Interview with writer Patrick A. Roland

readers. My special guest today is writer Patrick A. Roland. He’s chatting
with me about his memoir, Unpacked

A. Roland is an award-winning journalist, author, and editor with 21 years of
mainstream media, specialty publication, corporate and public relations

Unpacked Sparkle chronicles
Patrick Roland’s transformative journey upon finding his partner Pack dead in
January 2014. It begins on the day of the funeral that he was uninvited to by
Pack’s homophobic family and details the nearly two-year journey back to a now
thriving, joy-filled life he experienced as a result. It discusses addiction
and the recovery from it, grief and the journey to acceptance that ensued, the
family dynamics and DNA that resulted in a live-saving bi-polar diagnosis, and
the importance of civil rights and marriage equality. This miraculous journey
is threaded together by a tapestry of amazing friends who helped him find his
way back to happiness, where he remains putting his hand out to others in
search of their own sparkle.

author hopes that by sharing his experience and strength with readers, they
will find hope. He believes everyone deserves to sparkle. Let’s take this
journey together so you can unpack yours.

more information, visit

reach the author, write

Patrick. Please tell us about your current release.

Unpacked Sparkle documents the
nearly 2-year period after I found my partner dead in our home one January
morning in 2014. In the 8 days following, his extremely homophobic family
raided our home without my permission, kicked me out of it and disinvited me
from the funeral. Unable to grieve him, I turned to drugs as a
“solution” to my pain. The intersection of grief and addiction was a
dangerous place that eventually took me to the 26th floor of a Vegas casino,
where I almost jumped out of a window. My mother – who I never told where I was
and who has dementia I might add – somehow found me and called the police and I
was hospitalized against my will. I have been sober since (now over 2 years),
and my new life in sobriety is nothing short of a miracle.

inspired you to write this book?
think initially I wanted to write myself out of pain. In getting it all out of
me, I found the power in everything that had happened. I wasn’t really sure for
a long time if this was just going to be this thing that I did for myself, or
if I was going to release it, but I came to realize that there were others
struggling with similar issues – especially grief – that perhaps I could help
through my story. I feel like this is less about me and what I went through and
more about me and what I got through. I want people to realize that no matter
what they are facing, they can. It starts with loving yourself. I know that
sounds really simplistic and maybe even cliche but so many of us – especially
addicts and alcoholics – are not able to love ourselves. We think we are bad
because of what we do or what we have done. But we are not – we are people with
a disease who do recover and our addiction can become a beautiful blessing in
our life if we do the work to make it so.

Excerpt from
Unpacked Sparkle:

very things in life you are the most afraid of are the very things that bring
the most growth. It’s in facing those intimidating and unrelenting fears that
we become who we are. The other side of fear is always a miracle. Magic isn’t
created when you are comfortable, it manifests when you are not.

exciting story are you working on next?

life is kind of unfolding at the moment. I still want to turn Unpacked Sparkle into a screenplay. I
also wrote a children’s book, but I think for it to be successful, it needs a
good illustrator, which I haven’t found yet. My parents are not doing so well
health-wise and we are at that point where some major decisions are going to
have to be made, so something tells me that my next project will tackle that. A
constant theme for me is taking things that seem hard or awful and making them
beautiful. I don’t let things break me; instead I look at the opportunity for
them to make me.

When did you
first consider yourself a writer?

college I started writing for the newspaper there and people really took to my
work; but I think I knew I was really a writer when I was at my first newspaper
job right out of college. That very first year, I won a couple of major awards
from the state newspaper association. I felt like if I was already winning
major awards with such limited experience, I was probably on to something.

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?

actually do have a full-time job that is centered around writing but it is
totally separate from my literary career. I’ve been employed as a writer my
entire career – 20 years now. Finding the time to write is hard, especially
since I have a full-time job and several commitments in the 12-step program
that keeps me sober. I was kind of lucky that Unpacked Sparkle spilled out of me the way it did. It felt like I
went through what I did because I was supposed to do this – like I was realizing
my life purpose. That’s pretty cool.

What would
you say is your interesting writing quirk?

wrote the entire book in the “Notes” section of my iPhone. I only
used a computer during the final editing process.

As a child,
what did you want to be when you grew up?

wanted to be a therapist actually. But when I got to college, I realized I was
going to be in school for like 10 years and I wasn’t very excited about that,
so I picked writing because I figured I could still help people. I guess I just
always wanted to help people really.

additional you want to share with the readers?

want people to know that no matter how bad it seems it’s never worth giving up.
I’m living proof that you can turn your life around after a rough time. There
are people all around you that will help you if you ask for it. But more
importantly YOU are capable of more strength and power than you ever thought
possible. All you have to do is love yourself. Even if you think you can’t –
and I get it because I was there once too – you can. You are beautiful and you
are worth it. Don’t ever forget how much you sparkle.


Thanks for
being here today, Patrick.

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