Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Patricia Yager Delagrange ~ an interview and her novel ~ Moon Over Alcatraz

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TITLE: Moon Over Alcatraz
RELEASE DATE: November 15th
AUTHOR: Patricia Yager Delagrange
ISBN: 978-1515395294
IMPRINT: Black Hawk

Patricia Yager Delagranger

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and Jack. Her Friesian horse Maximus lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.


Q: Tell me something you would like your readers (fans) to know about you.
A: I own a big black gorgeous Friesian horse who's the love of my life. I bought him in 2004 when he was four years old and were still together!  People think hes a Clydesdale which always makes me laugh because he weighs (only) 1,425 pounds. Clydesdales are more in the 2,000+ pound range and look nothing like a Friesian. Friesians are totally black with no white or any other color on them. They have very long regal-like necks and feathers covering their hooves. Im was in love the day he and I met.

Q: If you could morph into any creature what would it be?
A: I would be one of my dogs.
            If you dont mind me asking, why?   
A: We have two chocolate labs: the mom Annabella and her son Jack. Living with this family means I would be able to lie around on the couch all day, be fed two meals a day, get cuddled every evening by those I love and even though I weigh 100 pounds, Id still get to sit in my owners laps. And on top of all this, Id have the privilege of sleeping on a my humans bed every night and even slide up onto their pillow and nuzzle their necks. Now THATS a dogs life.
Q: Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep sounds. Is your preference, white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?
A:  I always thought Id love to live in a house on the beach. Id fall asleep to the sound of the waves, lulling me into dreamland. Then we took a vacation where we rented a house on the beach in my native state of California. I discovered the crashing waves were just too noisy. They kept me awake. I prefer to sleep in utter silence though I find sleeping in the woods soothing and enjoy chirping birds and crickets.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: I listen to all types of music. On my iPhone I have Sarah Brightman singing opera, Drake rapping, theme songs from the television show Empire, as well as Phantom of the Opera with Gerard Butler. All these songs are mixed up together so I enjoy blasting The Allman Brothers singing One Way Out which segues into Dean Martins My Rifle, My Pony, and Me. 

Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: In 2009 my daughter came home from school and said her friends asked her why her mommy didnt work. Id been a stay-at-home mom since giving birth to my son but her question made me stop dead in my tracks. I thought about it.  I certainly did have more time on my hands since they were both in school until the late afternoon. So I went out and bought a MacBook and wrote my first novel. Since then Ive written four more and found its my passion.  Who knew?

Q: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
A: I find the hardest part of writing a book is thinking up an idea for a book thats in some way original. They say every theme thats ever been thought of has already been written and that very well may be true. I discovered its the way an author writes and not really the theme thats important. All you have to do is know how popular romance novels are to understand that its not girl meets guy and falls in love that makes you love a certain author. Its how that author writes about that girl falling in love with that guy. Its the authors voice that the reader falls in love with.

Q; What is your least favorite part?
A: My least favorite part of writing is editing the book to get it ready for publication. Any author will tell you that they probably have no idea how many times theyve read their own novels - over and over and over again until its what we want to think of as perfect though it never is. Even when Ive signed off on a novel as ready to be published, I could still change things about it. At some point you just have to stop.

Q: Who's your favorite author?
A: One of my favorite authors is Joy Fielding. She has a way of writing that gives you a great sense of the inner feelings and thoughts of her main characters to the point where you think you know them intimately. Plus her themes are unusual and out of the ordinary.  I dont need a happily ever after to enjoy a book.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I started my sixth book today as a matter of fact. Right now the temporary title is Call Me Maddy and its about a young woman who has had several miscarriages. After her second one she finds a baby in a dumpster. Her life changes quite a bit after that happens.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: Moon Over Alcatraz is coming out on November 15th. Its a romantic womens fiction novel about a married couples relationship and what happens to them after they go through a devastating experience.

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?

