On one hand if one were to try to wrap Patti Lacy into a package
deal you'd be tempted to lump-sum her as a warm, welcoming woman who keeps God foremost in her heart. Yet, on the other hand, Patti really can't be contained neatly into a tidy package because she is way too dynamic of a person. From a casual hello three years ago, to I-definitely-remember-you last year, to let's-have-coffee at this year's conference, Patti has kept in touch with me and I am very grateful. This week, Patti will share with us about her writing and a fascinating account about her trip to China.
A GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY
Patti's 4th novel, RECLAIMING LILY, is an October release from Bethany House. She is graciously offering one copy of this novel to one randomly chosen commenter. Although it's not necessary to become a Follower of this blog, I would so appreciate it if you would☺ And, to make it easy to contact you if you were to win this book, please leave your e-mail in the comment.
RECLAIMING LILY is your fourth novel. Your plots encompass family secrets, fractured families, segregation, and illness. Do you see an "author's theme" developing through your work?
Elaine, I’m glad you asked! God gifted me a career verse, Romans 8:28, as a theme for my “Spanning Seas and Secrets” novels. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Dear ones, He will work for your good even in the throes of abandonment. Rape. Rejection. Miscarriage. Fatal disease.
Your first three novels also center around music: Irish folk songs, spiritual/gospel tunes, and classical music. How important is music in your life? Do you see music as a connecting link between people throughout the times?
As I type this interview, Ashley Cleveland’s belting out “All It Takes,” from my Pandora site and asking me, “Are you willing?” Music soothes the pain in my soul, motivates me to write, channels my angst into praise for Him.
Oh, yeah, I see music as a connecting link, and I’m talking ALL KINDS of stuff!!! I cram my bookshelf and car storage compartment with CDS that range from Joan Baez and Daniel Bailey to David Crowder Band and Selah. Rock & roll, Celtic, hymns, classical, rap, R&B, soul, gospel, jazz—you name it, I’ve probably listened to it, and even duo-ed with some of the big names. Why haven’t they called me up on the stage? ☺
In researching Reclaiming Lily, have you traveled to China or claim any social, business, or cultural ties to that country?
Funny you ask, Elaine. In 1987-1988, my parents taught English in China via the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board. YEARS later, God whispered, “Write Reclaiming Lily,” which tells the story of a brave Chinese doctor who just HAPPENS to be Mom’s physician. Can you believe God’s ways?
To capture China on paper, I just HAD to go. In May 2010, China unfolded in a BEAUTIFUL way. A soulmate friend who’s a Chinese national guided me to areas rarely seen by Westerners. I explored the complexities and incongruities of this great land.
My passport proves I spent 17 days in a glorious land. I spanned over 15,000 miles, drank gallons of green tea, dined on food rivaling Europe’s gastronomic delights, tiptoed through courtyards where emperors lived, amid their 8,000 buildings and countless servants.
Contrasts abound: Women rinse clothes in a stream swollen with garbage. Women dressed haute couture stroll by. Mercedes limos swerve past rickshaws.
Post-modern, neon-lit skyscrapers tower over…
…timeless hutongs (walled neighborhoods) fueled by propane, most with no running water or modern bathroom facilities. My heart found the rhythm of these neighborhoods where we sat on stoops and shared drinks and food with locals.
Though I inhaled China books (over 20), the Great Lady blew to smithereens my every preconception. Here’s a few:
Though I inhaled China books (over 20), the great lady blew to smithereens my every preconception. Here’s a few:
1. Religious freedom does not exist.
Expressions of faith reverberate through a culture where Buddhist priests openly make temple offerings, Confucius sayings adorn vases, scrolls, even mountains!
I twice attended vibrant Christian “foreigner” churches (admittance only via Western papers). Philip Yancey preached (couldn’t get THAT in Normal, Illinois!) Familiar praise songs, hymns, and The Truth blazed through the plush modern auditorium. Folks told me about government-monitored Three-Self churches, which some believe preach the gospel, and house churches, some of which suffer persecution.
