Alexis: Today we have Sweet Romance author Patricia Kiyono visiting and she is giving away a digital copy of one of her books, so be sure to leave a comment for a chance t win.
Welcome, Patricia. What made you chose the title of your recent release, Searching for Lady Luck?
Patricia: My publisher issued a call-out for 20K historical novellas with the theme “Luck be a Lady.” The original idea was to put them in an anthology to have available at the Romantic Times conference in New Orleans. When I saw the theme I immediately thought of the musical Guys and Dolls and the song “Luck be a Lady.” I’ve never been to Atlantic City, but I spent a glorious week in Wildwood, which is about an hour away, and imagined a struggling artist living there during the Great Depression, and how he might be searching for his Lady Luck.
Alexis: Oh yes, I remember that song. I love hearing about where titles come from. So which authors inspire you?
Patricia: I have always admired Debbie Macomber for writing stories about people I can relate to. I also love Donna Andrews’s wit in her Meg Langslow series. I don’t think I could ever come up with mysteries like she does, and her characters’ vocabulary often have me reaching for a dictionary – but I love them! And for romantic comedy, I love Elizabeth Bevarly.
Alexis: I know that everyone has their own writing process…how they come up with ideas, how they name their characters, how they choose the setting. Can you describe your writing process?
Patricia: I used to begin with the characters and a situation that brought them together, but then I found they were too shallow. After I took an online class on conflict taught by Liz Lounsberry, I decided I needed to begin with the conflict, and then create characters who would be affected by that conflict. For example, in Searching for Lady Luck, the central conflict is economic success during the Great Depression. Charlie was once a successful artist in New York, but hard economic times forced him to go home to Wildwood and help support his family by delivering newspapers and selling his paintings on the boardwalk. I needed a heroine who identifies and struggles with him, but who has a separate issue that causes a romantic conflict. I came up with Rose, the daughter of a New York banker who committed suicide after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. She’s been forced to sell the family estate and live with her frail mother in the family home in Wildwood. The romantic conflict is that she craves stability – someone who will always be there, and a steady income – and an artist doesn’t seem to be a good choice for her. His romantic conflict is that he sees her as a muse, instead of someone who inspires him to work harder and be the best he can be.
Alexis: That sounds fascinating. What are you working on now?
Patricia: I’m trying to finish a sequel to my book Christmas Wishes. Apparently, my fictional small town of Zutphen, Michigan was popular enough that people asked for a follow-up. I’ve got one almost done and plans for another.
Alexis: I love sequels and more :-) Why did you choose this sub-genre of romance?
Patricia: There are a couple of reasons I write sweet romance. One is that I have nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and it’s nice to be able to share my writing life with them, as well as my mother and her friends, without any embarrassment. In fact my grandson designed my website when he was just sixteen, and all my grandkids on Facebook have liked my author page! Second, although I don’t mind reading spicy scenes, I’m just not good at writing them. I tried once, back before sweet romance became more popular. An agent told me I had to include at least three love scenes in a manuscript I submitted. I tried, then when I read it I thought, “If this happened to me, I’d feel cheated!”
Alexis: Sounds like you found the right subgenre. Thank you so much for visiting us on Happily Ever After Thoughts. It’s been a pleasure having you.
For a digital download of one of Patricia’s books, please leave a comment telling about something that makes you feel lucky. Do you have a particular item or ritual that helps you feel that way? Do you consider yourself a lucky person?
Blurb for Searching for Lady Luck:
Only seven years have passed since Rose Sheffield was a carefree college student, though it seems like a lifetime ago. Her father’s position at a major bank provided her with luxuries she took for granted. Now she works at menial jobs to support herself and her mother, and they live in what used to be their vacation home in Wildwood, New Jersey. Rose’s days are pure drudgery, until she meets Charlie. As luck would have it, she just happens to have the perfect place to display his artwork.
Before the Great Stock market crash of 1929, Charlie Brannigan was hailed as an up and coming artist in Manhattan. But now he’s back at his family home in Wildwood, delivering newspapers in the mornings and selling his paintings on the Boardwalk in the afternoons. He needs some luck in his life, and it seems every time a pretty lady named Rose appears, good things happen.
Searching for Lady Luck can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and other ebook outlets.
About Patricia Kiyono:
During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.
She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children and grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.