Monday, April 19, 2021

Patience Griffin Interview - One Snowy Night


Photo Content from Patience Griffin

Double RITA® Finalist and award-winning author Patience Griffin has been writing and sewing her whole life but didn’t discover her love of quilting until her late thirties. She decided the best way to acquire her first quilt was to make one for herself.

At nearly the same time, she started commuting three and half hours a day for her dream engineering job. To pass the time on the long drive, she got hooked on audiobooks—especially books with love stories. Within a couple of years, she was writing stories of her own. It was no surprise to her family and friends when she combined her love of quilting, her small town roots, and her obsession with her Scottish heritage.

She has gained some recognition with her September 11th Story Quilt which has toured the country as the property of the Pentagon. She has a master's degree in nuclear engineering but spends her days writing stories about hearth and home, and dreaming about the fictional small towns of Gandiegow, Scotland and Sweet Home, Alaska.

        
  


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
When I read this question, two big moments hit me at once.
  • 1. I think I was more excited about my first book going to audiobook than I was to get my first contract. I danced around. Sang. Made my dogs join in the excitement. I love audiobooks. I can’t drive without them.
  • 2. Another big moment was the first time a reader let me know that they had found my book at Walmart. She’d posted a picture of To Scotland with Love sitting in her cart. I was over the moon. When I first started writing, there were no bookstores in town as the Waldenbooks had closed. Walmart was the only option for book shopping without trekking an hour away to Des Moines. A friend and I would scope out the Walmart shelves often, looking for new books. I remember thinking, If I ever have a book in Walmart that will be the most glorious day. And it was!
  • 3. Okay, I had to add a third one here. I just remembered how shocked and honored I felt when I got the call that To Scotland with Love was a double RITA® Finalist. I seriously couldn’t believe it. Becoming a RITA® Finalist wasn’t even on my radar.
What inspired you to pen your first novel?
My first novel was inspired by my dining room table covered in Christmas cards and condolences. It was only days before Christmas and my brother had died suddenly two weeks before of a heart attack at the age of forty-five. We were close.

The whole Christmas cards and condolences piled together on the table image was surreal and I thought about how death had come in threes. First my brother died. Next his Christmas tree had died--pine needles and vases of flowers from the funeral were helter-skelter under the tree’s dried up branches. And that morning, when I walked out the back door, I found a stray cat, who had died in our yard overnight.

My first novel had nothing specifically to do with my brother’s death, but To Scotland with Love became my ‘Death, we’re not afraid of you’ book. Surprisingly, while grieving, humor and laughter became part of the writing process for me and there are a lot of funny, uplifting moments in To Scotland with Love.

Tell us your latest news.
If you don’t know already, my books have quilters in them. Last week I signed a contract with QT Fabrics to curate a line of fabrics for my Sweet Home, Alaska series. This will be my second line of fabrics, as I had a collection of 33 fabrics from Banyan Batiks for my Kilts & Quilts® series.

The new fabric line will be cotton and I plan to have several new quilt patterns to go with my Alaska series! Quilt shops can start ordering my fabric July 1st and the fabric will ship to shops in December this year.

In your new book, ONE SNOWY NIGHT; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
ONE SNOWY NIGHT is about a woman who is still reeling from the tragedies of the past, plus dealing with her daughter’s current crisis, when the father of her daughter returns to town. Poor Hope. She can’t seem to catch a break. She lives on a shoestring budget, working in the local grocery store. When she was in high school, though, she had big plans of getting out of Sweet Home, Alaska and taking the world by storm. But one snowy night changed everything for her and her life was never the same again.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
This is a book about second chances, redemption, and forgiveness.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Hope?
No matter the trials, tribulations, and heartaches, people really can crawl out of the muck and mire and live a happy life.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would love for Deydie from the Kilts & Quilts series to meet Piney from the Sweet Home, Alaska series. Deydie would probably have some strong opinions about Piney, who is a sixties child, dressed in her psychedelic tee shirts with her Bohemian skirts, reading tea leaves, tarot cards, and crystals. I do think the two would eventually bond over quilting and agree that their quilting groups are one of the strongholds of their communities.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I was sick for several months with a headache and foggy brain. Yeah, it might’ve been covid. I don’t know. But it kept me from making progress on this book. I had to sit in PhD’s recliner for several weeks at one point and rest. I was so happy when I felt better so I could spend quality time in Sweet Home, Alaska with Hope, Donovan, Piney, and the gang.

TEN FAVORITE READS EVER
This was super hard. I really agonized over this. I know there are books on my shelf that are mad at me now for not choosing them!
  • Pride & Prejudice—Jane Austen
  • Persuasion—Jane Austen
  • Emma—Jane Austen
  • The Kitchen God’s Wife—Amy Tan
  • Sense and Sensibility—Jane Austen
  • Ain’t She Sweet—Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • Natural Born Charmer—Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • The Bride Finder—Susan Carroll
  • Charming the Highlander—Janet Chapman
  • Outlander—Diana Gabaldo
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Do a random act of kindness. One day going through the drive-through, I went to pay and the person in front of me had paid for my meal. Up to that point, my day hadn’t been going all that well but that one random act of kindness really elevated the day. In return, I paid for the car behind me and smiled all the way home, knowing I might’ve made a difference in their day, too.

