Today, I am pleased to introduce and showcase one of our highly celebrated authors, Mrs. Patty Wiseman. This talented Romantic Suspense novelist, a native of Tacoma, Washington, currently resides with her husband Ron, and loveable crème lab Cutter, in Marshall, Texas.
Mrs. Wiseman graduated from Bethel High School, in Spanaway, Washington, and proceeded on to study at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
In December of 2011, Patty retired after serving 24 years with Ernie Marshall Investments. Now, this spirited lady dedicates the vast majority of her time to a revered passion … writing.
Hello Patty, it is indeed a pleasure to host this one-on-one chat with you and hope our modest interview will shed a beacon of light on your life and career, past and future.
BTM: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Was there a particular person who influenced this path, such as a teacher, friend, or associate?
PW: First of all, thank you Bernadette for such a warm welcome. It’s easy to pinpoint when the writing spark first appeared. My 1st grade teacher in Colby, Kansas, Mrs. Bell nurtured my desire to read and to write. She was an exceptional teacher. I’ll never forget her. We moved there for a year to recuperate from my chronic bronchitis. I believe it was destiny, otherwise I would never have met her. She had us putting together little poems even at that early age, and the magic of words turned a light on in my brain. There are other teachers throughout my educational career that were inspiring, but she is definitely at the top of the list. I believe capturing the magic in a child at a very early age will assure a love of reading and writing. Teaching is an absolute gift.
BTM: Outside of your family members, is there one entity who supported you above all others?
PW: There have been so many, but probably the most influential entity was the NETWO association. North East Texas Writers Organization. It was the first group I joined to better learn the craft of writing. The first conference I attended many years ago really turned on the switch for me. I am still a member of that group today and rely on the many friendships I developed there.
BTM: I understand you penned the first novel in your series, An Unlikely Arrangement, after becoming awestruck by a bit of your family history. Can you explain the story behind this discovery?
PW: As a child, I would hide under the stairs at my grandmother’s old farm house and listen to the stories the adults told about her. She was a rebellious young woman, and her parents came up with the solution to arrange a marriage for her. My father was the product of that marriage. Unfortunately, my grandfather was killed when daddy was only 10 months old, so he never really knew him. The stories always haunted me, and I finally put together the series. This was at the height of the gangster era in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ in Detroit, Michigan, and I incorporated that into the series. Doing the research uncovered more information I’d never known before about my family. It totally consumed me. I loved writing this series, and I hope I did justice to my grandfather who was completely swept under the rug and out of sight after his death.
BTM: Could you expound a little on one of your main characters, Ruth Squire. Do you feel connected to Ruth and her circumstances in any way? Would you say a quantity of her indomitable qualities relate to the ‘modern day’ women?
PW: Ruth Squire is absolutely relatable to strong ‘modern day’ women, and yes, I do feel the connection. I know my strong, independent personality comes from her. She wasn’t afraid of anything, a force to be reckoned with, if you will. You’ve heard the expression, ‘ahead of her time’. She definitely fit the description. Yes, she was a spoiled 17 year old girl as the series begins, but I tried to show her evolution into womanhood. I had a healthy respect for her when I was a child, and some of the things I didn’t understand as a small child, I certainly relate to now. She raised my father after her husband’s death until she married again, 6 years later. I found myself raising two teenage boys by myself for over 10 years. I thought of her often.
BTM: Research is the key to bring forth the soul of a character into a novel. How did you go about gathering the fundamental facts necessary to cultivate your characters? Did you find travel was required to obtain some crucial facts?
PW: Of course, I spoke with the closest family member I had at the time I began the series, my mother. My dad has been gone for more than 20 years. I did travel to Cheyenne, Wyoming to dig through old pictures, documents, etc. to get more of a feel for what she was like as a young woman in that era. My mother knew her very well, so she had a lot of information, especially when she and my father first married. I’ve always wanted to travel to Detroit to lay flowers on my grandfather’s grave, but it hasn’t happened yet. Fortunately, I have many online friends who live up there. My own publisher grew up in that area. When I got stuck on something related to the area or the time frame, they were always there to set me straight. I did a lot of fact checking with them. I used ancestry.com for a lot of research, also. There is a wealth of information to be had on that site and many others! We are fortunate to live in an internet world. Research is made easier because we have that at our finger tips. I will go to Detroit one day soon, just to visit grandfather’s grave.
BTM: How much of the story is realistic vs. fictional?
PW: I’d say 60% is realistic and 40% fictional. Her story was a perfect basis for a great mystery series, and laid the groundwork. I was able to use actual facts to perpetuate the story, and use poetic license, so to speak, to weave the mystery throughout.
BTM: Is there an underlying message in your novels you want readers to grasp?
PW: I have an affinity for strong, independent women. Women have as much drive as men do. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, it’s still a man’s world. Imagining the struggle some women still face today with the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’, it is shocking to look back at what women went through in the 1920’s. It was the era when women began to break out, follow their dreams, and try to compete in a man’s world. There were a lot of trailblazers back then. I consider my grandmother one of them.
BTM: If you had it to do all over again, would you change anything in your latest book, An Unlikely Beginning?
PW: I enjoyed writing the 2nd book almost more than the first, because I had uncovered so much more information. My imagination became married to the facts, and together, the story unfolded almost by itself. No, I wouldn't change anything.
