How did you come to be interested in the Lei Crime Kindle World?
I’m always amazed at the meaningful friendships that develop through online connections!
I met Toby through some mutual author friends and was immediately taken with her positive energy and engaging personality. To be honest, I had not read any of the Lei Crime books. As writers, it’s often difficult to find time to read, even though we want to. So when I have a chance, I go to my favorite genre, historical fiction.
You can imagine my surprise when Toby approached me about contributing a novella to the series. I argued that I didn’t/couldn’t write in that genre and Toby, in her sweet, upbeat way, assured me I could. I took some time to read a number of the Toby’s books and, to my surprise, I loved the characters, the action and the emotion. I could see why the series was so popular!
A few of my fellow women’s fiction authors had made contributions. I talked with Christine Nolfi and Bette Lee Crosby who were most enthusiastic about their experiences. Gradually, I began to see how I could work my writing style into a story in the Lei Crime world. Then I met fellow-Torontonian, Helen Yee, for coffee. We talked a lot about the Kindle World process and I read the books she had written. Helen really was the determining factor for me.
Toby told me her readers had responded to a survey about which characters they would like to know better. Soga Matsumoto, Lei’s grandfather, was one of those. I liked the fact that he was close to my age and I felt I could relate to his life experiences.
Although some of my story about Soga is set in Oahu, I took him to Japan and the south of France for most of the narrative. Readers familiar with my other novels wrote to tell me how they chuckled and nodded to themselves when they saw where Soga’s travels took him. To keep a link to the series, I included details of Soga’s family connection to Lei. He was the father of her late mother, Maylene, and the husband of her grandmother, Yumi.
The Lei Crime Series are police procedural mysteries with a twist of romance. What genres do you explore in your story?
My story is quite a departure from the norm in the series. I did link one of the characters to crime in Hawaii and had her involved in the Witness Relocation Program through the police department and FBI. For the most part my story is very much contemporary fiction, with a twist of romance, and a fully-developed character study of Soga.
The Lei Crime Series is set in Hawaii, but these novellas could be set anywhere. Tell us about where you set your story, and why?
I had Soga spend one month a year at a Buddhist retreat in Koyasan, Japan. He had turned to Buddhism as a means of finding some peace as he struggled with the mental illness of his wife, Yumi. The more I researched Buddhism, the more intrigued I became and the more I wanted to share what I had learned. I was inspired by the way Soga built the teachings into his life and managed to keep a positive calmness within him, in spite of the emotional challenges he faced throughout his life.
As his story develops, Soga spends time in the south of France, to his great surprise. After a coincidental meeting of an important person in his past, he discovers the possibilities that lie ahead for him in all aspects of his life.
Tell us a little about your main character. Why do you think readers will like him?
Soga is a man of principle who became a victim of circumstances. Born in Japan, his traditional parents instilled many of their ancient cultural values in him. His adult life begins with an arranged marriage, a tour of duty in Viet Nam, and a wife who becomes increasingly mentally ill. His family is torn apart, yet Soga remains true to his vow to care for his wife in sickness or in health.
In spite of his apparent stoicism, he maintains a positive outlook through satisfying hobbies, a commitment to the marital arts (Aikido) and the solace he finds through Buddhism.
Readers who have grown to love and understand Lei Texiera, see how she has inherited some of her strengths. They also gain a further understanding about the roots of her conflicts over family and trust in relationships.
What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works?
Hope and resilience are the major themes I incorporate into all of my stories. I always want readers to walk away with a sense that every day is a gift and that it is never too late to make changes in your life.
I enjoy writing to an older demographic. I hear from readers who like to discover an older protagonist, but I also hear from younger readers who say they appreciate feeling the optimism about the future these senior characters portray.
All of my novels incorporate this kind of philosophical approach. The greatest reward I find is hearing from so many readers who write to say how they connected with my characters and were inspired.
Share some of your story about becoming a writer.
I became an author quite by accident at a time in my life when most people are considering retirement. I began writing my first novel, The Bridge Club, strictly for fun…for my real life group of women friends who have all been friends for five decades. I was encouraged to publish and did so at the age of 65, in 2010. My life as a writer evolved quickly and I began an entirely new career, which I love and will continue for the rest of my life.
My second novel, The Promise of Provence, is set in the south of France and the response to it was so great that it morphed into a trilogy. The third book, I Promise You This, will be released by Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing on May 17, 2016. I published my first three novels as an indie and then was approached by Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing. They picked up the rights to my Love in Provence series and I am happy to be a hybrid author with a foot in both publishing camps.
Do you have a background related to your writing? What makes you interesting outside of your books? Authors are often some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met!
I’ve had a full life with a multitude of experiences and know that it has taken all of that to bring me to the place I am in today. Personally, we have a blended family of seven adult children plus partners and six grandchildren.
Accidentally, almost, it turned out that location is extremely important in my writing. Reviewers write that my descriptions of locations transport readers and those settings become like another character. The Bridge Club takes place in various settings across Canada and my Love in Provence series is set in Toronto and the south of France. Travel has always been an important part of my life. I first fell in love with France fifty years ago as a young backpacker. For the past twenty years, although we do go other places, my husband and I have spent a great deal of time in France ~ particularly in Provence and the Côte d’Azur. It’s my addiction and I love writing about it.
Photography has always been part of me, ever since I received my first camera on my 6th birthday. I share my photos on my website and on Instagram (@patricialsands) and it is definitely part of my brand.
A bonus to writing my Provence books is that I sometimes lead women’s trips to the places in the south of France in my novels. Details are on my website.
What are you working on next, aside from the novella in the Lei Crime Series Kindle World?
I am beginning a new trilogy, still set in the south of France, with the first book scheduled for 2017. Readers keep asking me to continue telling them about the journeys of my main characters. As long as they want that, I will gladly provide it and bring in engaging new characters as life unfolds.
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