Monday, September 1, 2008

AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE by Patti Lacy

Writing can be a solitary business, but every now and then God knits you together with someone very special. Today, I’m pleased to introduce one of those people. A talented author and one of my best writing buds, Patti Lacy’s debut novel, An Irishwoman’s Tale is available in stores and online now. Let’s meet Patti!

THE BIO

PhotobucketWhen Patti left the Louisiana swamps for college in 1972, she actually returned to the site of her first home, Baylor University, where from 1958 to 1962, she lived with her parents in Martin Hall, the boys’ athletic dormitory. Patti’s two hundred big brothers entertained her with magic tricks and tales of wild escapades which planted the love of oral narratives in her heart.

Five years later, Patti graduated with an Education degree and shortly thereafter married Alan Lacy. Both schoolteachers, the couple moved to Arizona, Texas, and eventually settled in the Midwestern town of Normal, Illinois. Alan and Patti are the proud parents of two college-aged children.

The inspiration for An Irishwoman’s Tale was born one day during a discussion on a front porch. An impetuous, red-haired friend asked Patti this question—“What is your first memory?” Four hours later, Patti had been gifted a wonderful story that culminated—four years later—with a trip to the breathtaking cliffs of County Clare, Ireland.

Patti’s second novel contracted in April of 2008. Unsettled Waters takes the reader on a quest with Sally, Mary’s gregarious friend in An Irishwoman’s Tale, to the often-murky bayous of the Deep South. In Unsettled Waters, themes such as racism, sexual abuse, betrayal, and sexual dysfunction within marriage are explored. Patti is also working on a collection of short stories and a memoir.

Besides writing, Patti is passionate about Ministry& More, an organization that provides food and, through prayer, Bible study, and personal testimony, offers the true Bread of Life to clients. Patti also serves as the Midwest Zone director of the American Christian Fiction Writers.

THE INTERVIEW

JA: Please tell us about your book, An Irishwoman’s Tale.
PL: An Irishwoman’s Tale spans two continents and chronicles the quest of Mary, a feisty red-haired woman who’s trying to come to terms with not one, but two dysfunctional families. When her daughter slips into substance abuse, Mary loses her tenuous grip on sanity. At the encouragement of Sally, a chatty new Southern friend, Mary returns to her beloved Ireland and with God’s help, begins to make sense of her past, present, and future.

JA: The friendship between Mary and Sally is really beautiful. What is your favorite thing about their relationship?
PL: Like sweet and sour sauce, they complement each other. One’s caustic, the other syrupy sweet. One’s a motor mouth, the other’s barely civil. Yet the sisterhood of believers provides the glue that holds their friendship together.

PhotobucketJA: Your inspiration for this book was a conversation with an Irish woman after a book discussion group. Can you tell us a little about that?
PL: In 1995, “Mary,” a red-haired woman in a book discussion group I formed stayed late after one of the meetings. I thought she just wanted to help me clean up and pick through the juicy hors d’oeuvres I’d spent hours making a la Southern Living style, but she had something else in mind. As I chatted about my kids, she paced in the family room, finally plopping into a rocker.
“What is your first memory?” Mary asked me.
“I don’t know. I’ve never had to think about it,” I answered.
Her eyes took on a glint of steel. “How pretty. Not to have to think of it.”
Hours later, I’d been gifted a tragic yet majestic story of God’s forgiveness and sovereignty over even the most dysfunctional situations.

Four years later, my family moved away from Mary’s town, yet by now, Mary and I’d become close friends, and stayed in touch. During quiet times, Mary’s story often slipped into my thoughts, and I’d shake my head. Someone sure should write that story, I’d tell myself. One January morning, God told me to do it. I opened a computer file, titled it An Irishwoman’s Tale, and the journey started and didn’t end until Mary and I went back to Ireland and two years later, I’d signed a book contract.

JA: How did the trip to Ireland affect you?
PL: From the minute our jet hovered over the hilly land of a thousand shades of greens, something in my soul opened up and I begin to hear the minor chord of those unbelievable Irish whistles and flutes. With Mary at the wheel, we bumped across the narrow roads of County Clare, meeting Mary’s old neighbors and zany characters who’d find their way into the novel. Mary talked, her expression changing with the intensity of the story, as I held my voice-activated recorder close, hoping to pick up the brogue that was growing thicker by the second. I cherished every minute in that breathtaking country, and the fragrant turf fires continue to burn in my heart.

JA: What do you want people to take away after reading An Irishwoman’s Tale?
PL: The sovereignty of God over even the most dysfunctional situation. The need for society to better accept mental health issues. The value of sharing secrets with Christian companions. The power of Christ’s example of forgiveness.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
PL: My second novel, Sally’s story, is under contract and will be published in spring or summer of 2009. I think y’all will be surprised at the secrets hidden underneath Sally’s sunny facade.

JA: How has your life changed since you took the plunge into full-time writing?
PL: As much as I miss teaching, I’m thrilled to be doing what I feel God wants me to do. And it’s great to work at home, so I can get a roast going for dinner, have a friend over for coffee, and/or stay in my PJs until noon if I want to.

JA: You write women’s contemporary fiction inspired by Romans 8:28. How has that verse influenced your work?
PL: I love to load my stories up with conflict. The more dysfunctional, the better. Romans 8:28 brings hope to my protagonists (and I hope my readers) no matter how screwed up their lives have been.

JA: Is there something that people would be surprised to know about you?
PL: I’m a pretty normal wife and mother living here in Normal, Illinois. However, I slip so often into the imaginary world of my characters that I have trouble distinguishing truth from fiction. My kids and husband are helping me change this bad habit.

A: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
PL: I’m not a blogger—not yet, anyway—but I do update my website monthly and have contests. Please visit www.pattilacy.com and make an entry. I’d love to send you a $15 book card! And thanks for taking the time to visit Jennifer’s blog.

It was great having you as a guest, Patti. May God continue to bless your writing journey!

JEN’S REVIEW

In this stunning debut novel, we meet Mary Freeman, a nurturing woman who wants to take care of her family and have a bit of peace in her life. But caring for her ailing mother is wearing on her, as is her concern for her youngest daughter. When Mary prays for a friend, she never expects God to answer so quickly… or with such a unique woman.

An Irishwoman’s Tale is two stories in one: the tragic heartbreak of young girl who endures one rejection after the other, and a beautiful, healing friendship between two very different women. Like the threads that make up fine Irish linen, Lacy weaves Mary’s story, combining the past with the present, until both converge and take Mary back to where it all started.

Lacy’s lyrical writing style is perfect for this tale which takes us from Ireland to America and back again. Get ready to settle in with this one, because once you start, you’re not going to want to put it down.


WIN THE BOOK

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of An Irish Woman’s Tale just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on September 8th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

25 comments:

sarahw said...

Sounds like a really great book. i love books that take place in another country. please enter my name in the draw.
thanks,
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

windycindy said...

Another wonderful sounding book about
a relationship between women. I like that it goes from America to Ireland! Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Smilingsal said...

I'd like to try to win this book.
smilingsal55[at]yahoo[dot]come

traveler said...

This intriguing book interests me greatly and is so appealing and unique. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

alissa said...

Thanks for featuring this enthralling and special novel.It would be a joy to read this story.
saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

anne said...

What a wonderful giveaway. Thanks so much. Books that have realistic stories and characters with lovely settings are my favorite. This one is a beauty.
bencanada1(at)yahoo(dot)com

pearl said...

I enjoyed the interview and learning about this exceptional novel. It sounds memorable and heartwarming. Thanks for choosing this story.
elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Smilingsal said...

Yikes! I added an "e" to my email!
It should be:

smilingsal55 [at] yahoo [dot] com

patti said...

Wow, readers, you've blessed me with your kinds comments! If you do get the book, I'd love to hear your comments, good or bad. A recent reader warned me about beats in my dialogue. Sigh...there's so much to learn, isn't there?
Talk to you soon at www.pattilacy.com.
Blessings! Patti

Janna said...

This is a wonderful book - I've been privileged to read it already and now I'm thrilled to hear that we'll get to hear Sally's story next :-)

Don't enter me, but for those that haven't read it - you really must!

Janna

cathikin said...

An intriguing story. I may get a bit sad reading it, but it would be worthwhile, I believe. I love all things Irish, and then there's the friendship issue. I have a feeling this might be a good book to lend to certain hurting people, too. So please enter me!

Cathi
chassan2 at hotmail dot com

Bonnie Leon said...

What a great interview. I'm intrigued and would love to read the book.

Bonnie Leon

bleon[at]centurytel[dot]come

Julie Lessman said...

Patti and Jen -- Great interview! I'm one of the lucky ones who has already read An Irishwoman's Tale (so don't enter me in the contest), and absolutely LOVED it!! Incredible writing, haunting plot -- a must read, in my opinion.

Hugs,
Julie

patti said...

Thanks for your kind comments. Now, wouldn't it be nice if I could have ye in for a cuppa and a bit of biscuit?

Patti

ladystorm said...

Pick Me, Pick Me :) I really want to read this book. Oh well if I can't win it I will just have to go out and buy it. :)

Stormi
ladystorm282001[at]yahoo[dot]com

Tina said...

I LOVE this book. Be sure to visit her website and watch the video trailer for it. This story will leave you with a mountain (or should I say cliffs) of hope.

Jo said...

Another book that sounds great that I would love to get my name entered in the drawing for. I have always wanted to visit Ireland so love the fact that I can read about it as well.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Pamela J said...

What Patti wants people to take away after reading An Irishwoman’s Tale: God's sovereignty, society's need to accept mental health issues better,the importance of sharing secrets with Christian companions and the power of Christ’s example of forgiveness are all WOW topics in my opinion. I absolutely LOVE the verse mentioned: Romans 8:28. I think it must be my life verse that I stand in faith on every day.
Please enter me in your drawing for this book. Thanks SO MUCH!!
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Stacey said...

The book sounds wonderful! Like Sarah above, I also love to visit new places through books. Please enter me in your drawing. Thank you.

stacey_dale[at]yahoo[dot]com

Becky C. said...

Iwant to read this book so much!!

Please enter me in the contest!

Thank you,

Becky C.
rec(at)hiwaay(dot)net

patti said...

This blog's so cool that I'm gonna throw in a little something suggested by Jeane Wynn, my publicist!
Think...bone-chilling Irish drizzle...the approaching fall...

Doreen said...

Great interview!! I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks! :)purposedrivenlife4you(at)gmail(dot)com

rebornbutterfly said...

Sounds really great!
i'd love to be entered!
please contact me at my shoutlife page :)

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

Jennifer AlLee said...

Today's winner is Pam Williams! Thanks to everyone for stopping by. Hope to hear from you again soon :+}