Author Spotlight: Pat Reddekopp
By Pat Reddekopp
Pat Reddekopp’s roots trace back to a farm near Hague, Saskatchewan, where she obtained her early education and first learned the joys of writing. Her postsecondary education included Bible College and university, as well as seminars, conferences, and correspondence courses to develop her writing.
Pat currently lives in Regina with her equally grey-haired husband, where she is occupied as a homemaker and does volunteer work for a thrift store, including being a board member. She has four children, three sons who live in or near Regina, and one daughter living in Manitoba. All four are married and she enjoys spending time with them and their families, including eleven grandchildren.
One of the first things Pat wrote was in fourth grade, when she penned a short poem about a fish. She says it was fortunate she didn’t try to have that published, or her publishing career would have been demolished before it had a foundation.
Her poetry has been included in anthologies and won contests. She has had several articles in Fellowscript, and recently concluded a series of lighthearted articles for a column called “Playing with Words.” She’s written devotionals for Rejoice, published the short story “The Color of Sunshine and Blessing” in the Manitoba Herald, and a children’s story called “Borrowed Glue” in Wee Ones magazine.
Pat was the assistant editor of Panorama, a magazine put out by a local writers group she was once part of. Helping others polish their writing without being discouraging, a delicate balancing act, has given her great empathy for those who edit as a career. She’s thought back to that experience a number of times during the process of working with the editors at Word Alive Press. She appreciates the professionalism of working with Word Alive Press on all four of her books.
In 2016, Word Alive Press published two of Pat’s books—Dormer Window, shortlisted in the 2015 writing contest, and The Challenge, which scored well in the same contest. Prior to that, Pat worked with Word Alive Press to publish a children’s book called A Box of Hats, which also came out earlier in 2016. Pat’s first full-length book, The Woman Behind the Blue Curtain (Word Alive Press, 2009), is still available.
Watch our events page for upcoming events with Pat Reddekopp.
An Interview with Pat Reddekopp
Q: In Dormer Window you have written about an orphan boy. Have you ever had foster children or adopted children?
A: I have not had foster children or adopted any myself, but I have known people who adopted children and fostered, which has given me some good insight into the processes, and the emotional side of it as well.
Q:Dormer Window is fiction, but what kind of research did you do?
A: For some reason, as I began to develop the teen character, he was getting around on a skateboard. My knowledge of skateboards and skateboarding came only from observing a few kids on the sidewalk and what the internet provided. So after hearing that a local teen I knew was an avid skateboarder, I spent time with him, talking about the various aspects of skateboarding. I also spoke to an EMT about emergency measures related to the events in my story, and to a social worker who had spent time in the area of adoptions.
Q: What inspired the themes of The Challenge?
A: One was the Senate debate about physician-assisted suicide. The other was an article about the difficulty a psychiatrist felt he would have with being responsible for determining whether or not someone was mentally capable of making the decision to ask for a doctor’s assistance.
Q: What is the process you use to write?
A: Sometimes I switch on the computer, put in a title, and write the piece from beginning to end. Other times I write down an idea, what I think I might do with it, and file it away in my card file. Sometimes a piece resurfaces within a different one later. Another part of my writing process is listening and observing. Tidbits I’ve observed and heard can pop up and become inspiration.
Q: What are your favourite and least favourite parts of the writing process?
A: I enjoy finding a “seed,” as I call it. Some little thing I see or hear that gets me asking What if? or How come? Then I write down what I think happened, or might happen next. I enjoy seeing how a story ends. I don’t always know the final result when I start watering and fertilizing a seed idea.
I don’t enjoy having to go back to rework something I’ve written. It can become tricky to blend changes in with the rest of the story. I’m working on doing better planning at the beginning to keep renovations at bay. They get so messy.
Q: What hints would you give new writers?
A: When I first began attending writing workshops and conferences, one of the speakers said that to become a good writer you need to “read, read, read.” I thought at the time it was kind of silly; that one should rather “write, write, write.” I have since found it is good to both read and write. Reading other writers provides the food—examples and information. Writing is the exercise to gain strength for yourself. Like physical exercise, it can be hard work, but it brings benefits in the end.
Picking names for characters can sometimes be a challenge. I employ the help of a baby name book. Because I realized some of names were being repeated in my stories, I began to put a note beside each name, indicating the story in which I used it.
About this Contributor:
Pat currently lives in Regina, picking up inspiration from her various activities as a homemaker, volunteer, mother and grandmother. She loves to create, whether with words or other unique designs.