Contrast this with the “official” Party “line” of atheism (though some Christians purportedly sit in government offices) for a hot pot of religious stew.
2. China is a Third World country.
3. Street food tastes gross and may endanger your health.
We survived (THRIVED) on street food. Locals who saw us eyeing their entrees waved us onto compact stools and said, “Dig in!” Chopsticks tweezed food into six mouths, then back to a communal platter. Never ate better. Never felt better. Since Chinese only eat right-handed, I was a CELEBRITY…and lost eight Midwestern-winter-gained pounds while gobbling stinky tofu, chicken stomach and feet, quail eggs, dumplings stuffed with wild mountain greens, and a dizzying number of delicious veggies and fruits.
4. Much of China is dirty and bleak.
China is a ginormous place. But Oh. My. Her beauty swept me away.
Um, did I gain admittance to orphanages? Interview one who’d relinquished hold on a beloved child? No. Yet if I got it right, China and its people infuse every page of Reclaiming Lily.
China. Kinda like life. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.
Oh, China, I do not know you. But I love you.
And finally, Patti, you are a beautiful, strong woman whose heart enfolds Jesus. I've witnessed how you tuck others into this warm & fuzzy spiritual quilt. Have you held onto God's hand ever since you can remember, or have you come to know God as an adult? Any encouraging words to those struggling with their walk with the Lord?
Oh, Elaine, I look in the mirror and see that 12-year-old who, at five foot nine, towered over all the snickering boys, that lonely girl who changed schools every year until 6th grade. Though I was raised in a loving Christian home, I rebelled against authority, including God. I knew Him but chose to disregard about everything He told me. During a tumultuous emotional and physical time, the Spirit whispered for me to let go and let God. In my 40s, I began experiencing what Andrew Murray describes as Absolute Surrender. (If you haven’t read this book, order it NOW!) Oh, the freedom!!! Oh, the joy! All of those painful experiences have been used by God: to write (if you’ve been lonely, you KNOW that sometimes books are your only friends) to mentor to others (2 Corinthians 1:4 explains how, through our sufferings, we can comfort others).
I could go on and on about the renewal offered through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Remember what Jesus said in John 14:16-17? “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you." The MINUTE we accept Christ as Savior, the Spirit resides in our heart. But He’s a gentleman and is easily grieved by disobedience, headstrongness…all of the traits that lurk at every corner of my soul!!!
Elaine, thanks for having me at this cozy place today! I’d love for you and your readers to experience China…and a fatal hereditary illness and a rebellious teenager and a joyous sisterly reunion. You’ll find all that…and more…in Reclaiming Lily. Hope you enjoy reading it a FRACTION as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Do you have a travel story you'd like to share, perhaps to a place where you found something very special that you didn't expect to? Patti would love to hear from you!
At the age of fifty, Patti traded in her grade books for a writer’s pen after the Still, Small Voice encouraged her to novelize the story of her best friend. Patti’s first three novels, An Irishwoman’s Tale, What the Bayou Saw, and The Rhythm of Secrets, explore the secrets women keep and why they keep them.
Patti’s fourth book, Reclaiming Lily, a Bethany House title, transports readers to the steps of a Chinese orphanage, where two cultures and two women collide. Claiming writers as diverse as Francine Rivers and Jodi Piccoult as influences for this novel, Patti weaves a story of grace and God’s mercy with an insidious hereditary disease and a rebellious teenager. Reclaiming Lily transports the reader from Fort Worth to China to Boston in a quest journey of faith, of love…of Joy.
Patti soothes her itch to teach by leading seminars, facilitating writing classes, and speaking at women’s events. Patti and her husband, Alan, a college administrator, live in Normal. They have two grown children and a dog named Laura.
Bloggites,Patti would love to be Facebook friends. She post daily Artbites and hymn lyrics and love to meet soulmate writers and readers!!!
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