Interview with writer Patricia Steffy

Writer Patricia Steffy is with me today. We’re
chatting about
My Letter to Fear: Essays on Life, Love and the Search for Prince
. It’s a non-fiction work / multi-person memoir.

her virtual book tour, Patricia will be awarding one $50 Amazon or Barnes and
Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be
entered for a chance to win, use the
form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!
Patricia Steffy
attended Kenyon College and American University. She is a recent refugee from
the corporate world where she worked as an analyst for a law firm for more than
16 years. An escape plan started to develop as she pursued her interests as a
writer and producer through Circe’s World Films. She has been involved in co-
and exec-producing a number of feature and short films ranging from broad
comedy to psychological drama, including the award-winning short Touch.
She is currently developing Dating in LA and Other Urban Myths as a web
series. The series is based on her long-running blog of the same name.
Pieces from My
Letter to Fear
were featured in a one-night only special showcase event.
The showcase was directed by Danielle Turchiano and featured readings from
Nikki DeLoach (Awkward.), Lesley Fera (Pretty Little Liars),
Stevie Lynn Jones (Crisis), Jen Lilley (Days of Our Lives), Roma
Maffia (Pretty Little Liars), Dennisha Pratt (The Sunny Side Up Show),
and Carla Renata (Hart of Dixie). You can see excerpts from the readings
Welcome, Patricia. Please share a little bit about your current

My Letter to Fear is a collection of
essays based on interviews I did with women over the course of two years. I
allowed the interviews to shape the book. The published collection covers a
wide range of topics, including beauty myths, aging, abuse, rape, unmet life
expectations, dating and more. Even though most of the experiences in the book
are not my own, I wrote it from a unified perspective. And because I’m me, even
some of the pieces that are quite serious have hints of humor, and the very
funny (even ridiculous ones) have a hint of a more serious reality behind them.

What inspired you to write this book?

had been writing a blog at the time called “Dating in LA and Other Urban
Myths.” It started out focused on dating and starting over in Los Angeles, but
quickly became more about being a woman, who is over a certain age, in a city
that is largely focused on youth, beauty and success. Some of the early pieces
in the book are reworked pieces from the blog.
time, I realized that there really were the makings of a series in those
pieces, but I wanted to go beyond my own experiences. At the same time, I was
talking to a friend of mine, who is a therapist, about a tool that is sometimes
used. Basically, clients are asked to write a letter addressing a particular
issue (addiction, anxiety, fear, etc.). The idea of writing letters to fear and
expectations (and so on) really appealed to me. It was a great jumping off
point for me, and it certainly got the process started.
few early pieces were read as part of staged reading by a group of fabulous
actresses for a charity event. It was a thrill to see an audience react to the
pieces, and I had a lot of people come up to me after the reading and ask about
where they could get the full collection. It was the push I needed to keep
going – although I’ll admit it took another 17 months and 45-50 new pieces (40
of which made the final collection) to finish it.

Excerpt from My Letter to Fear: Essays on
Life, Love and the Search for Prince Charming:
From The Moment
Do we all long for that moment when our secret selves are finally seen and
applauded? Are we all waiting for the moment where our exes rue the day they
let us go? Do we all pine for that life-changing second where the world says,
“How could we have missed you all this time?”
I think about it all the time now – with every
stranger I see, from the person sitting alone in a restaurant to the person
singing at the top of their lungs while driving because they are convinced that
their car is sound-proofed. I see them. I recognize them.
I’m still waiting for my moment, of course. But
if you see me hiding behind a plant, clutching a drink and looking lost at some
social gathering I couldn’t get out of, know that inside I’m putting on one
hell of a show.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m about to take a film script out that actually found its core in one of the
pieces in “My Letter to Fear.” It’s a drama and covers a very current topic,
and I think that’s all I’m allowed to say about it. Hopefully, I can say more
also wrote a 10-episode web series based on the blog that also inspired “My
Letter to Fear.” The series “Dating in LA and Other Urban Myths” starts in the
same way the blog did – a woman who is no longer 22, finds herself starting
over again in Los Angeles after a long-term relationship ends. It deals with
the insane social scene in Los Angeles, and also the challenges facing people
as they confront the expectations they once had for their lives (a topic that
is also covered in the book). You can see the sizzle reel for it here: I’m a huge fan of Lesley Fera, Jen Lilley, Tamara
Taylor and Kris Polaha – and their willingness to take on this project at such
an early stage was enormously helpful and encouraging.
next book is also in the planning stages. It will be fiction. It will be a
comedy (largely), and it uses the piece Lost Folk Hero from “My Letter
to Fear” as its central idea. I’m excited and more than a little nervous about
this new project. Creatively, it’s a good next step!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
a good question! I’m not sure. It might have been the first time I heard my
work read in front of an audience. It was certainly an inspiring event that
pushed me to keep going. Certainly, when I was going out to actors to film the
pilot/sizzle reel, I had to take a deep breath and prepare myself for
actors/agents/managers to say no to the work. Luckily, the response was
overwhelmingly positive, and I got to see my words in action (at least a small
portion of them).

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do
you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
complicated. I do write full-time, but not always on creative projects. When
I’m not working on scripts or starting a new book, I’m a travel writer. You can
see some of my pieces here: I also do quite a bit of travel web writing as my “day
job.” It has been challenging to try to balance writing for someone else’s
goals and writing for my own. I’m getting better at it, but only because I’ve
created a real intention for myself to value my work and my creative time. I’m
not saying there aren’t times when I still have to put other people’s projects
ahead of my own – there are. But I need to remind myself that my creative
pursuits are why I went down this independent path in the first place.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

work best in a dark-ish room with rain sounds playing. Yeah, it’s sort of
strange, but I find myself easily distracted. I need to lose myself in what I’m
writing in order to find the flow of it. I find that only happens when the
other elements of my surroundings are lessened. I live in Southern California,
and the odds of having an actual rain storm are not in my favor, so YouTube
rain sounds did the trick! I even had a sounds device (rain, waves, thunder, etc.)
I used for a while.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a detective, a spy, a doctor and a writer. I think I chose to be
a writer, in part, because that way, through my characters, I can still be all
of those things.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you so much for giving a non-fiction, multi-person memoir a chance. It’s
not an easy category. It’s not something that sings from the shelf. But I think
you’ll find yourself relating to many of the stories and connecting with the
women who experienced them. I know I did.
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Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
you for having me!

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7 thoughts on “Interview with writer Patricia Steffy

  1. Bernie Wallace says:

    What is the best book taht you have read recently? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  2. Patricia says:

    Many thanks to all of you for reading!! @Joseph Wallace, I just finished The Master Blaster by PF Kluge. It was a slow build kind of book, but the last third really came together and the ending was very powerful. Before that, I finally sat down to read Eat Pray Love. It wasn’t what I expected after all these years of conversation about it. I found I related to the early chapters quite a bit, and found the forward in the 10th anniversary edition almost more moving than the book.

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