Patricia Sands is my guest today. I encourage you to take this opportunity to tell her how yummy her Artichoke/Asiago Dip sounds.
Since taking Kristen Lamb’s class, social media for writers, Patricia Sands and I have hit it off and found a lot of common ground. I introduced Patricia’s The Bridge Club to you on Monday. Today I’d like her to tell you more about herself and how she came to write The Bridge Club.
Patricia, thanks for being here.
The Bridge Club is a story of a 40-year friendship with eight women. I know from your website, you have your own real life Bridge Club. Tell us what it’s like to know so many women so well and still stay close friends for so long.
In actual fact there are ten women in my “real life” bridge club. Just like in the novel, some of us have known each other since childhood and all of us have known each other since we were around twenty years old. We are always quite astounded that our friendship has remained strong and true and we all feel exactly the same connection as we did in the beginning. We are not necessarily each other’s best friend but we share a special bond and treasure it. I don’t know any group of women who have more fun together than we do and at the same time can offer the most intense support and assistance when it is required. Of course there are many groups just like us all over the world and I feel blessed to be part of this one.
Is The Bridge Club a story you had to tell based on your own experience?
For decades we have joked about someone writing a book about us and the finger was always pointed at me because I’ve been our storyteller through photography since day one. I began writing the story 5 years ago, just for fun. When others saw bits and pieces and said I should take it seriously, the story changed from fact to fiction … but it is fiction based on fact. No part of the story was shared without the complete support and permission of each of the women. They have been the biggest cheerleaders for The Bridge Club and I’m proud of the way they feel about it.
In the novel, you have several challenges these ladies face and the group is their only true support for these issues. How many of these obstacles have your own bridge club experienced?
Every chapter, with two exceptions, is absolutely true with some of the details slightly blurred. Pam’s chapter is my story of coping after being widowed at age 43. The final chapter is based on a situation that occurred with someone else I know. I felt profoundly affected by the experience and felt it was a topic that needs to be addressed. Book clubs tell me they have the best discussions around that chapter. One aspect that makes it stand out is that it is up to the reader to make a decision with regard to the ending. That was an interesting challenge to write!
Obviously your Bridge Club has been a backdrop for some of the things in this novel, what’s the message you would like your readers to take away after finishing The Bridge Club?
I feel strongly about the importance of women’s friendships and how we empower each other through them and I believe these women are the perfect example of this. I have heard from readers who tell me they have never shared this kind of friendship and wish they had. I encourage them that it’s never too late. I also hear from readers who write about exactly this kind of wonderful connection they too have shared with women in their lives. I love to hear about this! I encourage younger readers to focus on building these kind of friendships.
There is a secondary aspect to The Bridge Club that is the crisis they face in the final chapter. My hope is that readers will consider this situation and understand that everyone has the right to make their own choice, if they are able to.
I know you live in Toronto and The Bridge Club is set in Canada, but I also know you’ve spent time in France. Can you tell us a bit about your home area and the travels in France?
Yes Toronto is home and it’s a great city. The Eastern Townships of Quebec and the beautiful area around Whistler, British Columbia are also featured in the novel along with Toronto and surrounding areas. As much as I enjoy Toronto I have been in love with Europe, and particularly France, since I lived there for a year when I was 21. I remarried 8 years after I was widowed and my husband also loves to travel so we do a lot. Since he retired a number of years ago, we have been fortunate to spend extended periods of time overseas. Last summer we lived in Antibes, on the Med between Nice and Cannes, for 4-1/2 months and could have stayed forever if it were not for our wonderful family back home. With 7 children between us and six fabulous grandchildren, it’s difficult to stay away!
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
I’m about halfway through my next novel and I’m having a lot of fun writing it as the last half is set in the south of France. When we lived there last summer I was busy doing research, making notes and writing. While The Bridge Club was about a group of women, this new story focuses on one woman in her mid-fifties who feels her life has basically ended and discovers it has really just begun. It’s a story filled with hope and the promise that life presents all sorts of possibilities to us at every age. (Come to think of it, you and your husband are perfect examples of this! I SO admire the choices you’ve made.)
I don’t have a title for the novel yet but I hope to have it ready for summer reading.
Thanks so much for inviting me aboard The Fawkes. I’ll be with you in spirit as your amazing adventure continues! Bon voyage!
Thank You Patricia for joining me on this adventure. Reading your blog, you have plenty of adventures of your own. I encourage my readers to head on over to your website
where they can learn more about your time in France and await your new book.
It’s never too late to build a network of new friends? Where will you start to build that network?
Don’t forget to comment. After today I draw a name to win a copy of Patricia’s book The Bridge Club.