith-based novel was the first of its kind to repeatedly make numerous national best sellers list, including #1 on the Essence (African-American) bestselling list.
Originally from Rockford , IL , Patricia now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Jeffrey. With an engineering degree from Stanford Univ. and an M.B.A. in marketing and finance from the Univ. of Chicago , readers are often surprised to hear that Patricia is writing faith-based fiction, given her technical and business background.
When asked how she got into writing, her response is, "I wasn't big on writing classes in college, because I never intended to be a writer. It just happened. One day I was led to write what I wanted to read - clean fiction, set in modern times, addressing real issues, and filled with a spiritual twist that uplifts the Lord. The writing came so easily that I wondered if it could be any good? Because everything flowed so well, I knew that my writing was anointed of God. So I named my self-publishing company, Anointed Vision in 1997."
SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?
HALEY: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie is about jealousy, dysfunction in a family, gossip, betrayal, marital woes, and dark secrets that have been hovering over the Reynolds family for years. If secrets are exposed as some family members are determined to spitefully do, then marriages, paternity, and criminal charges are all up for grabs. The novel also tackles an issue quite prevalent in today’s society –the revelation of child molestation both in the home and at school. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie raises the question – can family love enable the most unthinkable act to be forgiven and the painful sting forgotten.
SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
HALEY: I want the readers to be entertained first. Then, before closing the book, I’d like for them to grasp the message that in spite of challenges and dysfunction, a family’s ability to forgive, to love, and to exercise a tad bit of diplomacy can get them through any situation, no matter how tragic the circumstances.
SORMAG: What led you to the idea of writing this book, and then to the actual writing of it?
HALEY: My books have never shied away from hard hitting topics, such as pregnancy out of wedlock and church hypocrisy in Nobody’s Perfect, breast cancer in No Regrets, the church’s opposition to interracial dating in Blind Faith, and internet infidelity, male depression, and abuse in Still Waters. No matter how solid a family appears, there are always issues which depending on how they’re handled can either strengthen or destroy bonds as evidenced in Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. Of my five novels in print, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie was the easiest to write, taking about five weeks. I began the story after Thanksgiving in 2005 and finished the draft around Christmas. I believe the reason for my speedy turnaround is threefold: 1- I have a better command of the craft, 2-the characteristics became so real and seemed to tell the story on their own, and 3-the story is packed with drama and suspense which typically leads to a fast read and apparently a fast write. The suspense element is a deviation from my other faith-based novels, but readers should expect to see more of this type writing from me.
SORMAG: What advice would you offer on learning the craft of writing?
HALEY: Read, Write, and Relax. The ability to tell a story is a God-given talent –either you have it or you don’t. However, the ability to tell a story better comes from mastering the craft. That’s the part that comes from discipline, practice, teachings, mentoring, and attending workshops. The more you read, the more you learn about different styles as well as what works and what doesn’t. In order to get better at writing, like most other areas in life, you have to practice ---write, write, write. Some say you need to write everyday. I believe you have to figure out what works for you whether it’s every day, every other day, or whatever schedule you establish, be committed and stick to your routine. Lastly, take a deep breath and relax, enjoy the literary journey. Being an author is about more than just cranking out a manuscript. It’s about the process of taking an idea and forming it into something tangible that others can read and ideally be blessed, inspired, enlightened, or encouraged as a result.
SORMAG: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?
HALEY: In the beginning of my literary career, which began in the 90s, I had no idea how slowly the publishing wheels could turn. As someone coming from the fast-paced corporate finance and marketing arenas, where multi-million dollar deals were made in an instance, I had to adjust to the longer lead times and slower decision-making processes. The good news is that between writing, editing, and promoting, there’s always something to consume your time. I’m reminded that patience isn’t a characteristic that we seek to obtain, instead, it’s a learned behavior. Thanks to the publishing arena, I’ve completed an advanced patience training course which can be used in other areas of my life.
SORMAG: What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
HALEY: The one thing that I would like non-writers to remember is that authors are regular people too. We love and appreciate the support we get from writing our stories. We also get our feelings hurt on those rare occasions when people are unnecessarily cruel and get personal with comments, opinions, and sometimes reviews. We’re just regular people too.
SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?
HALEY: I always make time for my husband and for myself. It’s important to stay balanced and to remember that whatever our job happens to be, it is only one aspect of our livelihood. Enjoying life and our relationships is at the core of long lasting memories.
SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?
HALEY: I happen to be a morning person. You know, the one who wakes up at four or five o’clock in the morning without an alarm clock Monday through Sunday. So, nothing keeps me up all night. However, I have a list of books that kept me enthralled from the first page until the end like This Present Darkness and The Color of Water to name a few.
SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
HALEY: Readers can always keep in contact with me through my website at http://www.patriciahaley.com/ or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer regular mail: P.O. Box 80735 Valley Forge, PA 19484
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