Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Writer Wednesday brings us Matt Patterson and his book My Emily

 It's Writer's Wednesday! 
Today we have with us

Matt Patterson who is the author of
My Emily

Welcome Matt!!

Tell us a bit about yourself:
Do you work another job when you are not writing?
I write and write some more!  I’m a free-lance writer, primarily doing news releases, corporate publication and annual report copy.

What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?
It seems as though writing is all I do, but when I’m not trying to promote my book, I’m writing.  When I do step away from the laptop I like to workout. I’m also a big sports and movie fan, so heading to a ballpark or theater is a nice getaway for me.

What is your favorite color? Why?
I would have to say blue.  I really don’t have a reason, but would guess it’s because some of my favorite teams have blue in their colors.  I wear a lot of light blue shirts, navy suits and ties with a variety of blue shades in them.  After all that – I have no idea why I’m saying blue is my favorite color. 

What is your favorite season? Why?
Football and baseball!  Oh, if you’re talking weather-wise, here in Arizona it’s pretty much the same – clear and warm.  Now if I lived in a normal climate I would have to say fall.  I have to say there’s nothing like cool temperatures and watching the leaves change colors. I have to say I miss that big time.

If you could live anyplace on earth, where would it be? Why?
I would say there’s no particular location.  I believe each of us can make that “anyplace on earth” by being with the ones you love, and by doing what you want to do.  Am I there yet?  Not quite, but I’m working on it. 

If you could have any car, what would it be?
I would love to have my 1968 Mustang from high school back in my possession, for sure.  Of course, I would have to summon the folks from Pimp My Ride to give her the once over.  Was a great car, especially for some tall, skinny kid in high school.

Tell us about your writing: 

How long have your been writing? Was it a dream, a goal or is it just a hobby?
I’ve been at it for about 20 years in some form or another.  Back then, I don’t look at it as having been a dream, goal or even hobby.  My goal coming out of college was be the next great anchor at ESPN.  My degree was in communications with a broadcast journalism emphasis.  I worked as an anchor and reporter for a handful of stations and came to the conclusion that this career wasn’t the best for a newly-married couple.  I left the bright lights (if you want to call them that) for the written form of communication.
It was some 20 years later I was moved to put my name to the cover of a book.  I guess then I can say it was a dream fulfilled.  Now, it’s a passion to help others through my writing.
I want to make a connection with the reader.  I want to gain their trust.  Do they “hear” me?  Can they understand me?  I want someone to crack open my book and feel like we’re in their family room and I’m telling them my story.  I want them to nod in agreement with me.  I want my readers to laugh with or at me.  I want them to cry with me as well.

How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you have a set routine or do you write when the mood strikes?
As many as I can, but it seems I can easily get turned in 40 different directions. I’m fortunate enough to work from home in most cases, so I try to keep a routine as if I’m headed to “the office”.  I’m up, I work out, shower, (sometimes shave), and dressed at the same time every day.  I check my phone for voice mail, text messages and then it’s off to the laptop for emails, and to send twitter cross-promotion messages or  facebook posts.  I also do this before going to bed every night (or early morning).  Then I try to write.

Is there some place special you like to be when you write?
Now that we’re empty nesters I actually use our large and high-standing kitchen table as my desk/writing area.  Lots of room combined with good lighting, not to mention it’s quiet.  There are times though where I venture off to a local coffee shop and seem to be productive as well, but those trips are rare.

Do you listen to music or do you need a quiet place to write?
Well, I just mentioned I like my work area because it’s quiet, so for the most part, I do like it quiet. If there was a way I could stay focused, write meaningful copy while listening to Bruce Springsteen or U2, I would most certainly incorporate that in my writing routine.  I have yet to master it though.  I sometimes have the television in the adjoining room as some background noise, but for the most part I need less noise to be more productive.

Tell us about your book:

What is the name of it and is it part of a series or a stand alone novel?
The name of my first book is My Emily and for the time being it is a stand-alone book, but I do have plans to perhaps create a companion to it.

Where did the idea come from? 
I guess I should say first and foremost that this is a non-fiction book.  It tells the story of our journey with our first daughter, Emily.

Emily was born with Down syndrome and just two years later was diagnosed with leukemia.  I try to take the reader by the hand and walk them through our time with little one – from birth, diagnosis, treatment, her eventual passing and our efforts to move on without her.

 The actual idea came from a newspaper column I wrote almost 20 years prior.  This column’s publication date was set for Emily’s birthday.  My beat on the newspaper was to follow the courts and crime. I spent most of my time with city, state or county law enforcement officers, as well as prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.  I made it a point that my weekly column would be as far away from that arena as possible. I wanted my readers to know I was a regular guy – a soft-hearted father with cute kids and mildly hilarious sense of humor.

Writing this column turned out to be a very good release for me.  By the time I finished it, I was crying.  I sent it to my editor and she called me into her office.  She was crying.  When the paper came out and copies were delivered around the newsroom – I looked around and people were crying.  I then began to receive calls, notes, cards and letters thanking me for the piece. Others would tell me, “This story needs to be a book.” I started to think that I could have something here. I agreed, but never felt the time was right.  Better said, there wasn’t a sense of urgency.

How long did it take to write?
I would kill me to say 20 years, but I have to agree the timing was right for it to finally come to pass.  In actuality, it took me three to four months to write, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, edit and finally have friends say, “Let it go for crying out loud.” 

Your other work:

Do you have any upcoming projects in the works or other books that have been published?
I do have plans for an upcoming companion book to My Emily, but I don’t want to burst the bubble at this moment.  I can say that it will be a book for and from its readers.
Sorry to be a party pooper, but I am excited about the project.

Where can readers connect with you?
There are a number of places where people can track me down.  I invite them to make contact with me.  I enjoy hearing from readers and writers, alike.
Website:  mattpatterson and My Emily

Where can we buy your books?
The print version of My Emily can be found on a lot of websites – particularly Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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