Monday, September 14, 2009

Interview with Patti Lacy

Today we are interviewing author Patti Lacy. Her most recent book, What the Bayou Saw, is available through Kregel Publications.

In 1955, Ann Qualls gave birth to her daughter Patti in the front seat of a Buick. By pure coincidence, Ann claims, their daughter was named Patti Day Qualls, PDQ.

This moniker has served Patti well, as she’s moved at least ten times, traveled to forty states, and changed occupations with a liberality unusual in native Texans. However, Patti thinks her latest profession will stick awhile.

The Still, Small Voice encouraged Patti to write after a brave Irish friend shared memories of betrayal and her decision to forgive. In 2008, An Irishwoman’s Tale was published by Kregel Publications. Patti’s second novel, What the Bayou Saw, draws on the memories of two young girls who refused to let segregation, a chain link fence, and a brutal rape come between them.

The secrets women keep and why they keep them continue to capture Patti’s imagination. She writes full time, teaches Bible studies and seminars, and attends book signings. Patti and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal . They have two grown children and a dog named Laura.

You can reach Patti at or

What the Bayou Saw: Since leaving Louisiana, Sally Stevens has held her childhood secrets at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband Sam, has heard the truth about what happened to her and her best friend, Ella Ward, when they were twelve years old.

Now a teacher in Normal, Illinois, Sally has nearly forgotten her past. Then Shamika, one of her students, is violently attacked, and memories of segregation, a chain-link fence, and a blood oath bubble to the surface like a dead body in a bayou. Lies continue to tumble from Sally’s lips as she scrambles to gloss over the harsh reality of a betrayal that refuses to stay buried.

Finally cornered by the Holy Spirit and her own web of lies, Sally and Shamika embark on a quest to find Ella in post-Katrina New Orleans. With the help of friends, family, and God, Sally can glimpse a life free of the mire of deceit and truly begin to live with joy. Will she pay the price for a lifetime of deception? Can she save Shamika?

Patti took a few minutes to talk about publishing from a writer's perspective with Writing Career Coach.

Writing Career Coach: What are some ways you prepared to market your book before you were published?
Patti Lacy: Thanks to Kregel’s marketing guru, Cat Hoort, and the experienced and fabulous Wynne Wynne Media, I jumpstarted the old girl (What the Bayou Saw) before she hit the shelves. Then I could focus on local bookstores, who I blackmailed into scheduling signings (chocolate helped!) The talented and lovely Dineen Miller designed brilliant flyers that I distributed, both in hard copy and e-mail, to friends, relatives, coworkers, or folks that just needed a cool sheet of scratch paper.

They say word of mouth sells books. Thanks to genetics (a Southern mama) and loads of practice, I have lots of words and a big mouth. Let’s hope what “they say” proves true!

WCC: Tell us about your book.
PL: I’d love to gab on about all of them, but let’s cover Segregation and a chain link fence separate Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. But a brutal crime and a blood oath bind them together. Forever. Decades later, Sally Stevens can’t get that bayou betrayal out of her system. And her bad habits are catching up with her and threaten to ruin her future. When Hurricane Katrina slams into New Orleans, Sally heads home to make amends…and to save her soul.

WCC: How do you plan and write your book?
PL: My first two novels were totally seat of the pants and definitely had some snags and holes. But I’ve matured and use an altered version of Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method:

Nail a hook. Expand to a short summary. Get wild and crazy with a synopsis. Then plan those scenes. If you’ve got complex characters and plot and that supernatural thing called timing, folks just might buy your manuscript. But if God asks you to write it for Him, let that be enough. And make it as good as it can be.

Now, is that a plan OR WHAT??????

WCC: What is it like working with editors? Do you have tips for getting along and building a great relationship with them?
PL: My editors at Kregel have to be the most brilliant folks in the world! My advice, especially for newbie writers: THE EDITORS ARE RIGHT. You are wrong. Use them unashamedly, because they have sooo much to teach. And don’t be afraid to ask for their help in writing a scene.

Dawn Anderson, one of Kregel’s great pros, asked me to compose a prologue from threads of a climactic scene in my first book. Instead of screaming over the phone or ripping off a crazed e-mail, I took a jog, prayed, then called her back and asked her if she could “get me started.” She wrote a paragraph or two (don’t all editors have a tinge of frustrated novelist inside?) As soon as I read her lines, I grasped what she’d been trying to say. Second tip? BE FLEXIBLE. The story really CAN have a different twist than YOU planned.

WCC: Do you have a tip for finding-and working with-an agent?
PL: Wait for the one you consider a soulmate. One who shares your dreams, your visions. Take it ssslllloooowww as cold molasses. It has been said that a bad agent is worse than none.

Read more of Patti’s interview here at

Leave a comment on this posting and you could win a copy of What the Bayou Saw. The drawing will take place on Sept. 21, 2009. This give away is for US residents only. There is no fee to enter.

Another book by Patti Lacy:An Irishwoman's Tale

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
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Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.


Laura in Texas said...

Interesting to hear about the writing of What the Bayou Saw. I would love a copy of it. lauramctx at yahoo.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good. Thanks for the chance to win!