Christine Young

I am a writer and avid reader of romances particularly historical romances. Please join me on my journey through time

Christine Presents ~ My Letter to Fear by Patricia Steffy

Please welcome Patricia Steffy author of My Letter to Fear.

Patricia Steffy will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

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My Letter to Fear

by Patricia Steffy

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GENRE: Essays/Memoir

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INTERVIW:

  1. What or who inspired you to start writing?

I feel like I have always been writing to some degree, but I don’t think it was until I started blogging around 2006 that I first started thinking about writing for an audience.

 

I did have an English teacher in high school, Pamela Brownlee, who made a comment about my writing and observational style which stayed with me even decades later. After publishing “My Letter to Fear,” I thought about looking her up to tell her that her words had an impact. Unfortunately, I found out she died in a car accident years earlier.

 

 

  1. How did you come up with ideas for your books?

“My Letter to Fear” was born out of a conversation with a friend of mine who is a therapist. Apparently, writing a letter to an “issue” is often a therapeutic tool. You can write letters to anxiety, addiction, fear – whatever you are dealing with. From there, I started doing interviews with friends and family (women of all ages and backgrounds). They passed on the questions to their friends (again, with no restriction on age, ethnicity, etc.). All of those interviews and my own experiences shaped the collection.

 

 

  1. What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?

One of my favorite things is connecting with an audience. I’ve loved hearing people’s stories and seeing them react to the pieces in the book.

 

 

  1. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

While I was writing “My Letter to Fear,” I was simultaneously writing a web series called “Dating in LA and Other Urban Myths.” It was based on the proposition of a woman of a certain age (don’t you love that term?) starting over again in a city that values youth and looks over everything else. I got extremely lucky with casting – Lesley Fera (Pretty Little Liars), Jen Lilley (Days of Our Lives), Tamara Taylor (Bones) and Kris Polaha (Life Unexpected) brought it to life (the sizzle reel is here if you are curious: https://vimeo.com/77469627). In many ways, it is an extension of some of the ideas in “My Letter to Fear” because it talks not only about dating but aging and notions of success.

 

I’ve also just gotten really positive coverage on a film script that I’m working on, and I’m very excited to see where this takes me (although I can’t say much about it yet). It’s a drama and deals much more with current events that anything I’ve written previously.

 

Another book is in the works. This one is fiction, but it uses the “life expectations” issue as a jumping off point. It’s one of those issues that repeatedly came up in interviews doing “My Letter to Fear,” and I really do want to explore it more. So many emotional challenges in adult-life seem related to who we thought we’d be, or what we thought we’d do in life.

 

 

  1. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

In many ways, my own story was the basis for “Dating in LA and Other Urban Myths,” although that character has much more extreme reactions and experiences than I have had. So, in some ways, I’ve already been one of my characters.

 

 

  1. Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?

I don’t belong to a critique group now, although I have had some experience with them in screenwriting. Those things tend to be helpful for me when they focus on a specific topic. If they area assessing how well subtext is employed, if a reveal works, if the order of scenes should shift, I think they are very useful. General writing groups are less helpful for me because it often feels like people base their comments on the story they would tell if they were writing the book/script rather than commenting on the story you want to tell.

 

For “My Letter to Fear,” I used workshops as an approach to finalizing the collection. Early pieces were used for a charity reading, and that helped me get an idea of where the collection needed to go (hearing your work read out loud by fantastic actresses never hurts). I wrote another 40 pieces in 2013 after that first reading. Even after I published the book, we produced another staged reading with another group of terrific actresses here in LA (you can see excerpts here: http://www.patriciasteffy.com/showcase). Even though I’m unlikely to do anything further with this collection of essays, my attitude and understanding of the work is always evolving.

 

 

  1. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?

After the first charity reading, I had a number of the reading actresses and audience members come up to me and comment on the work. It was the first time I had experienced live feedback – not just in terms of hearing laughter or seeing tears from an audience, but in terms of having people directly comment on my work (outside of the blog, of course). A number of people asked me where they could buy the collection. One problem – it didn’t exist as a book yet. That feedback started me really thinking about what it would take to create a full collection. In the end, it took me writing (and interviewing for) another 45-50 pieces (maybe 40 of the new ones ended up in the book) and another 17 months to finish it.

 

 

  1. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

The best and worst advice I’ve ever received was “write every day.” It’s great advice in that it gets you in the habit of sitting down and working. It can also be terrible advice because some days you just don’t have it. Some days, the words do not come. I think you have to give yourself a break (a short one) when that happens. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t chain yourself to the desk. Just try again tomorrow.

 

 

  1. Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I am an outliner. I may not go into extraordinary detail in the outlines, but I always want to see the flow of things. I like having at least some sense of my major turns and reveals before I begin to write.

 

Now, because “My Letter to Fear” was based on interviews I did, this was a more fluid process. What people gave me often dictated where I would go next and what questions got asked. Although even in this process, I did have an idea of what topics I wanted to cover.

 

  1. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you’ve gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?

I am also a travel writer (you can see some of my stuff here: http://www.travelingwithoutanet.com). While that hasn’t factored into my previous work, it is very likely to influence the next book.

 

 

  1. Do you have an all time favorite book?

I would have to say that “All The King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren has stood the test of time for me. I read it again every few years (and have since I first read it in high school), and it still has an impact. I still find “Pride and Prejudice” to be a great read. Of more modern works, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” never fails to make me laugh, and Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken” is such a powerful true history story, that I think I read the entire thing in two days – and continue to think about it years later.