BTM: I understand you plan to release a third novel in this series sometime in the early spring of this year. Can you share a little of this current work with us? Has the title been set and the cover designed?
PW: Do to some unforeseen events; the book should be released by the end of July of this year. The title is ‘An Unlikely Conclusion’ and the end of the series. The cover has been designed and is the best one yet, in my opinion. I love to read a book that keeps me guessing at every turn, and I try to write that way, so this book follows that style. You’ve watched Ruth evolve in the first two books, now she really has some unbelievable obstacles to overcome. I like an advertisement that one of my friends did for me once. She said, “Face the Unlikely with Patty Wiseman’s Velvet Shoe Collection.” I think that hits the nail on the head.
BTM: You also co-authored another novel prior to the release of your current series, Scent of Double Deception, under the pen name Ann Alan. What was the inspiration for this book?
PW: Yes, I did. Actually ‘Scent’ came out a few weeks after “An Unlikely Arrangement”. My co-author and I ‘cut our teeth’ on that book. The book was many years in the making while we learned the craft, and boy did we have a lot to learn! As we progressed, we discovered we had very different writing styles. I believe that is why it took so long to get right.
The inspiration came from a time in our lives when we found ourselves single mothers at the same time, and the escapades we both experienced together. It’s a fun, rollicking book with a lot of intense characters. I used a pen name under the advice of my marketing agent who was concerned about branding. We both have gone on to write our own novels where we can celebrate our unique styles. It was an eye-opening experience.
BTM: We all have goals, some obtainable and some not. What are your future aspirations, both long and short term?
PW: Long term, to sit home in my ‘jammies’ and pen stories my followers want to read. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to sit in my office and create stories. I’m up at 5:30 every morning getting my day organized so I can spend the rest of it writing.
Short term, I am heeding the advice of my marketing agent in order to get my name out there and known. I had an experience in Dallas at an event where a woman walked up and told me she was looking for the next Patty Wiseman novel. What a thrill for my books to be known as Patty Wiseman Novels. I’ve had two wonderful marketing agents, one of whom I am still working with. She’s phenomenal, and I hang on every word she tells me. Branding is the single most important thing you can do to achieve success. Branding is what they explain as your name or 'store front'. It's not your book, necessarily, but your product as a whole. I look at it like this... there are many phone companies, all of them sell phones and service. What does one have different than the other? You know their brand or logo, can identify it on sight. Even if you didn't see the words, you know the logo. What will the customer get when they walk into your store that is different from anyone else? The same goes for authors and writers. What will you get when you walk into my store you can't anywhere else? My style, my voice. I am humbly following her advice.
BTM: What caused you to leave the “Twilight” state of Washington, and move to the great “Lone Star” state of Texas?
PW: A couple of reasons. One, my health. The dampness played havoc on my respiratory system. I was always ill. I chose college in Oklahoma to escape the wet state. A job brought us to Texas and here I have remained, healthy and happy.
BTM: I understand you are an avid bowler. What is your highest game? What is the type and color ball you use?
PW: I’ve been a league bowler for over 35 years. My highest game was a 228, although I’ve had many over 200 games. My average is 150. I use a green 12 lb. Hammer. I bowl on a ladies league and a mixed league. I love the camaraderie of the women and the competitiveness of the men.
BTM: We often hear about the authors novels, but what about the ‘real’ down-to-earth person who is behind the pages. What can you tell us about yourself? For example, your favorite food, your favorite color, favorite song, do you like to dance, what is it you do for fun? Allow us to see inside the woman who is Patty Wiseman.
PW: I suppose my favorite food is salmon, probably because I grew up on Puget Sound and it was readily available. Every time I went back to visit, my dad would head straight for a seafood restaurant on the waterfront and treat me to a salmon steak. Red is my favorite color and probably depicts my personality the best. Right now, my favorite song is Hilly Billy Bone, by Blake Shelton. Growing up, I never heard much country music. When I came to Texas that’s all I heard! In Washington, I took Arthur Murray dance classes. In Texas, I was taught to dance country at a popular club. I fell in love with it. I actually met my husband at that club. He’s pure cowboy and a superb two-stepper! I teased him when we got married, I hoped he could live it down that he married a Northern girl. He's never complained. LOL! It’s been 20 years now; I love every minute of it.
For fun, we like to take the RV camping, fish, attend Texas Rangers baseball games, travel, cook together, spend time with our family, and in the summer sit out by the pool sipping margarita’s.
BTM: Tell us how you balance everyday life between that of a writer and that of a wife, mother, and grandmother.
PW: For 24 years I worked as an administrative assistant to a financial advisor. It was a career that suited my disciplined personality. Since retiring, I adhere to the same schedule. I am up at 5:30, eat a bite, take my mile walk with my dog, and am back in to write most of the day. My children are grown, and we have recently sent off the grandchild we cared for the last 7 years to basic training in the navy. We are free to think of ourselves more now, and we are really enjoying it.
BTM: Thank you so much for your time Patty. I’m sure our followers will now have bit of insight into your vivacious life and extraordinary literary works.
PW: Thank you so much, Bernadette, for a fun interview!
Patty Wiseman’s books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Nook. In addition to Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Facebook, you can visit Patty on her website at www.pattywiseman.net.