For Patry

About two years ago, a galley of a debut novel called LIAR’S DIARY by Patry Francis turned up in my mailbox.  I receive galleys all the time, and the author of this one was unfamiliar to me, so I had no reason to pay any special attention to it.  Often I don’t have the time to even crack open the covers, much less read them.  But this one had a seductive cover, and since I was headed up to Canada for a medical conference anyway, I threw the galley into my suitcase.  A day later, sitting in my hotel room in St. Andrew’s, I started reading it.  In straightforward but compelling prose, it opened quietly.  No explosions, no murders, just a gnawing sense of domestic unease that grew more acute and more disturbing with every chapter.  I was caught like a hooked fish and reeled helplessly into the story.  I recall sitting in a seaside restaurant, my outdoor table facing the water, but my eyes glued to the page.  The waitress who came to refill my water glass commented, “Wow, that must be a good book.”

Damn right it was.

I was delighted to give that book a blurb, and delighted to hear that so many other readers shared my opnion of it.  Patry thanked me profusely  and although we never met, we did exchange several emails.  The book was released, Patry’s career as a novelist was launched, and I looked forward to seeing other books from her.

Then, on Patry’s blog, she recently revealed that her life had taken a sudden and devastating turn.  She was diagnosied with an aggressive cancer, for which she had to be hospitalized.  Although she’s home now, and her prognosis is good, naturally it’s her recovery that’s consuming her attention.  Not the novel writing.  Not anything as trivial as fictional stories and people who don’t exist. 

She is coping with real life.

We writers often get so caught up in our fictional worlds that we forget our own lives and our own needs.  It takes something like this — a real illness, a real crisis — to make us focus on what’s truly important. 

Here’s to you, Patry.  May you come back from this illness stronger than ever.  May you go on to write many, many more books like LIAR’S DIARY.  All of us — readers and writers alike — are rooting for you.

6 replies
  1. SheilaC
    SheilaC says:

    One of the greatest joys of being a member of the writers’ community is the support that we show for each other. I’ve seen comments on multiple blogs and loops urging support for Patry. I’ll be happy to do what I can, starting with buying her book.

    Sheila Connolly

  2. april
    april says:

    I agree with SheilaC. Susan Wiggs also had a blog post about this book. The book sounds really good and after seeing it a couple of places in the last hour, it must be a sign that I am meant to read this book. I also agree that the writers’ community is amazing. I see it when I visit RWA and online. I think it takes another writer to understand the industry and the isolation and the fans and the critics.

  3. holly y
    holly y says:

    I recently checked out the site for Jo Clayton, a fantasy writer I’ve always admired. (Another genre that doesn’t get much respect!) I was saddened to learn that she had passed away from a rare bone marrow cancer. I felt I had just begun to know her, and then she was gone! Her writer friends had rescued her via the internet! It was a great, heartwarming tale. She also received a commendation from her state’s senator, which is in the Congressional Record. I thought that was the coolest!

    I will also root for Patry and send all kinds of writer’s good will. Thanks for the note. Holly Y

  4. Terry Snipes
    Terry Snipes says:

    T(erry!)ess,

    As always, she comes back from her workings afar, and dazzles her fans with beautiful prose. She’s inspired me in so many ways, because she’s an author who contrived PATIENTLY and TENACIOUSLY to build her own determined success in publication until her first NY Times Bestseller, Harvest took off like a runaway freight train! She worked at it, never stopping, and loved every moment (and hated some) of the journey through her mastery of the writing craft. This is Miss Tess–

    I was watching the DVD of R&B and Pop superstar Beyonce’s The Beyonce Experience Tour, and realized the amount of energy put into it. The calculation of every single thing! My god! Then I started to compare the music industry with the publishing industry. Hmmm, I says to myself, that could be WONDERFUL! Market the author for commercial appeal, just like music stars (Janet Jackson, Chris Brown, Beyonce…). Make sure that the author is attractive physically as well as intellectually, and set her/him up for a speaking tour, where they talk about their novels, as well as the overall subject of the book (Domestic Violence, Spirituality, Religion, Baby Momma Drama). Think if it could get to a point where three authors can sell out the Madison Square Garden!!!! I know it seems ridicules, but what has not been done is only waiting to become-

    I should have warned you- the last paragraph you read was in regards to the blog post below this one titled, Novelists Need A Media Hook…

    But in regards to this post, I will read Patry’s novel, and experience the intellectual STUPOR(?) you received, Tess.

    Until the next time we post, much love, peace, and medicated hair grease!

    Trew Life.com

  5. knaster
    knaster says:

    Hi Tess,

    I’ll make this short and sweet. When i first picked up Harvest and read the book jacket, that was it for me. I was hooked on your work. The rest is history.
    To Patry, even though you are unknown to most of us who have not read any of your work yet, we offer prayer to you for a speedy recovery. You have opened up Tess’ eyes to your work, may you have the same impact on the rest of us.
    Take care and God Bless!!
    Abe

  6. Felicia Donovan
    Felicia Donovan says:

    Here’s Patry’s own words about her situations in a recent e-mail she sent me:

    “…My positive prognosis is a
    sign that I’m incredibly lucky–and blessed–in no small measure, by all the good thoughts, prayers and vibes of my friends.”

    And we are blessed to have Patry. She is a phenomenal author who has many, many beautiful stories to share with the world.

    Thanks, Tess.

    Felicia Donovan

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