The Timeless Gift of Stories by Pat Potter

Linda Broday here. Old friend and former Filly Pat Potter was gracious enough to fill in for me today. I thought it would be great to see what she’s been up to.  Pat has written some excellent historical westerns over the years. In fact, she posted a short story called SHOWDOWN here on this website. If you’re interested in reading it, type Showdown into the search field. It’s riveting even though the whole thing takes place in the span of a few minutes.

ColorPatThough temporary, I’m thrilled to be back at Petticoats and Pistols where I was a Filly for quite a few years. Some of you I know and others are new, but on here we’re all friends who share a love of books.
People always ask me three questions when I talk to a group:
Where do I get my ideas? How did I get started? What advice would I give to writers.
The answer always starts with curiosity. I think the most important quality for any author is curiosity. It’s where I get my ideas. It’s how I got started. It’s the advice I always give to new authors.
I was always curious. I interrogated new acquaintances about their life stories, I always read newspapers wherever I went, and when I get on the computer for a research problem, I end up spending the day wandering about the internet, often going far astray from my initial objective.
My curiosity is what drove me to major in journalism, and my career in journalism took me in many directions. I covered federal court, murders, city government, politics. Human interest. I had the excitement of meeting two presidents because I squirmed my way into places I really wasn’t supposed to be.
The Soldier's PromiseSo many of the stories I wrote came from that curiosity and many of them eventually ended up in one of my books. They still do. I loved having a good reason to be nosy.
One of the murders I covered resulted in a book called “Tempting the Devil.” An article I read in Western History Magazine resulted in my first western, “Between the Thunder.”
One of my favorite books, Island of Dreams, resulted in wandering about Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia and talking to old timers.
A favorite western came from a three week trek across the west by myself and I found myself in the Black Mountains and became fascinated with the Ute Indians. My hero was a renegade raised by the Utes.
My current book, released in April, is a contemporary western that takes place in a fictional town in Colorado.  The Soldier’s Promise came from an article in the New York Times about military dogs with PTSD. All the bells in my head rang loudly. I had also been involved in veteran charities and particularly interested in those who brought veterans together shelter dogs with wonderful results. (Click on the cover and it’ll take you to Amazon.)
That newspaper story resulted not only in one book but the beginning of a series. My career started with my love for the westerns, and now I’m returning to them in a contemporary setting. I never know where that pesky curiosity will lead me.
Truman Capote once said that anyone who survives puberty has a story to tell. I love hearing them all.
What stories do you have to tell?
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19 thoughts on “The Timeless Gift of Stories by Pat Potter”

  1. Hi Pat! Welcome back. I’m thrilled that you could join us even though your visit will be so short. You’re an amazing person who has led a very exciting life. I love your boundless curiosity that led to writing all those wonderful books. I’ll bet if we could see inside your head there would be gears in constant motion. Thanks for filling in for me. This is wonderful!

    Your newest book looks like such a timely story with so many of our military coming home suffering from PTSD. Wishing you much success! Can’t wait to see where your curiosity leads to next.

  2. Hi Pat!

    It’s good to see you again. I really am interested in your new release–PTSD is such a terrible thing and more attention needs to be focused on it.

    Curiosity is a wonderful thing! I really enjoyed reading about your life and how it made you start writing. I had never heard the Truman Capote quote, but I had to laugh–it’s the truth, isn’t it?

    Cheryl

  3. I met President Nixon as a cub reporter. The reporter I was with discovered where he was changing from bus to car, and the two of us were the only reporters to have a quick interview. All the national reporters were locked on the bus and later asked us what he said.(Which was very little).

    The second was President Johnson. I covered a visit to Georgia and my uncle, a national newsman, has accompanied Johnson on his plane to Georgia. He wrangled me a short interview.

    Oops, I showed my age. (g)

  4. Pat, welcome back. We missed you! Do I ever have stories to tell, though none involve a president. I just hope I live long enough to tell them all!

    Can’t wait to read The Soldier’s Promise. Take care and don’t stay away so long.

  5. Pat I love your books. I, too, am a curious person. I love reading old headstones and making up stories to go with them.

  6. The freedom to wander and explore is something we seldom have, especially once we are “adults” and have the responsibilities of job and family. The 3 years I spent in the Peace Corps were wonderful. The job and the people were great. It was the first time I was on my own. I could travel and explore and I took advantage of every opportunity. I had some priceless experiences. My trip home was cut short and I would some day like to visit the places I planned. Unfortunately, many are in the Middle East and not safe to visit. I am glad I was able to travel when I did. Over 40 years have passed and Many of the areas have been westernized and lost much of their cultural identity. It really is a shame. The areas where I worked in the Philippines would likely not be recognizable today. Some of the minority groups/tribes I visited are either gone or forced far back into the mountains. Those near “civilization” have lost their identity.
    Indonesia and Bali are now a major tourist spots. Much of the local culture is hidden or been converted to a pretty tourist presentation. There I was able to watch a teeth filing ceremony, a fire walking ceremony, a shadow puppet performance in a village with only kerosene lamps, a young girl possessed by a demon in the courtyard adjacent to my room, climb an active volcano, paddle across a lake to a remote village with a temple to their local god, go to a large Buddhist temple (I think Borobudur), and have many more experiences.

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