Friday, December 4, 2015

Talking Books with Patricia Yager Delagrange's 'Moon Over Alcatraz'

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and Jack. Her Friesian horse Maximus lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.

Her latest book is the romantic women’s fiction, Moon Over Alcatraz.

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Title: Moon Over Alcatraz
Author: Patricia Yager Delagrange
Publisher: Ravenswood Publishing/Black Hawk
Pages: 308
Genre: Romantic Women’s Fiction

Brandy Chambers was looking forward to the birth of her first child. She and Weston move from San Francisco to the small town of Alameda to start a family, she’s writing her second book, and Weston has a fantastic job working on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge project. Having this baby would make her already-wonderful life perfect.

But when the baby dies after a difficult birth, Brandy’s perfect life blows up in her face. Stricken with grief, she and Weston pull apart. This new distance leads them both to disaster. Not until a chance encounter with her high school friend, Edward Barnes, does Brandy pull herself together. Brandy and Weston agree to recommit to each other, striving to forgive infidelity and recreate their previous existence.

Everything is once again going according to plan—until Brandy discovers she’s pregnant. While she struggles to cope with this new obstacle, Edward Barnes returns to town and discovers she’s having a baby, while Weston is torn between his love for his wife and his anger at her betrayal. Can Brandy manage to keep her marriage to Weston together? Will Edward be a part of Brandy’s life if she and Weston separate?

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Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing I’m reading a book (my favorite authors are Barbara Freethy, Nicholas Sparks, Richard Paul Evans, Debbie Macomber, and Joy Fielding to name a few.) I also ride my big black Friesian horse Maximus. I got him when he was four years old in 2004 and we’ve gotten to the point where we take trail rides together - alone - a dream come true. Other than that, I have several favorite television programs: Empire, Switched at Birth, Pretty Little Liars, and Extant.

When did you start writing?

My daughter came home from school one day in 2009 and said a friend of hers asked why her mommy didn’t have a job. Well, my job had been raising my two kids for fifteen years; but I realized the kids were 11 and 15 and I had time to spend on something other than being a mom. So I went to the Apple store, bought a MacBook, and wrote my first book. I’ve now written five and am on my sixth novel.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

The most pivotal point was actually having a book published. Unfortunately the publisher went belly-up in 2015 but I was able to find another publisher who was interested in re-publishing my first novel Moon Over Alcatraz.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I would go to Santa Barbara, California, where I lived for eight years while getting my B.A. in Spanish. The climate is perfect with year-round average temperatures hovering near 70 degrees, it’s a small city, and the beaches are beautiful.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

If I had four extra hours, I would write my sixth novel faster than I’m doing now. With two kids at home and two dogs and a horse, I keep busy.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I’d like to set a story on the East Coast. I’ve never been there but find it intriguing because it’s so different from California. I dream of one day going to Martha’s Vineyard to see what their beaches are like in comparison to the shores of California.

Back to your present book, Moon Over Alcatraz, how did you publish it?

I submitted the book to Kitty Bullard at Ravenswood Publishing. She liked it and it will come out on November 15, 2015, in both e-book format as well as paperback.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

No, I didn’t have to. It’s set in my hometown of Alameda and its surroundings.

Why was writing Moon Over Alcatraz so important to you?

I wanted to write about how something so tragic as losing a child at birth could turn a marriage into a nightmare and yet have a Happy Ever After.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I get my ideas from either reading or watching television. I see people having experiences I haven’t gone through and I wonder how those individuals must feel and live through them. Then I create a fictional character and make them go through something similar. That’s how I write about my feelings and, hopefully, the reader will feel something too. That’s why I write.

Any final words?

Thank you for hosting me. And thank you for really insightful questions that made me think. An author often doesn’t ask why she writes what she writes. She often just “does it” without contemplating the reasons behind her choice. Thank you for that.

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