Lisa Patton

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Interview By: Tamazon

Date: September 28, 2010

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Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, St. Martin's Griffin, Commercial Women's Fiction, September 28, 2010

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Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Oh my lord, that's a tough question - especially coming from someone who can't stop editing. My editor, the lovely Katie Gilligan, called one day and said, "I'm cutting you off!" I can always find something to change. Since Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter is in many ways a comedy (I hope your readers think so anyway) the funny parts became stale after having to read it so many times. I'd rewrite those parts over and over so they sounded fresh, but in the end I just had to put down the pen.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Fannie Flagg is hands down my favorite writer and that's because of her ingenious sense of humor. Her characters are fun and quirky and oh so real. I laughed so hard in Can't Wait To Get To Heaven, that tears were streaming down my face and I had to throw the book across the room and hold my stomach. She is my a rock star!!

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, I do. At first, after having taken a long to write Whistlin' Dixie, and then enduring the process of agent hunting and publication, I had my doubts. But after writing the sequel to Dixie I figured out a formula and what works for me as far as a daily schedule. Not sure if I'll ever be able to become independently wealthy from writing, but I know that I love it.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When my sons were little, they said the funniest things. As boys they were always getting into loads of mischief and I got so much pleasure out of watching them. When I started writing about it, I also discovered a love for writing comedy. Since I was writing anecdotally, I had a chance to work within a short number of words and hone my technique. I learned quite a bit about timing that way. My sons brought out the writer in me!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My best advice is to never give up. There were times when I asked myself why I was doing this. Why I was enduring rejection after rejection. But I knew in my heart, more than anything, that I loved to write. The title for Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter came to me in 1995 and I did not see it on the shelf until 2009. I desperately wanted my sons to see an example of perseverance.

How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?

My sons are so proud of their mama. I think it has inspired them in their own writing. They are both in college and love to call me when they've done well on a paper. As far as reading my book, they know I would kill them if they didn't. When the sequel comes out next year, they better have it read within the first week, well month - they are boys. I'm placing it on their required summer reading lists.

What did you do before you became a writer? Do you write full time?

I worked in the music industry for nearly 25 years before working as the Special Events Director at an old historic Civil War museum in Franklin, TN called Carnton Plantation.

As far as working full time as a novelist, I'm not there yet but I sure hope that someday I will be.

What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?

I'm flying all over the place and my seat, well my butt, stays numb most of the time. Outlining is not in my DNA.

Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? If so what is it and please describe it. (Pen, Coffee Cup, Pet, Blanket, Chair)

My precious Rosie. Rosie, a darling little Havanese puppy, never leaves my side, or my bed, or the chair, or wherever I happen to be planted. One of the hardest things about writing for me is having to be alone. Rosie keeps me company.

What main genre do you write in?

Mainstream Fiction

My heartfelt thanks goes out to the Night Owl Reviews team. Because of people like you, my book has a better chance. If I can provide your readers with even one laugh-out-loud moment I will consider it an honor.