Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sit Down Saturday with Patricia Forsythe

Most of the time, when people ask me about being a writer, they have no idea I’ve been at it so long.  I wrote my first book on a typewriter, holding my youngest son on my lap.  He’s now in his thirties, and is a father himself.  I’ve written many more books since then, most of them for Harlequin Books, but I’ll never forget the challenge of writing and selling that first one.

Just about anyone who reads any kind of book can tell you that the publishing industry has changed greatly since those days.  The advent of the personal computer was remarkable.  My first one was an Apple IIe which would seem primitive now but was state of the art then.  I loved it because it freed me forever from White-Out and Korrec Type – it’s been so long since I used those products I’m not even sure I’m spelling them correctly. 
Printing books on paper was the publishing norm from the time of Gutenberg’s first printing press and will probably always be with us.  Electronic books are becoming increasingly popular.  They’re easy to purchase – a click of a button has them downloading to your electronic reader while your credit card is conveniently charged.  It’s a process I find seductively simple because it’s so much easier than going to a bookstore, although I still love bookstores.

The one thing that has never changed in all the centuries of publishing is a good story.  Since our caveman days, people have learned from stories, retold stories, made up stories.  The human craving for a great story is another thing that will always be with us.  Writers get their stories from everywhere – personal experience, a bit of gossip, or an overheard conversation.
In my first Harlequin Heartwarming, Her Lone Cowboy, a June release, I used stories and conversations I’d had with various military veterans I’ve known and I used those to create Caleb Ransom, a wounded veteran who has returned to the states determined to find a quiet corner of the world, raise cattle, maybe a few horses, and be left alone.  He succeeds pretty well for about a year – at least until Laney Reynolds moves in next door with her curious four-year-old son, Sam.  The little boy’s adventurous spirit and desire to make friends with Caleb and his animals keeps his mother at her wit’s end and pulls Caleb out of his shell and into their lives.

I loved writing this story and it’s my hope that readers will love reading it.

22 comments:

  1. I can't even imagine typing an entire book on a typewriter. And, I finally broke down and bought a Kindle recently, the one that has that e-ink or whatever it is that looks more like an actual book. I like it because it's easier on my eyes than my IPAD. I still prefer regular books, but I'm getting better acquainted with my e-reader. Her Lone Cowboy sounds like a great story. A kid and a cowboy sounds heartwarming indeed.

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I still prefer regular books, too. A new kind of Kindle? I'll have to check it out.

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    2. It's not new, just new to me. It's a Kindle Paperwhite with a built in light. It's black and white only, no color screen. Battery life is good for weeks at a time.

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  2. I am fast reading my way through all of the June books. (when I should be writing) I loved Her Lone Cowboy. Sam and Caleb's dog, Bertie just jump off the pages they're so real. Must be because you raised 3 little adventurous boys and a variety of dogs.
    I'm another one who doesn't miss the days of typewriters and correction tape. Or the white stuff in the little bottle that kept drying up. I bow down to the computer gods.

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    1. Thanks, Roz. I'm glad you liked the book. I had fun writing Sam and Bertie. I haven't had a chance to read the rest of this month's books yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

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  3. I wrote my first "book" in a couple spiral bound notebooks and am eternally grateful I had no computer then because I may have submitted that atrocity to someone! I have a love/hate relationship with my computer--and with electronics in general. There are days when I just want to unplug from all of it including the TV (and do). But of course my rational brain knows I wouldn't really want to function without them!

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    2. I feel exactly the same way. I love my computer for its convenience and hate it for its touchiness!

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  4. Oh, wow, Patricia, you woke so many wonderful memories today! I wrote my first book on a typewriter, too...a hand-me-down Royal manual portable that sacrificed the T and O keys to the story. When my fingers protested striking those metal arms, I upgraded to a bought-at-yard-sale Sears electric, and sometime during the 1st edit, the cord that drew the carriage bank and forth snapped. The used IBM Selectric (which gave up the ghost halfway through the retyping of that first edit. Enter the dot matrix printer and computer, which came into my possession when my husband's company upgraded to more efficient models. When the Epson finally died, it was replaced by a Dell desktop. Then the Toshiba laptop (which I'm typing on, right now!). I suppose if you divide 110 by 6 machines, that's not a bad average. And just between you and me? I do NOT miss those roller-brush erasers, White-Out, or Erase-A-Tapes we used when all our manuscripts started out as hundreds of 8"x11" paper! Can't wait to dig into HER LONE COWBOY! Happy weekend, Patricia! :-)

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    1. Happy weekend to you, too! I can't even remember all the different computers I've had. Your memory for the ones you've had is awesome.

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  5. Sounds like a sweet story! I love reading on my kindle. It have a library at my fingertips! I'm so behind on Heartwarming titles, though. I need to catch up!

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  6. Hi, Patricia, and all the rest of you who started on typewriters. So did I! Wrote the first two books that way until computers came to Portland and we drove 100 miles to buy one - it, the screen, and the printer cost $5000! How far we've come. The letter that accompanied my first submission asked the editor to seriously consider my book so that I would "never have to look a bottle of White-out in the label again." It worked - eventually. I remember that I was able to write an extra book a year once I got really rolling because I didn't have to retype after revising. It's easy to forgive our electronics their little quirks. Congratulations on the book! Cowboys and little boys are an immediate draw for me. Add a dog and I'm yours.

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  7. I typed a lot of college papers on a portable electric typewriter, a HS graduation gift from my parents. The last year of college my boyfriend (now husband of 33 years) bought an Apple computer. It had no hard drive OR floppy. Instead we saved two or three pages of type at a time to a cassette tape, which took about twenty minutes, but it was still better for editing than the typewriter.

    Looking forward to reading the story. It sounds like a winner.

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I hope you enjoy the story.

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  8. I've evolved the same way as everyone else has. If I had to go back, I'm afraid it would only be to longhand--I just couldn't do the typewriter again! :-) The book sounds great!

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    1. Thanks, Liz. I still write in longhand sometimes. It helps me connect with my story when I'm stuck.

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  9. Best wishes with your release, Patricia . . . and trust you will have many more!

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    1. Thanks, Kate. I'm looking forward to writing many more Heartwarming stories.

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  10. I wrote my first short story on a Hermes portable typewriter that I still have. I doubt I woud have ever written a book on it. After I sold the short story, I bought an electric one. I still have that one, too.
    Her Lone Cowboy sounds great!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia. I have fond memories of writing on a typewriter, except for the mistakes I made and had to painstakingly correct.

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  11. I am in awe of those folks who actually hand wrote everything. My handwriting is dismal so anything I wrote using that method would never make it to print!

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    1. I often can't read my own handwriting. I once read about an author who hand wrote his manuscripts, then typed them on a typewriter, then into a computer. I'm guessing they were perfect by the third go-round.

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