Sunday, February 08, 2009

Interview with Author, Patricia Haley


Today I welcome author, Patricia Haley. I had the pleasure of meeting Pat at a Christian Fiction retreat hosted by author, Jacquelin Thomas in 2004. Along with Victoria Christopher Murray, Pat taught a class that changed my approach to draft writing. Patricia is a multi-published Essence bestselling author who's newest title, Chosen was released last month.

Welcome to Urban Christian Fiction Today, Patricia. Introduce yourself to my readers. Hello everyone. I’m Patricia Haley. My first book, Nobody’s Perfect, was self published in 1998 and went on to become an Essence #1 bestseller. It was such a blessing for the novel to be the first African American faith based book to make #1, proving at the time that we could write, publish, and sell entertaining, clean, inspirational, fiction loaded with dynamic, yet African American characters dealing with real life issues. I’ve tackled various stories and themes since, with each of my books coming back to the central theme of hope in spite of circumstances and the power of forgiveness.

Besides writing, I’m a project manager who loves my husband, my daughter, my family, my relationship with the Lord, and my membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. With the rest of my time, I manage to relax, watch plenty of movies, go to my daughter’s basketball games, hang out with my hubby, and travel as much as we can. That’s pretty much me.

Tell us about Chosen and what inspired you to write it.
Chosen is based on the popular biblical kings David and Solomon. Dave Mitchell (the father) abandons his wife, business partner, and children for a younger woman. He has a son with the new wife and, years later, chooses him as CEO of the multi-million dollar family ministry. Madeline, the first wife, and her oldest son (Don) are outraged because they feel like the rightful heirs. An all out war erupts between the wives and the brothers with the father in the middle. Of course there’s always an element of love lurking. So it is with Abigail, the young business exec. who is torn between love for one brother and loyalty to the other.


Sounds like a compelling read. I can’t wait to read it. Who was your favorite character? And why? My favorite character is a toss up between Madeline and her son Don. She’s a sharp tongued, top notch businesswoman who doesn’t easily back down to opposition. He’s the lesser son who finds redemption in South Africa and the freeing power of forgiveness.

Which character was the most difficult to write? And why?
The difficult character was Abigail. Although she was love struck and long suffering when it came to waiting on her man, I didn’t want her to seem shallow, na├»ve, or compromised. Throughout the story she is clearly a strong business minded woman. It just so happens she lets love get her thoughts clouded for a minute before recovering to a position of strength.

You were one of the original African American Christian fiction trailblazers, but you’ve been missing from my favorite authors for a few years, tells us about the hiatus. Yes, I am one of the original trailblazers in the African American Christian fiction genre. Fortunately for me, once I got my first two book deal for No Regrets and Blind Faith in 2000 with the old BET Books, I’ve had a deal ever since. For Chosen, I actually had multiple offers and decided at that point to switch from BET Books/ Kimani Press/ Harlequin to Pocket Books/ Simon & Schuster. However, there have been several breaks in between the release of my books for one primary reason -- I’m not a writer. I say that half heartedly, but in actuality I’m a businesswoman whose passion is finance. I’ve been working in corporate America pretty much the entire time since my first book came out in 1998. You ask, “Then why do I write?” Writing is undoubtedly a gift that I’ve been entrusted with to help fulfill my purpose in life, which is to encourage others. That’s it, I said, my purpose it to encourage. My books are just one tool in the chest. So, I have plenty of books to write while also doing the other things I’m called to do.

Very interesting. I'm glad God has anointed you to minister through writing. I've enjoyed every one of your books. I still have that self-published version of Nobody's Perfect.

I asked Pat to answer a few personal questions and she shared these answers:

What’s your favorite worship song? My favorite worship song is I Can Only Imagine

Favorite color? My favorite color is purple.

What would people be surprised to know about you? People would be surprised to know that I cook and cook well. They may also be surprised to know that I have a creative gene even though my educational training is very technical. In addition to writing, I used to sing in the gospel choir (I could hold a tune), and I love arts and crafts, especially with my daughter.

What’s the silliest or most embarrassing television show you watch? The Outsiders Inn with Bobby Brown & ‘Marcia Brady’

If you could spend one hour with someone living or deceased, who would it be and why? My beloved younger brother, Erick Lewis Haley

If you had to go to a solitary place and could only take one novel, that you didn’t write, what would it be and why? If I could go to a solitary place and take one novel, it would Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, one of the old classics. That’s one of my top five love stories of all time.

Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite classics, too. Please share anything else you’d like us to know about you or Chosen. Chosen is the first of a four part series. It took me about 5 weeks to write which is pretty much what it takes me to do a novel now. Many scenes are located in Capetown, South Africa, one of my favorite vacation spots in the world. The sequel Destined releases in Jan. 2010. This time the oldest brother Don returns from South Africa ready to embrace his destiny and battle his brother to the finish.

Tell my readers how they may find you on the Internet.
Your readers can reach me on http://www.patriciahaley.com/

Author Bio

PATRICIA HALEY is the award-winning, Essence national bestselling author of Nobody’s Perfect (ranked #1 on bestseller list), Blind Faith, Still Waters, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (nominated 2006 Best Inspirational Fiction), and No Regrets. The trailblazing faith-based author is a project manager with an engineering degree from Stanford University and a M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and lives with her husband and daughter on the East Coast. Her title Chosen is available in stores January 2009 followed by the sequel Destined. The books represent the first two in a series depicting the modern day story of Kings David and his son Solomon.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview ladies. Can hardly wait to read Chosen.



Janice

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is the first time I've read/heard a Christian published author say what I've known for a long time about my own writing ministry - it's a tool to encourage. There was a time when I felt like I didn't "fit in" with my writer group because I knew that was the difference between me and the other members. Now, I embrace it because I know the Lord has a different writing path for me. I commend Patricia for putting it out there, for recognizing there's still a place for her gifting even if it doesn't match up with other writers, and for allowing the Lord to use her to encourage others.

Rhonda McKnight said...

Anonymous,

I think most Christian Fiction authors feel that their work is a tool for ministry. I get that sense in most of the people I interview or talk to as I network. It's just there's a process to being published, and rules for writing if you want to be excellent in your craft. Pat ministers but she's a stickler for craft. I've been in her writing workshop and she taught me alot.

Ms. Haley is with a great house, but I also know S&S puts a great deal of emphasis on marketability of any project they accept, I don't care who the author is. In mainstream there are those parameters. But God's will shall be done even in the maze of mainstream publishing. Stay true to your story and he'll bless your work.

With respect to your writer's group, I think you have to balance the opinions of those in the group. They have great benefit, but like everything in life you have to take what you can use and leave the rest on the table.

Self-publishing is also an option for someone who wants to do what they want to do without an aquisitions editors input.

Thanks for stopping by.


Blessings,

Rhonda