Let’s start with the basics: when did you first know you were an Author?
Hey, Cynthia! Thanks so much for sending over these terrific questions. There are a lot of them. (cough, cough; lady, I’m just teasing you. Bring it on! LOL!) Let’s get started – and please don’t be selfish with the popcorn.
I first knew I *wanted* to be a published author when I was 9 years old. It was the day I finished Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken. My sister had recommended that story to me. I loved it so much, I hugged the book to my heart and thought, “I want to write something that makes people feel like I feel right now.” I think I was 12 years old when I started my first novel. It was so bad, it was unsalvageable. LOL!
How many books have you published?
To date, I’ve been fortunate to publish 16 stories, six as Patricia Sargeant and 10 as Regina Hart. I’m getting ready to introduce a third pseudonym, Olivia Matthews, for my cozy mystery series. (Cynthia, stop looking at me like that. I know that’s a lot of names to keep track of. Pass me the popcorn.)
Are there any that did not get published?
Yes, I have ideas for several series in various romance subgenres: mystery, paranormal suspense, romantic suspense, time travel and sci-fi/fantasy. I’ve been researching and working on these series off and on for years.
Are you still going to make that happen?
Oh, yes, Cynthia. I am absolutely going to make all of these series happen. I’m grateful so very much to the indie pub trailblazers who have proven to authors – and publishers – that we can tell our stories ourselves. And these trailblazers are so *generous* with their knowledge and experience. They’ve empowered me with hope that I’ll be able to tell my stories with or without a traditional publisher. I’m truly grateful to them for that.
Written any really bad stories that we will never see?
Ha! You know that story I started when I was 12 years old? Yeah, that one will never, ever see the light of day. Let’s just forget I brought it up.
What do you have currently out now?
My last story, Passion Play written as Regina Hart, was released in January 2016. It’s a Harlequin Kimani book that tells the story of Donovan Carroll and Rose Beharie’s romance. Rose doesn’t believe in love and Donovan is just lovely. Irresistible. (Insert lip smacking noise here. LOL!)
What keeps you motivated to write the next story?
The voices in my head. (Cynthia, why are you looking at me like that? And why are you shifting away from me?) But seriously, I have a fire in my belly to tell my stories. I got into publishing not to “write books” but to tell stories, and to share them with as many people as possible. These are the stories I mentioned in response to one of your previous questions. I love walking in those worlds and talking with those characters, and exploring those plots. It’s also important to me to create diverse communities in my stories.
Thank you for asking. I’m pretty excited. LOL! My first-ever cozy mystery written as Olivia Matthews will be released in December 2017. I know. I know. I dislike that it’s such a LLLOOONNNGGG way away. The title is Mayhem & Mass. It’s the first Sister Lou Mystery. Sister Lou is a Catholic sister who’s relocated from Los Angeles, California, to the small (fictional) community of Briar Coast in upstate New York. She teams with a sassy investigative reporter and her nephew, a sexy college advancement executive to solve murders.
Right now, I’m working on the second Sister Lou Mystery, Peril & Prayer.
I’m also going to complete the Brooklyn Monarchs series, which I wrote as Regina Hart. The contemporary romance series features a fictitious professional basketball team. It started with Fast Break, Smooth Play and Keeping Score. I’d wanted to write six stories but the publisher ended the series after the third one. Now that I’ve been inspired by the indie pub trailblazers, I’m going to take a leap of faith in myself to independently publish the remaining stories. Game Plan, a novella, I plan to release in July 2017, reintroduces the team. After Game Plan, I’ll write the final three full-length stories.
What can we, as your support group, do to help you?
Wow, it’s so generous of you to even ask. Thank you so much. Let me get my list. (Just teasing!)
Readers are *tremendously* important. That *cannot* be overstated. I am so grateful to readers who’ve enjoyed my stories enough to recommend them to family and friends. That’s the highest compliment you can give an author. Your recommendations are also far and away the most effective method of spreading the word about our stories. I hope I can continue to write the types of stories you enjoy enough to recommend.
Similar to reader recommendations to family and friends, posting reviews also help us get the word out about our stories. When readers post reviews, it helps boost our stories’ visibility on the internet. The greater our visibility, the greater our sales, the more we’re able to write. Thank you so very much.
What is the wildest thing a fan has said to you?
