Author Interview: Patricia Steffy

patQuestion #1: What made you want to become an author?
At first, I was content with blogging about my observations about life, love and the pursuit of whatever I/you define as happiness (which, as it turns out, changes quite a bit as we go about life). I started developing the idea for My Letter to Fear: Essays on Life, Love and the Search for Prince Charming after having a conversation with a therapist friend of mine. I started drafting pieces, interviewing women about their lives and workshopped a number of them for a charity benefit in 2012. The reaction was so positive that I began doing more interviews and seriously started considering what the collection of essays would really look like. I wrote more than 40 pieces in 2013 and most of them appear in the published collection.

Question #2: What genre of books do you write?
I primarily write women’s fiction and essays on what could be considered women’s issues (though I think the issues broached are more universal and not restricted to one gender). I am writing a thriller/drama film script right now, so I’m definitely open to expanding my writing world.

Question #3: How long have you been writing books?
I feel like I’ve been writing stories since I was a teenager (more than a few years ago now), and I wrote a web series pilot called Dating in LA and Other Urban Myths starring Jen Lilley, Lesley Fera, Tamara Taylor and Kris Polaha that we filmed in 2013. Publishing a book was an entirely different animal, though, and my first book of essays (My Letter to Fear: Essays on Life, Love and the Search for Prince Charming) was published in February of 2014.

Question #4: Are you self-published or traditionally published? And tell us why you chose either.
I am self-published. I chose to go that route because of what I saw happening in the market. The essays in My Letter to Fear do not fit into an easily “sellable” category. They aren’t fiction. They aren’t all comedy. They aren’t all dramatic pieces. I’m not a famous psychologist, anthropologist, chef or self-help guru. I just had observations that I wanted to share, and the women I interviewed had stories I thought people could relate to. I have been lucky to find supporters when I’ve workshopped the pieces, and the audiences (and actors) were so supportive that I realized that even if an agent or publisher didn’t know how to sell my work, there might still be an audience for it.

Question #5: What’s the best tip you can give to a new author?
If you have something to say, say it even if you don’t think you can find an agent to sell it. You will be your own best advocate no matter what your publishing situation is. Even if you get a traditional publishing deal, the days of big advances for first time writers are largely gone (unless you are extremely lucky), and you will still be expected to do a significant amount of marketing work on your own.

Question #6: What’s your writing routine like?
I’d love to say that I am wildly inspired to sit at my computer and have deep and productive thoughts each and every day. Sadly, that would be a lie. While I do try to write every morning, I might not always be focused on my latest work of fiction. That means that there are days when I’m either focusing more on the travel writing, or I’m getting pulled in a number of deadline-related directions. Still, this year’s New Year’s Resolution is to write creatively for at least an hour each day. Let’s hope I keep that one!

Question #7: What do you hope readers take away after reading one of your books?
If you are looking at your life and wondering what the heck happened to all of the plans you had for it when you were a teenager, you are not alone. If you think the world around you has gone a bit mad, you are not alone. If you find yourself making excuses for the damage done by others around you, you are not alone. If you believe that you are worth more than you are currently showing the world, you are not alone. There is tremendous strength in shared experience, and I hope that readers find at least a glimmer of that in my pages.

Bonus Question: Why should a reader want to read your book?
It’s funny. It’s sad. It’s ridiculous. It’s life. The essays are based on my own personal experiences and the experiences of other women (gleaned through interviews with them). Not everyone is having a good time out there. Not everyone is succeeding, but that doesn’t mean that even those who are struggling don’t have aspirations. Someone described the essays as having a conversation with your best friend. If you are looking to have that conversation, My Letter to Fear is for you.


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