Over the years, I have had the privilege of interviewing a variety of interesting people. They were interesting to me, not because of their positions in life, but rather because they were curious souls with a sense of adventure, a yearning to learn and explore—to play. Remembering how much I enjoyed doing these interviews and getting to know these interesting people, I interviewed an author friend in February and enjoyed it so much, I decided it was time for me to PLAY and interview curious, creative people again.
Welcome to my “Why Create?” interview series!
Author Patricia Steele was born in Woodland, California to an English/Dutch mother and a Spanish father, Patricia has always felt like a gypsy. She began writing short stories while her young children were napping. After working in the health insurance industry for over 30 years, she retired in 2011 and became a full time writer. She has written mysteries, travel memoirs, and a “Cooking Drunk” cookbook. Pursuing her passion in genealogy, Patricia researched her Spanish heritage and followed her ancestor’s trek walking across the miles of Spain, through the flowers and sugar plantations of Hawaii and into the state of California.
Susan Joyce: Welcome Patricia Steele! I write to make sense of my life and the world around me. Why do you create?
Patricia Steele: Because the words won’t stop coming and I can’t NOT create. Creating stories is second nature to me and my brain thinks that’s what I was born to do.
Susan Joyce: I know you have written books in a variety of genres. Which genres do you especially enjoy reading?
Patricia Steele: I love adventure entertaining me WITHOUT using the F word, intense love scenes or blood.
Susan Joyce: Are there genres you avoid?
Patricia Steele: Yes – Paranormal, books filled with blood and guts and books filled with sex sans story.
Susan Joyce: Do you have a regular writing schedule?
Patricia Steele: No — I think me and my computer are connected at the hip…whether it’s right after my coffee or at 4 a.m. when words flow and sleep stops.
Susan Joyce: What has been seminal in your development as an author?
Patricia Steele: Reader’s responses to my stories have been the most positive and uplifting part of my love of writing
Susan Joyce: What is your strongest childhood memory?
Patricia Steele: My strongest childhood memory is when my mother and step-father uprooted me from California to Oregon when I was nine. The feelings I had at that time helped me write The Girl Immigrant — the immigration story about my abuelita (grandma) when she and her family fled Spain in 1911. She was also nine years old and my memories became her feelings in order to write the book from her viewpoint. I never quite got over losing all my family when I left them behind to move to Mars (smile).
Susan Joyce: Mars?
Patricia Steele: When I was a child and my parents moved me from California to Oregon, I was nine. I had no idea where I was going and Oregon could have been Mars for all I knew. That feeling of intense loss helped me stand in my grandmother’s shoes when she was yanked out of Spain when she was nine. Mars is defined as any place you have no idea what waits for you.
Susan Joyce: What inspired you to become an author?
Patricia Steele: I have always loved words, words and more words. Telling stories to my children became second nature and when I decided to actually write my first book, it was after the death of my daughter (2 weeks before her 9th birthday) See? That number follows me still. I took several creative writing classes over the years and absolutely loved writing. I am still trying to write my book about Chrissy and the memoir is half finished. Now, after 39 years, I can write about her without crying. Maybe this year?
Susan Joyce: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Patricia Steele: (1) Successful writers are the people who are amateurs who never gave up. (2) Believe in yourself and write with passion or not at all.
Susan Joyce: Patricia Steele thank you for sharing your creative thoughts and adventures!
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