Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing PeggySue Wells, author of numerous nonfiction and fiction books. She’s here to tell us all about her newest novel, The Patent.
Welcome, PeggySue! Please tell us about The Patent.
As the world teeters on the verge of World War III, the nation that develops a patent attorney’s invention will be militarily invincible in the race for global dominance. When America’s enemies steal the plans and kidnap the inventor, Marc Wayne must escape before his captors realize the invention is theoretical. Or is it?
Ooh! That sounds exciting. What inspired you to write this book?
My coauthor, Max Garwood telephoned to tell me about an idea for an adventure suspense. “Max, that’s a brilliant plot,” I said. “You’re smarter than me, so write a rough draft and I’ll polish it for publication.”
“I’m an engineer,” he replied. “Here are the ten bullet points, you put it into a novel.”
So I turned Max’s ten bullet points into 420 pages. Max looked over the work in progress, refined the weapons, improved the antagonist’s strategy, and asked if the story would be any romance.
Engineers and bullet points! So, why did you write this book?
The Patent explores developing technology and the motivations behind what people do and why they do it. How often is what’s good for one group not good for another?
What is the primary focus of your book?
The Patent is part of an invention-rich universe that plays on the edge of fantastic possibilities that are presently theoretical. Or are they?
What was the hardest scene to write?
Stellar author DiAnn Mills served as my writing coach as I penned The Patent. One assignment was to rewrite a chapter from a different point of view. Okay, fine, I did the assignment to get it over with and move on to more important lessons. I rewrote the chapter from the point of view of the kidnapper instead of the kidnapped. Suddenly, the suspense ratcheted up as this dangerous person had to carry out a difficult task without anyone noticing. If he failed, his freedom and possibly his life could end. In this scene, the bad guy had the most to lose, and I learned to write each chapter from the point of view of the character who has the most to lose.
In another assignment, DiAnn challenged me to dig deep and uncover those deep regrets I work hard to keep buried. Reluctantly, I loosed those unsavory memories and as they surfaced, I realized how my protagonist felt about her decision that led to the capture of her only family member. Excellent writers are courageous to feel all the feelings and write them in a way relevant to the reader.
Hard work like that always makes for the best scenes! Now, with so many books under your belt, do you have any themes you return to again and again?
My writing confronts the hard, rugged stuff of life as well as the best of the human spirit. Hope and redemption are core messages because people need hope more than advice. We all long to connect and belong, to be significant in some way. The good news of Jesus Christ is that we are loved unconditionally and invited into eternal relationship with our Creator. Story allows author and reader to discover what has happened to our heart.
Beautiful! Speaking of beautiful…what would be your ideal writing place? And what’s your actual writing place like?
Writing is my laptop, Mac(Beth), anywhere in the world from in the stands at the yearly World Barrel Racing Competition where my daughter races, to courtside at my daughter’s basketball and soccer games, on the beach, on the deck, in a restaurant, in an uncomfortable airplane seat, and sitting by the woodburning stove in the winter. I’m thankful to live in Narnia in winter and in the 100-Acre Wood in summer – okay, it’s actually five wooded acres around a pond shaped like a guitar pick. The Midwest is central to so much and offers four distinct seasons which all serve as muse.
That sounds both beautiful and practical. With so much experience as a writer, do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I dream of my writing leaving a life-giving legacy that benefits others for generations to come. In 500 years from now, I’d like to have created works that still impact and connects with the hearts of people.
What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
A lot of writers are introverts. While I enjoy solitude and time alone, I also really like being with others. One of my superpowers is that I can talk to pretty much anyone. At events, coordinators often put me at tables to encourage conversation and help people to meet one another. One time I had a conversation with a caller and when I hung up, my son asked, “Who was that?”
I replied, “A wrong number.”
Just asking who the caller was trying to reach opened up opportunity to talk about things we had in common.
Craving adventure also provides me with a lot of experiences that I weave into my books from travel to horseback riding, skydiving, parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, chain-sawing, and taking pilot training.
With all that activity, do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I adore reading and much of my reading these days is via audiobooks. I can drive all day while listening to a story. Some favorite authors include everything by Richard Paul Evans, John Erickson’s Hank the Cowdog series, the At Home in Mitford series by Jan Karon, Clive Cussler stories and Vince Flynn. My reading is very eclectic from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh to Charles Martin’s Murphey Shepherd series, Lydia Sherrer’s fiction, and lots of nonfiction that helps me live better, smarter, simpler.
Readers compare my novels to the adventure suspense stories of Clive Cussler, John Grisham, and David Baldacci.
Do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
Most of my pets have been family members including horses Gray, Classie, and Carly, dogs Whiskey, Ol’ Dan, and Gibson, cats Bagheera, Twix, Country, and Jazzy, goose Mosey, and two pairs of doves. These critters enrich my life and provide additional material for writing. My next dog I will name Peeve so I can say I have a pet peeve.
I love that so much. So what’s next for you? Please tell us about your next project.
Unnatural Cause is the next book in the Marc Wayne Adventures. Using a device that creates a deadly embolism from a remote location, someone is targeting world leaders to shape world power. But when Marc Wayne stops those who wield the ability to commit consequence-free murder, he finds he has played right into the mastermind’s plans.