Interview With Author Patti C Smith

# Please introduce yourself and your book!

Hello, Tony, Thanks for having me. My name is Patti C Smith…I write under the name of P.C. Smith,..the title of my book is “The Shingle Weavers Picnic” This is my first book….I am 87 years old and have just moved from California to a cozy little cabin in the Bitter Root Valley of Montana with my husband and two small dogs.

My book is the story of a family during the early years of W.W.ll, what life was like during these times, how the war changed the community and the life of many of the towns people, plus a murder that sent shock waves in every direction.

# What is the real-life story behind your book?

When I was a child I spent most of my summers in the town of Everett , Washington with my grandparents, when Everett was a rather small little town containing several lumber mills. Each summer the mill owners got together and put on a picnic for their employees which was pretty much the majority of the population. There was a section in each mill that was devoted to the production, gathering, stacking and wrapping bundles of shingles and the employees that mastered this process were called Shingle Weavers and the event took on the name of THE SHINGLE WEAVERS PICNIC, which took place on the 4th of July weekend at near by Lake Stevens…everything free, ice cream for the kids, with base ball games, log rolling contests, greased pig competitions, the Miss Shingle Weaver competition, Flower and Plant competition, Pie, Cake & home made jams and jelly competition, each winner receiving a ribbon, a plaque, and a new, crisp $50 bill (which was a lot of money in those days when an annual salary was only around $900.

I took my memories of my summers in Everett and used them to write a 700 word homework assignment for a writing class I was taking. It was my teacher that talked me into expanding this assignment into a book.

# How do you deal with creative block?

Well, I’ve only written one book, so far and I have never had to deal with that yet. I have started book # 2 and still no creative block problem.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I have been extremely fortunate along these lines. My reviews have really been fantastic. I have received two gold seals for excellence that appear on the cover….one of my radio reviewers compared my book as having the same quality of writing as TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD….that was an unexpected compliment that I will never forget. that’s for sure.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

A pretty big role in my writing, I would have to say. If a writer can develop a way to use words to paint a written picture of a characters feelings, fears, joys, pain, love, that character really comes alive for your reader and the same thing goes for bringing alive a place, a sound, a relationship, etc. Everything in our lives has an emotion attached to it….learn to do that and you will have a page turner.

# What are your plans for future books?

I love the late 30’s and 40’s…the WW ll area, a time that many of our youth know nothing about, obviously that part of our history isn’t taught in our public schools. My readers seem to be of all ages from 20 years old right up to my peers, which is a wonderful age spread to write for so my next book is sticking with what I know works for me as a writer.

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book?

The best thing was finding out that I really could write a book. At the begging it seemed like an impossible task but thanks to the support of family , friends and a remarkable teacher I made it through and found out I loved the creative process and better yet, it seems i am pretty good at it. I had no “worst” exactly unless you count all the hard work evolved and the hours of editing. The most surprising,beside discovering I really could start and finish such a big endeavor, was the amount of almost empty nest Mom’s that contacted me once the book was on the market and thanked me for putting my age out there without any apologies. It seemed many of them felt that during their busy early life of being a homemaker, mother, wife, volunteer etc, their creativity days had passed them by….and finding out that I had written my first book, and one they all seemed to like, at the ripe old age of 86, made them realize it’s never to late to follow a dream and let your creativity bloom and grow. That was a very big surprise writing my book gave me, one that made me more than very happy.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I love a little bit of whimsy around me….on a stack of reference books in my writing loft sits a 16 inch snow fairy

with glitter in her hair and pointed ears,,,farther down the row of books sits another 16 inch reminder of the day I took my grand daughter to San Francisco to the Make Bear Store where you pick out a bear, stuff it and dress it in any costume that pleases you …a constant reminder of our wonderful day together. Sitting on my beds headboard is a droopy eyed Owl ( by Jell Cat) named Oscar….just to name a few.

Hanging in a few of my windows are stained glass pieces I made and

showed at the Monterey Museum of Art when my sister and I operated,Over The Rainbow Stained Glass Studio, in Carmel California for a little over 15 years.

And there you have P.C. Smith in a nut shell. Thank you for your interest.


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