Oh, that’s a tough one, Cynthia. I haven’t had any crazy fan experiences. Wait! Wait! I’ve got one. It *cracks me up* when people say they can’t imagine me writing stories with violent scenes. Cracks me up. I’m pretty sure it’s because of my voice. What do you think? There’s not much bass to it. For some reason, that makes people think I couldn’t hurt a fly. Ha! So not true.
How important are reviews to you?
Thank you so much for asking. Reviews are tremendously important because they sell books and book sales are how I make my living. I know it takes a lot of time and people don’t have much of that these days, but they’re so important and authors are so very grateful.
Ever receive any hurtful reviews? Elaborate?
Oh, honey, yes! Hold the popcorn while I hop over to Amazon to get one to quote. OK, a reader gave Passion Play, my January 2016 Harlequin Kimani release written as Regina Hart, two out of five stars and wrote that the dialogue was boring, “Too syrupy and perfect.” My point is that I’m fine with that review. Seriously. Not everyone is going to like every story I write. Some people may not like any story I write, which is really sad to think about so moving on …
But here’s what lifted my spirits. The reviewer went on to write that she hopes the next story is better. Booyah! She’s willing to give me another chance and I appreciate that. Maybe this plot wasn’t her cup of tea; perhaps the next one will be. (Get it? “Syrupy”? “Tea”? OK, maybe I’m trying too hard.) So while the review stung a pinch – just a pinch; everyone’s entitled to their opinion and their preferences – she didn’t completely cut me off so I consider that a win. LOL!
What Conventions are you planning to attend in 2017?
Why do you ask? Are you going to warn them about me? LOL!
Sadly, my budget doesn’t allow me to attend as many conferences and I’d like. It’s disappointing because I really enjoy them, catching up with my friends, laughing and having a great time with other readers and authors.
In 2017, I’m especially looking forward to two specific events. In February, I’m presenting at a writers workshop, Writers’ Retreat in Rockville, Maryland. The event is hosted by PCJ Consultants. If you’ve ever thought about writing a book, I encourage you to consider the Writers’ Retreat. I give my session attendees candy. That’s not a bribe; it’s a promise.
In October, I’m excited almost out of my mind to attend the Building Relationships Around Books’ Reading Warriors Retreat in Arlington, Virginia. I attended my first one this year, 2016, and my face hurt from laughing and smiling. It was great.
Are you planning any independent reader events for yourself?
You know, Cynthia, I’d really like to. A reader appreciation type luncheon, perhaps. Maybe someday. Would you come?
Tell us one thing you’d like us to remember about you?
Oh, this is another hard question. Why are you asking hard questions? Are you angry with me? Pass the popcorn. OMG. OK, how about this: I write as Patricia Sargeant, Regina Hart and Olivia Matthews. That’s all I’ve got for now. Not very exciting. Sorry.
Any authors you recommend?
Oh, so many. Too many. The ones that come immediately to mind are Phyllis Bourne, Farrah Rochon, Iris Bolling and Deborah Mello, not just because I consider them friends so they’re always on my mind but also because they’re beautiful storytellers. These ladies can tell some stories. Throw down. Also Beverly Jenkins. If you’re reading this and you haven’t yet read a Beverly Jenkins story, what’s wrong with you? Run – don’t walk – to her website and pick a book. Any book. You’ll thank yourself for it later. LA Banks’ stories changed my life. She and Francis Ray aren’t with us anymore but their work lives in my heart.
Lately, most of my reading has been for research so I’m accumulating a stack of books that I hope to get to soon. Some of the books are by Piper Hughley, Keith Thomas Walker, Eva J. Brock. I’m really anxious to get to them.
Who inspires or motivates you?
In each of my books, I include a dedication to my Dream Team: my sister, Bernadette; my husband, Michael; my brothers Richard and Gideon; and my parents. Without them, I would never have become a published author. It took me 15 years to achieve my dream. They never stopped believing in me, encouraging me, motivating me. I thank God for them always.
Any last thoughts?
Cynthia, in all candor, you’ve done a wonderful job with this interview. You’ve asked fantastic questions. I can tell you put a lot of effort into compiling them. Thank you for your time and trouble, and for this great opportunity.
If there are readers who would like to find out more about the stories I’ve written, I invite them to visit my website, www.PatriciaSargeant.com. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do about my Olivia Matthews website yet, but my internet landing page allows visitors to select either Patricia Sargeant or Regina Hart.
Well, the popcorn’s all gone. Thanks for spending time with me. Mwah!