March Author Spotlight: Patti Shenberger

We interviewed Patti Shenberger on how she became a romance writer, who she wishes were her literary parents, and a host of other things for our March Author Spotlight.

booknosh: How/when did you know you wanted to be a writer? Were you a romance reader who wanted to write? Or a writer who happened to like romance?

PS: I think I knew since the first time I could hold a pencil and print words that I wanted to write.  I remember in kindergarten, every Monday the teacher would give us construction paper and we would write and draw what we did on the weekend.  That was my favorite thing to do.  On the other hand, I’m also a reader who loves romance and a writer who loves to write romance. If it has a happy ever after, count me in. 

booknosh: If you had to pick out your literary parents, who would they be? How would you describe yourself in the context of author/creative directors parenthood? Stephanie Meyer meets John Wayne?

PS: Wow, this is a tough one.  I think I would want to have Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Edgar Allen Poe.  Scary combination, isn’t it?  But between the two of them, the works they created will stand out for a lifetime.  And just to be able to brainstorm ideas with them would be like nothing I could even begin to imagine.   Hm, author/creative director parenthood.  How about Josephine Leslie aka RA Dick (probably wishful thinking on my part) meets Nicholas Sparks (again wishful thinking)?

booknosh: You seem to like to combine and tweak genre boundaries, which is very cool… is that something that happens organically, or are you sometimes watching Touched by an Angel while writing a western romance and then the mash-ups are born?

PS: It’s very organic to me.  I love writing about ghosts in the past and bringing them face to face with contemporary characters.  My favorite book of all time is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  I bet I reread it at least four times a year and if it’s on television, I’m in front of the screen watching.  And not the updated color version either.  Give me the good old fashioned black and white movie.

booknosh: What is your next project?

PS: My next project is actually a co-authored one with Nancy Fraser.  We wrote together back in 2004 and recently reconnected with a new historical that has sold to Entangled Publishing.  It will be out in May 2013 and the working title is Runaway Angel.  It’s set in the 1860′s and the era of the paddlewheel and the gamblers who frequented them. On my own, I have a novella coming out with Mammoth Books entitled Paging Dr. Responsible in the fall of 2013.

booknosh: You’ve talked in your forewords about how writing is kind of like living the dream. Now that you’re a little more published, has it gotten to the point where it feels like work, or does it still feel like you’re living the dream?

PS: Very rarely does it feel like work.  It’s a great honor to be able to do what I love full time.  But that being said, there are days when the words don’t want to come and it’s more fun to do the laundry and clean the toilet.  On days like that, I take a break and connect with writer friends to get the creative juices flowing again.   After a lunch filled with people who ’get’ what you’re doing, you can’t help but be recharged.  Other times, I’ll be so locked into a book that I’m still at the computer at 1:00 a.m. and that says a lot, since I’m not a night owl.  I’m a “crawl in the bed at 9 p.m. and watch TV for an hour before falling asleep” person.

booknosh: All time top five books, go.

PS: I have so many more than five, but here goes…My Life Uncovered by Lynn Isenberg, A Knight In Shining Armour by Jude Deveraux, Dreaming of Castles by Gail Gaymer Martin.  I’m stuck here.  When I’m writing, I read nonfiction to keep my mind clear.  Lately I’ve been reading a lot of who done its.  I just finished Limb By Limb, the story of Stephen Grant, who killed his wife Tara right here in Michigan.  And just last night, I finished Blonde Ambition about Anna Nicole Smith.  So they are at the top of my favorite list right now (until the next book I pick up).  I will pretty much read anything I can get my hands on.

booknosh: All time top five romance movies, same!

PS: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (you had to see that one coming!), The American President, Sweet Home Alabama, Eight Below (yup, sucker for animals), Christmas in Connecticut

booknosh: What was your original inspiration for Secrets of the Heart? Are you thinking about doing a spin-off for the younger brother character? Have you ever done a series of spin-offs?

PS: I love a story that involves royalty and wanted to combine it with a medical theme as well. Giving Isabelle and Nicholas room to grow became the most important part of my writing.  They started out as young lovers, were torn apart by life, and then reconnected.  But their past played a big part in their future together.   I have thought about giving Aiden his own book, but we’ll see. For now, he’s on the back burner.  Though, there is something to be said for a man in uniform!    I have done a series for eXtasy Books (last year) entitled The Zodiac Club where each heroine is based on an zodiac sign for her charecter traits.  And with the upcoming release from Entangled Publishing with Runaway Angel, you’ll be introduced to the McCade men (and women).  We are anticipating about four novels coming out letting readers get to know the family and the town.

booknosh: If Secrets of the Heart became a movie, and the sky was the limit, who would you cast in the lead roles?

PS: I would be beyond thrilled if that came true.  Let’s see, sky’s the limit…  I would say Hugh Jackman to play Nicholas Corsairs and you know, I think I’d love to see Anne Hathaway play Isabella Tandori. Now, if we could only make it happen for real.

For more on all things Patti, visit her blog!

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