Here at Danville Public Library, we are proud to feature the works of more than 150 local authors. Each Monday, we are featuring one of our beloved local authors by sharing a bit about them and their work.
This week, we feature local author, Patricia Hruby Powell.
We asked her a few questions about her past and present work, her favorite books, and what her writing process is like.
What made you decide to start writing? Did you (or do you currently) have another career?
My first career was as a concert dancer/choreographer who traveled around the world performing. Most of us can’t dance into old age, so I became a storyteller who danced in her stories and now I write books for children and young adults.
What do you love about writing? What is challenging about it?
I love writing when I’m in the “zone” and I forget everything else. I love when I think that young readers are reading my books and are becoming transported—or enjoying reading, or inspired to dance or become political activists. What is challenging is days where I feel too “paralyzed” to write.
Do you have a writing routine? Daily? Whenever the fancy hits you?
Mostly I write daily in the early part of the day. If I’m hot into a project, I can write or research or revise until evening time. Every now and then I get an idea in the middle of the night and write it. More often, that might be just a note to myself, but sometimes it turns into an hour or so of writing.
Which of your books gave you the most pleasure in writing? Which was the hardest?
I loved writing Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. I’d watch footage of Josephine, dance like she danced, then sit down to write what I did and felt. I loved writing Loving Vs. Virginia. The hardest is the Woman’s Suffrage Project which is under contract but I don’t know when it will be released.
What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to young or beginning writers?
Give yourself permission to write on the page (or the screen) words that don’t come together or that don’t please you. Writing happens in the revision process. Don’t worry about first drafts. Just get something on the “page” that you can then work with.
You’re stranded on an island with one book (written by another author). Which book did you bring?
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I haven’t read it yet. It might take being stranded on an island to get to it.
Any books in progress at the moment? Expected publishing date?
4 in progress: Women’s Suffrage Project; Cave of the Heart: The Story of Martha Graham; Sunday Before Sundown: The Story of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Ernst (Bloomsbury 2023); and Duck Duck Goose, a compilation of poems that tells a story and is scientifically accurate (no contract yet, but I think one might be offered soon).
We’re so grateful for this author’s participation in our featured post. Be sure to check out all of Patricia’s books on the shelves at Danville Public Library!