About the Author
Patricia Beal has danced ballet since her childhood and has performed with pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States. She fell in love with a handsome airborne infantryman at Fort Bragg, married him, and quit her day job to have his babies. Soon came the desire to have book babies, too. Patricia is a Genesis Award semi-finalist, First Impressions finalist, and the author of A Season to Dance (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017). She writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children.
1. What inspired the idea for Desert Willow?
Desert Willow is a love song to the City of El Paso, to family, and to Prince Harry.
It started as a NaNoWriMo project in 2015 and has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil, the beginning of the shoe industry there, and the story of the most influential man her town has ever known, my great-grandfather.
And what does that have to do with El Paso and Prince Harry?
Well, my Prince Harry lookalike, a young Army captain named Andrew Lee James who lives in El Paso, is helping the protagonist deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter she was urged to write all those years ago after what happened in Brazil.
2. What did you as an author take away from writing Desert Willow?
I enjoyed writing this romance and writing deep third person POV for the first time, but I discovered that I’m more comfortable writing first person POV women’s fiction, like my debut, A Season to Dance. I also discovered that I prefer taking my time when writing a novel.
3. Who was your favorite character to write in this story?
The contemporary story of Clara (protagonist) and Andrew was fun to write because I’ve been around the Army since the nineties. What I enjoyed the most about writing this novel was making all the connections and showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply.
4. What type of research did you do for this story?
I asked my mom a lot of questions about the history of Campo Bom.
5. What is your favorite season? Why?
Spring! Flowers, baby animals, perfect temperatures…
6. What is something about you that might surprise your readers?
I love my day job. I’m an Army Special Operations Forces civilian employee, and there isn’t a thing I would rather do with my life. What a privilege to serve alongside America’s best, helping them in the fight against our Nation’s adversaries.
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