Interview with Patricia Walker Chatman

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read; however, I do remember the book that had the greatest impact on me. It was the Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I only read it once, because it takes to me such an emotional place. Another story that had a great impact on my life was Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. Beautiful stories by amazing storytellers.
How do you approach cover design?
I approach a cover design with the story in mind. Now, with that being said, I do tend to lean toward colors and patterns that appeal to me. I love the Fall. The graphic designer I have been working with for years familiarizes himself with the author and story. Then with my input, creates a cover that will not only be eye catching, but captures the essence of the book.
What do you read for pleasure?
I am completing my dissertation, and read quite a bit for school and work. However, for pleasure, I am a reading the Presidents of the United States: Biographies in Brief, edited by Nathan Lee. I am also reading the Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Well, I am ashamed to admit, we are a household full of gadgets. So, I primarily use the iPad. I will use my android device, but my preference is the book itself.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Great question. The book marketing techniques I have started using are taking advance of all of social media and literary websites for Indie Authors. I have also created a marketing plan and sought the guidance of a marketing consultant to ensure my marketing plan is specific, measurable, attainable, reliable and timely (SMART).
Describe your desk
My home office is surprisingly organized. My office desk/office...not so much. As organized as I strive to be it gets pretty messy with the amounts of paperwork I read, resource and reference. I try to shred all the documents that are no longer relevant to my research within a few weeks. If there is something I must keep, I will scan and save.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Pontiac, Michigan a small suburb outside of Detroit. I started writing at a very early age. My favorite place to hang out was the Pontiac Library. Being raised in a small city was great. I was able to fully integrate into my community, due in large part to General Motors being the primarily employer to most of the families within the city. As a result of this, I believe my writing is relatable on a personal level.
When did you first start writing?
I first starting writing by keeping a journal. During my formative years I, not unlike most kids, experienced teasing, bullying and being ridiculed. Now, with that being said, I had strong family support with a mother who told me I was beautiful everyday (and eventually I began to believe her). My method for dealing with very tough times was writing about it. I cataloged my experiences, and what I was feeling in a journal from 7th to 12th grade. My purpose in writing it all down was two fold; first, to help me grapple with the teenage antagonists in my life, but second, and most important to me at the time was to give my pain a voice for if one day I may be blessed to have a daughter. I wanted to demonstrate I understood and validate her feelings. As the universe would have it...I lost the journal during my many moves after graduating college, and I have a beautiful son.
What's the story behind your latest book?
After my divorce fifteen years ago, I researched the separation of marriage as a means to deal with my anger, hurt and resentment. I sought spiritual guidance, but I also reached out to other women who also experienced divorce, and all that it brings. I found these remarkable women so fascinating, and their stories revitalizing to my spirit. I began interviewing more women and found there were common threads in our journeys, life experiences, and stories. Alex, is a fictional character, who shares many of the same experiences of those many women who helped guide me to a place of peace.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My dear friend Sherronda Denice. I always believed one of these many stories in my head would eventually land itself on paper and become a story for all to read, and hopefully enjoy. Sherronda helped me make my dream a reality by not only setting a strong example of how to become an indie author, but keeping me writing despite the many demands I have in my personal and professional life. For this, I am forever grateful.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
One day, I hope my journey takes me to a place where all I do is write. I love the solitude (a little to much). The greatest joy is being able to fully show a feeling on paper, without telling your reader. To give your reader just enough for them to envision the setting, environment, or character. To make a story so relatable you hear passages of your story being used in conversation. It's the greatest joy there is.
Published 2014-01-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.