Today we have Robin Patchen with us. Robin, tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
Right now, I’m in my son’s bedroom, which has become my office since he no longer lives here, glancing out the window for inspiration. The view is lovely—a few of our neighbors’ houses, some oak trees, lots of pretty landscaping—but it’s nothing like the view from my childhood bedroom.
I grew up in Londonderry, New Hampshire, a small town about forty miles north of Boston. My bedroom was the smallest in the house, but the walls were painted a pretty robins-egg blue, and the view out the window brought a sense of awe and beauty I’ll never forget. I could lie in bed and stare up at the tall pine trees that lined our backyard like a friendly fence. I swear, on crisp autumn days when the oaks and maples burst into color, the sky got bluer out of jealousy. It was heaven.
Maybe it’s the good memories of my childhood that paint it in technicolor. Memories of gathering around the dinner table every night. Of becoming a cheerleader, just like my big sister, because I wanted to do everything she did. Memories of watching my little brother play with his friends in the big yard. Of hugging my father when he returned from one of his trips. He was a pilot, so he was gone for days, then home for days. Memories of my mother at the stove. I swear she was always in the kitchen. I never knew what she did in there all day long. As the mother of three, I finally understand.
I haven’t lived in New England for twenty-two years. I wonder if I’ll ever quit missing it.
What a wonderful picture you’ve painted for us. What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?
My favorite author is Charles Martin, who writes contemporary Christian fiction. I read many genres, but I gravitate toward women’s fiction, literary fiction, and suspense. I love stories with a thread of romance, but I rarely read straight romance. I love to write suspense with a thread of romance.
What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?
Unlike most writers, I didn’t fall in love with books until my late teens. I always loved writing, but for so many years, I didn’t have anything to say. In college, I majored in journalism and then spent years working in public relations and marketing writing ad copy and press releases. It wasn’t until I turned forty that I began writing fiction.
Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?
Innocent Lies is about a woman who believes she is no longer worthy of love, not because of anything she’s done but because of what’s been done to her. She longs to return to the man she adores, but for lots of good reasons, she never does. Not until she needs him to protect her son.
Like in most of my stories, though I’ve never lived through the tragedies my heroes and heroines have, I’ve experienced the feelings, the emotions they go through. That feeling of being stained, ruined, good for little more than converting oxygen into carbon dioxide. Through my faith, I’ve learned that I’m worthy not because of what I do but because of who, and whose, I am.
My heroine begins the journey of learning that lesson through the events of this story.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I’m an outliner, but I don’t always follow my outlines. In fact, I often find myself deviating quite a bit. My characters simply aren’t that obedient.
Is there a special place you like to write?
I’ve written most of my books in my kitchen, but with two of my kids doing online school from home and my husband working from home as well, I’ve relocated to my son’s bedroom. When he comes home this summer, I’ll have to adjust to writing in the kitchen again. That should be interesting.
Now, when I hit a bump or get stuck, I find going to a new place makes all the difference. Times like that, I’ll go to Panera or another local coffee shop for a few hours and try writing there. The change of scenery usually sparks new ideas.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?
I was really surprised at my hero’s bitterness. I’d imagined him greeting his long-lost love with open arms and a willing heart, but he’d been holding onto more anger than I’d realized. It was fun to try to work through that.
What advice would you give a new author?
I think this advice applies to aspiring novelists more than non-fiction writers. I generally encourage people to just write. Don’t worry about form or structure or any of the other million things you’ll have to know to be an author. Just write the book. If you truly enjoy the process, then start learning about writing fiction and improving on those many areas that will need improvement. (I’ve yet to meet a new author who doesn’t have a lot to learn. We all get some things instinctually. The rest of what it takes to be an author has to be earned.) If you don’t enjoy writing when you don’t know all the stuff you’re doing wrong, you’re not going to like it better when you do. And this business is too difficult to do unless you absolutely love to write.
What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?
I’m writing a novella trilogy of linked stories. In other words, the first two stories will end with cliffhangers. It’s not something I’ve ever attempted before, and it wasn’t my plan when I set out to write this story. But the plot has gotten so complex that I can’t keep it in one story and have it be a reasonable length. So, I’m giving this a try. I hope my fans like it.
My books are available at all the major retailers. For a complete list of my books, check out my website at http://robinpatchen.com.
To download a free e-book of Convenient Lies, click here:
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More about Innocent Lies:
“Kelsey huddled in the corner, tried to make herself invisible. Outside, she heard a muffled voice, a shout, and the pounding of footsteps across the porch. Then, the unmistakable jingle of keys. The lock turned. The door opened. And her last chance for escape melted like snow.”
–Robin Patchen, award-winning author of Finding Amanda and Convenient Lies.
About Innocent Lies:
A lost little boy steals his heart.
When Eric finds eight-year-old Daniel alone in the woods, he has no idea where the boy came from or how he’s survived the wintery New Hampshire weather. He figures once he hands the boy off to child services, his part in Daniel’s drama will be over. He couldn’t be more wrong.
She’ll do anything to keep her son safe.
Kelsey sneaks into Nutfield with a goal and a secret, but when she’s arrested and sees Eric, her first and only love, all her plans to expose her enemy fall apart.
The past catches up with them.
Together, Eric and Kelsey fight to protect Daniel, an innocent child caught in a dangerous game. Can Eric help Kelsey bring down her enemies without risking his heart…again? Will Kelsey have to walk away from the only man she’s ever loved…again?