Please welcome best-selling author Patricia Kiyono
In a previous life, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary school students by day and changed diapers at night. Now she teaches college students part time and changes diapers only when she's taking care of grandkids. She loves to do anything that doesn't involve exercise. Right now her favorite activities, other than writing, include scrapbooking, sewing, and making music. She and her husband live in southwest Michigan, near their five children and nine grandchildren.
To learn a little bit more about Patricia, I asked her a few questions.
1. How you do create your characters or do they turn up ‘fully formed’?
I wish my characters could arrive in my mind fully formed! I go about things a little differently from many authors. First, I decide on the central conflict. Then I create characters who would be affected by that conflict, perhaps in different ways. Since I write romance, I also choose a conflict that seems to prevent them from being together. Then I go about creating a backstory that causes them to behave in certain ways while trying to resolve their conflicts. The physical characteristics, unless they are crucial to the conflict, are the last to be added.
2. How do you choose the name for your characters? Do you deliberately use names to give clues to your characters traits?
For the most part, I choose the first name that pops into my head. But once in a while, names are chosen to fit a purpose—for example, Mitch's daughter is named Angela because she proves to be an angel in his life. And in my historical novel The Samurai's Garden, my characters are named for their meanings—Hiromasa means "wise and straightforward" and Hanako means "little flower".
I loved The Samurai's Garden.
3. Are you a pantser or a plotter, and if a plotter do you have the same routine for setting up and plotting out your story and characters?
I guess I'm more of a plotter. I've tried writing without a plan, and the result was disastrous. I'm not as much of a planner as some people, but I do need to know where the story is going. Once I have the conflicts nailed down and the motivations behind the characters' actions, I usually write up a general outline, or list of events that need to happen. Once in a while the characters will change course, but for the most part this technique works for me.
Oh wow, I think you've just a solved a sticky little problem with my current WIp with this answer :-) Thanks.
4. Why writing? Why not a racing driver, lol, or pastry chef?
I drive every day, but I would be a horrible racing driver—I tend to be a defensive driver, which wouldn't work on the race track. I love to cook, but don't have to. When my husband and I married, he took over the cooking, since he got home from work three to four hours ahead of me. I taught elementary school, so I was always dealing with reading and writing. Many of my colleagues and I joked about writing our memoirs after retirement. So while my stories aren't exactly biographical, most contain an element of myself or my experiences.
5. Do you find one word continually recurring in your stories, if so how do you avoid echoes?
My editors are always finding word echoes in my writing. I find I use "it wouldn't do" quite often. I'm also quite guilty of pronoun confusion. If I have two or more characters in a scene of the same gender, it can be difficult to determine which character "she" refers to.
6. What is your favourite colour?
Blue, in any shade!
7. What is your favourite flower?
I love to look at flowers, but for the life of me I can't keep them alive! For admiring and smelling I guess I like roses, but if they're going to be in my house, they'd best be made of silk.
8. Cinema? TV? Or a book?
I don't watch much television, probably because I always feel like I need to be doing something else. In order to watch a show from beginning to end, I need to be in a place where I can't do anything else, so I guess I enjoy the cinema more. But books are even better because I can go back and re-live the best scenes.
9. Do your read the same genre of book you write for? Who is your favourite author?
I definitely read more romance than anything else. I love Debbie Macomber and Robyn Carr. I also enjoy cozy mysteries, and Donna Andrews is a master at that, and Joanne Fluke's series are very entertaining.
10. Please will you share one special moment in your writing career.
While attending a writers' retreat at the university where I now teach, I ran into a former student from my days teaching elementary school music. She is now a colleague, working toward her doctorate in Spanish. When she found out I had been published in romance, she shared my Facebook author page with her Facebook friends. Many of them were also former students of mine, and several are now following me, reading my books, and writing wonderful reviews!
That's so lovely :-) Thank you for sharing. You must have been a wonderful teacher, because I wouldn't give any of mine the time of day if I met them again!! lol.
About Christmas Wishes:
Tagline: Before you wish for dreams, know what's in your heart.
Mitch Carson is tired of the big city. In his former life, he'd been a news photographer in Chicago, where the dangers are endless. But now, he just wants to settle down in this quiet town with his daughter, Angie. Here, his only fear is losing his daughter to his scheming mother-in-law.
Sophie Gardner wants to be a screenwriter. She's ready to leave small town Zutphen, Michigan and go to Hollywood. With a theater degree under her belt, she's busy writing scripts while helping out her sister Joanie, who's bedridden with a difficult pregnancy. Unfortunately, Joanie has somehow coerced Sophie into directing the Christmas pageant at Zutphen Community Church.
When Sophie and Mitch meet, the attraction is instant and mutual. But each wants what the other is trying to get away from. Can they deny their feelings and pursue their dreams? Or will the holiday prove to them that their true wishes might not be what they'd thought?
Mitch Carson studied the nutrition labels on the boxes of cereal in front of him, wanting to choose wisely, but six-year-old Angie kept pulling on his arm.
“Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom.”
“There’s no bathroom here, sweetness. You’ve got to wait.”
“I can’t wait, Daddy. I need to go now.”
Mitch threw a box of cereal into the cart, hoping it wouldn’t taste too much like cardboard. He took Angie’s hand and headed toward the checkout lanes. “I’m sorry, honey, but I can’t go in the bathroom with you, and you’re not going in there alone. Besides, we’ll be home in just ten minutes.”
“Daddy, I can’t wait ten minutes.” She hopped up and down, her face strained with discomfort.
Mitch grimaced. Why did this always happen when they were out of the house? He was searching for the words to reassure her again when a gentle feminine voice spoke.
“The bathroom is right over here, behind the meat counter.”
Mitch looked up into a pair of wide green eyes. Exotic and enticing, yet capable and compassionate. The eyes were set in a small heart-shaped face and surrounded by a cloud of honey blonde hair. He closed his mouth before he embarrassed himself by drooling. And he tried very hard to keep his voice from squeaking as he answered.
“Thanks, but I can take her home.”
“Daddy, I need to go!” Angie continued her hopping, clearly uncomfortable.
“It’s a nice bathroom, and they keep it very clean,” the blonde told him. She disappeared into the doorway she’d indicated and then came right back. “No one’s using it now, so you can go in and help her if you want.”
“Daddy? Please?” Angie’s face was starting to turn red. “I can do it myself.”
Mitch swallowed. If the restroom was empty and he stood outside the door, nothing bad could happen to her, right? “Okay, sweetness. I’ll be right here.”
Buy links: Christmas Wishes can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets.
Patricia Kiyono can be found at
her website, blog, facebook, Amazon,
and twitter @PatriciaKiyono