LAURIE: Patti Jo Moore, I'm so glad you could join us today to talk about your new book, A Seaside Romance, and your writing journey. First of all, can you tell us a bit about the book and what inspired you to write this story?
Thank you, Laurie. I'm thrilled to be visiting your wonderful blog today - and this is my very first interview as a published author! A Seaside Romance is the story of a young woman trying to put her painful past behind her as she moves from her home in South Georgia to Florida to assist her aunt in running a gift shop. She meets a handsome businessman who also has pain in his past, and a relationship develops. But they are both guarding their hearts, so there are concerns and doubts (including a very tense scene toward the end). But I love happy endings, so this story has one!
I was inspired to write this story after visiting the Florida panhandle area for a "girlfriends" trip with my four best friends. I kept thinking about the gorgeous beach and water, and what a great setting it would be for a romance. This story formed in my mind, so I began writing it. The more I wrote, the more I loved the characters.
LAURIE: And I understand this is just the first book you have coming out with Forget-Me-Not Romances?
Yes, I was blessed to sign a 3-book contract, so this book is the first in my "Emerald Coast Romances" series. Book 2 will be An Unexpected Romance, and Book 3 will be In Tune With Romance. All three stories are set in the same fictional town on the Florida panhandle coast, but feature different main characters.
LAURIE: What was the process for getting together with Forget-Me-Not Romances?
I'd heard of the Forget-Me-Not Romances and began reading them. When I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in 2016, on my first night there I encountered three different authors who suggested I talk to the Forget-Me-Not publisher. I wondered then if the Lord was nudging me toward that line. Later at the conference one of the authors introduced me to the publisher and she was very encouraging. I didn't actually send her one of my stories until the Fall of 2017, and was thrilled when she offered me a contract in late November!
LAURIE: Have you always written romances or did you write in other genres as well?
I've only written romances (both contemporary and historical) but I plan on writing some children's books too. Historical romance is my very favorite genre to read, so I've got some ideas brewing for more of those also.
LAURIE: Are there any authors who've influenced you in your writing? Do you have any particular favorite authors?
I have so many favorite authors! But my very favorite authors are Tamera Alexander, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Deborah Raney, Sharlene MacLaren, and Tina Radcliffe. I love their style of writing and am blessed to call each of these ladies a friend.
LAURIE: How long has it taken you to get published?
Close to eight years. Due to severe back/spinal issues I had to retire from my kindergarten teaching job, so I saw this as the Lord opening the door for my writing. But when I had four major surgeries (within 8 days!) I had to put my writing on hold and focus on recovering. Then both my daughters had big weddings a year apart, and I was super busy with those. So, in 2012 I really began focusing again on my writing and learning all I could to make my stories stronger.
LAURIE: What advice would you give yourself back when you first started out, knowing now what you didn't know then?
I'd tell myself that my stories MUST have more conflict! The first writing I did hardly contained any conflict at all - which most likely is due to the fact I'd worked with young children and wanted everyone to "get along".
LAURIE: What hobbies do you like to do when you're not writing? And is there anything else you'd like our readers to know about you and your work?
I love working on my needlepoint, playing my piano, reading, and I also have several ministry project I enjoy. I especially love spending time with family and friends - including my sweet grand baby who was born last July. I'm also a "Cat Mom" to lots of sweet, pampered kitties.
I hope my readers will enjoy my first book and future stories I write. When people ask me what I write, I tell them "Sweet Southern Stories" that feature a faith message (but don't preach). I'd also like to add that I love connecting with readers and have a Facebook page at Author Patti Jo Moore.
LAURIE: And finally, what's your perfect idea of a Valentine's Day date?
Enjoying a yummy steak dinner and then visiting a book store!
LAURIE: Thank you, Patti Jo, for visiting today. And everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in to a draw for TWO copies of Patti Jo's book A SEASIDE ROMANCE...so, tell us readers, what's YOUR idea of the perfect Valentine's Day date?
I'm a military wife who's raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. We've lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When I'm not writing, I can be found spinning, knitting, and hanging out with my dogs.