Interview with Patricia Matthew

When did you first start writing?
I began writing short stories while studying for an English degree as a mature student. The following year I did a course in advanced short story writing. This was from 1997-2000. When I had obtained my degree I missed the writing so decided to have a try at writing a novel. 'Free as a Bird in a Healing Garden' was inspired by two characters from my short stories and in spite of being completed twelve years earlier, was first published in 2013 on Amazon Kindle and later that year as a paperback at Createspace.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story which I am currently writing is a sequel to 'Free as a Bird in a Healing Garden' and although some romance is involved, is mainly an historical mystery. Because of this a great deal of research is needed as it is vital that I get details correct. The title will be 'An Absence of Birdsong'. There is a reasonably detailed synopsis on my website.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favourite authors are varied. I am the co-ordinator of a Book Reading Group and the books which we read and discuss are extremely diverse. My favourite genre I suppose is Crime Fiction and recently I've read a lot of Stephen Booth who writes the Cooper and Fry series (set in Derbyshire). I'm in absolute awe of Khaled Hosseini and have read all three of his books. For something a little lighter I enjoy books by Kate Morton, Anne Tyler and Kate Atkinson. The book which I have just finished makes me want to list Fredrick Backman as a favourite as it is such a wonderful book. It is rare for me to laugh out loud when reading a novel. You must read 'A Man Called Ove'. As well as being very funny it is also a wonderful story which had me sobbing at the end.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
It may not be inspiring but my Parsons Jack Russell Terrier, Tilly makes me get out of bed because she needs to be let out into the garden. Then I start wondering what the new day will bring. There's always a new book to read, or picture to paint I'm a very busy person and only spend a certain amount of time writing as I have a number of other interests. After breakfast, Tilly and I have our morning walk. Walking is very therapeutic and I find myself thinking about new plot lines.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was on the first day of the Short Story module which was part of the English Degree which I had decided to do as a mature student. Of course while I was at school I had to write stories for English but I cannot remember those. The title which our tutor gave us was 'A First Day at School' and I wrote about my first day at Grammar School. I seem to remember that his comments were encouraging.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have found marketing my books very difficult and initially relied on friends and family for sales. While on KDP select I was able to offer them FREE and had substantial downloads over the five days. Since I signed up with LinkedIn and Twitter I have had more exposure but this has not noticeably increased sales. In a few weeks I'm going to approach two local independent bookshops here in the U.K. and am hoping that they might agree to promote them for me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Kent U.K. commonly known as 'The Garden of England'. I don't feel that being there influenced my writing . I could have grown up anywhere and still love writing. I am now living in the North West which has I feel, influenced me more. The sequel to my debut novel which I am currently writing, is set mainly in my home town of Southport. It is a romantic, historical mystery entitled 'An Absence of Birdsong.'
What motivated you to become an indie author?
'Free as a Bird in a Healing Garden' was written around ten years before I self published it. During that time like thousands of others, I went down the usual route of trying to get an agent interested and got used to the continual rejection letters. It was my daughter-in-law, Lisa, who suggested that I self publish on Kindle. Had she not combined four files written in Microsoft Works into a document in a suitable format for me, the novel would still be languishing on my computer. I've a lot to thank her for because at the time I was feeling pretty down and it gave me a new purpose.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Not sure really. I've no way of judging. I tried initially to sell my debut novel but there were no takers so I decided to let people read it for FREE. My thoughts were that at least someone might read it if I did this. I have had a reasonable number of downloads and can only hope that when I self publish my sequel, people might be interested in purchasing that so that they can find out what happens to the characters next.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The wonderful thing about writing is that you can put absolutely anything into your books, everything in life that interests you. And, I love the characters which I have created. I think about what is going to happen next to them while walking the dog. Walking is very therapeutic. Everyone should do it. Also, I remember how I felt when I first held a paperback copy in my hands for the first time. This happened twice because I've also written a collection of short tales, entitled 'FEMME FATALE and other stories' not yet on Smashwords but available on Amazon.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm always on the go because I have a Parsons Jack Russell Terrier who needs to be exercised twice a day. When not writing, seeing as I am the coordinator of a Book Reading Group I read a lot of books. The Group meets monthly at my house. Every Tuesday I join others at an Art Group. I was initially interested in Watercolour painting but have been converted to Acrylics. This summer I have also been redesigning the garden, moving plants around etc.
Published 2015-07-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

An Absence of Birdsong
Series: Creatures of Circumstance. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 60,670. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
This sequel to 'Free as a Bird in a Healing Garden' is a Romantic Historical Mystery. Emma, grew up believing that her grandmother, Eliza was dead.but discovers that she is alive and in a nursing home.Eliza needs Emma's help with unearthing a secret which has been hidden for decades. Returning from Malta to England, Emma, while searching for answers, finds her own life taking an unexpected turn.
Free as a Bird in a Healing Garden
Series: Creatures of Circumstance. Price: Free! Words: 77,110. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult
A single mother - A misdiagnosis - A psychiatric ward - Children in care - A lonely psychiatrist. A tale of domestic upheaval, love, loss and family secrets which will have you gripped from the opening page. Two people brought together by fate, the plight of London's homeless, the delights of Paris and a Mediterranean island. Get the tissues ready for this Romance with a twist. The Sequel is below