Brandy Chambers was looking forward to the birth of her first child. She and Weston move from San Francisco to the small town of Alameda to start a family, she’s writing her second book, and Weston has a fantastic job working on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge project. Having this baby would make her already-wonderful life perfect.

But when the baby dies after a difficult birth, Brandy’s perfect life blows up in her face. Stricken with grief, she and Weston pull apart. This new distance leads them both to disaster. Not until a chance encounter with her high school friend, Edward Barnes, does Brandy pull herself together. Brandy and Weston agree to recommit to each other, striving to forgive infidelity and recreate their previous existence.

Everything is once again going according to plan—until Brandy discovers she’s pregnant. While she struggles to cope with this new obstacle, Edward Barnes returns to town and discovers she’s having a baby, while Weston is torn between his love for his wife and his anger at her betrayal. Can Brandy manage to keep her marriage to Weston together? Will Edward be a part of Brandy’s life if she and Weston separate?

“Breathe, Brandy, breathe.”
Weston’s voice came from the side of the hospital bed where I lay propped up, knees bent to accommodate Dr. Farney checking to see how far my cervix had dilated.
Gritting my teeth, eyes shut, I inhaled through my nose. The pungent odor of sweat wafted through my nostrils. I imagined the crest of a deep-blue wave curling over, white foam churning, crashing down, wave after wave speeding toward the edge of a sandy beach.
But I couldn’t take in a full breath. I opened my mouth, tried sucking in air, lungs on fire, the pain like a serrated knife to my belly, hands flailing, slapping the sides of the bed to get Weston’s attention.
“She can’t breathe.” I could hear the panic in his voice. He was scared. So was I. Is this how a first delivery is supposed to go?
Dr. Farney’s voice tore through the delivery room. “The baby’s heart rate is slowing.”
A plastic mask lowered over my mouth and nose, and a steady flow of oxygen began pouring through. I shifted my gaze to the right. Weston’s eyes were riveted on my lower body, his brows dipped down, mouth set in a tight line.
“What’s wrong?” I shouted, my voice muffled beneath the mask.
Weston leaned down, his body blocking the glare of the overhead lights. “Take deep breaths. They’re using forceps to get the baby out.” He gripped my hand and squeezed then edged toward the foot of the bed. “Doctor, is the baby okay?”
“Umbilical cord’s wrapped around her neck. She’s twisted in the birth canal.” Dr. Farney’s voice sounded achingly calm.
Wrapped around her neck...twisted in the birth canal...My baby girl had been due in early June, but she was being born three weeks early. However, Dr. Farney had urged us not to worry.
The pain was beyond bad. It was excruciating. Suddenly the pressure in my groin subsided. I inhaled one deep breath, then another, and my lower body deflated like a leaky tire.
“The baby’s not...She’s not breathing,” Weston whispered.
A deafening silence splintered through the room.
I tugged on Weston’s hand. He twisted his head in my direction,
tears glistening along his lower lashes.
My mind registered the screams, but my ears heard only the wild thumping of my heart as flecks of black clouded my vision.
Weston opened the front door of our house on Lauren Drive just a few blocks away from the hospital and I stepped through the threshold. Every chair, each pillow in the front room looked as if it had been reupholstered in drab, lifeless material. Walls, knickknacks, rugs took on an alien quality. I was seeing them for the first time with a new pair of eyes, filtered through a veil of tragedy and disappointment.
I sat on the couch, squinting out the window. Tiny sparrows flitted between the branches of the oak trees in our front yard. The warmer than average May weather had wilted the white petunias and pink geraniums cascading over the sides of the hanging baskets on the front porch. I’d have to water them soon.
Maybe if I closed my eyes when I awakened all of this would not have happened. Resting my hands on my stomach, I felt the place where she’d lived for nine months. Now only a small bulge remained which would be gone in a month or two. There was no baby inside of me. There was no baby outside of me. There was no baby, period.
