Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Interview with Patti Lacy!

Hi Patti, Welcome to ICFW!

Thanks for inviting me, Cathy! Y’all were so friendly to me and the Irishwoman way back when, I’m thrilled to drop back in.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey…

For my writing journey, hop on the train of community college Humanities instructor and life-long reader! Then God laid on my heart to write the incredible story of a brave Irishwoman with an awful first memory scarring her life. People kept saying, “Someone should write that story.” In 2005, God whispered to me, “You. You write it.” Can you imagine? I didn’t have a clue! Just the advice of my textbook-writing husband: Three pages a day. Anyone can do that (yeah, right☺).

When you first began writing, did you believe you’d end up as a successful published author or did you purely write for the enjoyment?

Cathy, I didn’t know what I was doing…still don’t☺ Thank God for His Spirit, because it’s a tough career! But He’s the perfect muse…

Your latest novel, The Rhythm of Secrets, is now available! Tell us about the book…

Sheila Franklin has played the part of perfect pastor’s wife. Unbeknownst to her husband, she’s played other parts as well: the precocious daughter of jazz musicians in colorful 1940s New Orleans, a teen desperate for love and acceptance, and an unwed mother sent North with her shame.

After marrying Edward, Sheila has artfully masked her secrets as easily as she once put on a Mardi Gras disguise, allowing Edward to gain prominence as a conservative pastor. When one phone call from a disillusioned Vietnam veteran destroys her cover, Sheila faces an impossible choice: save her son (that soldier!) and his beloved…or imperil Edward’s ambitions.

Inspired by a true story, The Rhythm of Secrets intermingles jazz, classical, and sacred music in a symphony trumpeting God’s grace. By the book’s conclusion, readers will travel to The Big Easy, St. Paul, Chicago, and finally, a steamy brothel in Thailand.

Your first novel, An Irishwoman’s Tale, also takes us to foreign shores. What draws you to write about countries outside of the United States?

Spanning Seas & Secrets, my tagline, fits perfectly! Several trips abroad have piqued my interest in other cultures and lands. God created such amazing diversity!

How do you conduct research for your books?

Very slowly!

Do you actually travel to the places you write about?

Research books sag my study bookshelves. Praise God, the Irishwoman agreed to accompany me to her cliffs o’ County Clare for research related to An Irishwoman’s Tale. Unfortunately, the family budget wouldn’t stretch to allow a Thai trip, but I did enlist the aid of a Thai national who painstakingly edited the section of Secrets set in his incredible native land. And read TONS of books!!!

Last summer, God opened the doors for me and Sue Wang, a Chinese national, to span seas and secrets in preparation for my fourth novel, Reclaiming Lily. I fell in love with the land where my parents had served as missionaries a couple of decades earlier. For seventeen glorious days, the Chinese people and land wowed me. Oh, that I captured it right!

What inspires you most and where do you get the ideas for your stories?

My stories are inspired by real-life women who’ve faced tough challenges and given them over to God. In the case of Rhythm of Secrets, on the morning of July 8, 2007, I opened the Chicago Tribune. Coffee sloshed all over the table…and I didn’t care. Gail Rosenblum’s article about a mother giving up…and then reclaiming…a child caught my heart and wouldn’t let go. The idea for my third story rustled right there in the newspaper pages, begging to be SET FREE!

You’re not afraid to tackle subjects that a few years ago might not have been accepted within CBA – was it hard to get publishers interested in your ideas at first or do you think the mindset is changing?

I just write what’s on my heart, Cathy. That’s the only thing I can control.

What do you find most difficult when you’re writing a novel?

Getting that first draft to flow. I liken it to pulling blood from a collapsed vein. Oh, just give me a plump Word file. I’ll snip and chip and preen it till she’s a-flutter with herself. But that first draft taxes my gray matter!!!

Do you write full time? What does a day in the life of Patti Lacy look like?

I used to have a schedule. Get up at five, groan to the coffee maker, spend time in prayer, then camp out in front of the computer till at least three pages stretched the current WIP file. This year, two deadlines exploded all my preconceived notions of order, as did a family health problem. Right now no two days look alike.

What advice would you give to writers who are still pursuing publication and may be feeling discouraged?

Folks, I feel your pain. It is SUCH a hard business! When I listen to the Spirit whisper, “Write for me, dear one,” things settle into a lovely Godly perspective. That’s how I want to do it, Colossians 3:23-ing for that Audience of One.

When you aren’t writing, where can we find you?

Walking with a Worchestershire Terrier named Laura along the byways of Normal, Illinois OR cooking up my favorite ethnic foods here in our home.

What’s next for you?

Reclaiming Lily, my fourth novel, will be released by Bethany House this fall. Here’s the tagline: Two women. Two cultures. One child.

Thanks for being with us today, Patti, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Thank you, Cathy. Y’all have a great day, okay?


  1. Good morning, International Bloggites! It's so cool to see writing acquaintances here, like Grace and Narelle and Kathy and of course Cathy West! Hey, congrats, Cathy on your upcoming release!!

  2. Thanks, Patti! Great to have you here and thanks for telling us about your writing and sharing a bit of yourself with us.

  3. Great interview. Thanks for the inspiration. I have self-published 6 books. How on earth do you find a traditional publisher?? Second, how do you get them to notice you??

  4. Colleen, I attended Write to Publish conference and got good advice, then got in touch with a publisher back when some unsoliciteds still eked under the door!

    To keep grounded in writing as a ministry, I really do try to write for the Audience of One. It doesn't get any easier post publication; just different issues.
    Blessings, Colleen.

  5. Thanks for the great interview and telling us about yourself Patty. Can't wait to read your book!

  6. Joy, now that we've met, you're popping up everywhere :)Blessings!!!

  7. Patti, both your new books sound so intriguing. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for them. Thanks for a great interview!

  8. Thanks Cathy for this interview. Patti, your books sound like good reads. All the best for novel no. 4

  9. Marion and Shirl, thanks for stopping by!!!!
    So many books, so little time...