I am loving these interviews! It’s so exciting to find out that you have stuff in common with other writers. Our next writer used to be an elementary school teacher – in the very same grades I have taught! How exciting! Allow me to introduce Patricia Kiyono! (Side note: I do apologize for the formatting on some of these interviews. I am not sure why Blogger is changing my formatting when it publishes my posts! I will work on that.)
1. Please tell us a little bit about you as a person.
I am a retired elementary school teacher. I was trained as a musician, so I taught music for fifteen years then switched to teaching elementary classrooms. I especially enjoyed teaching first and second grade. Now I spend two days a week teaching future teachers at a nearby university, and spend the rest of my time doing things I love best – aside from writing, that includes sewing, scrapbooking, and taking care of grandkids.
2. Tell us about you as a writer.
I’ve always loved to write. When I was in elementary school I would write scripts for my friends and me to act out. Later on, when I was a busy working mom, I’d read as a way to escape my hectic existence by reading romance novels set in exotic locations. But at the time I was writing lesson plans. I used these experiences to write educational materials that have been published at GoTeachIt.com under my real name. I also contributed material that’s included in a textbook for teacher education students.
I joined an RWA chapter in the 1980s and started learning how to write my own stories, but it wasn’t until I retired at age 49 that I began writing seriously with a view to being published. But it took another six years to get there.
My first novella was published by Astraea Press in July 2011. Since then I’ve had two novels and four other novellas published with them. My newest release, a Christmas novel, is published through Eskape Press.
3. What types of writing have you done? Which is your favorite to write and why?
I’ve written both contemporary and historical romance. Between the two, I’m not sure I have a favorite. I have a minor in history and I’m fascinated by stories of real people who’ve shaped our country as well as other cultures. I like to fantasize about what life must have been like for them and the struggles they faced. I also like to write about people in current times. In many ways, young people now have as many challenges facing them as the young people in past generations, despite all the modern conveniences, so there are plenty of conflicts to fuel my stories.
4. What are the three things you need at your side as you write? Why?
a. I always have something to drink at my side. Sometimes hot (coffee, tea, cappuccino) and sometimes cold (ice water), there’s always some kind of liquid within reach. I tend to eat when I’m not active, and having a no calorie drink handy prevents me from munching 24/7.
b. I used to have a dictionary and thesaurus handy, but now that I have them on my laptop I just keep those tabs open. I like to submit my manuscripts with the fewest errors possible. It makes life easier later.
c. My headphones are always within reach. My husband retired from his job before I did, and he got into the habit of ALWAYS having the television on. When he’s not watching it he has it tuned to his favorite Pandora stations. The things he watches are not conducive to writing, so when he’s watching his shows I put my headphones on and listen to something that puts me in a better frame of mind for my stories.
5. If you were to give other writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Make writing a priority. Even if you don’t work on your manuscript, write something each day. If you don’t currently have a blog, start one and write there. Write about the things that make you happy, things that make you said or angry, things that inspire you. Eventually you’ll find your way back to the manuscript, and it’s entirely possible that this time the words will come more easily.
6. Where can we find out more about you?