BIO: My parents brought me home from St. Francis Hospital in Kewanee, Illinois and laid me in my sister’s new doll bed under the Christmas tree. As the baby of the family, I naturally thought all the tinsel and candy was in celebration of my arrival. It took an embarrassingly long time to learn the truth about Christmas and my role in it.

I graduated from high school with absolutely no distinction whatsoever among 600 other graduates. And then there was college. I changed my major several times my freshman year before my English professor wrote at the end of one of my short stories, “You should be a writer.” I probably should have talked with Dr. Anderson about the best way to prepare for a career as a writer. Instead, I changed my major to Journalism. It seemed logical at the time.

Love rescued me from having to make a career of the high pressure world of journalism. I married Dennis, aka Mr. Wonderful, and we moved to Colorado with seed money to start a landscape installation business. Since 21-year-olds lack the most important ingredient to business success--experience, we liquidated after two years and immediately found out I was pregnant. It was time for a real job. Geoff arrived that July, and three years later Matt was born. Our family was complete. My new job as stay-at-home mom satisfied and stretched me beyond measure.

I returned to college to earn my English degree when the boys got older, not to be a writer but to teach elementary school. Writing was my “someday” dream. The pressure of impending college expenses for two sons made writing seem an impractical pipe dream. Besides, teaching energized me. The challenge of creating a learning community and meeting the educational goals of my students, quite frankly, possessed me morning, noon, and night. I even worried over students in the shower. I couldn’t get away, physically or emotionally, from the rigors of teaching, so I concocted story lines as a way to relax during my twenty minute commute to and from school each day. Then I started scribbling scenes on the backs of envelopes and students’ math papers. Oops.

When the school bells rang in the fall of 1999, I was outlining my first novel, Like a Watered Garden. I wrote the first chapter and attended the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Lauraine Snelling, an award-winning author of over fifty novels, encouraged me to go home and write the next two chapters as fast as I could and send them to Bethany House Publishers. They rejected the manuscript, but it didn’t matter.

Please describe a book club experience that really moved you, encouraged you. Why did it touch you?

I’ve attended quite a few book clubs that featured one of my novels. They were all so affirming. I turned things around a bit when I hosted a book club for my 4th book, The Queen of Sleepy Eye. The title came from a friend of mine who actually was the queen of the Sleepy Eye corn festival in the 1980s. Since I wrote the book to fit the title, I wanted to thank Margaret for her inspiration. She invited twelve friends for a regal book club. We wore sashes and tiaras and ate lots of chocolate. The conversation bounced. It was clear the story and the characters had captured their imaginations. The best part, however, was seeing Margaret as the queen she was meant to be.

What surprised you about doing a phone chat with a club?

Ask me! Since I can’t travel the country and still get books written, this is something I would love to do. Readers are insightful and encouraging people. I want

to return that kindness.

What do you like most about the book club experience?

Writers are afforded many amazing opportunities to meet people and experience new places, but only after they have sat in front of their computer screens for a very long time. It gets lonely, and I start wondering if anyone out there really cares what I’m doing in my office/cave. A book club gives me the most satisfying author-reader experience. Everyone in the room has read the book and has something to say about it. It’s the most intimate we can get with a reader. And there is always a dessert involved.

Did you get an unexpected reaction to a book your read? Didn't expect your audience to find something on one of your books or react they way they did?

At a book club for my first book, Like a Watered Garden, a reader held up her copy. It looked like it had been tossed in the dryer. She explained that she had thrown it against the wall several times. Like a Watered Garden is about a widow’s struggles with grief and moving on. The reader said I wrote a little too close to her experience, and so, she hurled the book when she saw herself in the story. In the end, she was very glad she finished the book. That interaction showed me how carefully I must hold the hearts of my readers.

Thanks for sharing your book club experiences with us. All the best to you on your NEW book. LOVE the book cover Patti.

Patti's NEW book is in stores NOW!!


Nora :D


This is a NEW feature that I hope to publish weekly. I'd LOVE to hear from you about book club. Leave a comment and I'll contact you. I'd LOVE to talk about your book club experience here on my blog.


  1. I've visited a few book clubs, though would like to do more - not many in our area and they are tough to locate!

  2. Diane:Many libraries sponsor book clubs with focuses on different genre or interests. Also, our Barnes and Noble has several book clubs a week. If those leads don't help, jump in and start a club yourself. Invite friends and acquaintances who love to read and prepare yourself for an adventure. Have fun!