Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Author Interview: Patricia Kiyono

Author Patricia Kiyono is a retired elementary school teacher who now teaches future teachers at a university. I found it interesting that she also works part time at a bakery. As any doting grandma would, she regularly takes care of her adorable granddaughter. She writes both contemporary and historical romance in novella and novel lengths. Her first historical novel, The Samurai's Garden, was released in electronic book formats by Astraea Press earlier this month.

Welcome, Patricia! What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?

I like to plot out a story. I start with a central conflict, and then choose characters who would have the most at stake in such a conflict. From there, it's a matter of planning a series of events where the couple meets and works together to solve the conflict. And since I write romance, I also need to develop that relationship.

At what time of day do you write best?

I work best in the morning. Right now it's 4 AM and I am getting ready to go to my job at the bakery. I've already read my email and checked Facebook. If I finish this interview and I still have time, I'll probably write another scene in a Valentine's Day story I'm doing with a co-author.

Yikes! That's about the time I get to bed each "night!" With such an early start to your day, what food or snack do you generally use for fuel to keep the words flowing?

When I'm writing, I always have something to drink next to me - either coffee or tea, or sometimes a cappuccino.

Since you like to plot out your work, what sparks a story into life for you? Where does it come from?

As I mentioned before, I usually start with the central conflict. Sometimes it comes from something I read - for example, my samurai story sprang from an article I read that mentioned the abrupt end to the samurai period when Emperor Meiji declared an end to the feudal system and abolished the entire samurai class. Thousands of men had to find a new way of life. I decided to take one former samurai and follow his journey. For my Greek island story, Aegean Intrigue, I began with my daughter's comment that Greek women didn't have much independence.

Then it doesn't matter if a writer is a plotter like you or a pantser like me. Reading is fundamental. What was it about the romance genre that interested you enough to choose to write in it?

I've been reading romance for many years. Even when I worked full time and had two young children, I would make time to read. Romances helped me cope with stress because I would live through the conflict along with the heroine. By the end of the book, the conflict was solved and the hero and heroine lived happily ever after - and then I could go to sleep. I'm hoping my romances can do that for someone else.

That's a great aspiration, Patricia, and another thing we have in common. Tell us about a Character you wish you had created. It could be someone else's famous character, or one you have yet to write about.

Meg Landslow from Donna Andrews' series of cozy mysteries is a wonderful character. She's smart, resourceful, and deals with an amazing amount of stress in each story. Unlike some other series heroines who still have to decide between two or more potential mates, she has settled down with a husband and now has a set of twins - which I expect will inspire even more chaos!

She sounds like a great character! What authors do you look to as a role model and inspiration?

Debbie Macomber and Robyn Carr are my favorite romance authors. They write about real people in real situations.

I like those kinds of stories, too, and those two authors are good role models. What's the best writing advice you ever received?

Just get the words on the page. You can't edit what you haven't written.

Exactly! I believe good writers read a lot. What do you use to mark your page while you're reading a book?

I read on my ipad and iphone for the most part. I can't remember the last traditional book I read! So on those devices, the pages are kept electronically, and when I "open the book" it opens on the page where I left it! This is especially handy because I tend to read on the go—like at doctors' waiting rooms (I drive my mother and husband to lots of doctor appointments) or during lunch breaks at work.

You caught me on that one. I need to edit my questions to stay abreast of the times. What one thing do you like most about writing?

I love being able to craft stories that entertain. I love it when people tell me they've enjoyed a story I've written.

Yeah, that's the best kind of feedback. What do you like least?

The thing I like least is reading the final edition of my book and STILL finding errors or things I could have expressed more clearly!

[sigh] That is the worst thing, finding errors when it's way too late. As I mentioned, your new novel is called The Samurai's Garden, published by Astraea Press. Tell us what the book is about.

The Samurai's Garden is about a former samurai soldier during the 1870s. Japan's emperor Meiji had declared an end to the feudal system, abolishing the entire samurai's class. Hiromasa Tanaka was born into a samurai family, and had spent his life in training to be a warrior. He could join his brother as a member of the Imperial Guard, but he chooses to wander. He goes to the far north, where he meets a struggling female subsistence farmer.

Why should anyone part with their hard earned cash and precious time to read The Samurai's Garden? Sell it to us!

The Samurai's Garden will take you on an adventure unlike any you've taken before. The time period and the location (Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan) are unusual and the culture is different, but you'll find people need and want the same things in life—a safe home, and love.

Those are the universal wants and needs. Where can readers buy your book?

The Samurai's Garden is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

I noticed the price is only $2.99, an excellent price for an ebook. I wish you many sales! What are you writing next, Patricia?

My next project is with a writing partner, Stephanie Michels. We're putting together a series of stories about a group of women who belong to a quilting group in southwest Michigan. The women are a different stages in their lives and lead different lifestyles, but all are connected by their love of quilting. We are hoping that the first book will be available by Valentine's Day.

What a neat idea. Good luck! Now that you're becoming established, what advice would you pass along to other writers?

Write every day, whether you feel like it or not. If the story isn't flowing, journal. Record your rambling thoughts. You never know when those thoughts will gel into another storyline!

Excellent advice. Thank you for being my guest today.

Thank you for having me, Marsha! I'm so honored to be here.

Patricia Kiyono has also written The Legacy, The Christmas Phoenix, Aegean Intrigue, and The Partridge and the Peartree, as well as The Samurai's Garden.

Connect with Patricia online at:
her blog: www.creative-hodgepodge.blogspot.com
her website: www.patriciakiyono.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Patricia-Kiyono/149294485148710
and on Twitter @PatriciaKiyono

Patricia's entire booklist is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.


  1. Thanks so much for having me here, Marsha! Your questions really made me think.

    1. You're welcome! Thanks for doing the interview.

  2. Great interview. And I identify with finding errors in the last proofs... ugh. Somewhat panic inducing :) These books sound fun.

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Sarah. I'm not sure an author ever stops editing a book, even when it's printed. I know I don't.

    2. Thanks, Sarah and Marsha. I'm glad I'm not the only one to find and cringe over these errors.

  3. Scary thing for authors about editing their own books is no matter how many times they, their editors and others read it, there will still be things they miss.

    Interesting to read how other writers work. Thanks!

    Mary Montague Sikes

    1. That's true, Monti, whether an author is traditionally published or working as an independent. No book is without errors. While that's regrettable, it may be a matter of economics whether or not the errors stick around. Once a book is printed, no trad pub will fix minor errors, only really big ones that might result in law suits. :-/

      Thanks for stopping by and adding your comment! We appreciate you.

    2. Yes, thank you, Monti. I think everyone has a system of their own. It's up to us to find what works in our own writing lives!

  4. Great interview. I was immediately struck by the title of her new book because Gail Tsukiyama wrote a novel of the same title several years ago, though it took place on the eve of WWII. It was a great read, and though I know there's no copyright on titles, I couldn't help wondering if Patricia had ever come across it.

    1. I saw Gail Tsukiyama's book as I was scrolling through Amazon's listings, too.

    2. I did see Gail Tsukiyama's book after I submitted mine. I guess I should have checked sooner. I'm surprised I hadn't heard about it sooner, because apparently it's required reading for a lot of high school history classes. Apparently my daughters' classes didn't require it. I hope Ms. Tsukiyama isn't offended.


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