MBA&M IS PROUD TO WELCOME…
~WOMEN’S FICTION AUTHOR~
“THE PROMISE OF PROVENCE”
MBA&M: Please tell our readers a little about yourself?
Family, travel, and writing are my passions … okay, and chocolate … and I’m seldom without a camera. I’m a mom to 7 grown children in our happily blended family and grandmother to 6, at last count … I don’t think we are finished yet. That’s fine with me because being a grandparent is a blast!
Life is busy and time is short but, when I can, I also play golf and tennis and ‘do lunch’ with girlfriends, most important of all!
I was given a Kodak “Brownie” camera for my 6th birthday and have been taking pictures ever since. My love for photography grew and I began taking courses as a young adult. I’ve been telling stories through photography all of my life and writing stories became a natural progression of that. Funny how things happen, isn’t it?
MBA&M: What is the inspiration behind “The Promise of Provence”?
Hmm – there’s a two-part answer to this.
First: I first went to Europe for a year with my ‘bestie’ in 1967 when I was 21. Everyone our age was backpacking around Europe in those days.
My love affair with France … the scenery, the culture, the language, the food, … oh just everything … was instant. I went back at every opportunity. In the past 16 years, my husband and I have been fortunate to spend a great deal of time in the south of France. In 2011 we lived in Antibes on the Côte d’Azur for five months. The urge to write a book set in that beautiful part of the world and also in the romantic countryside of Provence became irresistible.
Second: As I’ve gotten older, needless to say, I’ve seen a lot of life. I was widowed when I was 43 and my sons were 12 and 13. It was a devastating experience that taught me more about life than I could have ever imagined. As I have watched and supported friends dealing with life’s challenges, I knew when I began writing that I had a desire to talk about facing change. No matter what age we are, stuff happens. I hope my writing offers the message that we can all learn to see the positive in every negative situation. Facing challenges and recognizing the possibilities they offer empowers us to move forward and to be stronger and happy with our lives.
MBA&M: Who was your favorite character to write and why?
I loved writing about all the characters but my main character, Katherine, was the most important. At first she was a composite of women I know, but eventually she grew to be her own person. I love to write about older women who open up to new possibilities in life. I have a friend who had gone through a similar shock to Katherine’s and I was able to draw upon some of her experiences and reactions. I think it’s important for women of all ages to realize life can always begin again.
MBA&M: Tell us a little about a secondary character?
No question! I want to tell you about Katherine’s mother, Elisabeth, who plays a relatively brief physical role but whose spirit and philosophy is felt through the entire story. She is based on my late mother-in-law who was also a Hungarian immigrant and Holocaust survivor. She was a great influence in my life and I wanted to share her inspiring story. In the book she has a special carpet that survived the war years. In my home, my mother-in-law’s carpet hangs on a wall. She received it at age 7 for her birthday in Hungary and it survived the Gestapo and the Communist regime before finally being brought to Canada. It has a story all its own and we treasure it.
MBA&M: Three words you would use to describe your writing style?
Readers have written that my writing style feels like listening to a good friend tell a story. Words they have used are “conversational, authentic and heartfelt”. I am a storyteller rather than a literary writer and I try to share the feelings and experiences many of us encounter as we go through life.
My books are not chicklit, as much as I love that genre. They are for an older demographic and I often tell young readers my books are the perfect gifts for their mothers or grandmothers! Having said that, I have heard good things from readers as young as 20 and as old as 82. I love that!
MBA&M: What do you hope your readers will come away with most by reading “The Promise of Provence”?
I’ll know I have been successful with my writing if each reader puts the book down with satisfaction and feels they have enjoyed a good read. It is always rewarding to hear people say they connected with the story or a character in a personal way and that it hit on some meaning in their life.
There are parts of this book that are much like a travelogue which I hope will give readers the feeling they too were on a lovely trip to France.
MBA&M: What is your next project?
There are a few story lines tumbling about in my mind. The one thing I do know is that my next story will be in three parts. Both The Bridge Club and The Promise of Provence have been fairly long novels. It’s time for something a bit shorter.
MBA&M: Now, Patricia, please tell our readers some of the writers that influence your writing?
How much time do you have? LOL! Jane Austen and Charles Dickens will always be my favourites from the classics while Margaret Laurence and Carol Shields are more current influences.
The list goes on through literary history: Oscar Wilde, Edith Wharton, and many others in that era. Then F. Scott Fitzgerald and his compatriots in Les Années Folles, through Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and Ayn Rand to the Beat Generation’s Jack Kerouac. I love to read all genres and greatly admire Agatha Christie. More currently I have been influenced by Robertson Davies, Maya Angelou, Michael Ondaatje, and Ian McEwan. I devoured all the Harry Potter books and all of Peter Mayle’s books about life in Provence. Sophie Kinsella, Bill Bryson, and Janet Evanovitch make me laugh out loud. I’m also a big fan of historical fiction and couldn’t put down Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Then there are the talented indie authors coming on the scene: Steena Holmes’ Finding Emma, Tracey Garvis-Graves’ On The Island, and Torre De Roche’s Love~With a Chance of Drowning were some of my favourite recent reads.
See what I mean? No matter what the genre, there is always something for writers to learn from other writers. The learning never stops and it is exciting to be part of that community.
~Thank you so much for your spending time with us and our readers today!~
Patricia is a popular speaker with women’s groups on the subjects of writing and self-publishing. At other events (as one half of Sommers & Sands) along with her speaking partner, author Susan Sommers, through keynotes, workshops and conferences, audiences are encouraged to embrace change and see challenges as opportunities. “It’s never too late to begin something new,” she enthuses. “As the saying goes, just do it! Be a possibilitarian!”
Surprise, shock, and a shift in life as she knows it tumble into Katherine Price’s world when least expected. The future she envisioned suddenly vanishes, leaving little to focus on beyond her career and the caregiving her elderly widowed mother might require.
Fate has other plans for Katherine.
June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves. Ancient hilltop villages beckon. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?
After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.
Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?
As Katherine explores the romantic cobblestone lanes of medieval towns, the beautiful boulevards of Paris and the sun-kissed Mediterranean coast of the Côte d’Azur, unimagined possibilities present themselves.
An enduring story of hope and change in life’s later years is woven through the author’s love-letter to France. Like a well-travelled friend, Patricia Sands invites readers into a world she loves and entices them to linger.
“Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel.” Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma