Patricia Yager Delagrange and Women’s Fiction

At this stage in my life, I don’t have the guts to write women’s fiction. And to be clear, here, I mean mainstream fiction that contains themes relating to women’s issues, but excluding romance. For me, it’s a personality thing. I like a guaranteed happy ending. Now, back when I was just getting started with writing novel-length works, I thought women’s fiction would be my niche. Hell, I studied it in college. I’m a big fan of Southern women writers. Tried to emulate a few.
Downhome an Anthology
But…after some flailing, I discovered I a) don’t have the voice for it, and b) I skimp on the tough parts. I don’t like making my characters suffer. I avoid drama. I don’t like drawing out tension. It makes me tense, even if it makes for good writing. End of 2011, I read Seré Prince Halverson’s The Underside of Joy and it was beautiful, but parts of it upset me so much. Couldn’t read anything else for weeks, but over a year later, I haven’t still haven’t forgotten that story.

That’s why I give props to people who write it.

Patty Yager Delagrange is a fellow Musan who writes these sometimes gut-wrenching stories stories to rave reviews.
Moon Over Alcatraz by Patricia Yager Delagrange

Coincidentally, her Moon Over Alcatraz was released last January right around the same time as Underside. Good company, I think.

Here’s a bit about the story.

Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty. But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return.

From Moon Over Alcatraz

Three days later we were standing at the edge of a hole in the ground at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward, the silence so thick, the insides of my ears buzzed like a distant swarm of angry bees. Mr. Peralta and another gentleman stood off to the side while Weston and I held hands next to a tiny casket.

Weston had chosen a simple mahogany box with gold handles, a bouquet of white lilies graced the top of the small box. I knelt down and laid a kiss on the smooth wood then wiped off the tears that had fallen on top. Weston joined me, placing a single red rose in the middle of the lilies.

He helped me up and we stood side-by-side in silence, my guilt over her death like a stone in my empty belly. I missed everything I’d dreamed would be happening right now, yearned for all that could have been.

Weston nodded at the man standing next to Mr. Peralta and our baby was slowly lowered into the gaping maw. She reached the bottom, and a bird landed on the rich brown dirt piled next to the grave. It pecked around, chirping a little song then flew off – as if saying goodbye. My heart squeezed inside my chest.

I picked up a small handful of soft dirt. “Goodbye, Christine,” I whispered, throwing it on top of her casket.
Weston wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me in close to his side. Why her? Why my baby? Was this supposed to make sense? And, if so, to whom?

We drove home in silence. No words existed to express my grief.

So, where’d this story come from? Here’s the author in her own words:

This question had burned in my mind for years and I wanted to write about it. People have asked me how I can write about something that’s never happened to me. I counter with: I write fiction. All fiction writers tell a story they’ve made up in their heads. But they imbue that story with their own feelings. Which is what makes a good book. And I have a wealth of feelings that I used when I wrote Moon Over Alcatraz. I have two children. I know what it’s like to love two human beings unconditionally, with no reservations. My kids often ask me, “Do you love me, mom?” And my answer is, “Always and forever.”

If you want to learn more about Moon Over Alcatraz, visit Patty’s website or check it out at the major retailers where it’s available for purchase:

Musa Publishing

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
OmniLit

About Patricia Yager Delagrange

Fascinated by brokenhearted couples and atypical families, Patricia weaves engaging tales of men and women who create cohesive families where love reigns supreme. She sprinkles her books with intriguing characters who struggle to find balance in life after tragedy. Whether an unwed teenager, desperate widow, abandoned father, or a couple who stray from their marital vows, her characters form relationships impacted by their desire to create a family.

Aside from writing, her favorite things to do include riding her Friesian horse, Maximus, dot-to-dot for adults, and watching Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington movies. She spends a majority of her days writing while her two very large Chocolate Labs lounge on the couch cuddled next to her and her MacBook.

Visit her website and blog. Connect with Patricia Yager Delagrange on facebook and Twitter.

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  1. Thank you for hosting me today, Holley.
    Patti

  2. Vonnie says:

    I know what you mean about avoiding those heart-rending coming-of-age and trauma novels Holley. I’m a bit the same. It’s not that I try to avoid all the bad things in life, but as you get older you realise there are millions of great things happening and you try to concentrate on them. Otherwise we’d all be in therapy BUT having said that, do read Patti’s MOA. Really; do. It leaves you with hope for the human condition.

  3. You are indeed in good company, Patti. Though, you stand alone in the spotlight just fine! Cheers and best wishes, girl! You are one courageous author!

  4. ritamonette says:

    I love reading almost anything, but enjoying writing for children. I like the innocent age where everything is a new discovery, and the world can go from “everybody hates me,” to “I can do anything,” in a matter of a few pages. Good luck Patti. I’m sure Moon over Alcatraz will be a best seller!

  5. Now that is a gut-wrenching excerpt, and written beautifully, Patricia. Go women’s fiction.

  6. Holley Trent says:

    I’m so glad MOA has an optimistic ending!

    I think all eligible books should come with little stickers on their covers that market them as “Happily Ever After” books. This girl hates sobbing into her pillow. Not cathartic. (At all.)

    ;)

  7. I agree with you, Holley. A really pretty sticker with HEA on it, ya know?

  8. Love the idea of a HEA sticker. MOA sounds really great.

  9. sloanetaylor1 says:

    Awesome book, Patti. As a woman once in the position of your heroine I have to say your depth of emotion is unfailingly real.

    • You telling me that my writing was “real”, Sloane, has really made my day. However, I’m so sorry to hear that you ever had to experience such a thing in your life and my heart goes out to you. It really does.
      Thank you for telling me about it and thank you for the compliment.