Thursday, December 12, 2013

Interview: Patty Campbell

Hi All!
It's Tamara Mataya's week, and she's deep in drafting, crafting, revising, and editing for her New Adult novella available soon!
So... we grabbed author Patty Campbell and asked her some questions about her third life... and she's generously offered to giveaway one autographed copy of Jelly's Big Night Out to one random commenter from the U.S., Mexico, or Canada!
1. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I don't remember ever not wanting to be an author. I still have the first book I wrote at age 6. It's about a brave mouse. My mother saved it and gave it to me before she died. Maybe one day I'll expand it into a children's book.

2. What is your writing schedule like?
It varies, but I usually never miss a day. Right now I'm concentrating on selling my published books, and at the same time trying to sell three more completed manuscripts to agents and publishers. It's a slog. When I focus on a working manuscript I usually start late morning and work until late afternoon, taking a break for lunch and a stretch, then re-introduce myself to my husband at dinner. Then I might get inspired late at night and put in another hour or so. It's sounds like nothing but work, but I'm having a great time.

3. What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time before you were published?
I wish I'd started earlier, but sometimes a career gets in the way.

4. How did you come up with the idea for your book [Once a Marine]?
Over a dozen years ago I saved an article from Los Angeles Times Magazine about a famous family in the fashion industry. For a long time I toyed with the idea of doing a novel about the scion of the family, their only daughter. When I finally started writing the story her executive assistant, BD James, morphed into the main character. The famous daughter became the antagonist. I met a charming man named Rafael Cruz at a reception a couple of years ago. His name inspired me to create my Marine hero. I was so in love with my Rafi it was hard for me to give him to BD.
The same magazine article spawned the idea for my first published novel, Jelly's Big Night Out. I often save articles and photos for ideas. I'm also an unrepentant eavesdropper. Just listening to strangers talk sparks a story idea.

5. How long does it take you to write a book?
About eight months once I get past the character sketches, bios and synopsis. Then I confess that I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer. My characters often have ideas of their own.

6. Share with us "The Call" story.
The first "call" was actually an email. I remember staring at the contract offer while holding my breath until I nearly fell out of my chair. Then I was overwhelmed with a feeling of joy and validation. It was several minutes before I could calm down enough to tell my husband the news first - then my critique partners. It's a great feeling - I want every aspiring author to have that experience.

7. How did you get published?
Urk, it's an uphill battle getting published. A well known publisher, whose initials are HQ, had Once a Marine  for over seven months. We went back and forth all during that time, then they finally sent me a rejection. After that I sent it out to so many publishers that I lost count. Finally I offered it to the publisher who'd made that first 'call' with a contract offer for Jelly's Big Night Out, Etopia Press. They immediately got back to me with these words: Once a Marine is wonderful. We want to publish it.

8. Is there an author you haven't met who you'd really like to meet?
So many authors, so little time. I've met some of the greats, including my current favorite Kristin Higgins. What I'd really love is an hour with her, one-on-one. I've exchanged emails with Kristin, and she gave the keynote address at RWA this past summer. She's a great and generous lady, and she writes my kind of book. Books that make you laugh and cry.

9. Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcover?
I read them all, but call me old fashioned - my favorite is the paperback. I read in bed at night and the hardcover hits me in the face when I fall asleep. I use my e-reader in the living room and when traveling to read my fellow authors who are published in electronic format only. I'm always reading two books at a time, sometimes three. I read everything from historical fiction to suspense to romance.

10. What do you do when you're not writing?
You mean between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.? I sleep. In reality, I put in a lot of time with my local writing group - Southwest Florida Romance Writers, my critique group, and what's left is family time.

Fast Facts:
Coffee or tea? Coffee with cream. Two cups every morning to start the motor.
Morning or night? I don't function well until about ten in the morning.
Rivers or oceans? I love water in all forms, but favor cold, rushing mountain rivers.
White wine or red? Red. Dark ruby colored, dry and fruity.
Champagne or liquor? Scotch is my poison. Champagne is a guaranteed headache.
Laptop or desktop? Desktop. I need the old 'clicking' keyboard.
Casual or couture? Casual. Couture went to Goodwill when I sold my business.
Ponytail or headband? Neither for me.
Shower or bath? Shower.
Summer or winter? Winter.
Motorcycle or bicycle? I like a man on a motorcycle, but I don't like me on either one.
Want to read Patty's bio? Click HERE to find out more about her third life (so far).
Click HERE to buy ONCE A MARINE from Amazon.

Don't forget to comment for your chance at winning an autographed copy of Jelly's Big Night Out!
Don't know what to say? Ask Patty another question, tell us your favorite genre, or answer one of the Fast Facts for yourself!


  1. Thanks, Randy. Follow your dreams every day.

  2. I loved hearing all about Patty. She sounds like a very interesting lady. I love that her morning starts later when possible. Mine does too. Eleven is good for me. I hit the floor running after that but fro seven thirty until then, coffee, iPad reading, tv, book reading, etc. love my mornings!

    mauback55 at cebridge dot net

  3. Melanie, Don't forget your Freecell or Spider Solitaire warm-up. Got to do whatever it takes to limber up those writing fingers. :)

  4. Patty, very fun and interesting interview. I loved your willingness to give Rafi away so we all could fall in love with a hero. Also your answer to the bike/motorcycle question was clever and hilarious. Keep up the hard work of writing. I think it doesn't seem like work to you because you adore it so.

    1. Thank you, Ann. Sadly, I have to give away all my heroes, but the upside is that I know they'll bring a flutter to many hearts.

  5. Great interview! Wonderful to learn more about you and your words, Patty! I'd like to meet another Kristin . . . Kristin Hannah. The best books are indeed the ones that make us cry and laugh!

  6. Patty's a great author. Love both her books - Jelly's Big Night Out and Once a Marine!

    1. I hereby name you President of my fan club, Molly. :-)

  7. Patty's books will also make you laugh and cry, just like her favorite author's work. A great sense of humor and an even greater work ethic!

    1. Thanks for checking in, Lynnette. It's great to have cheerleaders in the writing community.