Welcome, Pat Nichols and Readers
Pat Nichols drops in for our chat today. This award-winning author of contemporary women’s fiction was born in Illinois. She grew up in Orlando and has hailed from the Atlanta area since the eighties.
As an author, Pat draws on twenty-seven years’ experience with amazing women in all walks of life in the Avon world. She writes emotional stories punctuated by humor and a touch of romance. Her characters face tension-laced challenges and heart-warming triumphs in pursuit of their dreams.
When not writing, Pat enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, watching movies, time with family and friends, Sudoku, and volunteering. She also enjoys speaking to groups and reading clubs. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Join the chat to qualify for her giveaway: two ebooks, one each of the Willow Falls Series.
Now here’s Pat Nichols in her own words
I‘m proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
In June my high-school sweetheart and I celebrated our fifty-fifth wedding anniversary. Where did the time go? Our son, daughter, grandson and two granddaughters live close by. Sadly, one precious granddaughter, who blessed our lives for eleven months, lives with the angels.
The day I retired from a twenty-seven-year career three goals topped my list. Finish decorating our home. Transfer hundreds of pictures to photo albums. Finally, use hotel and airline points to travel the world. A large map with pins noting our destinations is displayed in our guest room.
Bucket list completed.
Nine years after bidding farewell to the corporate world, a tragedy set my feet on a new path. A close friend, who had drifted in and out of our lives for two decades, lost her a struggle with addiction. Her tragic passing compelled me to write a story based on her life, except with a happy ending. During the year-long process I fell in love with writing.
The moment I typed “the end”, the vision of a published novel danced in my head. Until a close friend edited my work. She sent me a list of ten mistakes new writers make. Yikes! I had made every single one. At that point I faced a critical decision. Chalk the year up as a fun exercise and move on? Write as a hobby? Or put on my big-girl skirt and learn the craft? Opting for the latter, I began reading everything I could find about writing. I enrolled in online courses and joined ACFW and Word Weavers International.
Pat Nichols: Goodbye retirement. Hello new career.
Finishing that first manuscript cemented my desire to create character driven stories peppered with emotional highs and lows. My corporate experience led me to choose women’s contemporary fiction. It also equipped me with the discipline and determination to pursue publication. My faith led me to Christian Fiction.
An internet search launched that journey. One publishing company grabbed my attention and compelled me to pitch my manuscript in an email. Two hours later my phone rang. The publisher was calling me. Yay! Instant success?
Another example of newbie inexperience.
My excitement vanished the instant the company representative declared that I had less than one chance in a thousand of ever landing a traditional publishing contract. When she pitched a pricey package and a boatload of promises, my corporate experience and mid-western stubbornness kicked in. I declined and made it my mission to prove her wrong.
While writing a second manuscript, I continued to study and attended conferences. Meanwhile, an idea for a series emerged. Three women, strangers drawn together by a tragedy and a long-held secret. Each growing up without siblings. Perhaps because my mother was an only child who longed for a sister.
The characters began to take shape. Emily Hayes, driven to write a novel based on her hometown’s colorful history and rescue it from a slow painful death. Rachel Streetman who secretly clung to her acting dream while living the corporate life her father commanded. Sadie Liles paroled after serving a thirty-year sentence for killing the town hero.
I planned to split scenes between Atlanta and a small town. I opted for a fictional location so I could tailor the setting and history to the story. Willow Falls emerged. A north Georgia town where everyone knows everyone’s business.
After finishing the first manuscript, I began the second, keeping the three main characters and adding a new supporting cast.
Four years after first typing “Chapter One”, I was blessed with a contract from a traditional publisher for The Secret of Willow Inn. Three months later I signed a contract for The Trouble in Willow Falls, the second book in the series. Book three, Star Struck in Willow Falls, is scheduled for release February 2, 2021. The fourth book is finished and hopefully will release in 2022.
If only that saleswoman knew her comment about landing a contract motivated rather than discouraged me. The corporate world taught me to accept challenges and rejection as opportunities. Starting a new career later in life has its advantages.
Pat Nichols Today
I received NGCWC Georgia Peach Awards for short story, The Vet and Valentine’s Day, and Willow Falls series book three. In 2019 I was featured in Voyager Magazine and appeared on WATC Television Atlanta Alive.
My current work in progress? Re-writing the manuscript with all the novice errors.
The Secret of Willow Inn
Three Strangers and Willow Falls’s quirky, opinionated residents are forced to face the past and accept the truth. Emily Hayes, Rachel Streetman, and Sadie Liles experience the power of forgiveness, sacrifice, and redemption. The shocking, heart-warming conclusion leaves readers yearning to stay connected with characters who have become friends in a town that captures their imagination.
The Secret of Willow Inn is a 2020 Selah award finalist.
The Trouble in Willow Falls by Pat Nichols
Rachel Streetman is one audition away from landing the lead in a play and jump-starting her lackluster acting career. Months after submitting her first novel to publishers, Emily Hayes receives one response—a rejection. Famous artist Naomi Jasper offers her much-needed cash to finish writing. And to cast and direct a play about Willow Falls’ colorful history. Emily faces a difficult decision—rewrite her novel or accept the offer. Aware the project has a high probability of failure she recruits the one person who has the experience she needs.
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Lord, please bless each word Pat writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake