Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Every Part of Ourselves Makes a Character - Ask Patty Froese

Patty Froese lives in Alberta Canada with her husband and their young son.  The winters are long and cold, but that suits her just fine--as long as she can stay inside with her writing and keep the snow on the other side of the glass. She has eight novels now published, her most recent being Perfect on Paper with Desert Breeze Publishing. 
SDC: Welcome, Patty. As we come together, we'd love to know your theme scripture that strengthens you during your writing. Tell us about why you selected your verse as your focus, and how tit might correlate with the types of books you write, if it does.

PF: I've always liked Proverbs 4:23-27.  It reminds me to keep focused and keep perspective. I don't think it correlates with my novels in a direct way, but seeing as it is very personal to me and my novels are an expression of me, I'm sure it factors in.  Let's just say it ends up being part of the soup.    

SDC:  Thank you. I love checking into the scriptures some other authors give me over time. Tell us about your publisher(s) and your experiences in working with them and what you have coming out soon.

PF: I have worked with three different publishers so far.  Review and Herald Publishing association has published my Biblical fiction where I spin stories around different characters we find in the gospels.  Pacific Press Publishing has put out my kids books and my Victorian romance.  Now, Desert Breeze Publishing is releasing my eighth book--a contemporary Christian romance called Perfect on Paper.  I'm really excited about this one.  This is my first e-publication and I think there is just so much potential in this new market.

SDC:  I join you in that excitement, Patty. What kind of response have you received from readers who have been influenced greatly by your writing or your personal testimony? 

PF: I hear from a lot of readers who say that they really identify with my characters, but I think that the most memorable response I've gotten from my writing was from a woman who gave my book, Woman at the Well as a gift to her sister.  This is fictional story I spun around the story of the woman at the well from the book of John.  This lady's sister had a lot of problems surrounding substance abuse and that sort of thing, and she said that it absolutely changed her life!  I mean, I can't take credit for God working, but having God use my book was pretty incredible. I'll never forget that.  It was really humbling. 

SDC: How do the thread faith, love, and hope along with the reality of life work together in your stories?

PF: I don't try to do that on a conscious level.  Generally, I'm writing stories about people going through very real situations and how that would impact their faith--how they'd struggle through it and find God as their answer.  I think that faith, love and hope are integral parts of real, honest living and if I focus on making a story as honest as possible, those aspects will be there.

SDC: How long did you have to wait before getting published the first time? What are some things that went through your mind?

PF: I was first published as a kid when I got a story accepted into a children's magazine, but my first novel was accepted after I graduated university with an English degree.  I was broke, newly married, and checking my email at a local library.  When I opened the email, fully expecting to see another rejection, I did a quiet little jig right there in the middle of all the glares (they must have thought I was nuts!) and then dashed on home to find the first person I knew to tell.  What was going through my mind?  I was grateful--very deeply grateful.  What a feeling!

SDC: Ah, ha! A published author as a child. That's awesome, and will be so encouraging to young people who read these interviews. So, speaking of children, do you include children or animals in your stories? If so, why? And how do they play a strong part in the fleshing out of your book? If not, tell us a little about your sub-characters.

PF: I didn't used to use children as much as I do now.  As a mother, I find that children find their way into my stories without much trouble because raising a child is such a large part of my life. 

My secondary characters tend to be different aspects of my own personality.  We all have parts of ourselves that we keep under control, and secondary characters allow me to give those parts of myself a voice.  Sometimes it isn't pretty, but I think that is the only way to keep them real.  Sometimes my characters are an image that I have in my mind of what my life might have turned out like if something different had happened.  What would I be like if my writing had completely flopped and never gone anywhere?  What would I be like if I hadn't met my husband and I was still single and waiting?  Sometimes those characters are people in my life--or aspects of people in my life.  Then I have to think, if I were in their shoes, what would I do?  How would I feel?   

SDC:  Think of an intriguing question you would like to ask one of our viewers to answer to help me select the winner of your newest book coming out.

PF: If you were describe yourself as the character in a book, what character would you be?  Would you be the heroine, the side-kick, the flashback memory?  Tell me how you'd write yourself into a book.

SDC: Wow! Great question. Well, Patty, it’s been a real pleasure having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts. Please include your URL and where people can find your books.

READERS: Be sure to answer Patty's question above to try to win a copy of her book! Don’t forget to include your email address.


  1. Yikes, patty, I don't think I can answer your question! I think we all put snippets of ourselves into our work, but I don't know what main character I'd be. Your writing journey had been an exciting one and we welcome you to Desert breeze. Thanks to you, miss Shirley!

  2. Great interview Patty! Your question made me laugh because at one point, back when I was attempting to write novels but was doubting my ability to craft characters with depth, I decided to put into practise the advice to "write what you know." So I thought I'd write a series with a version of myself as the main character in different eras of history. The first one I worked on was about Johanna, a German noble in the 1400s. It was my fascination with names that started it all. Unfotunately, I didn't get very far with this concept.

  3. I'm a strong secondary character, the Advocate for justice, the practical person who puts more stock in an individual's situation than the institution or the big picture. You can't have a big picture without sharp pixels. :)

  4. Jo, I do the same thing (minus the me in history part...) I put myself into different shoes and see what it feels like. Even the bad guys. Sometimes I creep myself out. LOL!

    Christy--in real like I'm probably more of a secondary character, too. I like being in the background (writing, mostly...)

  5. Answering your question I have to answer guilty of the crime!
    My sister swears she sees me in everything I write, even accusing me of being a hopeless and/or gregarious flirt! Who? ME? Never! But she is right, I'm a little of every character on the page.
    Love the cover of Perfect on Paper! Reading it now.

  6. I think I'd be the favorite aunt who is loving but pragmatic.
    Nice post. Interesting blog.
    Janis Lane
    coming soon: GONE TO THE DOGS

  7. Patty, a fellow Albertan.
    Glad to hear of your successes.

  8. Thanks so much, Linda! :)

    Shaunna, it's nice to know I'm not alone in that! LOL

    Janis, I think that sounds wonderful.