Patty Smith Hall grew up hearing family stories of gallant men and gutsy ladies. At age fifteen, she wrote her first novel … and then she took a detour into the medical field.
She continued to study the craft of writing, listening to instructional tapes during her daily commute to work. But, with the birth of her daughters, her time and energy were soon diverted to the task of raising two little girls.
Still, Patty never gave up on writing, and her initial success came with stories published in the God Allows U-Turns series. Her debut novel, Hearts in Flight, won a 2008 American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis Award and was picked by Publisher’s Weekly as a top inspirational read for the 2011 spring and summer season.
Patty and her husband live in North Georgia.
You have released (or been part of) nearly a dozen books in the past four years. What started you on your writing journey?
My writing career started in the middle of the night! When our girls were still at home and in school, I was one busy woman — helping out with Girl Scouts, teaching Sunday school, volunteering at school while helping my mother care for my grandparents. My life was full — and very exhausting!
But one night, I was nudged awake by a low tender voice — Be Still. Now, I’ve never been still a day in my life, but obviously God wanted my attention if He had to wake me up to tell me to be still. So I scaled back my activities, spent more time in the Bible and writing in my prayer journal. It was in that prayer journal where I wrote my first devotionals that were later published.
Just as all good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
You bet I have. I graduated from college with a degree in Nursing, but the day I learned I’d passed my license test, I was attacked by a patient and spent the next six months recovering from spinal surgery.
Years later, the doctors realized I had nerve damage on my right side and declared me disabled. Not a great thing to deal with when you’re twenty-nine years old and have two little girls to take care of.
I was blessed though — I’d taken out disability insurance when I started working and it covered my share of the household responsibilities. I got to stay at home and raise our daughters. And the Lord gave me my writing ministry.
Let’s talk about your new Christmas novella, which is part of Christmas Traditions, a collection with seven other authors (CreateSpace, August 2015). Please tell us about it — and the other authors.
Christmas Lessons is a novella that’s related to my World War II stories from Love Inspired. It’s the story of Claire and Billy, a pair who grew up together and who have both dealt with physical disabilities. It was wonderful giving them their happily-ever-after!
The other ladies I collaborated with — Cynthia Hickey, Gina Welborn, Jennifer Allee, Darlene Franklin, Niki Turner, Carrie Fancetts Pagels, Angela Breidenbach — are wonderful, as are their stories. I feel very blessed to work with them.
You also have a new novel, Baby Barter, releasing from Love Inspired/Steeple Hill in January. Please tell us a little about it.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Home from the war, army nurse Thea Miller is determined to adopt her late sister’s baby and begin a new life. But someone else has the same intentions — the town sheriff and Thea’s old friend, Mack Worthington. Now, in order to keep her niece in the family, Thea must reach an agreement with him.
Mack isn’t sure Thea — whose actions once hurt him badly — is committed to baby Sarah. And a judge may never approve a single-parent adoption for either of them. But what if they got married? It would be a marriage in name only. Yet the more time Mack spends with Thea, the more he begins to believe their pretend family can become the real one they’ve both been longing for.
A few fun questions in celebration of the holiday season…
What’s your favorite Christmas song?
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
What’s your favorite Christmas comfort food?
Bacon-wrapped smokies cooked in brown sugar — but way too fattening.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition or memory?
My family always adopted a family in need during the Christmas season. My parents always taught us that a person has a hard time believing in a loving God when they’re freezing to death or has an empty stomach. It’s something our family still does today.
Which best describes your perfect Christmas tree: a lush blue spruce decorated with the latest couture; a shaggy cedar covered in homemade ornaments and strung with popcorn; a vintage aluminum tree with shiny glass bulbs; or a palm tree adorned with pink flamingos?
A shaggy cedar (artificial!) with tons of homemade ornaments — there’s a story behind each ornament we put on our tree.
I’m a dog lover. Will there be any “pet” stockings hanging from the mantle at your house this year?
I wished! We lost our sweet Yorkie last year and haven’t had the heart to adopt another puppy yet.
I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Thank you for taking the time to stop by DivineDetour. May you have a blessed Christmas.
Thanks for having me, and I hope you have a blessed holiday season too.
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