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Interview with Jessica R. Patch

Real Faith, Full Life
Author Interview with Jessica R. Patch
By: Tiffany Amber Stockton


Far too often, people in today’s world succumb to the distorted belief that having faith in God is an unattainable or unreasonable way of life. Many believe if you have faith, your life is supposed to be worry-free and characterized by smooth sailing, so if they have problems, they feel they’re doing something “wrong.” After all, if you have God on your side, you shouldn’t struggle with anything, right?

No. A life of faith is full of roadblocks and challenges, but you have a strong ally by your side at all times.

That’s the way our featured author Jessica Patch lives. She has a heart for a good story and believes faith is an integral part of those life stories. She also has the gift of gab, but nothing fuels it better than sharing about the love of Jesus and how wonderful a life of faith in Him can be…amid the challenges and difficulties. In fact, it’s those challenges which characterize the heart of every story she writes. She has a passion for others to truly know intimacy with their personal Savior, where that intimacy showcases a tandem relationship that enables you to get through the challenges and struggles, not live without them. Jessica strives above all to write for God’s glory. It’s sharing real faith and hope through fictional stories.

Jessica developed her heart for a good story from growing up reading books such as the Little House on the Prairie series, Nancy Drew mysteries, and the Sweet Valley High series. The latter, according to Jessica, “is probably where my love for melodrama and love triangles originated…but I refrain from writing them into every book.” The influence of those books can be seen in both her contemporary romance stories as well as her romantic suspense tales. It’s a unique blend of wholesome relationship dynamics and the endless pursuit of romance at the core of the soul, mixed with the occasional layer of intrigue.

Her readers see it too. One of Jessica’s favorite stories to tell is “about a reader who finished Fatal Reunion and emailed me to let me know she had never looked at forgiveness the way I wrote it, and it helped heal her heart. I cried for days because, this is truly why we write!” Usually, her readers comment on how relatable her characters are. Even in her suspense stories, Jessica provides scenes where her readers can laugh. They are thankful they can take those moments to breathe in the midst of the white-knuckle tension of the story.

Another aspect readers have praised is the spiritual message being “touching and not overdone or ‘preachy.’” Oh, and they also swoon over her heroes. She does too! And she says she can live with all of that.

Receiving those personal notes and feedback is just one of many ways authors are reminded that they’re not alone in this career path. When Jessica first began walking this road six years ago, she had to fly alone to Denver to attend her first writer’s conference, and she hates doing things alone. As she tells it, “I was so green, I thought editing meant just checking for typos. I had no idea what I was doing, but on the plane, the Lord whispered to my heart, ‘We’re crossing over into a place of promise…and you are never alone.’ I’m sure the lady next to me thought I was a blubbering idiot, crying about nothing on the plane, but it meant so much to me. I did pitch to an agent…and I’m still with her six years later! We’re truly never alone in this journey, even when we feel like we are.”

During those lonely times, though, Jessica admits she can get a little stressed. But that’s when she blares her favorite worship Pandora station, then prays and praises. She also takes a break to go thrift shopping or to scope out “junk” furniture off the side of the road so she can bring it back home and refurbish it. “It’s relaxing and when done with a friend, after lunch of course, it’s the best ever! Because lunch with friends is a great stress relief too.” And on the way to those lunches, or out looking for castoffs, her worship music never fails to lift her spirits.

Those lunches with friends, though, are the biggest challenge Jessica faces in balancing her writing time with her desires. She loves “doing lunch with friends, and she’ll put off writing or household chores in favor of spending a couple (or four) hours with a friend gabbing and eating delicious food.” To make sure she’s not out every single day, she does black out days specifically for lunch dates and for writing, and she tries—but often fails—to not schedule them at any other time.

Above all, though, Jessica sets her spiritual walk with God as the highest priority. She takes the passion she has for conveying the importance of an intimate relationship and weaves it throughout every story she writes. She also pens devotionals and speaks to women’s groups on several topics surrounding this critical aspect of the faith-filled life. "Without that intimacy, everything else in your life can feel empty or have you merely going through the motions, lacking depth and genuine emotion."

Jessica believes, “it’s easy for writers to focus on the promise God gives them. They work diligently. Go to conferences. Read craft books and slowly, they forget the Promise Giver. Instead of meeting with Him first thing, they crank up the computer and hit the daily word count—because we are honoring Him with our writing, and it can be a form of pouring out praise to Him. But it never ever takes the place of being washed in the water of the Word and being transformed into His likeness. I know this, because I was convicted of it several years ago. Get your spiritual Word in first. Then tackle the day’s word count. You may discover something about your character or the story that you wouldn’t have before, and you’ll just feel better!”

Whether it’s spending time with real-life friends or fictional characters, everything Jessica does is rooted in pouring out praise to God. She even got so wrapped up in that praise, she once “cheated on my husband in church!” You’ll have to visit her blog, though, to read that story. Jessica truly exemplifies what it is to live a life of faith and shares that faith through her stories, written to bring God all the glory.

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Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning author and speaker who lives with her husband and author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and son, and a Retriever-mix named Roxie. She has sold 20 books so far, three of which have won annual reader’s choice awards. She is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. www.amberstockton.com.




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