Today I'm really pleased to have the incredibly prolific Patsy Collins here again. The last time, it was to promote her book Escape to the Country which I thoroughly enjoyed. Not wanting to steal the thunder from her new release A Year and a Day, which you can find on Amazon UK here, and here on Amazon.com, I can also recommend her recent novel Paint Me A Picture. Patsy also has what seems like millions of short stories published, including her anthology Not a Drop to Drink.
And now, on to the business of the interview!
Patsy, it's great to have you!
Thanks for inviting me onto your blog, Linda!
A fortune teller features in A Year and a Day. What are your thoughts on palm-readers, crystal balls and the whole predicting the future thing? Do you believe in that sort of stuff?
I am interested in the subject. (You probably guessed that anyone who'd write a whole book based on the events that resulted from a visit to a fortune teller would be!)
You've only got to open almost any newspaper or woman's magazine to find a horoscope, so a vague interest in the general idea of fortune telling is probably fairly universal. I don't believe them though and would never act on them unless they suggested I do something I'd already intended doing (one of the few things I have in common with A Year and a Day's main character, Stella.
I know many people do believe in various forms of spiritualism, I have friends who do. It's not that I think they're deluded or batty or anything, I just don't share their belief. (Actually I do think a couple of them are a bit batty, but it's not because they talk to dead people, or think prettily decorated cards reveal something about the future)
Have you ever been to a fortune teller, or to a medium?
A drunk woman once insisted on reading my palm. If she actually had any skill the alcohol must have blurred her vision because she didn't get anything right, despite making rather a lot of suggestions.
I did go to see a proper medium with a friend. It was a kind of show in a theatre rather than a private reading. His information was detailed (none of that asking 2,000 people if anyone had known someone with a J in their name, or maybe it was a G or K). I couldn't see how he cheated and wasn't really sure that he had, yet still I wasn't convinced. I wonder why not.
At one point a lady, sitting near us, put up her hand and said the person who'd 'come through' sounded like a relation of hers. As she listened to the message she cried and I'm sure hearing the person was now happy and at peace was of comfort to her. His other messages seemed to help people too. Even if the whole thing was nothing more than a gimmick, it seemed to do some good and no harm.
Would you consider visiting a professional fortune teller?
Yes, but only as research for a story.
Do you like the future to be full of surprises and don't want them spoilt?
I do like to feel that we create our own futures and would be uncomfortable thinking everything was already decided. Maybe that's why I don't believe in fortune telling - I don't want it to be true.
What's the idea behind A Year and a Day?
Two girls who've been friends since they were little kids have their fortunes told. It's Daphne's idea. She never makes a move before consulting her horoscope and of course believes everything Rosie-Lee the fortune teller says. Stella has to be manoeuvred into agreeing to have hers done and doesn't believe any of what she hears.
Rosie-Lee gives Stella a letter, that she's not to open for a year, which she claims will prove her words true. The letter gets sealed up and is then taken by John, Daphne's really annoying brother, before Stella or Daphne can read it.
Stella attempts to prove Rosie-Lee wrong and Daphne tries to prove her right, which leads to them meeting Luigi. He's tall, dark and handsome enough for any fortune teller, plus he has a wonderful accent and hates to see a girl go hungry. Then there's Doug, also tall dark and handsome and with the knack of acting out Stella's fantasies. Sometimes a girl just has to accept her fate - at least temporarily.
There's loads of yummy Italian food, chocolate and cocktails in this story (subjects that I researched very thoroughly) I predict that reading it will make people fancy pizza or a glass of Prosecco.
Can't wait to get stuck into my copy - who cares about diets anyway?
Patsy, I wish you the best of luck with the new book!