Best date you've ever had?
Maine is the first thing that popped into my head after reading this question. MAINE.

Maine might seem like a strange answer but let me explain. PhD and I never went on a honeymoon. The day after we married, we had to be at the church first thing in the morning for my son’s first communion. Afterward, I moved to Iowa immediately to start my first engineering job and he stayed behind with my two children to pack the house and they moved up four weeks later.

Fast forward 23 years and one more child later. We still hadn’t been on a honeymoon but decided it was time so we went to Maine. We had seven glorious days, even though I still worked, meeting a book deadline and researching a new book, while we were there. We had brunch by the ocean one morning, he surprised me with a short trip on a working lobster boat (a dream of mine), and we hiked in Acadia National Park. Every day was a relaxing adventure.

Last night, I posed this question to PhD and asked him what the best date he ever had…and he answered MAINE!

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from ONE SNOWY NIGHT
  • Donovan patted his dog’s head. “She liked you, too. I could tell. Hope looked at you the way she used to look at me.” With complete love in her eyes.
  • Hope pulled out the key to the Hungry Bear. “Here. I don’t need it anymore.”
  • Piney gaped as if Hope was handing her a beating heart. “K-keep it,” the older woman said, fairly choked up. “In case of emergency.”
  • “Yes, and I’m sure Donovan loved me.” And this would be the hardest part, being truthful about something that hurt so much. “But Ella, sometimes love just isn’t enough.”
  • Death was such a harsh word, but it had been harsh for Hope to see her dad lying in that casket, felled by a heart attack. There hadn’t been time for her to fall apart, though. Hope had to keep it together for Ella. Remain strong. Even when she felt her life coming apart at the seams.
  • “I kissed her. I mean I really kissed her, like we were under the bleachers, she was still mine, and we were going to be together forever.”
  • But Hope could barely breathe, let alone speak. For the first time ever, father and daughter were in the same room together sharing the same air, the same space.
  • Back then, even though shame at killing Izzie and Beau had been crushingly new, and she was pregnant as a cow, Hope had refused to hide in the back of the church. She figured God could see her no matter where she sat, so why not let everyone else see her, too.
  • “When your kid is in trouble, you’re hit with a mixture of embarrassment and heartbreak. And guilt, too.”
  • But then it occurred to him that the separate journeys he and Hope had been on—concerning Beau, Izzie, and the accident—was part of their story. Maybe if they hadn’t gone through the things they had, this moment wouldn’t be so sweet.
If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I would like to have one more chance to sit beside my grandmother and for us to sew together.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Divorce. I was married for 11 years, when my ex left. The kids were small and I was devastated. I had started an engineering degree but most of my identity was wrapped up into being a wife. I had to reinvent myself and figure out things that I liked to do before I was married. At the same time, I had to be everything to my kids. Single moms are the conquerors of everyday life. Having to do everything on my own was very empowering. Divorce showed me that I could make it on my own. I finished two engineering degrees as a single mother. I built a new life for me and my kids. I will always be grateful for getting to start again.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Water (I’m a kidney stone sufferer), hair band (hair-band-anxiety is a real thing when you have long hair and live in Texas!), Ricola Dual Action Honey Lemon lozenges (just because), Pen & paper (for random ideas for writing)

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
My reading time is at bedtime so I’m usually thinking about the book I had to put down.

First Heartbreak?
My first real heartbreak was when the Young and the Restless killed off Phillip Chancellor II. I was thirteen years old. I never watched another soap opera again. I’m still heartbroken. Seriously!

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?Hands down, true love. 

A woman struggling to raise her daughter alone in a small Alaskan town finds her simple existence upended when the father of her child returns. . . .

Sweet Home, Alaska, was once a thriving, idyllic town, where A Stone's Throw Hardware and Haberdashery and the Sisterhood of the Quilt were the cornerstones of the community. Then, in one fatal moment, two young lives were cut short, and everything changed. Now the Stone family businesses have closed, the diner is in the red, and the population has dwindled to 573.

After the tragic accident that took her sister's life, Hope McKnight discovered she was pregnant, and gave up her dreams of college to raise her daughter. When Donovan Stone returns to sell his family's properties and to cut final ties with Sweet Home, he's shocked to find Hope still there--and a single mother. The pull between Hope and Donovan is as powerful as ever. But so are the secrets and lies stemming from that long-ago tragedy. Will they be able to overcome the past, or will the heartbreak of bygone days destroy their love again?

You can purchase One Snowy Night at the following Retailers:
        

1 Winner will receive a $15 Dollar Amazon Gift Card.

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7 comments:

  1. "What event in your life would make a good movie?" The entirety of my tragic, Dickensian early childhood.

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  2. I think that my solo road trip across the country would make a good movie.

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  3. None - my life is quite ordinary.

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  4. My three years in the Peace Corps and my solo trip home afterwards.

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  5. I think my high school days might make an interesting teen flick!

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  6. Not so much my life, but my family might make a great movie.

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