Hi Kathleen, and welcome to Storm Goddess Book Reviews! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
Tell me about yourself, and your writing.
How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres?
Hi Nikki! Thanks so much for the invitation to tell you a little about myself. I’ve been scribbling down stories since I could hold a pencil and completed my first manuscript while I was in high school. FATTY PATTY, released in May 2012, is my debut novel. It’s Women’s Fiction, with strong elements of romance. My second novel, HOME FIRES, is being released in August. FATTY PATTY and HOME FIRES are the first two of four from “The James Bay Novels” series. LOTTO LUCY and FOR I HAVE SINNED will be released later this year.
Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?
Great question! I’ve actually been toying with the idea of writing a Young Adult novel, and already have a plot. All my other novels are either Women’s Fiction or Contemporary Romance.
Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?
Definitely a pantster, although I should probably qualify that statement. Before I begin a new novel, I always know the beginning and the end. It’s the middle that I’m clueless about. My writing process is rather like me taking a road trip from Michigan to New York City. Instead of using a GPS (i.e., plotting with a storyboard, etc.), I simply get in the car. My novels are all character driven, so I allow my characters to take the wheel. We start off on the highway (beginning of book), but I never hesitate to take an exit if my characters spot some intriguing little road sign (middle of book; plot twists and turns). The journey as at pantster might take a little longer than a plotter (turnpikes are fast, but think of all the wonderful little towns you miss if you simply stick to the super highway). Eventually, my characters never let me down, and we always end up in New York City!
What is a typical writing day like for you?
I do have a day job (I’m our resident staff writer at a Castle! How romantic!), so I have to be very careful with my time. Good thing I am a morning person, plus I’m very disciplined and believe in schedules. My alarm goes off every morning at 5 AM. By 6:30, I’m dressed, have had breakfast, and I’m at my computer where I work for two hours on my latest writing project. I shut down at 8:30 AM, and then I’m off to work. Evenings, refreshed after a short nap and dinner with my husband, I might sit back down at the computer to answer emails or hop on Facebook. But my mornings are reserved for my novels, when my creative juices are fresh and flowing.
Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?
Favorite authors: Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner, Elizabeth Berg, Maeve Binchy, Jane Porter, Roxanne St. Claire. Favorite books: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is still my favorite book of all time. I’ve read it five times, and still cry every time I finish it.
What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
I have two goals for 2013. The first: Edit and release ROYAL SECRETS. It’s a Women’s Fiction novel about a family owned wedding chapel in Las Vegas. My second goal is to write another book. I currently have two storylines tumbling in my brain. One is Women’s Fiction; the other, Young Adult. Not sure which one will win!
If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
Bilocation. I would love the opportunity to be in two places at once!
If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?
Ah, but I already have one: my 15 year old kitty cat, Zuske. She’s a beautiful tortie Himalayan, and I swear she’s from another world!
Tell us a little about your latest release.
FATTY PATTY is my debut novel, the first of four stand alone titles in “The James Bay Novels” series. Patty Perreault, the overweight heroine, has struggled with self-esteem issues all her life. Her childhood nickname was Fatty Patty, and though she’s an adult, Patty still remembers the cruel childhood taunts from the very same school playground where she is now a teacher. The novel deals with Patty’s struggle to confront her self-esteem issues, put down the fork and give her heart a try. It’s definitely a book I wrote from my heart, since I was born fat, tipping the scales at over 9 lbs. I was a chubby baby, a chunky little girl, and eventually exploded into a fat teenager who never had a date, never went to her high school prom, and never thought a boy would ever want to kiss her, let alone marry her. When I graduated from high school, I weighed 300 lbs. By the time I started college, I was convinced I would always be fat. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. Eventually I got down to the weight I am today: 153 lbs., which is perfect for my height (5’11”). I feel good at this weight, and I’ve maintained it for nearly 35 years. I’ll never be able to recapture my teenage years and live them over again at a normal weight, but that’s okay. I’ve made my peace with the past, and I’m happy with who I am today. And God bless that fat little girl I was, once upon a time. I’m eternally grateful to her. She helped me become the woman I am today.
What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)
Hope. If you take away a person’s hope, there’s no reason to get up in the morning. I never want to lose hope. Hope inspires everything.
Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?
Actually, I have co-authored a book with someone, and it’s just about to be released. I’m very excited about the project. The book, FOR THE LOVE OF A CASTLE, is the ultimate biography of Castle Farms, the Castle where I work. Linda Mueller (owner of Castle Farms) and I spent two years working on the project. I wrote the text, and together we went through hundreds of photos, wrote sidebar blurbs, photo captions, etc. Although working with Linda was like a dream come true, FOR THE LOVE OF A CASTLEwas the most difficult book I’ve ever had to write… probably because it’s non-fiction. Every word, every photo had to be historically accurate and meticulously researched. Castle Farms was built in 1918 and is listed on the National plus State Historic Registries. The Castle has had four owners. I’m very proud of the book, but I’m glad the hard work is over!
If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?
