…My name is Patricia Strefling. I live in the city of my birth, Niles, Michigan. As I grew up with a sister and two brothers, I remember visits from my paternal grandmother who came on the train all the way from California. When she visited my sister and I took turns sleeping in the twin beds with grandma. We each had our own times with her.
Grandma’s father was an Irishman; that’s where she learned to tell stories. Her and I would talk in the dark until late in the night. I learned about her life as an Arkansas farmer’s wife. About my father’s two sisters who died. What they were like. And how she missed them.
Because of her storytelling, I became enthralled with history and with knowing my two aunts that were no longer in this world…but had lived. And were important.
At age fifteen I wrote a story where I was the heroine and I believe that was the beginning of my desire to become an author. At some point in my life I drew away from my dream to start and run a secretarial/resume writing business for seventeen years. After that I wrote my first fiction story and could not stop writing!
I wrote one after the other and put them a in a drawer. At times I would lend a manuscript out to read if someone really wanted to, but was unsure if they were worth reading. After attending several writing conferences I realized I did not have the skill required that would meet the criteria from a publisher, so I decided I was not a writer after all.
Then one day as I was perusing the computer after someone mentioned I might want to consider self-publishing. One of the first sites I chose I noticed they were offering a discount for new authors. So I decided on one of my stories. I remember the day my first book EDWINA arrived in May of 2008. My goal had been to have my name on a book. Just one. And I would be satisfied. Three years later there are now four published books with another due out soon.
I had no idea what anyone would think of my writing. And I learned quickly, it is best not to judge yourself. Let readers do that. Once comments started coming in, no one was more surprised than me to hear they actually liked the stories.
With the courage I gained from readers, I felt empowered to keep going. I wrote a sequel called CECELIA then published another book from my drawer called BEYOND FORGIVENESS. Then wrote one called IRELAND ROSE and have just finished a sequel (which was unplanned) called ROSE’S LEGACY, due out in early 2012.
There are more books in my drawer waiting to be published. And so many more that I want to tell.
I have a reader who goes through the manuscript and lets me know about inconsistencies, and whether or not the story has a strong thread. Once a story is self-published, I have another talented friend who gets the books out to the marketplace. She wrote and designed a trailer for Ireland Rose.
On occasion I will speak to small groups or students to encourage them to write…and to self-publish if they are unable to get recognition from a regular publishing house. That if someone like me, who has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) can do it ANYONE can!
The important factor here is that someone read your material. The reader will decide…and the world is changed because of our work. Everyone has to start somewhere.
When I’m not writing I like to crochet. Baby hats and afghans are my best sellers at local craft shows. This keeps my mind busy while meeting new people.
Writing has been one of the most exciting times of my life. To remind myself that it matters, I keep a folder of comments, cards, notes, and words people have shared. When I doubt myself, I open the folder and more often than not, I’m encouraged to keep writing.
I tell myself, it’s not about your skill level, it’s how well you tell a story. If a reader is changed, relates, laughs, challenged, encouraged, or touched by a story, then I have made their life better, if only for the time it takes to finish the book.
THEN I know my time is well-spent.