You like being called Yvonne Pat. Any particular reason?
My family calls me Pat (or Patsy which I’m not fond of) so close friends who meet me through family adopt that name. I use my given name Yvonne as the norm. However, a hilarious situation revealed that I had developed a dual identity as one half of my acquaintances knew me by one name and the other by another name and there was a heated debate as to who was correct. When I wrote the book I thought I’d better emphasize both names so that there would be no mistaking me.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in the beautiful sunny isle of Jamaica in the West Indies and have lived in 20 year periods in Jamaica and the UK. Currently I am in the UK
How old were you when you started writing and what was it about?
I can remember writing from very early childhood and it was always about love…love between persons, love for animals, flowers or places which I dreamed up. I morphed into writing poems as I found those easier to compose. I always said that one day I would write the plain unvarnished truth about my life. My first book is not quite what I envisaged, but indeed it relates the truth of my life today.
What is the name of your book and if you had to sum it up in 30 words or so, what would you say?
From Spice to Eternity: Discovering the Main Ingredient to a Life of Fulfillment and Purpose. Slices of my life, in which I blend a variety of spicy flavours, ultimately discovering the main spice that has made the difference. Using a description of an herb or spice as the theme of the stories, the underlying message is the love, security, strength, and other life coping support that is available in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. A recipe ends the chapter.
That’s a unique format. Where did you get the idea for this book?
It had its genesis in a radio programme that I hosted called The Spice of Life. I’d start the programme by naming an herb or spice for the day and ask my listeners to call in their favourite recipes using it. The other content to the programme was a devotional message interspersed with music. Several persons thought this would make for interesting reading and suggested that I write a book. When I wrote the book I changed from generic devotions to my life stories.
What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
The life stories definitely. It was fun to cast my mind back to periods of my life and try to capture the flavour of what was happening then. There was a reason for using this format. Coming from the Caribbean where Christianity and its practice is part of the fabric of life, I was distressed that specific laws here in the UK made it difficult for persons to share their faith in situations, for instance, in the workplace. It was then, and is still my desire that this book will be given to those you want to share the gospel with but find it hard for whatever reason.
What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
I got really excited when it dawned on me that I was using a similar parabolic method in telling the gospel that Jesus did. In several instances He used objects to tell His stories and this is what I have done here. There are many persons who will never enter a church to listen to a gospel message, or allow you to talk openly with them about the love of God or preach the Bible. Yet they face the same day to day challenges and situations that I have shared in the book and they need the same life changing solution.
Prayerfully I ask that the Lord will use the non-threatening presentation of the gospel in my book as an entering wedge to reach these persons.
How does your faith play into your writing and do you have a favourite Bible verse?
My faith will always be reflected in my writing as I want to work out my faith in evangelism to share the gospel of Jesus. My favourite Bible verse is John 16:33. In this world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. I can go confidently into any fray because I am on the winning side.
In your book you write about herbs and spices and share recipes using these. Is cooking a passion and do you have a favourite recipe/food?
I cannot say that cooking is a passion, as in everyday cookery. What I love is preparing meals for occasions. So when family and friends are coming round, I get into high gear planning and preparing the menu. My favourite dish/ recipe is the Jamaican national dish Ackee and Codfish which can be found on page 150 of the book. I’d also like to add that this is the favourite recipe of the three times world record holder, Olympian athlete Usain Bolt, who is also from Jamaica. He will tell you that he eats this and other Jamaican staples as they give him the stamina for his races. Also of great note is that this dish is famous, having been ranked second on the National Geographic list of best worldwide dishes. Travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/national-food-dishes. Readers can have this wonderful recipe from my book.
Do you have plans for a new book, a sequel, or will it be completely different?
I would like to write some more and have ideas. But I am committed to giving this book maximum exposure because of the purpose I believe God has for it. I find that I am spending huge portions of my time marketing it rather than writing. I do have outlines and some notes, so there could be something else soon.
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
I would love to meet Francine Rivers. Her writings have inspired me immensely and in fact her book Redeeming Love played a huge part in the re-commitment of my life to the Lord.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I chose the traditional route to publish. At the time self-publishing was not in the ascendency. In two years there has been a shift and self-publishing is much more accepted today than it was then. If you have something to say and are passionate about it, write it, publish it and who knows what will come of you and your writing. Some amazing talented authors have been discovered who are now being chased by traditional publishers. Go for it!
Do you have a book trailer?
Yes. It can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/bl9exgn
Where can readers hang out with you?
My website and blog: www.spicetoeternity.co.uk
My Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SpicetoEternity?v=wall&ref=pdem
*** Her book From Spice to Eternity is being launched on Tuesday August 21st all day on Amazon. On Tuesday only all purchases eligible for loads of Free bonus gifts ***