Hi, and welcome to Friday! And of course, welcome to my blog. I'm pleased to be interviewing Patricia Yager Delagrange today, and I'm reviewing Patricia's book, Moon Over Alcatraz. I do hope you'll leave a comment, because a prize is to be given away to cone commenter during the entire tour, which is a $25 dollar gift card to Amazon.
Hi Patricia, and welcome to Storm Goddess Book Reviews & More. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
How long have you been writing, and when did you know you wanted to write for publication?
In 2009 my daughter came home from school and told me that her friend asked her why her mommy didn’t have a job. I’d been a stay-at-home mom since getting pregnant with my son in 1993, but her question made me realize that my kids were becoming more independent. I had more time. What did I want to do with it? So I went to the Apple store, purchased a MacBook, and told myself I was going to write a book. Now I’ve written four -- one is published, another will be published sometime this year, and for the other two I’m seeking an agent to represent me.
Are you a plotter, or do you write from the seat of your pants?
For my first three books I would get an idea of what the book was about and who the main characters were, then sit down and start to write. Then I contracted a bad case of “writer’s block”. I was idea-less. That went on for months, until I arranged a phone call with the editor who reads and critiques all my work. She threw out some ideas and made me think. Plus she suggested I write a synopsis and chapter outlines to help guide me from beginning to end. It worked! So now instead of being a “pantser” I’d call myself a “plantser”.
Do you ever use photo images to create your characters traits?
When I’m writing it’s as if I’m watching my characters act out the scenes in front of me on a television screen. I see them in their environment, I watch their expressions, then I write it all down as a story. This may come from my avid love of watching movies. It’s as if I’m describing what I’m watching in my mind’s eye.
When you aren't writing, what are some of your hobbies/passions/interests?
I own a big, black Friesian horse and I ride him about twice a week. He flew in from Holland in 2004 to Black Sterling Friesians in Sonoma, California, and my family and I went to “just look”. But we drove away owning one of the most beautiful horses on the earth. He weighs 1,425 pounds and is very powerfully built, but has a wonderful personality. It’s taken me eight years to learn how to ride him without totally freaking out when he canters. I had to take a year off, riding another breed of horse, to get over my fears, then transfer my “new self” onto Maximus. It’s still a struggle, but I can now handle him and his strength and impulsion.
Favorite authors? Favorite books?
I love Richard Paul Evans, Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, Debbie Macomber, Nancy Naigle, Peter Pezzelli, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
If you could have a supernatural ability, what would it be and why do you chose that particular one?
I would choose the ability to interact with people after I’m dead. I guess that means I’d want to be a ghost! I think it would be so cool to give family and friends the feeling that a person’s spirit never dies. It would be fun to be able to converse with people and alleviate the sadness that goes along with a loved one dying.
What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career that you have not yet done?
I would like to see my books in print. Right now Moon Over Alcatraz is only in e-book format and my second book Passing Through Brandiss will also be in e-book format only. But I’d love to hold my books in my hand in print form. I love print books, though I have a Nook and use it all the time. My preference is still print format.
If you could co-author with anyone on a collaboration (Not an anthology, but actually write a book together) who would you chose and what kind of book would you want to write?
I would love to write a book with Nicholas Sparks. I love every book he’s ever written and I think it would be so cool to write a story about a couple who end their relationship for some reason I don’t know yet, and then have them reconnect after each of them goes through some deep emotional trauma or change. I wish!
What's something your readers don't know about you that you don't mind sharing?
That I love watching and re-re-watching Lifetime movies. Thank goodness my husband and daughter understand that if I like a movie I’ll watch it over and over again and they’ll often sit with me and watch it a-gain! That’s pretty cool. If my 18-year-old son walks in the room and sees the Lifetime emblem on the screen he usually turns around and walks out. Oh, well.
Favorite holiday? I love my family’s birthdays. When my son turned 18 we gave him a surprise birthday party. I enjoy decorating the house, buying the plates and tablecloth and candy, picking out the cake, watching the person open presents, blowing out the candles on the cake. I love all of it.
Favorite color? I am always dressed in some form of pink and second to that is VERY white.
Hot or cold? I don’t like the heat because I get physically ill if it’s too hot outside. And I’m talking anywhere over 85 degrees. Although I hate the cold as well, at least I can bundle up and function.
What's the strangest question you've had to ask for book research purposes?
For my third book Taken Away, I had to contact a detective in the Oakland Police Department to ask what happens if a man’s wife and child disappear, and what rights does he have when and/if they’re found and she actually kidnapped their child. It was interesting to find out that more than 80% of child abduction cases are pulled off by relatives.
What do you do to celebrate a book release on release day?
When Moon Over Alcatraz came out on January 6th of this year, my husband came home with a dozen red roses and a card, my daughter also gave me a really cool card, then we all went out to dinner (something we rarely do) at a nice restaurant where we just sat around and talked and smiled about the fact that mommy’s book got published.
If you could read the mind of a famous person, who would it be, and what would you want to know?
It would be cool to get into the head of President Obama. I think he’s an intelligent, caring, normal kind of guy who wants the best for this country but is constantly fighting the opposition party for any grand changes he wants to happen. I like his ideas.
Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty. But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return..
“What are you doing? Where are you going? Please, let’s talk about this.”
“I work my ass off in New York while you’re at home screwing other dudes?”
I pulled the sheet around me, ran over and grabbed his arm. “I wasn’t screwing other dudes.” He ripped his arm out of my grasp. “I was the one who was all screwed up. Then you went to New York and all we ever did was argue on the phone. You don’t tell your secretary you’re married and she treats me like crap on the phone...”
By now, he was fully dressed, shoes and jacket on, wallet grabbed off the bureau. His hand hovered above the door knob. His face looked void of emotion, wiped clean of all expression. “I can’t do this,” he mumbled.
I sobbed, knowing I’d hurt him and betrayed his trust. I felt like a slut. “I’m sorry. I made a mistake. But I love you.”
He stood near the door, shaking his head, tears dripping from his chin.
My legs shook. My stomach cramped. I had to make him understand. “I know I’ve hurt you and that wasn’t my intention, but I wasn’t thinking straight. I’ll regret it forever. You don’t deserve this but I’m asking you to forgive me.”
His eyes swam with tears and his chin quivered. His Adam’s apple twitched up and down as he swallowed. “I had sex with Carol Smith.”
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I attended St. Mary’s College, studied my junior year at the University of Madrid, received my B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get my Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. I live with my husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with our two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and her son Jack.
My horse lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.
And now, for the Review:
One tragedy changes the lives of a once happy couple forever. Moon Over Alcatraz is Brandy and Weston's story. This is an emotional fiction novel that follows the pair after their loss, and how things change so quickly, they try to get back where they once were- happy and in love.
I feel so terrible for both Brandy and Weston. Each character handles things differently, some of them i felt upset about, some I understood. It's like being in the middle, trying to not take sides, but in a way, I saw things through both of their eyes.
The author takes readers on a journey of learning how to deal with what life throws at your. One decision leads to a different outcome, some of which I never saw coming.
Moon Over Alcatraz is a fiction novel that is moving, heartfelt, and so true to life. Things can make or break a couple, and reading this made me realize the act of doing something will lead you on a different road sometimes, and there's nothing you can do to stop it or go back.
I enjoyed the book. I was sympathetic towards the characters. I got mad, I shed some tears, i rejoiced in the happy moments- yes, this story touched my heart. If you enjoy reading a fiction novel that has the power to bring out the tears, a few laughs, and an experience you won't soon forget, check out Moon Over Alcatraz.
I five this a FOUR LIGHTNING BOLT rating.
On Barnes & Noble