Pat Jaeger lives in Southern Utah in the Red Rock country, near several national parks, hiking, and skiing areas.
Pat has been writing poetry, songs, short stories, and novels for as long as she can remember. She has published several poems and a short story over the years. DAN: Book One in the Hilldale Series is her debut novel. Book Two of the Hilldale, Missouri Series: HOME TO HILLDALE has been released on Amazon.com. Autographed copies are available by contacting the author at email@example.com
Pat enjoys time with her husband, her children and grandchildren, friends and church family, gardening, reading, singing, walking the treasure trail on the family farm, inspirational speaking--she enjoys life in general!
Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Pat Jaeger blogs about her experience with this auto-immune disease and how it impacts her life stating: "I don't want MS to define who I am, but hopefully help refine who I'm created to be. She enjoys visiting with folks and answering questions, discussing treatments, and living life on a day-to-day basis. (plumcreeksanctuary.blogspot.com)
Pat was a missionary overseas on the island of Babeldaub, an island in the Palauan chain south of Guam, known as the Carolines. She lived in a small native village for a year helping run a Christian Broadcasting station. Sheriff Dan Halloran, the main character in her first novel, is of Palauan heritage through his mother, so Jaeger decided to incorporate many of her experiences into book four of the Hilldale Series, which she hopes will be ready for publication in the Fall of 2018 or 2019.
Photo by Sharon Dalton
1) Q: What is the major theme of your writing--if there is one? A: Redemption and Hope--don't give up. I like to give my hero(ine)s curly hair because it signifies perseverance. No matter how you try to corral naturally curly hair, in the end, it usually stays true to itself. I admire that.
2) Q: What do you like to read? A: When I have the time, I really enjoy mysteries of the gentler kind, though I admit I really do like being scared by some of the big name mystery writers, though I also must admit, when they get too gruesome or graphic, I have to close the book--maybe reluctantly, but close it nonetheless. I also enjoy writers like Ann Voskamp and my favorite lady authors--Edith Schaeffer and Madeline L'Engle. They are inspirational without being preachy, and they allow themselves to be vulnerable in their writing.
3) Q: Who do you write for--yourself or your audience? And who's your target audience? A: I write for myself with my audience in mind. I've been writing since before my teen years and it's much like breathing to me. Something is always going on in my head, a story, a poem, a song. There are scraps of paper all around the house because I'll make notes when something strikes me as a "keeper." Often a dream will be so real I'll wake up and write down what I remember--just in case I can use it later.
My target audience is basically sixteen and older, though some younger folks may have enough maturity to comprehend the story line. Some of the subjects I deal with are mature in nature, and younger than sixteen may not be emotionally ready, though young people today are pretty savvy compared to what we were in my day--back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, as my kids like to say! I don't write strictly for a Christian audience, though that's where my novels often end up. I really would love for those who seek a good story with hope at the end--Christian or not--to enjoy my fiction.
My stories are for folks who feel lost, alone, abandoned, rejected. There's hope, redemption, there's a Savior who thinks you're worth dying for. But I think my novels will also appeal to men and women who enjoy reading a page-turning thriller. I've gotten some very encouraging letters and e-mails from folks who've told me they started reading DAN with the intent to just read the first chapter, and they ended up reading until all hours of the night, or just reading until they finished it! That's really affirming for an author--especially regarding their debut novel.
4) Q: What's your writing process? A: I usually need to work as early in the morning as possible. I have been diagnosed with MS and wear out easily, so my best thinking and creating is usually early in the day. I save the afternoons for housework! I like working in my pajamas, a cup of hot tea or coffee nearby, and no distractions. My hubby is usually out working on one of his many projects, so after I get his breakfast, the rest of the morning is mine to write--unless our two rescue dogs, Nedi and Annabelle, decide they need attention.
During the day, when a scene comes to mind--and that can happen anywhere at any time--I try to get the gist of it down, I don't worry about editing it right then--I just write! Later I'll incorporate it into one of the books in the Hilldale series, or one of the standalone books I've got on the back burner.
5) Q: How have personal experiences influenced your writing? A: The seeds of my Hilldale series come from living on a remote farm in Mid-Missouri and from the small Missouri town where my mom was born and raised. Some of the scenes in DAN, the first book in the series, came from childhood experiences, things that happened to me, to family members, to someone I knew at school. Most often, there's a grain of truth that I "flesh out" to create the story I feel compelled to write. Having experienced abuse first-hand, it is an issue that is dealt with one way or another, in every one of my novels. Left in the dark to fester, abuse (whether against humans or animals) infects everyone around it. Shining the Light on it, will eventually cause it to wither and die.
6) Q: What do you feel is your best accomplishment so far in your life? A: Meeting and accepting Christ in my life and allowing Him the "password" to my heart that it might be changed to become tender and caring, raising five great and diverse kids, enjoying my fun grandkids, and marrying my wonderful husband!
7) Q: Who inspired you the most in your writing? A: At an early age, I read every Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys, Boxcar Children, Poe's poetry, Agatha Christie mysteries I could get my hands on. Then I was introduced to Frances and Edith Schaeffer, and though they didn't write fiction, the honesty and integrity in their writing, the confidence with which they presented their ideas and beliefs staggered me. I devoured everything of theirs I could read, and went to their conferences when they were in Rochester, MN, where Frances was taking chemo treatments. I knew I would write fiction, but they gave me the deep desire to write it with integrity--not just something to sell--but something that would bring hope along with the entertainment.
Madeline L'Engle is the same inspiration with her fiction and her journals. Modern authors that I like to read now, that inspire me to hold true to write what's in my heart are Dee Henderson who writes great mystery/romance, Charles Martin--Wrapped in Rain had me from the very beginning; Karen Ball--A Test of Faith really touched home and gave me courage to write with honest emotions--not making it pretty or ugly just to sell the story. Mary Higgins Clark writes a good mystery and doesn't use all the profanity and gratuitous sex to sell her novels--those are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. There are a lot of really good authors out there.
8) Q: Any advice for aspiring authors? A: Write! Share if you have the desire, don't take critiques too personally, use them to better your craft, find a writer's group you can work with, and did I say--Write?!
9) Q: How do you come up with your characters and your story lines? A: They're usually there in my head wanting their story told. Often something I read, or hear about brings ideas to my mind and I let them simmer until they're ready. The characters let me know if I stray too far from who they are meant to be and what is supposed to happen to them in the novel. Neva Sue Bently, a major character in DAN, is a prime example of this. She and I went many rounds on what was to happen to her--and she won! Sometimes I dream of my characters, they're so real to me, and when I'm writing, it's as though I'm there in the scene with them.
10) Q: Your setting for the Hilldale series is in Mid-Missouri, is this a co-incidence? A: No, I lived and loved the rural small town life for nearly thirty years near the Missouri town where Mom's family was born and raised, and several of them lived out their lives in this small town--some of them gracious enough to allow me to use their names in DAN. My mom, Mary Towne, passed away September 5th, the day my novel was pre-released. I'm honoring her by using her name as a major character in HOME TO HILLDALE, book two in my HIlldale Series. She loved reading, and read DAN while it was still "in the works" giving me some really good input.