The Long and the Short of It is very excited to have Patti Shenberger with us today. Patti is an incredible woman and has really won my admiration. One of my off-the-wall questions to her was “if there is any horrible experience in your life you could erase, what would it be?” This was her response, “Having cancer last fall. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in September of 06 and had surgery in October. Then the lovely rounds of chemo started in December and going through this May of 07. It is an experience you never forget. It changes your life in one fell swoop. Your life has a tendency to pass before your eyes as you realize you are NOT invincible. I thought about everything I hadn't done that I wanted to, about how my kids would get married and have grandkids I would never see, how my husband would go on with life. But I can say now that for all the hardship it caused, it was also a learning experience. I have learned not to take anything for granted. To do certain things differently. The laundry will still be there tomorrow, the beds don't have to be made every morning. And most importantly, cherish and live every day to the fullest.”
She has certainly taken her own advice as far as her writing goes. Patti has written and published three books: Womb for Rent (under her pseudonym Amanda Brian), A Miracle Through Time, Take No Prisoners, and …coming soon…The Laird’s Lady. She also has several short stories published through The Wild Rose Press.
Patti, like many of our authors, has been writing since she was a child. She took a creative writing class in high school and passed with honors. As she said, “Nothing could stop me after that point.”
I asked Patti what kind of advice she would give to a new author. “My advice,” she said, “and please take with a grain of salt, is to write, write, write. And when you're not writing, read, read, read. Read everything you can get your hands on regarding your craft. There are so many wonderful books, tapes, authors, critique groups, writers’ organizations out there just waiting to help you make your mark in the world. And patience. You can't expect this to be a hurried process. It just ain't so, though there are some who were in the right place at the right time, with a completed manuscript and hit it big. But not all of us. So hang tight and keep those fingers flying on the keyboard.”
Take No Prisoners is Patti’s newest book to be released, just this last month. I asked her to tell us a little about it. “It is the first of a series of three stand alone titles set in the small, fictitious town of Harmony, Michigan,” she told me. “Frankie Canfield is a soap opera diva who left home years ago to escape the smothering small town she was raised in. But she also left behind the only man she had ever loved and lost-- Jake Maxwell, the new sheriff of Harmony. She comes home to ‘pretend’ marry the sheriff in a PR stunt, but has no idea it's Jake who's in charge. She thinks the previous sheriff is still in office. Fate takes a very wild ride as Frankie and Jake reunite in ‘pretend’ matrimony amidst a flurry of passion and pride. Can they make it work a second time? Gotta read it to find out!!”
Patti told me the hardest part of writing, for her, is to remain disciplined. “Writing is a very solitary pursuit,” she explained. “You’re alone in a room with a keyboard and a blank screen. It can be very overwhelming. There are many times that cleaning the toilet or doing the laundry is more appealing than sitting down to write.”
I asked Patti about some of her favorite things. Other than her family (her husband, Randy, and two grown children Amanda and Brian), she loves her dog, Cassie (a twelve-year-old German shepherd/golden retriever mix), Pizza Hut Meat Lovers Pizza (“I love all the meat on there and it has to have a stuffed crust as well”), and thunderstorms (“My favorite place to be is sitting on a deck watching a storm come in across the water, whether it be a lake or an ocean—an ocean preferably. The smells, the sounds and the sights are wonderful”).
Finally, I asked her to describe herself. “I would label myself a very anal person (no pun intended to the cancer comment above!),” she said. “I like to have things a certain way, be in charge and make sure things are done in a timely manner. Friends have a tendency to give me projects because they know I will pull them off even under a tight deadline. It's just my nature.” She grinned, then added, “Even in the hospital for the cancer surgery, I was giving orders to those around me!”
Make sure you visit Patti at her website. And, thank you, Patti, for being with us this week. Best of luck in your life and writing.