Friday, June 29, 2012

Interiview with Patricia Yager Delagrange + Review

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


  1. I love the idea of being a ghost. Not the scary kind though.

    Thank you for your review.


    1. Thank you for following my virtual blog tour, Marybelle. I'd never been asked this particular question before and I love the thought of a spirit not dying and appearing to the living afterward. Maybe that's just me hoping it's not "all over" when someone you love passes on to the other side.

  2. Nice review, Nikki!

    Patricia....If you don't like the heat, be glad that you're not in my neck of the woods this weekend. We're in the 90s today and supposed to hit 100 both days this weekend. We're usually hot in the summer, but being near the coast, we usually don't get THAT hot. A good reason to stay inside in the AC, curled up with a good book!
    I've been intrigued with your descriptions of riding Maximus. Is there a reason you took a year off from riding him? Did something happen? The sheer size of him would be intimidating, but you WERE riding him and then stopped for a while. It made me wonder if something especially scary happened when you were on him. I've enjoyed the tour and look forward to reading Moon Over Alcatraz, even though it's not my usual light & fluffy summer fare.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Nothing exactly "happened" (as in an episode where I fell off or he bucked me off or anything like that). I started riding late in life and had my first riding lesson about 10 years ago. I then leased a couple of horses which turned out to be disastrous not only because they were too "hot" (go go go, too wild for a beginner) but the person who owned them took them out from under me because they were moving or whatever. So, I got attached to a horse then suddenly they were gone. So, I decided to buy a horse or get out of the riding thing altogether. Well, I love to ride so I went to Black Sterling Friesians farm in Sonoma, CA, and saw Maximus and that was it. Got out the checkbook and he was mine. I was still a beginner rider and he's a LOT of horse. Long story short, after about 6 years of not being able to make him canter or trot for a long time for me, I knew I had a problem and needed to learn how to ride better and THEN come back to him with the new "Patti". I also carried a fear of him that was hindering me from riding him since his impulsion and strength can be scary to any rider. So I rode another large horse who was about 24 years old, more of a lesson horse, and although stubborn and picky about who he liked and rode for, he loved me and I learned so much. After a year of riding Hiks, I went back to Maximus and it was "do or die". Well, it worked. I can now trot him to my heart's content and canter him WAY better than a year ago and we are now a couple. Thank you for asking. and sorry for the LONG-winded story. And thank you for commenting on my blog tour.

  3. Author interviews are my favorite. Thanks!

    1. Thank you for commenting, Taryn, and good luck in the contest.

  4. Interesting to know you still prefer print! (I do, too...)


    1. Yes, there's just something about holding a book in your hands, as opposed to a Nook, and turning the pages and looking back and writing in the margins or whatever. I grew up reading paper and I've found a nice balance of Nook and paper now.

  5. A few years ago when I was still working a former coworker, Bob, who knew I had horses came over and told me his daughter, early 20's at the time, had just bought a Friesian horse. And shortly thereafter a Friesian/paint cross I think. Then he was telling me about a mare or maybe two coming from Holland (?) and flying into Virginia or somewhere on the eastern seaboard and shipping to Seattle. At which point he drove down with his daughter and their horse trailer to pick them up. Bob never struck me as the horsey type. I guess just the typical horse dad. He was a VP or dept manager. Nice guy. He also got back into riding motorbikes when I knew him (against his wife's objections) and he had to take his road test again because for some reason the motorbike status dropped off when BC changed over driver licenses about 20 years ago. Seeing as how he wasn't planning to ride again it wasn't a big deal until he bought a couple motorbikes. Then he failed his road test! My husband and I both ride motorbikes so we'd chat him up about motorbikes and horses. The next thing I knew Bob's telling me his daughter has bought 5 acres about 30 miles from here. Dad must have been chipping in. 5 acres within 200 miles of Vancouver is at least a million. And way more if the house isn't a fixer upper! Bob eventually moved to Alberta and the daughter to Saskatchewan where land is cheaper and she can have lots of room for more horses. Beautiful animals.

  6. Wow,Cheryl, I loved your story. I would kill to have land and be able to have Maximus with me so I could ride him every day and perhaps go into the forrest or something and investigate new areas. She is very lucky to be able to live her dream like that. Thank you for the link. I"m going to go check it out now.

  7. Great review and interview! Moon over Alcatraz sounds like a very emotionally rewarding book to read. Adding it to my Kindle list:)

    1. Hey Maria! Thank you for adding my book to your Kindle list. If you read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  8. Thanks for reminding me I had this one last chance to show up and comment. This is a nice site, and a good review for Moon Over Alcatraz. Good luck to both you and your blog hostess.

    1. Thank you, Rhea. Good luck in the contest!

  9. This story sounds really touching.

    1. Hi again, Mom Jane. Thanks for following my blog tour.

  10. Another horse girl here. I so envy you the Fresian! They're beautiful--and o.m.g. huge. You must have a lot of guts to fight your way this far and get yourself trained up to work with him! Have you tried him with dressage? It's very gentle riding--not like the hunter-jumper stuff I started with, where they throw you at the jumps within a few lessons! And the horses get to like it.

    I went to the Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo ohh, ten years ago when Fresian breeder sent some Fresians, which are supposed to be descended from medieval war horses, and dressed them up in all the bright-colored silk "blankets" and rode them around. I remember standing in front of one and looking up... and up... and up... holy mackerel. I could imagine how powerfully they would impress someone who had to be in a battle with them!

    Tell us more! You can't post too much about horses for me!

    1. Smoking Pidgeon - Hi! I know how you feel about Friesians because every time I'm around Maximus I am in awe of his hugeness, his regal look, his pleasant demeanor, his loving nature. I am SO lucky to have found him and made him a part of my life. He makes me so happy to have him as my friend. Yes, I have always ridden Dressage and just basic equitation. I can't do a lot of the special stuff he once knew because I bought him when I was a beginner and he knows way more than I do. But, after so many years, he could probably learn again but I can't teach him. He couldn't jump no matter what because he's too heavy and doesn't even like to walk over a pole! I haven't seen them in those medieval fairs or anything but know I'd enjoy it.
      Thanks for commenting. I can never get enough horsey stuff!