Sunday, June 17, 2012

10 Questions with Patricia Yager Delagrange

Next up on Musaling Mondays is Patti Yager Delagrange. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received her B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get her Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University.  Patti lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with their two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and her son Jack.

Her horse lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view. Lucky horse!

1.         First the easy one. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, more specifically in the small (80,000) city of Alameda.  STOP.  You know, I’m on my second blog tour right now and I get this question all the time.  And I’m thinking, I am so boring.  How ‘bout I make up something really cool that’ll have people saying, “Wow.  What a life SHE’S had, eh?”

So, hey...  My earliest memory is lying on the forest floor, looking up at hundreds of dark green branches covering a teeny tiny sketch of blue sky.  I turned my head to the side and there was my mother - a dark grey and white wolf.  I reached out to touch her and she started licking my hand then my face.  Some sort of crackling noise disturbed our interaction, twigs cracking or pebbles being thrown.   I didn’t know what the sound was.  One, then another, then another wolf surrounded me and my mother, until it was so crowded, all of them leaning over me to lick me and pat me with their paws.

When I turned eighteen I attended St. Mary’s College, a private school not far from my home.  After two years I wanted to travel so badly, I took off for Madrid and told my parents I was never coming back.  A year later, after studying at the University of Madrid, I was kissing the ground at the airport in Maine after the jet landed - so happy to be home in the States I could hardly express my relief.  I got my B.A. in Spanish from U.C. Santa Barbara then my Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University.

Now which part of my life did you think was the most interesting? (*interviewer's note: I really liked the made up stuff, but fiction is pretty much all I read anyway so what do I know?*)

2.         We all know the Zombie Apocalypse is coming. What five personal skills will help you survive?

Because of my upbringing (I didn’t leave my mother’s side until I was ten years old - see story above), I know how to hunt for food and survive in the wild.  Left alone in the middle of anywhere, I could live on my own for the rest of my life.

3.         What sort of cake are you? Why? Do you have the recipe? Yes, question three is three questions. It’s a paradox. Just answer. Don’t judge.

I’m one of those pink strawberry sponge cakes.  Why am I a pink strawberry sponge cake?  Well, it all has to do with texture and color.  Pink is my favorite color.  I wear pink laces in my basketball shoes.  I have pink shirts and pink sweatshirts.  Regarding texture?  As every person has in this life, I’ve taken a few hits here and there, and just as you press your finger into a piece of sponge cake and it springs back - that’s me.  And no, I don’t have the recipe, but if you look in the Betty Crocker cookbook from the early 1950’s, I found a recipe for it there, way back when.

*Interviewer note* Found this awesome spongecake recipe from Cake Boss. Go make one and think of Patti. No, that isnt weird at all.

4.         Pimp it if you’ve got it! What is new and what is next for you as a writer?

The first book I ever wrote, Passing Through Brandiss, will be published sometime later this year.  I signed a contract for this book with Wild Child Publishing before I found Musa Publishing.  But Wild Child took on too many authors I think, so the process has been glacial for getting hooked up with an editor.
I finished editing my fourth novel, Brenda’s Wish, a few months ago and I’m sending out query letters to find an agent to represent me.
Summer is approaching and I’m getting an idea for my next book.  So I think that’s what I’ll be doing during the beautiful season of warmer weather here in Alameda.

5.         Can I borrow five bucks?

Well, I’m not going to send you a check in the mail for five bucks but I WILL send you a Musa gift certificate via e-mail so you can buy my book Moon Over Alcatraz which came out in January of this year.  Hey, you said it was okay to “pimp” myself, right?

6.         If I gave you five bucks, what ridiculous thing would you spend it on?

I’d probably go to Walgreens and buy gum.

7.         What is one book you never get tired of reading?

I’ve read The Bridges of Madison County a million times.  Don’t laugh.  I love that movie and have seen it more times than I can remember.  Meryl Streep is my hero.  And I enjoyed seeing Clint Eastwood playing someone other than a cop with a big freaking gun.  I set my third novel, Taken Away, in Earlham, Iowa, in honor of this movie.

8.       Okay, imagine you are trapped in your house during the Zombie Apocalypse. Pushing this button will save you and everyone on your street. 


 Do you live or die?

Well, I’d push the damn button, Marguerite.  It looks like there’s a spider lurking next to the green button, but my daughter is deathly scared of spiders, and guess who gets to kill all of them while she’s screaming and crying for me to “get it outta here!”

