Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Author Spotlight: Patry Francis

By Amy MacKinnon

This photo was taken on February 27, 2007 at Grub Street South at Buttonwood Books. To be perfectly honest, I can't remember if it was taken before or after I hosted a Liar's Party for Patry Francis, though I believe it was before. What I do remember clearly was the night of the party.

On an Aries-like whim, I offered to invite 50 of my closest friends and have Patry as my guest for a book signing after reading this post in January of 2007. I identified with her immediately, adored her even. But then, oh dear Lord, I remembered I don't have parties. I don't enjoy gathering people in my home serving them food and drink and pithy conversation. The pressure! In the days and weeks before, I was terribly anxious about the cleanliness of my home, the decor, what food I'd prepare, and drinks too. I decided on a simple menu of desserts only and baked them all the day before. That calmed me some.

The night of the party, Patry arrived first and was just as you've probably imagined: cerebral, calm, warm, and funny, the kind of person who becomes an instant friend. Soon the guests began arriving, and then it dawned on me why I was especially anxious to host this gathering. In my home, among my friends, was a writer, a published author. Most of the people there knew how long I'd been tilting at that windmill. A few of them even knew of the book I had hidden away, the one that was declined by 73 agents. Only a handful knew I was working on another. I wasn't in a good place with my revisions. I wasn't hopeful.

After mixing some, it was time for Patry to read from The Liar's Diary. We were all under her spell, her voice was steady and utterly charming. She sold a lot of books that night. When she finished, she asked if anyone had any questions and many did. Then a woman asked how difficult the writing process is and what it felt like to finally triumph. I was as taken as the rest, waiting on Patry's answer. I desperately wanted to know. Patry said what you might expect and then she turned to me and said something along the lines of, you could ask Amy.

I was flummoxed and stammered my reply, "But I've never published a book."

"You will," said Patry, nodding. "I know you will."

I was astonished, relieved even: She had faith in me.

I can tell you to pre-order The Liar's Diary because you will love this book that begs the eternal question of how well do we know those closest to us -- even ourselves. I could tell you to pre-order The Liar's Diary because you've worked hard and deserve to treat yourself. I could quote from the review in Ladies Home Journal -- “The new questions and revelations just keep coming…Readers will be heartily rewarded." But I won't. What I will tell you is that it takes a special person, one of compassion and wit and fortitude to write a novel that delves into its characters as completely as The Liar's Diary. As writers, as readers you will learn from this book. More important, you will enjoy it.

So for Patry who can't promote the paperback release of her book, we here at the Writers' Group are honored to do so. Because you're a favorite writer, because you're a generous soul, but most of all because we have faith in you, Patry Francis.


Robin said...

This is really wonderful, Amy. The stories, the writing, you, Patry -- all wonderful. I'm so glad I stopped by.

Lisa said...

It is a great book and Patry is truly a beautiful and inspirational soul.

Carleen Brice said...

What a beautiful post!

Anonymous said...

I came across this over on Zoetrope:

In support of Patry Francis and this remarkable blog initiative, Penguin Group USA would like to offer 15% off the paperback edition of The Liar's Diary when purchased online from us.penguingroup.com until 2/15/2008.

On the shopping cart page, enter PATRY in the "coupon code" field and click "update cart" to activate it.

go to http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780452289154,00.html

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

I'm so glad you stopped by too, Robin. Everyone who's been touched by Patry adores her. She's a gentle soul.

Lisa, I loved your post today. I rember when she first posted on your blog and how excited you were. One of her many gifts is inspiring confidence in other writers.

Carleen, I'm sure you'll find over 300 beautiful posts about Patry today. She's that kind of person and we're lucky enough to belong to that kind of writing community.

Kira, I had no idea. Thanks for the great information. Order away, all.

xo, Amy

Anonymous said...

I just Blog Googled her and got 643 hits. (12:18 p.m.)

Larramie said...

Amy, your words always go straight to my heart and tears flow from joy.

This IS a day of celebration and I'm honored for the opportunity to help spread word of Patry's amazing book now in trade paperback edition. Please, if you've already read the novel, why not "gift" a friend with it...just because.

And -- ahem -- that magic you experienced with Christmas in July was aided by Santa's favorite Elf, Patry!

Lisa said...

I had to come back because your comment made me cry when I remembered those very first posts. And the first writer to comment on my very first blog post and to welcome me to this amazing online community was you. Thank you. Gosh, this whole event has me all a little verklempt!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Kira, I did the same thing at the same time! We must be like-minded.

Larramie, one of the strangest aspects of this whole online community is the closeness we feel with complete strangers. Though I don't even know your name, I feel a deep and abiding kinship. How wonderful that our circle includes so many other valued friends.

Lisa, I'll never forget when you wondered if you should blog, if I remember correctly you worried that you weren't "a writer" and therefore didn't hae the right. Each day I go to your blog and read it, I'm thrilled you saw the light and not the least bit surprised Patry was there at the beginning. It's a day to be verklempt.


Sustenance Scout said...

Amy, I love this post, this (wonderful!) story about Patry, this photo. I continue to be amazed by her impact, though really, it all makes perfect sense because it all ties back to Patry. Thanks for writing this. K.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Kristen, on those when you wonder if one person can really make a difference in the world, think back to today. Patry has touched each of us. Then Susan Henderson, Karen Dionne, et al worked outward from the epicenter and in ever-widening concentric circles we now have today. Bliss.


Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Guess what?! It's currently #470 on Amazon! Let's keep going!


Patry Francis said...

I read this yesterday, but was too overwhelmed by everything to comment...I knew I would have to come back though. This brought back so many good memories...the night I first met you and Lynne and Buttonwood...all our phone calls--and especially your party!

One quibble: those desserts were NOT a simple menu. It was one of the most elegant and delicious bounties ever--a bit like one of your posts here. And yes, ever since I began to read your writing, I knew you would sell your novel and have a huge success with it. So thank you so much for this beautiful post--and for everything it's made me remember. xo

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Oh Patry, you are beloved and yourabove post is an example of why: grace and elan. I wish you three cups ofbliss, my friend.


Anonymous said...

Oh, what a wonderful post! Patry is truly just such an inspirational writer, person, woman, EVERYTHING. I'm so thrilled I found her blog (and her book) and yes, I remember when she first posted on my blog--I felt like such a fan girl!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Mardougrrl, we are all fans. We have a wonderful supportive community here. What a gift.


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