Thursday, 11 May 2017

Interview: Pat Abercromby

It's my stop on the blog tour for Just One Life by Pat Abercromby! I sat down with Pat for a quick chat.


Good morning, Pat! Tell me a little about yourself.

I am beyond retirement age but not retired! My background is eclectic and covers medical research, journalism, running my own recruiting company, therapeutic massage, and running a training school for therapists. I currently still have a private practice and I am also a partner in a corporate wellness company.

How did you first become interested in writing?

I have been involved in journalism on and off since my late teens and decided to write my first fictional novel two years ago when I finally had time to focus on writing.

Tell me about Just One Life.

This story is about one successful and fulfilled woman’s life which spirals into obliteration when her husband has a serious stroke and almost overnight, all that identified her is sublimated into her full-time caring role. She then discovers a shocking secret about her husband, but it is too late to leave and she is trapped. But she is a survivor and when her husband develops dementia and goes into full-time residential nursing home care, she reclaims herself and carries on with her life, supported throughout by her childhood girlfriend Iona.

Where did you get the inspiration from?

From elements of my own life and from a strong desire to honour the role and lives of the millions of unsung carers in this country alone, who have had to put their own hopes and ambitions aside to care for a family member. It is also to honour the value of friendship when the going gets hard.

book-cover, just-one-life, pat-abercromby

Tell me about your research process for the book.

This is my first novel and I am so impressed with the information available on Google! Research at this level has been very easy, no need to spend hours pouring over reference books in the library. I have been in all the locations mentioned in the story too.

What was your writing process like?

My first draft just getting the story line written down quickly was 10,000 words. My goal was 80,000 and my creative writing teacher really helped me with the craft of writing a novel. Also the constructive feedback I got from friends and other creative writers really helped.

What’s the hardest thing about writing?

Probably finding time in a busy life. I am a night owl, but sometimes I am too tired after a busy day to write and I refuse to get up at 5am as some writers do! Also, the reviewing of proofreading and editing which meant reading through the manuscript several times, that was tedious but a very necessary part of the writing process.

What do you love most about writing?

I love the way the characters take on a life of their own once you start writing about them. I had the basic story line in my head, but some of the unexpected events that popped into the plot quite took me by surprise!

Which authors inspire you?

Kate Atkinson, Jojo Moyes, Jodi Picoult. I admire them both for their style of writing and the diverse range of story lines that they develop.

author, writer, pat-abercromby

What’s your all-time favourite book?

I must have read thousands over my lifetime but the first book I remember being enthralled with as a youngster was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell and that story started me off with an unquenchable desire for reading.

If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be doing?

I would have loved to be a vet although I would be retired by now. The other most fulfilling work I still do is remedial massage. I like to ease my clients’ aches and pains.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

Classical music and gardening and walking my dog in the fields where I live. Meeting up with friends and travelling when I can.

What are you currently working on? 

An environmental book called Safe As Houses.

It has been on the back burner for a couple of years since I started writing Just One Life, but I need to get on with it now although I have another novel waiting in my head to be written which could be a distraction!

What are you reading at the moment?

I belong to two book clubs and currently I am reading William Boyd, Any Human Heart. Not my choice but it has made me laugh in places so far (his description of a rugby scrum is priceless) but probably would not bother to read another book by him.

Just One Life is available to buy now.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! 

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