Thursday, April 30, 2009


Welcome, Patti Lacy!

Hi, Shirley! Thanks for having me on board!

SDC: Let's hear the scoop about you!

In 1955, Ann Qualls gave birth to her daughter Patti in the front seat of a Buick. By pure coincidence, Ann claims, their daughter was named Patti Day Qualls, PDQ.
This moniker has served Patti well, as she’s moved at least ten times, traveled to forty states, and changed occupations with a liberality unusual in native Texans. However, Patti thinks her latest profession will stick awhile.
The Still, Small Voice encouraged Patti to write after a brave Irish friend shared memories of betrayal and her decision to forgive. In 2008,
An Irishwoman’s Tale was published by Kregel Publications. Patti’s second novel, What the Bayou Saw, draws on the memories of two young girls who refused to let segregation, a chain link fence, and a brutal rape come between them.
The secrets women keep and why they keep them continue to capture Patti’s imagination. She writes full time, teaches Bible studies and seminars, and attends book signings. Patti and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal. They have two grown children and a dog named Laura.

SKC: Thank you, Patti. Please tell us what got you started in the field of fiction writing.

PL: After God yanked us from our warm Southern front porch and dumped us in Terre Haute, Indiana, I formed a book discussion group hoping to meet my neighbors. After one of the meetings, Mary, a chic red-haired woman, hung around my kitchen long after the other women bustled into the cold.
“What is your first memory?” Mary asked, interrupting my monologue about kids.
“I don’t know. I’ve never really had to think about it,” I stammered as I gripped the Formica countertop.
“How pretty, NOT to think about it. My first memory cut my heart in two, and it’s never been the same. Moon-shaped faces about a scarred oaken table, guzzling tea. Cup after cup of the steamin’ stuff. Saying, ‘The little eejit’s got to go.’”
“How awful!” I gasped.
“No, that’s not the awful thing. What’s awful is what happened next.”
For hours, Mary shared her brutal first memory and her decision to forgive...a living, breathing testament to Romans 8:28. Ten years later, God led me to write that story.

SKC: That is truly interesting and inspiring! How has your Christian background affected the style of writing you do?

PL: Shirley, it’s that hope of Christ, that trusting in Him through ALL things, that I long to depict. Even through racism. Even through abandonment. Even through a rape. Our Lord used stories to teach. It would be such a blessing if my books can do the same.

SKC: I know you stay extremely busy, but how disciplined are you each day with your writing schedule, or do you ever get off track?

PL: When I’m in the “composing” part of my work in process, Laura, my trusty canine critique partner, rouses me around five. I set a page goal per day and stick with it pretty well. Getting up so early frees us to meet friends for lattes and/or jog about our lovely town of Normal. Right now I’m between books and spend more time on research, publicity…and planning my daughter’s wedding! Yippee!

SKC: What books in the field of writing have you recommended to your past students and to others even today? I know there are so many. But I am always open to learning about more.

PL: Oh, this old dog hasn’t learned a whole lotta new tricks. I love Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Gosh, every time I reread that book, my writing improves! Ann Lamont’s Bird by Bird nourishes my soul. With pen in hand, I devour books by good writers. What a fun group of teachers I have! Dostoevsky, Kingsolver, Edwards…right now I’m reading Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley, a birthday gift from my baby girl. My nightstand is stacked high with wonderful Christian novels as well.

SKC: I've not read the ones you mentioned, but I love those authors and many of their works, myself. How often do you visit other authors’ blogs, and what do you learn from going about the web? Do you ever get distracted by the web?

PL: Shirley, I am just not cut out to be a blogger. Lord knows I’ve tried. It’s just not a ball I can juggle right now! Besides, I “office” at one of two branches of our local Coffee Hound four or five days (gulp) a week with a motley crew that will be seen with me, and it just doesn’t leave much time for surfing! But I sure to absorb some fascinating stories and see some colorful characters “at work.”

SKC: Blogs are sometimes a mystery. Patti, every writer goes through some particular trial when it comes to their craft. What is one that gets to you the most and how do you deal with it?

PL: Shirley, as I’ve gotten older, multi-tasking muddles what gray matter left upstairs. It’s hard for me to edit, compose fresh material, and promote all at once. Many times this year I’ve had to recall the advice Lynn Austin gave at my first writers’ conference: Compose for the Audience of One. He is the one to whom you answer. Lay those manuscripts, published or unpublished, at His feet one day. And it will be enough. Lord, yes, it will be enough.

SKC: You can't be getting that much older! I thought authors got younger! So, what do you think is one of the most important things you have learned so far since becoming a published writer?

PL: That I don’t know anything.

SDC: Ok. And I have to admit, that is a great answer. If you were to ask a new or established writer a question, what would you ask, Patti?

PL: I love chatting with authors to see how they put together all the little pieces of their stories. Do they write SOP (seat of the pants)? Snowflake? Detailed outline? There’s so much to learn from my comrades of the pen!

SDC: Good question. Well, Patti, It has been a pleasure having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts. I understand you have a book to offer one of our readers. Please tell us about it, and do let us know where we can find you on the web.

