Today we travel to West Sussex in the UK to chat with Patricia M Osborne about how Open University, poetry, George Orwell, playing the piano, a broken hip, researching, snuggling on the couch, a feeling of belonging, freewriting, and life on Mars come together as part of Patricia’s current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m married, a mum to three and Nanna to six, and I live in West Sussex, UK. I’m a novelist, poet, and short story writer and I’ve even been known to dabble in scripts for stage plays, radio and screen. I have an MA in Creative Writing. When I’m not working on my own writing, I enjoy sharing my knowledge and act as a mentor to fellow writers.
In which genre do you write?
For my novels I tend to write historical fiction family sagas but for poetry, mainly narrative poems using myth and nature to tell mythical stories.
How many published books do you have?
I have six books published. Three of them are my trilogy, two poetry pamphlets and a third, co-authored – a poetry conversation. I have another co-authored poetry pamphlet coming out this year. When I look at my books, I can’t believe they’re mine as before 2017 when House of Grace was published, the idea of publishing a book was just a dream.
Where did the idea for House of Grace come from?
This is an interesting question. I was working on my final piece of work for my Open University degree which was a creative non-fiction life story. I suddenly realised it was too painful to write. I panicked. I was going to fail my BA degree at the final hurdle.
I started Googling story prompts for something to grab my muse when I suddenly remembered a character I’d created as part of my English GCSE. That isn’t as strange as it sounds. I had to leave school at fifteen to help bring in money for the family so when I was in my final year of my BA degree, I went back to college to do my GCSE English and Maths. It was through an English assignment after studying George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier that I created Grace, a coal miner’s wife. I had my character but needed more. TV dramas, Mr. Selfridge and House of Elliot provided great inspiration.
Can you play a musical instrument?
I play the piano and the recorder but am rusty on both. I’d always wanted to learn to play the piano but it was only when my youngest was learning, and I’d reached the grand age of fifty, that I had the opportunity to do this. While I had a piano teacher I thrived, managing to play Grade 8 pieces. Unfortunately, due to breaking my hip, I was unable to get to the piano and later lost my piano teacher. However, I do try to make some time to sit at my black beast and gain relaxation from playing just for myself.
What is the most enjoyable aspect you’ve found through writing?
I’m not sure I can answer that question in one. So many enjoyable aspects. I love the research process where I get to learn so many wonderful things, I love the idea of transporting myself to anywhere and anytime I want to be, and I love becoming anyone or anything. Another wonderful aspect that I’ve found through writing is being part of the writing community. For the first time in my life, I’ve found a place that I really belong.
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?
When I first studied creative writing with the Open University, I wrote a journal. I was never the morning pages person but night-time. I’d freewrite and if I didn’t know what to write I’d continue to write I don’t know what to write until something popped in my head. This exercise helped me get into a routine of regular writing. It’s something I don’t do these days but occasionally I go through my old journals and find a gem to create either a story or poem. I’d highly recommend this process for new writers, or old, who haven’t managed to find that routine for themselves yet.
What do you miss about being a kid?
I miss snuggling up on the couch with my late mum and late sister. Mum would get my baby brother to bed and then have time for us. We were allowed to stay up and watch Coronation Street, Emergency Ward Ten and a real treat on Sunday ‘Beat the Clock’ on London Palladium.
I also miss being free from worries and spending time with my late sister who was also my best friend.
What’s the clumsiest thing you’ve done?
I suppose that would have to be missing a step in a Bucharest metro while on a course with my MA university group. Missing that step caused me a broken hip, at the neck of the femur, and an operation in a third world hospital. I take so much more care now when walking.
If Mars or another planet was livable, would you accept a one-way ticket there? Why or why not?
Definitely not. For starters you’d never get me up in a rocket. I find it hard enough in a plane when I convince myself the clouds are snow and I pretend I’m on a coach, firmly on the ground. Apart from anything else I don’t think I’m ready to meet any aliens yet. And who knows what’s up there?
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?
I definitely am a believer that things happen for a reason and a great believer in fate. An example of this is when I was caring for my late mum. I couldn’t get to my piano to play so I started to learn music theory. My piano teacher encouraged me to take this further with the Open University.
I enrolled for a music diploma and halfway through my course I took up the creative writing courses. If I hadn’t started playing the piano, I wouldn’t have started music theory, if I hadn’t started music theory, I wouldn’t have gone to the Open University and if I hadn’t done that then there would be no BA Humanities with Creative Writing and Music, no MA in Creative Writing, no House of Grace trilogy and none of my poetry books published or even individual poems and short stories that have appeared in magazines and anthology.
Yes, everything happens for a reason.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on ‘The Oath’ which is a late Victorian/early Edwardian set historical fiction novel and told in the point of view of two female protagonists. I’m also working on a variety of poetry projects, including a mythical poetry collection, one about life of the flamingo, and a co-authored poetry conversation with a fellow poet.
Tell us about House of Grace book.
House of Grace is not only my debut novel but the first book in House of Grace trilogy. It opens in 1950 with a sixteen-year-old protagonist leaving boarding school in Brighton. Grace Granville longs to be a fashion designer but her father, Lord Granville, has other ideas. He wants her to marry a suitor of his choice but agrees she can spend a holiday at her school roommate’s home in Bolton first.
House of Grace steps back to the 1950s and the reader travels with Grace through two decades as she struggles with family conflict, poverty and tragedy.
It was great having you be a part of MTA, Patricia. I loved learning more about you and your path to writing and becoming a published author. Wishing you all the best, with much success! – Camilla
She was born into nobility. But with times changing, will she be allowed to marry beneath her station?
Brighton, England, 1950. Grace Granville has grand ambitions. So after finishing boarding school, the naive sixteen-year-old manages to convince her aristocratic father to allow her a short adventure to Lancashire. But her sweeping plans to become a fashion designer take an unplanned turn when she falls in love with a handsome coal miner.
Shattered when her domineering parent demands she return to meet the more proper suitors he has lined up for her hand in marriage, Grace desperately concocts a hasty way out. But the young noblewoman has no idea of the life-changing consequences her plan will set in motion…
Will Grace tempt fate and spoil her own future?
House of Grace is the enthralling first book in the House of Grace family saga trilogy. If you like strong-minded women, social conflict, and stories vividly told across fascinating eras, then you’ll adore this 1950s/60s journey back to the past.
Where can we purchase the book?
House of Grace may be purchased from Amazon as kindle or paperback (available to read FREE with Kindle Unlimited)
It may be ordered from any good bookstore or available from your local library on request. Signed copies available at discounted prices (UK only) from my website shop: https://whitewingsbooks.com/shop/
Where you can find me:
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