Anne Frank. She has always been, and always will be my heroine. Anne and her family lived in Amsterdam. In 1942, they went into hiding to avoid Adolph Hitler’s persecution of the Jews. Anne and her family spent two years hiding in the Secret Annex. During those two years, Anne kept a diary in which she confided all her secrets, her fears, her wishes, her longings. It was Anne’s dream to be a writer, but at the age of fourteen, she did not know what direction her writing would take. As she writes in her diary (pg. 248) about her writing: I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living each after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!... When I write, I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?” We all know the rest of the story. Eventually, Anne and her family were betrayed. They were shipped off to the concentration camps, where Anne died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen shortly before the war ended. From their little family of four, only her father, Otto Frank, survived. A friend of the family, Miep Gies, had salvaged Anne’s diary, and gave it to Otto Frank when he returned to Amsterdam after the war. The diary was published in 1947. If I could talk to Anne, I would ask her about hope. I would ask her about all those days confined in the Secret Annex, and what kept her going. As a writer, I would ask her if she thought her diary could make a difference in people’s lives. She has certainly made a difference in mine.
What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing?
I love to read. I’m also a huge movie fan. I don’t spend much time watching TV, but I love getting together with friends. I also enjoy travelling.
If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick?
Definitely Stephen King’s “11/22/63”. If you haven’t read the novel, read it! It’s fascinating! King is easily one of the most prolific, talented and fascinating of modern day writers, and “11/22/63” is a literary masterpiece. It involves time travel, and one man’s ability to go back in time in order to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?
To make everyone happy. The world would be a much better place to live if everyone was happy.
Weather: Hot or cold?
Definitely hot! I’m a warm weather girl stuck in a cold weather climate, and I am NOT happy about it. Unfortunately, I love my husband and he doesn’t want to move. Fortunately, our daughter lives in Las Vegas (where it’s nice and hot!), which gives me an escape route!
Favorite place to read?
My rocking chair on our front porch.
Pizza, loaded with everything except mushrooms. I’m allergic to mushrooms.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink.
Coffee. Black. And don’t put anything fancy in it, either.
If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?
I’d love to spend a month in Rome. I’ve travelled in Italy, but only as far south as Milan. Rome, The Eternal City, was built on seven hills. I’d love to experience the glory that is Rome… to breathe in the smells and sights and sounds as I wander narrow winding streets and find another masterpiece waiting around a corner: The Vatican. The Colosseum, the Forum, The Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps. To me, Rome is the most romantic city in the world.
Fatty Patty Blurb:
Small towns, long memories. Everyone in the exclusive summer resort of James Bay, Michigan remembers FATTY PATTY, the chubby little girl with the round face and wild red curls. All grown up now, Patty Perreault teaches at the same elementary school where the painful playground memories still taunt her. She hasn’t forgotten the cruel nickname—plus she still hasn’t lost those extra pounds. Convinced her weight is the biggest reason why she’s a four time loser in the semi-finals for Teacher of the Year, Patty resolves to make some changes in her body and her life.
Sam Curtis, an overweight accountant she meets at the community pool, swims into Patty’s life with romance on his mind. But as their friendship grows, Patty finds it hard to see beyond his extra pounds. She’s torn as Sam refuses to deal with his own overweight issues. Her heart tells her one thing, but her eyes see another. She’s not interested in an overweight boyfriend. When it comes to winning the Grand Prize in life and love, Patty has some hard lessons to learn. Will she be able to confront her fears about the kind of woman she yearns to be? Will she be able to put down the fork and give her heart a try?
Review Rating: 4 Lightning Bolts
Review: There is no one that is perfect. Everyone comes with their flaws. In Fatty Patty, the author shows the reader just how real and true that is. The characters go through so much that anyone one of us can relate to. Patty struggles with her weight, and she has childhood memories of teasing and torture. In her adult life she still lives with the struggles of image and perfection. It's easy to feel what Patty does. That's what makes this story such a good one. I read the scenes and I can just picture myself there. Fatty Patty is a well written story that delves into the issues of society's quest for perfect images, and what happens when that isn't met. I'm so glad I had a chance to read this story. It grabbed my attention and made me really think.
Kathleen Irene Paterka fell in love with writing (and food) at a very young age. By the time she graduated high school, she’d completed her first manuscript and she weighed 300 lbs. Though the extra pounds have long since disappeared, Kathleen still carries the emotional scars of being a former fatty. FATTY PATTY was born from the cruel teasing she endured on the school playground. Kathleen is the author of numerous novels which embrace universal themes of home, family life and love, including the Women's Fiction series, "The James Bay Novels". Kathleen is the resident staff writer for Castle Farms, a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book FOR THE LOVE OF A CASTLE, published in 2012. Having lived and studied abroad, Kathleen's educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. She and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. Kathleen loves hearing from readers. You can contact her via her website at http://www.kathleenirenepaterka.com or follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KathleenIrenePaterka.
Connect with Kathleen!
My website: http://www.kathleenirenepaterka.com
Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KathleenIrenePaterka
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