Patty Smith Hall has been making up stories to keep herself occupied since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. Now she’s thrilled to share her love of history and storytelling with everyone, including her husband of thirty years, Danny; her beautiful and talented daughters, Jennifer and Carly, and her future son-in-law, Dan.
Patty, welcome to Novel PASTimes. Tell us a little about what you write.
Thanks for having me! I write historicals, but my claim to fame seems to be the heroines I write--they’re strong, independent women who don’t conform to society rules of their time. For example, in Hearts Rekindled, Merrilee Daniels Davenport becomes a homeland informant in order to provide the medical care her daughter, Claire needs after a bout with polio. She hates spying on her friends and family but her daughter’s future is more important to her.
Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job? What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?
My day job for the last twenty-five years has been stay-at-home wife and mother(which still takes up some of my time) but now, I’m able to focus on my writing full-time during the day. That still doesn’t mean I don’t have challenges in maintaining my writing schedule because life has a way of interfering. What I’ve found helps the most is to adhere to a daily routine and be flexible. And forgive yourself if the day goes haywire--it happens sometimes!
What historical time periods interest you the most and how have you immersed yourself in a particular time period?
Let’s see--I love English history(anything from the War of the Roses to present day,) American history, particularly Southern history is interesting because most people don’t know about the strong women who mined for gold during the Georgia gold rush of 1828 or the girl pilots who flew ‘the widowmakers’ out of the Bell Bomber Plant during WWII. Those are the parts of history I love, those bits that get passed over in the history books.
How do I immerse myself in a time period?
I’ve taken flying lessons from a retired bomber pilot; talked airplane engineering with a gentleman who helped design the B-29 and for my next series, panned for gold and worked with a blacksmith. As you can see, I believe in experiencing what my characters would during their time period.
Introduce us briefly to the main characters in your most recent book, Hearts Rekindled.
Merrilee Daniels Davenport has been a minor character in my last two books with Love Inspired Historical but this time, she takes center stage, walking a fine line between her morals and doing her job as a homeland informant. And the stakes are high--if she fails, her only child will lose her one chance to go to Warm Springs for the treatment she desperately needs to walk again; if she succeeds, she will destroy a woman who raised Merrilee’s former husband along with dozens of abandoned mentally and physcially disabled children.
A letter from Claire brings John Davenport home to meet the child he didn’t know he had. He’s still drawn to Merrilee but a secret of his own threatens to keep him from the woman he still loves.
What are you working on now?
I’ve got several irons in the fire! First, I’m working on a series based in the Georgia gold rush about three sisters who must find their father who has gone to make a treaty for the iron mining rights with the Cherokee Indians before their younger uncle has him declared dead and steals their fortune from them. Of course, these girls are like ducks out of water in the backwood North Georgia Mountains but they’re an independent bunch and have to find men who don’t just capture their hearts but appreciate their spirit. I’m also working on a contemporary series I hope to self publish later in the year.
Don't miss the rest of Patty's interview tomorrow. Patty is giving away a copy of her newest novel, Hearts Rekindled. To enter the drawing, comment answering this question: What is your favorite thing(music, books, fashion, etc) about the 1940s?