Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Dale Cramer is Kristie D! My assistant Amy will be in touch for your mailing address.

This week we welcome author Patricia Mauro. To win a copy of Patricia’s book, Safe from the Past, leave a comment on this post. 

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’m married with two young children. I left my full time job and ended up working more hours publishing my first book.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

My first book is an inspirational memoir. I love books that explore people’s lives and experiences. I think my favorite genre is autobiographies.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author? 

I knew I wanted to write this book since I was in my early twenties. But over the next few decades, career and family were my first priority. During this time, however, I managed to get in contact with someone who helped me get my ideas into something tangible. We met during a five year span where he would read my work, edit it and teach me about writing along the way. Sometimes we would meet in a little café in Greenwich Village. Other times it would be in his cramped upstairs studio.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

I would say my book was a work in progress for approximately fifteen years but it really took off just this past year.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

What got me into the mindset I needed to be for this book was a good dose of Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Liszt played as a series of piano solos on the movie soundtrack “Shine”. Those dark and beautiful songs were the only thing that would transport me into my past where I could relive what happened and write it as if it was happening again for the first time.

During my busiest writing times, I could write what I thought was an hour when it actually had been all morning. I would lose all track of time, as if stepping back into my past caused present time to fly by even faster.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

The biggest influence to me was Denver Butson, a published contemporary poet. He was the one who had met with me during those five years in an effort to get my book into shape. My friends became such huge supporters too. After only reading the first two chapters, many insisted I publish this book. They gave me the courage to put these words out there for others to read.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? 

No. I thought a writer wrote and that was it. But I soon found out that there are times where marketing your book takes almost as much or more of your time. I would love to get back to writing because I just enjoy it so much. It affords a certain innate freedom to create something.

What are your biggest distractions?

Biggest distractions are household chores where I say to myself, “I will do all these dishes and my treat will be that I get to work on my book”. Working at night is harder because other things must be tended to first like cooking, homework and hugs.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

The best moment I had was at a recent author event. It was an author lecture and book signing at the public library in my hometown. So many people came out to support me that they ran out of chairs! The best part of all was at the end when we had my dad pick a winner for a free book. He came up to the front of the room to the sound of rounding applause. We looked at each other and realized, in an instant, just how special that moment was.

The worst moment was when I realized that my sister was having a hard time reliving what was written in this book, after it had been published. She was a big part of this survival story we endured. For years, I had talked to her about writing a book but it wasn’t until after the publication of it when I learned how deep those scars ran for her. I never knew that.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

I least liked chasing after endorsements. It involved reaching out to people that didn’t even know me and asking them to devote their precious time to reading my book and providing their feedback. But I knew that all I had to do was to get them to read just the first chapter. Then they were hooked!

I most like being able to spread the book’s message to others. So many times, after a lecture, I’ve had people come up to me and tell me how they can relate to my story. I feel I’m helping others in a way and it’s a wonderful feeling.

What advice would you give to new writers?

The same type of advice I offer in my book which is to never give up, even if you feel like you just can’t go on. Sometimes my mind gravitates toward the negative and I find myself telling me I can’t do it, but most times I end up proving that inner voice wrong.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

“A kidnapping, divorce, the loss of her Amish family and father, abandonment, and extreme poverty are just some of the issues the author dealt with as a young child. Her mother finally tells her she must go to college so she can break out of this cycle of  hopelessness. But how can she when she has no money and absolutely no confidence or self esteem?

Read this true story to discover what hope, faith and determination can do to change a life.”

What’s on the book horizon for you?

I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book. I have given every stuffed animal my children own a unique voice and personality. I would love to express that in some colorful way in a book! I would also like to illustrate it since I love to draw.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

“Safe From The Past: A Story of Hope Faith and Determination” can be found on my website at: www.PatriciaMauroBooks.com. It will also be available on Amazon’s Kindle by year end.

My Facebook fan page can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Safe-From-The-Past/122396711108245?ref=ts

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

Thank you Suzanne for allowing me to share my story with you and your readers!!

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