 

 

  1. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

While the collection of essays includes humor throughout it (and some essays really do go to the ridiculous – vajazzling and anal bleaching pieces come to mind), there are some very dark pieces. There are pieces that specifically deal with rape, abuse and addiction. Everything about that was difficult, from doing the interviews to figuring out how best to feature those stories. More than a few tears were shed during that process.

 

  1. What is your favorite reality show?

Do HGTV shows count? I love so many of them. The renovation shows appeal to me because I have an affinity for pieces about transformation (in houses, rooms, people…). I will also admit to being a little bit obsessed with the Tiny House shows. There is some serious ingenuity in play in some of these 200 square foot homes. I’m fascinated by how much they can fit into those spaces by having elements fold down, hide away or swing out from a wall, etc.

 

  1. Anything else you might want to add?

I’m so excited for your readers to experience “My Letter to Fear!” Thank you so much for allowing me to share my work with your world!
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BLURB:

 

Over the course of two years, Steffy conducted interviews with the fabulous women around her and their equally fantastic friends. She put no restrictions on age, or ethnicity. They just needed to be willing to answer some questions. The questions covered a variety of topics, including aging, body image, abuse, rape, addiction, confidence, loss, beauty myths, and fear. Steffy asked them about the expectations they had for their lives when they were very young versus their current realities as adults. She asked them to tell her the best things about themselves (a question which was surprisingly difficult for people to answer) and the worst things. Those answers—the funny, the heartbreaking, and the hysterical—and her own experiences became the basis for these essays.

 

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EXCERPT:

 

From Pieces of Her

 

After a particularly bad week, she startled at the image before her in the mirror. There had been a flash, something fleeting and unrecognizable. It was her, but not. She was cold and in pieces—a sort of marble statue that had become smaller and more marred with each lie she told, each one she accepted. And somehow she knew that the lies she had told herself had done as much damage as the lies she had told others. …

 

From Ouch

 

In addition to the war on pubic hair, do the women of Los Angeles now have to wonder if the color of their anal ring is pleasing? Should we be shooting for pearl, or something so white that the glow can be seen from space? “Roger, Houston. We can see the Great Wall of China, the San Andreas fault line and some girl’s anal ring.” …

 

 

 

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Patricia Steffy attended Kenyon College and American University. She is a recent refugee from the corporate world where she worked as an analyst for a law firm for more than 16 years. An escape plan started to develop as she pursued her interests as a writer and producer through Circe’s World Films. She has been involved in co- and exec-producing a number of feature and short films ranging from broad comedy to psychological drama, including the award-winning short Touch. She is currently developing Dating in LA and Other Urban Myths as a web series. The series is based on her long-running blog of the same name.

 

Showcase

Pieces from My Letter to Fear were featured in a one-night only special showcase event. The showcase was directed by Danielle Turchiano and featured readings from Nikki DeLoach (Awkward.), Lesley Fera (Pretty Little Liars), Stevie Lynn Jones (Crisis), Jen Lilley (Days of Our Lives), Roma Maffia (Pretty Little Liars), Dennisha Pratt (The Sunny Side Up Show), and Carla Renata (Hart of Dixie). You can see excerpts from the readings here: http://www.patriciasteffy.com/showcase/

 

 

 

Useful links

 

Website: http://www.patriciasteffy.com

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PLSteffy

 

 

Book Buy Links

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/My-Letter-Fear-Essays-Charming/dp/1495316661

 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-letter-to-fear-patricia-steffy/1118328490?ean=2940045599153

 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-letter-to-fear-essays-on/id806460937?mt=11

 

Diesel: http://www.dieselbookstore.com/book/9781495316661

 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/400964

 

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

Patricia Steffy will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2058

 

 

 

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16 comments on “Christine Presents ~ My Letter to Fear by Patricia Steffy

  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Patricia
    December 5, 2016

    Thank you for hosting, Christine! I’m so excited to be here. 🙂 A question for you and your readers — what makes you take a chance on a new book or new author?

    • achristay
      December 5, 2016

      The cover first, draws me to a book. Then the blurb has to be intriguing and the excerpt needs to be well written and hold my attention.

      • Patricia
        December 5, 2016

        Does that hold true with electronic books, too? I’m finding it to be less visual and more blurb oriented for me. Whereas, when I browse a physical bookstore, the cover has a much bigger impact on me.

      • achristay
        December 5, 2016

        You’re right about print books vs. ebooks. With the tiny thumbnails we see when were browsing books the cover isn’t as important. Still, when you look on Amazon a cover that catches the eye will help sell a book. Also, when advertising good covers are a necessity.

  3. achristay
    December 5, 2016

    Welcome to my blog. I hope you have a great tour.

  4. Lisa Brown
    December 5, 2016

    Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win 🙂

    • Patricia
      December 5, 2016

      Thank you for being part of the tour!

  5. Rita Wray
    December 5, 2016

    I enjoyed the interview, thank you.

  6. Cali W.
    December 5, 2016

    Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

    • Patricia
      December 5, 2016

      Thank you! I’m so happy that you liked it. 🙂

  7. victoriaalexander11
    December 5, 2016

    This sounds like an amazing book! Thanks for sharing the excerpt and interview, I enjoyed reading them both 🙂

    • Patricia
      December 6, 2016

      Thank you for giving a new author a read!

  8. Pingback: “My Letter of Fear” at Christine Presents |

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