Hello Patti! Welcome to Black Pearls, tell us a little about you and your family.
I’m Patti Lacy, a displaced Southerner who was gifted with teacher parents and a passion to read. In 2006, I left my beloved community college halls to set up a writing “room of my own” in the home I share with my teacher husband and a dog named Laura.
Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I was born in the back seat of a Buick in Waco, Texas , grew up in the South, and now live in Normal, Illinois. I devour literary fiction, penned by Austen, Kingsolver, Morrison, Dostoevsky, Stegner, Hemingway, Gaines, and many, many more. Unlike many writers, I didn’t put anything on paper, except maudlin poetry and embarrassing love letters, until 2005, when Mary’s story refused to settle into my brain and keep quiet.
Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
In 2005, God gifted me with a wonderful story about Mary, a brave Irishwoman who’d for years kept the secret of how she’d been betrayed by not one but two dysfunctional families.
I became obsessed with the secrets women keep and why they keep them. When the Still Small Voice kept whispering for me to capture Mary’s story on paper, I finally obeyed and penned my first novel, An Irishwoman’s Tale.
Why do I write? Because I HAVE TO! Stories and images bang on my skull and refuse to stop until I release them into a computer file. Hey, I’m 54 and want to share these stories for as long as God allows. That may be for another thirty years. Or it may be one…more…day.
Ella: What Legacy do you want to leave future readers?
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers: When a heart festering with pus-laden secrets is cut open and exposed to light and air, healing begins. Healing brings health. Healthy women can share with others to promote well-being.
Sally Stevens, a chatty Midwestern college instructor, smothers her secrets with drawly talk, chocolate, and big-toothed smiles. Then the she-devil Katrina threatens her brother and Ella Ward, Sally’s former best friend, and three of Sally’s students are accused of assaulting a fourth student, Shamika Williams.
When a bigoted cop, Shamika’s mama tiger aunt, and Sally collide in Shamika’s hospital room, the past, which has been buried under Louisiana bayou mud, begins to bubble to the surface. Racism, sexual dysfunction, and the traumatic aftermath of assault reach across the span of time and threaten to destroy Sally’s tranquil life in Normal , Illinois . Dare Sally share her secrets with a hurting Shamika and risk exposing her own prejudices?
Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
Segregation and a chain link fence separated twelve-year-old Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. Yet a brutal assault bound them together. Forever. Thirty-eight years later, Sally, a middle-aged Midwestern instructor, dredges up childhood secrets long buried beneath the waters of a Louisiana bayou in order to help her student, who has also been raped. Fragments of spirituals, gospel songs, and images of a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans are woven into the story.
Sally Stevens, the 52-year-old college Humanities instructor whose friendly drawl and bubbly personality mask deep-rooted scars from a childhood rape. I admire Sally’s fierce devotion to her family and to her students.
Ella Ward, Sally’s middle-aged childhood friend who teams with Sally to kill a rapist and later faces betrayal at the hands of Sally. I love Ella’s professionalism, gift of healing, and ability to forgive an awful wrong.
Ella: How does this book shape or add value to the reader’s life?
What the Bayou Saw emphasizes the importance of exposing the prejudice all of us harbor, in varying degrees, to the light of truth so that healing can begin. This my second novel also deals with the terrible aftermath in the souls of young girls because of sexual assault and the chilling statistic that even in homes with “good” communication, many crimes continue to go unreported. I also hope my book entertains the reader with a good story and a satisfying ending.
Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?The need for dialogue about race issues in America to continue. The terrible human stain left by racism, sexual assault…and lies.
Ella: Who would this book really “speak to” and why?
My target audience is readers, especially women, between the ages of 25 and 100! Women have traditionally stoked the home fires, have shouldered abuse and misuse throughout the ages. By bonding with other women and honestly sharing our past, we put our heads together to better problem-solve. Think of cultures where women gather at the well to chat and chew. I hope to “chat and chew” with my readers!
Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
The humbling opportunity to reach out to one reader at a time. I love each one of you and appreciate your investment of time and money in my book.
Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Write for the Audience of One. Write because you’ve been given a talent. Work at it with your heart, your soul, and your mind. Read books. Study the great writers. Become a professional writer, no matter what other people say. Yes, you can.
Ella: Name three things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion.
The blessing of God. A crazy passion to read and write, knowing this passion will cost you dearly in other areas of your life but will give tremendous joy and sense of purpose. A solid foundation in crafting words, whether self-taught, through reading the works of literary giants (hopefully a combination of both).
Ella: What book already published is similar to your book in its writing style?
It’s hard to know something like that about one’s own work. I like to think that my voice is fresh and can’t be duplicated. That idiotic thought off my chest, perhaps the frame idea and regional dialect of Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg and the visual imagery of Ella Cather.
Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?My Name is Sheba, another framed story that begins in the rollicking Age of Jazz in New Orleans and ends in the red light district of Bangkok.
Books can be purchased anywhere books are sold, including Barnes & Noble, Borders, LifeWay Christian stores, and http://www.amazon.com/.