Author Chat with Robin Patchen

20 Apr

Robin with Finding AmandaIt’s a thrill to seat one of our own, Robin Patchen, in the guest chair for today’s Author Chat. Robin has been, and continues to be, a vital member of the Quid Pro Quills. We wouldn’t be who we are without her! Today we’re celebrating with Robin on the release of her third book, Finding Amanda.

Robin is giving away a copy of Finding Amanda to one lucky winner! See below for details.

Tweet This: #NewRelease giveaway today from @RobinPatchen on the #QuidProQuills

QPQ: First things first, Robin, tell us what Finding Amanda is all about.

Robin:  Thank for hosting me. Before I jump in, let me just say that without my awesome critique partners here at Quid Pro Quills, Finding Amanda would be a mess, as would all my books. Y’all rock. Seriously.

On to the story:

Chef and popular blogger Amanda Johnson hopes publishing her memoir will provide healing and justice. Her estranged husband, contractor and veteran soldier Mark Johnson, tries to talk her out of it, fearing the psychiatrist who seduced her when she was a teen might return to silence her.

But Amanda doesn’t need advice, certainly not from her judgmental soon-to-be ex-husband. Her overconfidence makes her vulnerable when she travels out of town and runs into the abuser from her past. A kind stranger comes to her rescue and offers her protection.

Now Mark must safeguard his wife both from the fiend who threatens her life and from the stranger who threatens their marriage.

QPQ: What prompted you to write this story? What made it important to you?

Robin: That’s a funny story, actually. I was at the ACFW Conference in St. Louis in September of 2011. The conference took place at the St. Louis Hyatt at the Arch, and in the lobby of the hotel, there are these contemporary, box-like chairs. The first day I was there, I sat in one of those chairs, and I immediately didn’t like it. I’m a bit claustrophobic, and I thought, if someone were to sit on the coffee table, I’d be trapped. And then the wheels started turning. What if someone did? What if that someone were a villain? A person I’d been trying to avoid?

From that seed, the idea grew. Over the next few days while I sat in workshops and met authors and editors and agents, in the back of my mind, that seed germinated. Four days later on the eight-hour drive home, I came up with the basic plot. During the rest of September and October, I wrote a general outline and figured out who my characters were, and then in November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo—and wrote over fifty thousand words. I finished the novel in January. It’s been waiting for publication ever since.

QPQ: What better place to birth a story than the ACFW Conference! What do you hope readers will take away from Finding Amanda?

Robin: I write my stories to entertain, so I hope people walk away feeling like they’ve been on an exciting, suspenseful ride.

But I hope people find a nugget of truth in it, too. Too many people—and I used to be one of them—believe they are defined by their past mistakes. Both the hero and the heroine in this book have something shameful in their past, and both of them have to face it and be free of it in order to embrace their future together. Like Amanda and Mark, I have some pretty ugly stuff in my past, but I’m not defined by my failures. I’m not even defined by my successes. We are all defined by God, who knows everything about us and loves us anyway.

QPQ: Amen to that! You’re already a multi-published author with a well-known agent. Walk us through your thought process as you decided to self-publish Finding Amanda.

Robin: That’s an excellent question. My agent, the brilliant Chip MacGregor, tried to sell Finding Amanda and didn’t have any luck. We talked about taking the book to smaller publishers, but Chip encouraged me to self-publish instead. He thought I could get more traction and might be happier if I had more control over the process. I was nervous about it—nervous enough that it’s taken me a year to take his advice. But after much prayer and the gentle prodding of kind friends, I tentatively stepped in.

QPQ: What is the single most important tip you have for someone thinking about self-publishing a novel?

Robin: Don’t self-publish a bad book. And unless your mother and your best friend are publishing professionals, they can’t tell you if your book is good or bad. Find good critique partners (hint: they’re not all good—and mine are the best) and take their advice. Then hire a great editor who can help you reshape your book into the best possible story. Then after you’ve made the story as good as you can, hire a proofreader. Until you’ve done all of those things, you’re not ready. You just may learn as you go through the editing process is that the book isn’t where it should be. If you publish a book that isn’t ready, you can do irreparable damage to your career as a novelist.  And there are enough bad books on the market already. Let yours be one of the great ones.

QPQ: Great advice. What’s coming next from author Robin Patchen?

Robin: This summer, I hope to publish the story of how the hero and heroine from Finding Amanda met. It’s a novella-length romance that takes place in Providence, Rhode Island, right after September 11th. After that, only God knows.

QPQ: And finally, where can readers connect with you on-line?

Robin: Visit my webpage at If you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll receive a free e-cookbook of Amanda’s favorite recipes, which has all the recipes mentioned in the book with a few more thrown in, just for fun. It also has excerpts from Finding Amanda.

You can also find me through my freelance editing website, Join my newsletter there and receive updates and occasional specials related to editing.

And of course I’d love for you to buy my book. It’s available at:


Barnes & Noble:



Giveaway: Leave a comment for Robin here and include your e-mail address. Do it securely, such as writer[at]jumbo[dot]com so the bots don’t pick it up. It’s that simple! A winner in the 48 contiguous states will have their choice of paperback or e-book. A winner from Alaska, Hawaii and other countries will receive an e-book copy. Drawing takes place on Sunday, May 3rd, at or about 5:00pm Central. 


Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Author Chat, Giveaway, Robin Patchen


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

29 responses to “Author Chat with Robin Patchen

  1. Linda W. Yezak

    April 20, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Good interview. I never considered myself claustrophobic, but one time when I was working the in the church nursery, I was at the back of the room and all the parents started crowding in at the door to pick up their kids. I went into a state of panic, feeling trapped and closed in by what felt like enough humanity to populate an entire city. Couldn’t breathe, started sweating. Terrified. Only time that’s ever happened, but I guess that’s because I make it a point not to be in similar circumstances.

    Looking forward to Robin’s new book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin Patchen

      April 20, 2015 at 11:01 am

      Thanks, Linda! I am claustrophobic, but in order to understand the sensation my heroine would have in the book, I climbed in the trunk of my husband’s sedan and had him drive around the block. That little ornery part of me hoped he’d get pulled over for something, so I could freak out a police officer. No luck. It was scary, that tiny space, but I’m with you. It’s not so much small spaces that bother me but being hemmed in by bodies.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. jerichakingston

    April 20, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Congratulations, Robin! This book is so amazing. You’re such a gifted author.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin Patchen

      April 20, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Thank you, friend! It’s a good book because I had lots of help!


  3. Terri

    April 20, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Robin – I love learning how authors come up with their story lines. Finding Amanda is definitely a fast paced ride. Congratulations! I look forward to reading more of your novels in the future.


  4. Normandie Fischer (@WritingOnBoard)

    April 20, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Hugs to you, Robin. Hoping Finding Amanda becomes the next self-publishing success story!


  5. candicesuepatterson

    April 20, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Congratulations on your book, Robin! Finding Amanda is remarkable. Can’t wait to get my hands on a live copy. Off to get one now.


    • Robin Patchen

      April 20, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Thanks, Candice! I so appreciate you and all my critique partners.


  6. Marge Wiebe

    April 20, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Congrats, Robin! So excited for you! I’ve no doubt this story will touch many hearts while providing an entertaining–and thrilling!–ride.


  7. tanaramccauley

    April 20, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Congratulations Robin! Finding Amanda sounds like a great book, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Carolyn Astfalk

    April 20, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Looking forward to reading “Finding Amanda.” I love the cover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin Patchen

      April 20, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks, Carolyn! My good friend Lacy Williams designed the cover for me. I’m terrible at stuff like that, and she’s really talented. Thanks for stopping by!


  9. Kelly Anne Liberto

    April 20, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    As one who is familiar with your editing skills, I’d love to read your biok Robin! Many blessings on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kara (@KaraHunt2015)

    April 21, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Congratulations, Robin! Can’t wait to get my hands on the paperback!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sharon

    April 25, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Robin, I’m so excited to watch this happen for you. More excited that I have seen the project take on a life of it’s own. It’s fun to be “behind the scenes”. I loved it that you included your forgotten ring in the story! Best of luck!!


    • Robin Patchen

      April 26, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks, Sharon. Yeah, that was a big issue for me that weekend, so I had to work it in. My daughter wears the cheap pseud-wedding ring I bought in the gift shop. Who leaves home for 4 days and forgets their wedding ring? Yup, that’d be me.


  12. gkittleson

    April 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Love your statement about not being defined by our failures, Robin. THANKS!! I needed that this a.m., and would love to win your book. gkittleson at myomnitel dot com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin Patchen

      April 25, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! It’s so easy to say and so hard to remember. Have a fantastic weekend.


  13. Linda Thompson

    April 27, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Robin, I’ve read the first couple chapters and I am definitely a fan! Chapter 1 had just the perfect subtle creepiness–I’m in awe. 🙂 Was Chip able to give you any further info as to why the big houses weren’t interested? Was it too “edgy,” or is market for CBA fiction just that soft right now?


    • Robin Patchen

      April 28, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Thanks, Linda. I was going for creepy, so I’m glad i achieved it. My book might be a little edgier than some, though I don’t think this one is too edgy for the CBA (like some of my others are). Seems the CBA publishers are circling the wagons around established writers and genres right now until the dust settles. Romance is still king with the CBA, and this isn’t romance (though it does have a love story, but the hero and heroine are already married.) So I think it’s more about the industry than about my writing. At least that’s what I like to tell myself! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!


  14. Linda Thompson

    April 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I saw him at the Faith & Culture conference in Portland a couple weeks ago and he told me the CBA fiction market is pretty soft, but felt confident it’s just a cycle and it will come back. So you’re positioning yourself well with a strong self-published novel IMO! 😉
    My WIP doesn’t feature a romance element, and I’ve always wondered how that might impact my story’s prospects. I suppose this is horrible to say but I personally get impatient with romances! Not that romance can’t be in the story, but so often the “happily ever after” has to BE the story in women’s fiction. 😦


    • Robin Patchen

      April 28, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      I agree with you about a lot of romances, Linda. I love a good love story, but let’s not make that the story’s goal. Genre romance sells great in the CBA, so you and I are facing an uphill battle. But like Chip says, it’ll swing back.


  15. Robin Patchen

    May 5, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Congratulations, Tanara! You won the free copy of Finding Amanda, and it’s in the mail already. I hope you enjoy it!



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