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Y’all, we have the honor of celebrating with today’s featured author! Yesterday was her debut book baby’s birthday!!! Plus, she’s celebrating with a giveaway for y’all! Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to this enthusiastic and sweet lady!
About the Author
Patricia has danced ballet since her childhood and has performed with pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States.
She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature and worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. Her feature story on a day in the life of “Bad Luck Squad” in Iraq won a Keith L. Ware award in print journalism. She’s now an editor for the Sergeants Major Academy in El Paso, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two children.
Patricia writes contemporary Christian fiction and is represented by Les Stobbe. She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, just came out yesterday.
Patricia: Ivy Clark (A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert), Samantha Moore (Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay), Abra/Lena Scott (Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers), and all women who begin their journey looking for external solutions for internal struggles.
Beth: Oh, my tbr! I just added one of those titles and another is already there 😉 btw, I also adore Samantha in Dear Mr. Knightley!
Favorite Book of All Time
Patricia: Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. I love the story. It planted in my heart the desire to write a novel one day. Thirty years later, here we are.
Beth: I’ve not heard of this book. You are so informative, Patricia!
Favorite Inside/Outside Activity
Patricia: I love planting and May is excellent for that. I don’t always know what I’m doing, but things tend to turn out all right.
May is great for dancing too. Open windows, sunshine, warmth… Kind of like in the story.
Beth: I think we’ll get some plants in the ground this weekend (and by we I mean my husband and children).
Favorite Time/Place to Read/Write
Patricia: Mornings are best for everything. I like to read at coffee shops, so I’m not constantly thinking of some chore. I can write at coffee shops for the same reason, and do on occasion.
But it’s best if I write at home. I get excited. I cry, giggle, laugh, celebrate when an awesome thought shows up in my head and ends up on the page verbatim, and punch the air when I feel God moved my fingers and got me to write something far beyond my intellectual capacity. It gets colorful. I usually write at home.
Beth: I usually read at home for the same reason… I’m a book hugger and I talk to my books, too 😉
Favorite Lesson Learned during Publishing
Patricia: How to accept feedback. Marisa Deshaies and Meghan Gorecki worked hard on A Season to Dance.
I did not enjoy making many of the requested changes, but when I read the manuscript post-developmental edits, I cried for days because this book is exactly the kind of book I spent thirty years dreaming I would write one day. Not because of what I did, but because of what they were able to bring out of me and polish.
Those two… Good cop/bad cop… The things we went through to birth this book. Edits got lively. That should be a giveaway item—an early version of the manuscript with all our crazy notes to each other 🙂
Beth: Aww, I’ve heard a lot of great things about those sweet ladies!
Tell us about your latest release
Patricia: A Season to Dance is the story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, the two men who love her, and the forbidden kiss that changed everything. But it’s more than big dreams and dreamy suitors. It’s about a young woman trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with misguided career and romantic pursuits.
The best part? I wasn’t a Christian when I started. The story was initially just about big dreams and dreamy suitors. But the whole time, God had me writing my own salvation story.
For most of my life, I believed there had to be some kind of god out there and that being a good person was important, but I wasn’t sure about the God of the Bible. Things began to change in the summer of 2012 when an early version of the novel was rejected in three different continents on the same week. I was tired (two babies) and lonely (husband deployed), and I freaked out. Big time. I decided the notion of a loving god was absurd. There was no loving god if there was a god at all.
Self-gratification became the chief end of my existence, and I looked behind every door for happiness and satisfaction. I didn’t find anything worth keeping though, and at the end of every new pursuit, I was still tired and lonely—and this time surrounded by a darkness and a hopelessness that was brand new and incredibly scary.
Then Jesus passed by, closed every door that wasn’t already closed, and placed me in a church. He fought for me, lifted me out of what had quickly become a murky and joyless existence, and brought me into His perfect light.
I was born again in January of 2013, and soon after that, I realized the novel wasn’t complete. I canceled a trip to a secular writers’ conference and started a massive fourteen-month rewrite to reflect what I’d learned in the journey to publication.
Essentially, A Season to Dance wrote me. I journeyed with Ana and now others can journey with us. I can’t wait to see what God will do with it next.
Beth: What a powerful testimony!!!
Ballerina Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Met in New York and her future with fiancé Peter Engberg all figured out—until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, shows up in Georgia to dance with her and win her back. Claus kisses her after a rehearsal, a kiss Peter witnesses from the darkened audience.
Convinced a kiss between Claus and Ana is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off his engagement with Ana. Rejected by Peter, and knowing Claus is dancing at the Met soon, Ana decides to repave her path to her dream. With her 2002 Thunderbird and Baryshnikov, an old dog crippled by arthritis, she moves to Germany to be with Claus.
But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own memories of Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company prove to be a high price for a shot at success.
Beth: I’m reading this book RIGHT NOW!!! So excited!
Tell us about your next release
Patricia: I wrote a second book, but I’m still editing it. It’s called The Song of the Desert Willow, and it’s a split-time military romance.
It’s the story of a college graduate (Clara) who thought she’d sworn off soldiers forever, and a young Army captain (Andrew) whose first shot at love and marriage imploded on the steps of a West Point chapel on graduation week.
She takes a break from a long and unfruitful job search to travel to Fort Bliss, Texas, and deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter to a retired general Clara has heard about since she was born. When the recipient is delayed in Germany with a weak heart, Clara’s stuck in Texas and Andrew is put in charge of her well-being.
Being stuck at Fort Bliss with Captain “Ginger”—his red hair makes him look so much like Prince Harry—was not at all part of the plan. But could it be for the best? Could it help her understand her family’s past at long last and help her chart her future? Some good had to come out of it.
But as days turn into weeks, the past refuses to stay in the past and puts her future in danger.
I’m enjoying this story so much. It has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil before WWII, the beginning of the shoe industry there (still famous worldwide, with women’s shoes always available at stores like Neiman Marcus), the life of the richest family in town, the most influential man (my great grandfather), his death, loss, change. It’s fascinating to me. I pray I can paint a vivid picture of this most unusual slice of history and get people to care.
And then the contemporary story of Clara is fun to write because I’ve been working for the U.S. Army since the nineties and have been an Army wife for more than twelve years. There are tons of neat details of Army life to share. This could easily be book one of a series. Clara and Andrew are fun to write too because I created them in 2015, so by now, I know them well. And I love the antagonist! I should write her story one day. I think I cried for that woman for five whole chapters toward the end.
But I think that what I enjoy the most is making all the connections, showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply. It’s how life works, I believe. To be able to hold all that history in three hundred pages, massaged and shaped, can be astonishing and transformational.
The Song of the Desert Willow will be a good book one day, but I’m still digging. It’s not saying everything it’s supposed to say yet.
Beth: I like the dual timeline stories and yours sounds really interesting! Thank you so much for sharing about yourself and your books today, Patricia!
Patricia: Thanks for having me here! This was fun! ????
Patricia Beal has generously offered to send one fortunate Faithfully Bookish reader a signed copy of A Season to Dance!
Let’s talk about dance! What are your favorite styles of dance to participate in or watch?