Thursday, December 13, 2012

Interview With Author Robin Patchen

Movie star Blake Carmichael found more than just freedom from his drug addiction in rehab. He found God. And he has just one wish for the first Christmas of his new life: reconciliation with his teenage son, Eli. But after eight years of hardly hearing from Blake, Eli wants nothing to do with his father. So when his mother forces Eli to stay with Blake during the Christmas holidays, Eli sneaks out of the house.
From the New Hampshire seacoast to the dangerous streets of Boston, Blake searches for his son, desperate to protect Eli from sins Blake knows all too well. But even if he finds his son, will he ever be able to convince Eli of his love?
Author Robin Patchen was kind enough to donate her time for a personal interview with me. Read below to discover more about Robin and her heartwarming novella just in time for the holidays!
Candice- Thank you, Robin, for agreeing to do this interview with me.
Robin- Thank you for hosting me on your blog!
"One Christmas Eve" is a heartwarming story about forgiveness and reconciliation. What inspired you to write it?

How far is a father willing to go to win back his son's love? There are a lot of stories about parents trying to reconcile with wayward children, but I loved the twist that the father had been the wayward one for years. For me, it's really about redemption. How badly can we mess up and still be saved? In rehab, Blake discovered the boundless expanse of God's redeeming love, and all he wanted was to share that love with his son.
"One Christmas Eve" takes place on the New Hampshire seacoast. Your descriptions are so vivid and beautiful. Do you have any personal ties to this location?

I grew up in Londonderry, NH, which is about 40 miles from the coast. I love the jagged seacoast of New Hampshire, and Portsmouth is one of my favorite places in the world. I wanted my heroine, Tallia, to be an artist, so placing her in Portsmouth made sense with its thriving art community. And since Blake is very wealthy, placing his home in New Castle worked. I went to college in Boston, so I enjoyed writing those scenes, too. It was like a trip down Memory Lane.
How did "One Christmas Eve" come to be published?

Last winter, Pelican sent a general request for Christmas-themed novellas, and a friend of mine who's published with Pelican suggested I try to write one. I'd never tried a novella before. In fact, my books tend to run long, and I find myself having to cut out lots of words (like tens of thousands of words) to make them a marketable length. So I decided before I began that this whole book would have to take place in less than 24 hours. How much could I write about that short a time span? Famous last words--I still had to cut out about ten thousand words. And it was such a challenge to keep it that short, deciding what was imperative and what was not. And then I heard from an editor at Pelican in April, and they liked it.
Congratulations! I loved this story and it's getting great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Pelican made a great choice.
"One Christmas Eve" is an e-book. What are your thoughts on the writing/reading industry changes in our technological society?

Such a great question. When I found out One Christmas Eve was to be published as e-book only, I was disappointed. I mean, how many people are going to ask me to sign their Kindles? (None so far, I assure you. But I have offered....) But I can see the upside in it, too. I wasn't even contracted on this book until May, and it came out in November. With traditional print books, it takes much longer to get a book into the hands of readers. And it's accessible worldwide. I have a friend whose mother lives in Honduras. When she came to visit, her daughter introduced us and told her I'd written a book. As soon as it came out, that woman downloaded it onto her Kindle and read it. I hear from my friend that she loved it, so now I can consider myself "internationally known and loved."
I've had the privilege to see some of your other works-in-progress. I highly enjoy your writing voice and you have a fantastic ability to tug on the heart strings. Do you have any other stories to be published you can tell us about today?
Nothing contracted, but I do have a few works in progress. And I may try my hand at another Christmas novella for next year. I really enjoyed writing "One Christmas Eve."
Since your book is set on Christmas Eve, I thought it would be fun to tell the readers about some of your family's Christmas Eve traditions.
Every year on Christmas Eve, after we get home from church and finish our Chinese food (a tradition from my husband's family), we read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and then "The Polar Express." We've been reading "The Polar Express" since long before the movie, and when we get to the end, we pass out a bell to everyone, and we all shake our bells and say, "I believe. I believe." Of course my kids are getting older, so there are some rolled eyes nowadays, but it's a fun tradition nevertheless. I hope we hold onto it until we have grandkids to share it with (many, many years down the road.

What special traditions!
What is the most special gift you've ever received at Christmas?

Twenty years ago this Christmas, when my husband and I were engaged, he gave me a diamond tennis bracelet for Christmas. It wasn't just the gift--that was amazing enough--but he gave it to me at a pretty big Christmas party my family attended every Christmas Eve, so I opened the gift with a pretty sizable audience. Frankly, I was a little embarrassed by it, but he was so excited about that gift. A few years later, I lost that tennis bracelet, but my husband, generous as he is, bought me another one, and I wear it all the time. I think that's the most memorable Christmas present I've ever been given.
A guy can never go wrong with diamonds! LOL
Thanks again for your time on this interview. I wish you and your family a very merry and blessed Christmas! 
About Robin Patchen:
If time and money were no object, I would travel constantly. My goal is to visit every place in the entire world--twice. Because, as you know, the first time, you don't know exactly what you want to see. So you flit from one tourist attraction to another and enjoy every minute of it. But it's always on the last day that you find the best thing, and you don't have enough time to explore it properly, and you wished you'd discovered it first (but even if you had, you wouldn't know it was the best thing, because you hadn't seen everything else yet). So you have to go back a second time. It's just logical.
Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and my family doesn't really want to follow me all around the world, so I do the next best thing: I write. In the worlds I create, I can go back to the best places time and again. And when they're not perfect, that's all right--I just edit until they are.
In the real world, I'm married to the man of my dreams, Edward, and together we have three children, Nicholas, Lexi, and Jacob. They are a close second on my list of priorities after my relationship with my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
So that's my life: God, husband, children, and made-up worlds where I have complete control. Who could ask for more?
For more about Robin, visit her blog at
To purchase your copy of One Christmas Eve, go to or and download straight to your Nook or Kindle!
Robin Patchen
Stories of Astonishing Grace
Author of "One Christmas Eve"-- Christmas 2012



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