Thursday, September 4, 2008

Guest Author: Patti Lacy

I'm excited today to welcome a new author, Patti Lacy, to the blog to promote her new release: An Irishwoman's Tale. Welcome, Patti!

Hi, Annette! Thanks so much for inviting me over.

How long have you been writing fiction?

All my life, starting when I opened my ears and listened to Eeyore grumble, the Little Red Hen cackle. Then my mother taught me to read, and I absorbed books like a dry sponge absorbs a Kool-Aid spill. As far as putting the figurative pen to paper (aren’t computers great?) that happened in 2005, when the Small, Still Voice kept telling me to write Mary’s story.

Tell us about "An Irishwoman's Tale"

Mary Freeman’s earliest memory has haunted her since childhood. Now she’s far removed from not one, but two families that didn’t want her, and separated from her beloved Ireland. Living in the Midwest, Mary seeks—and finds—fulfilling roles as businesswoman, wife, Christian, mother, and volunteer—but her loneliness and torment remain as acute as ever. A crisis in her youngest daughter’s life, and the encouragement of Sally, a plucky Southern transplant, propels Mary back to the rock cliffs of her first home in County Clare. A harrowing journey unveils her tragic past and forces her into a face-to-face encounter with God.

What inspired the story? I read that this was based on a woman's actual life story. Is that correct?

In an uncommon encounter, Mary, a woman who was at that time more of an acquaintance than a close friend, yanked me from chatter about my kids following a book discussion club meeting at my house.

“What is your first memory?” she asked, her eyes boring into my heart.

“I don’t know,” I stammered. “I never had to think about it.”

“How pretty, not to think about it. My story stabbed me so, I’ll never forget it. A scarred oak table, moon-shaped faces guzzling tea. Saying, ‘the little eejit’s got to go.’”

“And did you…” I managed, “have to go?”


“How awful.”

“Not as awful as what happened next.”

Two shaky women made their way to the front porch, where Mary spilled out her story. Even though I didn’t begin to write it until ten years later, I knew I’d been gifted with something extraordinary.

I loved your book trailer. (

How much say did you have in creating it? Was fresh footage shot for the sake of the trailer?

My wonderful publisher Kregel paid the bill and gave me free rein in designing it, just asked that it “be good.” Mark Lockett, my website designer extraordinaire, put on his Irish thinking cap and sailed across the Atlantic to the “Land o’ a Thousand Greens.” Then God took over, in His usual amazing way. A casual writing acquaintance, Grace Bridges, who I’d met on the ACFW loop, volunteered to drive to the rocky west coast of County Clare to shoot live footage. The e-mail attachments she forwarded rendered me—and Mark—speechless with their mystical beauty.

“Now we need some Irish accents,” Mark informed me. “Male and female.”

Great. I know two Irish women here in Normal. Still, half being better than none, I called Paula.

“Dear Patti,” she replied, “yes, I think I might do it for you.” A naturally melodic tone and brogue made a beautiful symphony. “It’ll be a bit hard to work in, as my dear, dear nephew Kenneth is here from Ireland…”

Jubilation took over as I screamed my thanks, hung up, then called Mark. “That’s great. Does Paula have red hair?”


“Won’t work for the video, then. Just the voice.”

“Oh. So…what all do you need now?”


Had the line gone dead? I stared at the phone.

“I saw this girl in the mall department store,” he finally managed. “At the make-up counter…And we need a young girl, too. Maybe six, seven?”

A few hours later, after a cautious young woman confirmed things by checking my website, I had my red-haired young woman. She’d even gone to school with my son!

Now for the young girl…

On a whim, I accompanied a friend (who’d just happened to be bunking with us for two months) to an Open House. We walked through a beautiful 1920s entryway into a sunny kitchen. There, on the wall, was a smiling family photo—of a former Sunday school student, Genesis. Yep. Red hair. Irish pale. Double yep. My friend bought the house!

All the little pieces had formed a puzzle. We met at a local park, and within an hour, Mark had the footage he needed. A relative smoothed the way for permission rights on Eden Bridge’s great Celtic music, and we had our book trailer!

Tell us your publishing journey--how did you find the right publisher and what was the process like (ups and downs), etc.?

