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Conversation with Patti Callahan Henry on her new release And Then I Found You

And Then I Found You

 

I encourage you all to visit MY BLOG for a sweet something extra from Patti's publicist Wunderkind PR

 

 

Patti has a special relationship with all her readers so I must tell you my personal tale; when she was celebrating the release of Coming Up For Air and her special itunes app she called on bloggers to get the word out, I of course was game (I hope we helped make it a huge success for you). For a thank you she sent out gifts of wild flower seeds and a straw hat planter, mine grew all summer and everyday I saw them I thought of her and what a nice thing she did.

 

My conversation with Patti;

 

Patti, could you tell us a bit about your new novel And Then I Found You.
This is my ninth book and my first “inspired by a true story”. The novel was written after my sister’s adopted daughter found us on Facebook.  I took the emotional truths of that story and changed the facts.

Here is the official “blurb” about AND THEN I FOUND YOU

Kate Vaughan is no stranger to tough choices.

She’s made them before. Now it’s time to do it again.

Kate has a secret, something tucked away in her past. And she’s getting on with her life.  Her business is thriving. She has a strong relationship with her family, and a devoted boyfriend whom she wants to love with all her heart. If Kate had ever made a list, Rowan would fill the imagined boxes of a perfect mate. But she wants more than the perfect on paper relationship; she wants a real and imperfect love. That's why, when Kate discovers the small velvet box hidden in Rowan's drawer, she panics.

It always happens this way. Just when Kate thinks she can love, just when she believes she can conquer the fear, she’s filled with dread. And she wants more than anything to make this feeling go away. But how?

When the mistakes have been made and the running is over, it’s time to face the truth. Kate knows this. She understands that a woman can never undo what can never be undone. Yet, for the first time in her life she also knows that she won’t fully love until she confronts those from her past. It’s time to act.

Can she do it? Can she travel to the place where it all began, to the one who shares her secret? Can the lost ever become found?

And Then I Found You gives new life to the phrase “inspired by a true story.” By travelling back to a painful time in her own family’s history, the author explores the limits of courage, and the price of a selfless act.


 

 

You have 9 published novels and one short story in digital format.
Are there similarities in your works?
I think it is only in hindsight that we (as authors) see the thematic similarities in our work. I don’t set out to write similar stories. I set out, each time, to write about “what if” and “I wonder what happens next”.  But if I look at the novels as a grouping instead of the individuals I meant them to be, I see this: each one is a story about a woman who reaches a crossroad and must decide whether to turn left or right because there is no going forward. The straight-ahead path has been blocked and a decision must be made. Usually this decision requires looking at the past and coming to terms with where she is at that moment.

 

In your bio is says that growing up “the idea of being a novelist was unrealistic.”
Why was that?
“I want to be a novelist” – Sheesh, that statement seemed so big, too big to say or even think. The authors I admired as a child – C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle for example, were bigger than life. Bigger than me for sure.

To me, admitting I wanted to write books was like saying I wanted to fly to the moon on my own wings. But when I finally decided to start writing fifteen years ago, I didn’t start so BIG, I took it down to bite size pieces. I read books on writing, took classes on writing. I went to workshops and seminars. Then every day I wrote something, anything at all. Over four years time, I turned the trying into doing and I had my first finished manuscript.


And how does your family feel about that now?
Ah, you’d have to ask them, but they seem proud and we have a great time talking about stories and words and themes. Both my sisters are now writing, although in an entirely different genre (Christian parenting and memoir).

 

On that line can you tell us about your path to becoming an author?
It is a twisty, naïve and bumpy journey. Meaning, I had no idea what I was doing and took a swan dive into the deep end without a floatey. My college and graduate degrees are in Pediatric nursing. I worked full time in this career for eight years without once allowing myself to acknowledge the fact that I wanted to write novels. When my children were six, four and one years old, I admitted this desire to my daughter. I took the first step by signing up for a writing class at Emory. I read about writing. I obsessed about writing. I got up at 430 in the morning to write. I researched story structure and novel writing. I went to classes and seminars. I immersed myself in the writing world. Scared and shaking, I introduced myself to writers and agents and showed my early work. Eventually I signed with an agent (we’ve been together for twelve years now). The first book I sold to Penguin was actually the second book I wrote. I didn’t give up…

 

 

It says that your eldest daughter then six said that she wanted “to be a writer of books.”
If this comes to pass, what advice would you give her in this ever-changing world of publishing?
She no longer says she wants to write. She is fashion-obsessed and at art school for Fashion Merchandising (she is twenty years old now; no longer the six year old who thinks books come easily). I think I ruined her dream when she saw the copyedited manuscripts show up at the front door.

But I would give her the same advice I give young writers (if asked) – Read. Write. Read more than that even. Keep reading. Keep writing. And immerse yourself in the writing world. In today’s world (compared to mine when I started writing all those years ago), a young writer can meet, follow (on social media) and learn so much about an author. I’d say to go to readings and signings. Oh, and did I say read read read?

 

Do you identify with any of your characters?
When I’m writing, I identify with every character. Or at least that is the goal. If I don’t identify, I don’t care and I always want to care or the story isn’t any good at all.

 

Do you have a set writing schedule?
I attempt to write every single morning. Of course with two teen boys at home, book tour and a hectic home life this isn’t always possible. But it is the goal. It’s the only way I get the pages done.

 

When researching a novel, have you ever been to a place that you wanted to return to for a vacation?
Absolutely! Ireland, for sure. I’d love to go back and enjoy the area without thinking about “how would I describe this?” “What does this mean?”

 

Do you have a favorite place to write?
My office. I’ve spent a lot of time making it a place of solace and solitude.

 

Do you belong to a writers group?
I don’t right now. I moved from Atlanta, GA to Birmingham, AL about two years ago and I haven’t joined a group. But I have a tight-knit group of writer friends that I rely on for both professional and moral support. I don’t know what I’d do without them!

 

You have an extensive promotional tour listed on your website.
Why do you feel it’s important to reach out to your readers?
I don’t know if it’s important, but I do know that it nourishes both my stories and me. I love to meet my readers, hear their stories and know that somehow I am making a difference.

Patti thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.
Good luck with your new release and I hope you’ll visit the Midwest soon as I’d love to meet you in person.
I would so love to meet you one day also! Let’s get that Midwest stop inserted in book tour :smileyhappy: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. All Best Patti Callahan Henry

 

From The Publisher

“AND THEN I FOUND YOU is as authentic as it is riveting and ultimately unforgettable. Your past will find you—and it can change your life. I think it’s the most soulful book she’s ever written.” —Dorothea Benton Frank, author of Porch Lights

“In And Then I Found You Patti Callahan Henry explores the labyrinth of a woman's heart—mother, daughter, sister, friend, lover.  Moving and beautifully written.” —Mary Alice Monroe, author of Beach House Memories

 

"Patti Callahan Henry asks the big, equivocal questions about what it means to be a mother, a child, a family, and the answers she finds in AND THEN I FOUND YOU will surprise you, provoke you, and rearrange your heart." —Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and What We Saw at Night