Oh, y’all, I’m so happy to share a copy of What the Bayou Saw, my second novel.
[A little hint on what it's about]

Since leaving Louisiana, Sally Stevens has held her childhood secrets at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband Sam, has heard the truth about what happened to her and her best friend, Ella Ward, when they were twelve years old.
Now a teacher in Normal, Illinois, Sally has nearly forgotten her past. Then Shamika, one of her students, is violently attacked, and memories of segregation, a chain-link fence, and a blood oath bubble to the surface like a dead body in a bayou. Lies continue to tumble from Sally’s lips as she scrambles to gloss over the harsh reality of a betrayal that refuses to stay buried.
Finally cornered by the Holy Spirit and her own web of lies, Sally—and Shamika embark on a quest to find Ella in post-Katrina New Orleans. With the help of friends, family, and God, Sally can glimpse a life free of the mire of deceit and truly begin to live with joy. But will she pay the price for a lifetime of deception?

Visit my kinda blog, kinda website at Check out my latest book trailer. And thank y’all for the interest in this Southern transplant living in Normal, Illinois! God bless!


Oh, thanks for having me, Shirley. You’re great!

Don't forget to drop in your comment! I look forward to drawing your name. Oh, and if you want to respond to Patti's question about your style of writing if you are a writer, we'd love to hear it.
Shirley Kiger Connolly


  1. Sounds like a very interesting book, and a great interview! Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you.
    momofjimmy [at] yahoo [dot] com

  2. I just want to say, I read, "An Irish Woman's Tale, and it was fabulous!

    Please enter me in the contest!

    Thank you,

    Becky C.

  3. debcleve1971@yahoo.comMay 2, 2009 at 6:22 AM

    I feel like a Patti Lacy groupie. I loved her first book and felt a kindred spirit with Sally when I read it. Now to read Sally's story will be great. As for how I write? I'm a mix. I tried the snowflake method and got a bit bogged down. I've written by the seat of my pants on short stories and articles and a newspaper column I wrote for many years. But, with the novel I'm now working on, I find I'm having to do more plotting and planning, while allowing the characters their freedom. A tightrope, I think. ... Thanks for Patti's interview. I'd love to be entered to win her signed copy of the new book.

  4. Patti, good interview. I, too, enjoyed "An Irishwoman's Tale." I was moved beyond description.

    I have many fond memories of (ab)Normal, Illinois...and some other ones I won't discuss, LOL.

  5. Thanks, Deb, Deb,Bethany, and Becky.

    Okay, Deb. Let's hear some of those "Normal" memories.

    And thanks, Shirley, for editing my interview to reflect more of Jesus.

  6. Patti, how fun. We're both being featured today on blogs. Only you have a much BETTER reason for being featured!!! Congrats on your second one out in the stores now. You just keep cranking them out, don't you!

  7. Wonderful interview! Please enter me (hope_chastain at yahoo dot com). Thanks!

    I've written several novels (not published yet, though). Over on the eharlequin community boards, we discussed plotter vs. pantser, and one of us came up with the term "plotser," to indicate someone who does a certain amount of plotting while letting the characters have their input, as well. When I started writing (in second grade), I was a complete pantser. Screenwriting taught me plotting, because every single scene has to move the story forward. Now I use the "plotser" method most of the time, giving myself a general outline or a list of things that should happen (not necessarily in any order). It might not work for everyone, but it's working pretty well for me. (Now if I can just make sure each book has enough conflict to go with the goals & motivation...!)

  8. Hope, THANK you! Plotster fits me as well as any of the terms. Sigh. A lot of us old gals just won't be crammed into boxes, will we?

    And good to "see" you again, Eileen!

  9. I absoluting loved An Irish Woman's tale, and would love to be included in this give away as well.

    QalliQ (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. Hey Shirley, GREAT interview, but then it can't be anything but with a subject like Patti Lacy! Patti is hands-down one of my favorite authors and favorite friends! I have read both of her books, and she is, in my humble opinion, simply one of the best women's fiction writers out there. I endorsed What the Bayou Saw, and the story and characters STILL haunt me -- God's truth!!

    Hey PDQ (that is SOOO cute!!), great interview, and just for the record, I am a SOP from WAY back, but since I am writing six books in a series about one family, uh, I'm learning that being a "plotter" is more user friendly if you want to get all the details right in a loooooonnnnng series!

    Big hugs,

  11. Glad you connected with An Irishwoman's Tale, Helga. Hope you enjoy What the Bayou Saw as well.

    Wow, a six-book series! Loopers, we'll have Lessman books for many a long winter's nap!

  12. I'm loving the comments coming in! Can hardly wait until Saturday when one of your name's gets drawn.
    Hey first Deb...I've never heard of the snowflake method. You're going to have to write and tell me more about that!
    Eileen! Never say someone else has a BETTER reason to be featured. I just might call on you! I look in the highways and byways to find those authors and potentials who need to get out there on the forefront. Don't be surprised to hear from me someday.
    Hope! I started writing in second grade myself! Sounds like we had the same type of encouraging teachers!
    And to all the others writing in!
    I continue to thank you. Tell your friends we have only a few more days before someone gets lucky enough to win one of Patti's books. Unfortunately, I don't get to be on my own list. Oh well!

    Shirley Kiger Connolly

  13. I would love to win one of your books.

    Edna Tollison
    SC 29360

  14. An Irishwoman's Tale is an excellent book, and I expect no less from What the Bayou Saw. Thank you so much for the interview and chance to win a copy.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  15. I am interested in 'What the Bayou Saw.' Hope I'm not to late to get in on the draw to win a copy.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  16. This is such a great interview! I love Patti's books and I love her heart. I have read What the Bayou Saw and am still thinking about the story. It has stayed with me.

  17. Thanks, readers, for spending time here with me and Shirley, who has a wonderful blog.

    Happy Mother's Day!