A heavy blanket of guilt hung across my shoulders like a woolen shroud. I’d destroyed our happiness. On the other side of the room my mother’s gilt-edged mirror reflected an image—a woman with an empty womb, a black void for a uterus. My body had betrayed me. Unable to give birth to a healthy baby, I couldn’t give my husband the child we’d been waiting for nine long months.
Weston sat next to me and I reached out and grasped his wrist. “Remember the night she was conceived?”
He bent his head, shaking it from side to side. “Don’t do this, Brandy.”
“We were living in San Francisco. We made love on the deck. You could see the full moon—like a huge medallion, hanging by an invisible chain over Alcatraz.”
“Never saw it look that way before,” he whispered then walked over to the window and stood, his back facing me.
“I thought it was a sign...a good an omen, you know?”
He turned back around, his lips set in a tight line. “I’ll get you some breakfast.”
He walked into the hallway, his steps sluggish. He brought in a tray with dry toast, juice and coffee and placed it on the table in front of the couch then sat down next to me. “I know you’re devastated you lost the baby, honey, but we can—”
My knee caught the edge of the breakfast tray as I stood up, food toppling onto the floor. Gritting my teeth so hard my temples throbbed, I glared down at him. “Don’t you dare.”
His jaw dropped open, eyes wide. “What the...? What do you mean?”
“You know damn well what I mean.” My bottom lip quivered, tears coursed down my cheeks. “You were going to tell me we can have another baby, weren’t you?” His silence was my answer but I needed to hear the words. “Weren’t you?” I yelled, droplets of spit flying from my lips.
He glanced down at his hands then up at me. “Yes,” he muttered, his face a mask of hurt and pain. “Does that make me some kind of monster?”
In my heart, the truth was just the opposite. I was the monster. My body had given birth to a dead baby. Something inside me had killed her. Weston had done nothing wrong. But I had. Sometime during my pregnancy I’d messed up, and now I’d have to live with that knowledge. Forever.
Desperate for sleep, I trudged up the stairs, hoping to wake up and discover my world hadn’t come crashing down around me. But at three a.m. my mind stirred. Cradling my abdomen with both hands, I missed the feel of Christine’s nighttime punches and kicks. Slumping down under the comforter, I turned onto my side and prayed slumber would overtake me. A single star appeared behind my closed eyelids and I mouthed a wish that I’d never wake up.
But I did wake up, and lay staring at the window, mesmerized by the sun’s rays that highlighted thousands of tiny dust motes fluttering near the curtains. Nothing mattered. I couldn’t imagine making the effort to leave my bed, get dressed, walk downstairs, fix a meal. They all seemed like unimaginably complex and exhausting tasks.
At some point, Weston entered the bedroom and laid a hand on my shoulder. “Honey, would you listen to me for a second?”
I turned onto my back and stared at him, knowing if I opened my mouth I’d cry a ceaseless ocean of wasted emotion. Not one tear, or a million tears, would bring her back.
“We both lost Christine, honey, and I’m sad too. You’ve got to get up, take a walk, start writing again, whatever.” He knelt beside the bed and covered my hand with his. “Do this for yourself, Brandy. Or do it for me.”
Scenes in the hospital played over and over, my mind spinning like a DVD player. If I said anything, it would have to be about my daughter dying before I had a chance to hold her.
“I’m sorry for getting angry with you,” I mumbled. Weston’s face shimmered back at me, tears veiling my vision. “It’s heart’s been ripped out, and what do I have to replace it? What am I going to do?”
He lay down on the bed, facing me. “We lost our daughter. You have every right to break down, fall apart, do whatever you need to, babe.” He wrapped a stray piece of hair around my ear and gently rubbed the back of his hand down my cheek. “I’m here for you, whenever you need me.”
I sat up and leaned back against the pillows, staring at the far wall. “I have a follow-up appointment with the doctor in a month. I’ll talk to her about it.”
He sat up, gave me a chaste kiss then wrapped me in his arms. “It’ll take time. We’ll never forget what happened and we’ll always remember Christine. She won’t be here with us, but we can be happy again.”
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