I’m so excited to host an Iowa writer today – Patti Stockdale, an Iowan hard at work on a manuscript that has yet to find a publisher.
Patti, tell us about your writing history, please.
In high school, I wrote a short story, an English class assignment. My classmates submitted five or six pages. I handed in a whopping 28. Still, I didn’t know I was meant to write.
I returned to college in my thirties and enrolled in a creative writing class, the only nighttime class that fit my schedule and credit needs. That’s when I experienced my aha moment. In front of the class and on a chalkboard, a professor picked away at a portion of my first writing assignment. After that experience, I sharpened my pencil and had something to prove.
And here you are, writing away! Can you describe the significance of the novel you’re creating?
My novel is important to me because it’s personal, drawn from letters my maternal grandparents exchanged during World War I. I started the book 16 years ago in college. After I graduated, I shelved the manuscript to focus on my career. After my husband’s recent job transfer back to Iowa, I dusted off the manuscript and rewrote every page.
Last winter I joined a critique group – four retired businessmen and me. The first time my submission was reviewed, one participant said he hated romance.
Wait, what? I write historical fiction! It took time for the news to sink in because I didn’t see myself as a romance writer. Once I accepted the genre, I researched the fundamentals and guidelines and made the appropriate edits.
I can resonate to that. It took me years to figure out my genre, and knowing it certainly simplifies things! Do you infuse your work with aspects of your own life?
When a person writes from a deep POV, the writer’s own personality, viewpoint, values, and interests end up on the pages of the manuscript. It’s nearly inevitable. It’s how my life colors my writing.
When I’m not writing fiction, I write for a local magazine and complete reading assessments for educational publishers. My other love is volunteering, a habit that started when my father forced me to babysit for a needy neighborhood family. Yep, without payment. I was 13, in need of spending cash, and failed to appreciate the valuable lesson at the time. Today, it makes a heap of sense.
How do you see your writing future?
My goal is to honor God with my writing, follow where He leads me. I don’t write every day. Some days I research or read. Before long, I hope to submit my revised manuscript to agents and find a publisher. I guess I’m still trying to prove something.