9.         What are some of the things on your bucket list?

I got asked this for one of my blog interviews!  I’d never thought of it before that time, so I’m ready for this one.
First, (and this is SO cliche’), I want to jump out of an airplane.  Granted, I wish I could do it with Jack Nicholson or Morgan Freeman strapped to my back, but I’ll take an instructor if I have to.
Second, I think it would be fun to take a ride on a paddle-wheel-driven boat down a river.  I’m not into boats because I get sea sick, but I don’t think there would be any rocking on a boat on a flat river.
Last, I’d like to know how it feels to jump a horse.  I love my 1,425-pound Friesian horse, but he won’t jump over a twig.  It would be an exhilarating experience.

10.      Truth or dare?

   Truth: tell us about the worst rejection you ever received.

Okay, you didn’t specify whether you meant a “rejection letter” from an agent or some other form of rejection, so...  The worst “rejection” experience I’ve ever had was when my boyfriend of seven years wanted to break up and I didn’t.  Looking back on it now, the way I tried to talk him into not dumping me is embarrassing.  Live and learn, though, eh?  He was a commitment-phobe, married within two years of breaking up with me to some other woman, and now divorced.  I think I should be glad he didn’t stay with me.

   Dare:  Write a haiku about being rejected

Well, when I looked up how to write a haiku on Wikipedia it said something about a 5-7-5 pattern of syllables and went on to describe in boring depth how the rules have changed throughout the years and  the differences in the way haikus are written today.  So, hey, I didn’t really understand it all....   Here goes:

           He Didn’t Want Me (5 syllables)

           But I Think That Was My Gain (7 syllables)

           Found Someone Better (5 syllables)

Hah! You only had to pick one, but we got both Truth and Dare. Win! I love getting something for nothing. Plus that was an awesome Rejection Haiku. Patti's book Moon Over Alcatraz (love that title!) is available from Musa Publishing at the Musa Store, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. You can find Patti  at her website, blog, on Facebook as Patricia Yager Deagrange Author, and Twitter @Patti Yager.


  1. This was a fun interview. It actually shows the personality of the writer instead of just..."Why do you write?" Patty, It couldn't have been comfortable, lying on the forest floor with all those dogs checking you out :-) Sorry about the dumb dumb, gum gum boyfriend.
    Thanks Marguerite, great interview.

  2. Thank you for commenting, Doree. I think we've all read so many author interviews and they can be a bit tedious - my own included. Which is why I thought I'd change it up a little.
    Thanks for commenting.

  3. What a delightful interview, Patti! And I love your haiku. And your bucket list. ox

    1. Thank you, Vicki. I enjoyed thinking about the bucket list, since it's not something I would normally give any thought to. The blog tour hosts ask really good questions, and they're fun to do.

  4. Fantastic interview! Wow, you did a great job on the haiku. I'm so glad I didn't take the dare!

    1. Thank you, Grace. I guess I didn't realize I was supposed to pick between the truth or the dare. I just did both!

  5. Patti is great isn't she? Especially for a woman raised by wolves. ;)

    1. Oh, Marguerite, I thought you'd like that one, since you gave me the impression this was going to be an "atypical" interview!

  6. I want to live with Patti's horse. LOL.

    What a life!

    1. Maria, you wouldn't want to live with him in his stall. Out of the entire barn he is THE biggest slob because he shuffles his feet so all the bedding is pressed up against the walls and the floor is almost empty of shavings and it looks like a mess! But he gets four flakes a day of food whereas all the other horses only eat two because he's so big!

  7. Entertaining interview. I like the part where you just made up a portion of your bio, Patti. Mind if I steal that one some time?

    1. Oh, Rhea, you should do it, because it made it all the more fun. I think other people get bored reading interviews unless the questions are entertaining. Marguerite is fun to work with!

  8. Oh hey, nobody takes an oath to tell the truth on this blog. We are fiction writers, after all. Lying isn't just allowed here. It's expected.

    1. Hey Marguerite! Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. This was one of THE most fun interviews I've ever had!

  9. Fun interview! Loved your haiku too! :)

  10. Thanks for a fun interview, Patti. I'm lucky to know so many great authors at Musa Publishing.

  11. GReat interview ladies. Loved you new bio, Patti! :)