So many unselfish writers—Dennis Hensley, Camy Tang, Julie Dearyan, Lynn Austin (just a few of them) encouraged me to write for an Audience of One. I toiled and sweated until An Irishwoman’s Tale was the best that it could be, then sent a copy to The Writer’s Edge.

Dennis Hillman, publisher at Kregel, somehow got ahold of it. (I think he loves Ireland.) He e-mailed me, asking for a proposal. Three weeks later, I lugged my heavy baby to the post office, stuck a bunch of stamps on her, and sent her to Michigan. In December of 2006, Dennis offered me a contract. Even though my incubation period was shorter than some writers, I certainly was not spared the litany of rejection letters, some a bit curt and jarring.

What is your next project about? When can we expect it?

Bubbly Sally clamors to tell her story. But hidden under that cheerleader fa├žade is a middle-aged woman about to explode from the pressure of secrets buried beneath the murky waters of a Louisiana bayou.

I wondered about Sally’s own secrets as I read. It’ll be good to delve into her story. Anything else you'd like to share with readers? And how can they contact you or learn more?

Dear readers, the fragments of your life are lying around you, just waiting for you—and God—to design a beautiful work of art. Write your stories, even if God’s the only publisher that awards you a contract.

I’d love to hear from y’all at! Thanks so much for stopping by. And thank YOU, Annette, for thought-provoking, original questions!

Here's my review:

Let's do a book giveaway

It is not often that you run across a novel with the kind of depth I found in An Irishwoman’s Tale. I believe part of that is because this book was based on an actual woman’s story. And what a story it is. Mary’s tale is full of pain and rejection, poor decisions and regret. But her story is also full of hope and forgiveness. Patti adeptly tackles all the various elements of this multi-generational story. She isn’t afraid to delve deeply into human nature. I especially appreciated her ability to portray hope and salvation, as well as redemption of past pain into ministry. I believe the thread of repeated rejection will ring true with many readers. Patti paired the ache of rejection with hope of God’s never-failing love. Patti’s novel can even help readers who may relate with the elements of mental illness detect hope in the midst of torment. This story carries you across continents and seas. It’s a saga I believe readers of many ages will appreciate as they’re transported to Ireland again and again.

We're having a contest! Leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of An Irishwoman's Tale as well as some organic Irish teabags! We'll have the drawing on September 12th. Please leave your email address like this annette [at] annetteirby [dot] com with your comment so we can contact you.


ladystorm said...

The more I hear about this book the more I want to read it. I do hope I win. :)


Jo said...

Would love to get entered in the drawing.


Doreen said...

I love stories of hope and forgiveness! This sounds like a good read! purposedrivenlife4you(at)gmail(dot)com

Annette M. Irby said...

Hey ladies, so glad you stopped by! Have you checked out the book trailer for this book? Wow!

Happy reading!

Pamela J said...

I'd be thrilled to have the privelege to read this book. And to think it is actually based on a real person. That has got to be hard emotionally to be able to get to the bottom of all the angles and write it out. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks.
Pam W
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Stacey said...

What a wonderful contest! Please enter me. This book sounds amazing, and I adore tea. :) Thanks.


Lia said...

I've really wanted to read An Irishwoman's Tale! It'd be great to win it! Thanks!

liatheddrfreak [at] gmail [dot] com

Becky C. said...

Oh, this book sounds so wonderful, and I would love to read it!

Please enter me in the contest!

Thank you,

Becky C.

patti said...

Thanks, Jennifer, for inviting such sweethearts onto your blog! I'll throw in a publicity packet with the book to "sweeten" the drawing.

Talk to y'all soon!

Carole said...

I have followed Patti's book from the time I first saw it pictured on someone's blog several weeks ago, and will definitely read it. I appreciated the interview and would love to win a copy. Thank you for the giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

sarahw said...

Sounds like a great book that I'd enjoy reading. please enter my name in the draw.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Annette M. Irby said...

I drew a name out of my bowl today--- and the winner is: Stormi!!

Congratulations! And thanks to everyone for dropping by and entering the contest. Stormi, I'll be emailing you and connecting you with Patti.

Again, Patti, thanks for visiting!

God bless,

patti said...

Thanks, Annette, for being such a great hostess!
Blessings, everyone!