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The Patchwork Bride, Publish Date: June 5, 2018

The Patchwork Bride

Volume XIII, Issue Two | June 2018 My 15th novel, The Patchwork Bride, is scheduled for publication on June 5. I wrote about the book in the last issue of Piecework. It’s the story of Nell, who runs away from marriage three different times, from three different men. And it’s bookended with the tale of another runaway bride. The main story takes place in New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas over a period of several years, starting in the late 1890s, but the secondary story is set in the 1950s, during the Korean War. Kirkus writes, “Skilled writing and pacing propel the story which is warm and heartfelt” and calls it “gently entertaining.”

My Life As A Writer

Why do you write?

It’s a question readers never ask. Why wouldn’t you write? They think.

I ran into a college friend once who asked me, “Do you live a glamorous life?” “What, washing the dishes?” I replied. Glamor is one of the misconceptions about writers’ lives.

So is income. I once had an email from a reader beginning, “Would a member of Miss Dallas’s staff…” Staff? You mean the cleaning lady.

Of course, there are a few glitzy, rich, successful writers out there to ruin it for the rest of us. Most of us have day jobs. That’s why so many novels are about teachers. I’m a retired reporter. Thank God for Social Security.

Glamor and wealth then are the main misunderstandings of a writer’s life. There are others. One is that you don’t really do anything. You just have to sit at your computer and take dictation from on high. Nice work if you can get it.

So readers rarely ask why you write. Writers, on the other hand, ask it all the time. Why am I a writer? It is a question I’ve heard over and over again from frustrated writers. Why do we do this? You’ve spent years on a manuscript. You’ve bared your soul on paper. But you can’t get an editor or an agent to read it. If out of frustration, you self-publish, you get no reviews, no signings, no sales. Even with an established publisher, writers are often disappointed with sales and promotion.

So why do we write? I’m not sure about the others, but I know I never wanted to do anything else. From the time I learned to read, I wanted to be a writer. (Well, there was this brief flirtation with being a movie star, but the less said about that, the better.) I love the process of writing. Writers are often asked if they like writing. The standard answer is, “No, but I like having written.” Well, I actually like sitting down at my computer and seeing what happens. I love the sense of holding the first copy of a book in my hand, of reading a review that finds something worthwhile in the book. I love my agents and editors, who make my writing better and buck me up when I feel depressed. And perhaps most of all, I love the readers who come to signings and send letters and emails telling me something I’ve written has changed their lives or even that they felt reading my book was not a waste of time. I love the idea that something I produced has value. I can’t imagine not being a writer.

I have to stop here because it’s time to do the laundry.

Sandra Dallas Book Signings