Friday, July 24, 2020

Stormy Danger

For just about every published author, there is a different tale on how he or she got to that goal of seeing a book he or she authored for sale to readers. It's always fascinating to hear not only that story of getting a book published, but what makes a person want to write fiction in the first place.  Asking that question is always one I pose to writers who visit My Writing Corner. It's fascinating to hear not only how a writer gets started but what drives him or her to tell a fiction story. Over the years I've discovered as many different stories about writing as there are stories. 

Today's guest in My Writing Corner brings us another wonderful tale. My guest is Patricia McAlexander who writes both fiction and nonfiction. Welcome, Patricia! 

Have you always wanted to write fiction?
     Yes—I always loved writing stories. In first grade, we learned to read with Dick and Jane books. At home I wrote a similar series named Jean and Jerry. In later grade school years, my younger sister and I co-authored stories, each of us “playing” with different characters. And in high school my friends read short novels that I’d written. But when I became a college teacher, I abandoned fiction for academic publications. Now I’m returning to that old love.  

What are the challenges of being a writer?
Perhaps getting inspired, but once I am inspired, the challenge then is getting back into the real world. And once the story is completed, the challenge is editing it: making sure facts are correct, the sentences are clear, and the style “works.”

Tell us about your road to publication.
After I retired, I was going through old papers and found an early story I'd written about a young woman in a hurricane. I turned it, with major changes, into Stranger in the Storm. I submitted Stranger to The Wild Rose Press. Editor Kaycee John thought it had potential, gave helpful advice that I took--and my next draft was accepted. I feel very lucky that for my first publication of fiction, I decided to go the small press route with Wild Rose. 

How do you come up with your characters?

Most of them are composites of people I have known or of myself, with a big dose of imagination.

How do you come up with your plot?
I am what they call a "pantser" which I guess comes from the idea of flying by the seat of your pants. It's as though I am reading my own story and wondering how it will turn out. Of course I do think ahead, asking what would happen if this were real, what would that character do? But even that is like reading my own story. 

Tell us about Stranger in the Storm. What made you write it? 
As I said, I found an old story I’d written. It intrigued me and I revised it. That story—and Stranger—are set on the Great Sacandaga Lake in upstate New York where my parents had a summer cottage. That setting made the story very real for me. The blurb (in this blog) tells the basic conflict. A young woman writer leaves an abusive relationship to stay in her parents’ cottage on the lake while they are traveling in Europe. A hurricane strikes, and a handsome stranger rescues her when her car becomes stuck as she goes for supplies. After her earlier relationship, she hesitates to trust anyone—and this is made more problematic because her rescuer has a twin brother who is an escaped felon in the area.

After she discovers the abusive side of his personality, Janet Mitchell leaves Jack Dexter, the professor who swept her  
off her feet. Will she discover the same darkness n Wes, the handsome young man who rescues her during a hurricane?

Years ago West Corbett vowed not to get romantically involved again, fearing anyone close to him might be harmed by his brother William, a born criminal. Now as he weathers the storm with Janet, their mutual attraction becomes clear. Can he keep that vow--even though he knows William is on the loose and may be headed directly for them?

 What are you working on now?
I am finishing up a novel about my ancestors who came from Baden (a state now part of Germany) in 1850 to farm in New York State
     What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Writing and publishing your writing are not easy, but if you have that spark of inspiration and belief in your work, keep going even when the going gets tough.

How can readers get more information about you and your books?

  Buy Links

Thank you for being my guest.  Any questions for Pat?


  1. Nice interview, Pat!
    I enjoy seeing what you have to say in interviews b/c I always learn something new about you. Hope things are going well for you. Best wishes, Kat Henry Doran

  2. Enjoyed the interview, Pat, especially your advice for beginning writers. My advice is to develop a thick turtle shell. :) Wishing you all the best with Stranger in the Storm!

  3. So nice getting to know you better. Keep on writing!

  4. I like the sound of your book. And I certainly understand about switching gears when you go into college teaching. Glad you're back!! Continued best of luck in fiction :)

  5. Thanks for sharing and for the great advice to beginners. We are definitely in a race that does not go to the swift, but the strong.


A Long, Fruitful Journey

Every writer's story is unique to that person, and that is one of the reasons I love to talk to different writers and find out how they ...