Our conversation today is with Florida author Patricia E Amoroso, who specializes in writing fiction, historical fiction, and poetry. She wrote her current book, Dalhousie Burning, a historical novel and memoir, under the pseudonym Patricia Lamb Amoroso.
Writers-Editors Network: Pat, what inspired you to write this book?
Patricia Amoroso: Both my parents were born in New Brunswick, Canada, not far from the locale of this book. I came across the basic story while doing family history research. The perseverance and work ethic demonstrated by the people of Dalhousie during and after this horror inspired me.
In the winter of 1930, a fire threatens to destroy the small Canadian town of Dalhousie. When the fire ignites, the townspeople face a trifecta of problems – the water system fails, they have virtually no firefighting equipment, and they have no professional firefighting force. As flames spread from gusty winds and endanger a new mill – the town’s economic future – disaster is imminent. The close community works to save their town even as some residents take matters into their own hands. Dalhousie Burning is a fictional account based on a true story out of the headlines of Canadian newspapers.
Writers-Editors Network: What process did you use to outline Dalhousie Burning?
Patricia Amoroso: Because of the format of the novel, I had to mock up a calendar in order to keep everything on track. I also had maps of the area, but I did not use an outline per se.
Writers-Editors Network: What did you especially enjoy about the writing of this book?
Patricia Amoroso: Many of the characters were patterned after my aunts and uncles, who are all from New Brunswick (and have much in common with the people of Dalhousie of that time). I was constantly reminded of them, their voices, and their lilting accents as I wrote. Unfortunately, they are a laconic group of people and I always wish they had told me more about their lives.
Writers-Editors Network: What was the biggest challenge in bringing your book to publication?
Patricia Amoroso: Interesting an agent in this work was slow and unrewarding. I felt a time limit since the people who were important sources for the story – the local town historian, the fire chief – were quite elderly when I interviewed them during the research. I wanted desperately to finish and get into print so they could hold the completed book in their hands and read it.
For this reason, I initially self-published a trade paperback on lulu.com. Now Book Hub has formatted Dalhousie Burning for e-book readers, and that process was quite an education for me. Being a writer with shallow computer skills, learning publishing details was a harrowing chore.
How she writes . . .
Writers-Editors Network: Where is your favorite place to write books?
Patricia Amoroso: I have a small dressing table area in my bedroom that has been converted to writing, with a computer and printer, books, supplies – and a small desk chair instead of a vanity bench!
Writers-Editors Network: Do you have any writing rituals?
Patricia Amoroso: I like a lot of quiet! That is probably why I did not get much down on paper when my children were at home.
Writers-Editors Network: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Patricia Amoroso: I have been interested in books and writing since I was in elementary school, perhaps third grade!
Writers-Editors Network: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Patricia Amoroso: Since we retired, my husband likes to travel whenever we can. I belong to a book club and do a great amount of reading.