SALT LAKE CITY UT September 4, 2015
Patty Somlo’s essay collection has recently been accepted by WiDo Publishing ™, the first of this type memoir the small press has released. “We are always on the lookout for a fresh voice, an interesting twist to an established genre,” says WiDo’s submission editor Allie Maldonado. “Patty’s submission took me by surprise.”
Somlo’s book is about her search for home, beginning with her early years in Hawaii when her father was stationed there. The opening chapter is a young girl body surfing in the giant waves.
“I was hooked at that point,” recalls Maldonado. “I wanted to know who this joyful girl is and who she grows up to be. The sense of place and love of the water is a strong element through all the chapters. The writing is beautiful, the language washing over you like the waves of the sea.”
“My original idea when I started this collection was to write a book called Beaches, telling my personal stories as they connected to coastal and riverfront places I loved,” states author Patty Somlo. “But as I wrote more, I realized that I needed to broaden my focus.”
The theme of healing became a necessary aspect of the collection — healing from the losses of constant moving, a difficult childhood, and the resulting anxiety and depression. “Because the outdoors have been, and continue to be, such a source of solace for me, place still remained central to the work,” continues Somlo.
Like all writers, Somlo often struggles with a sense of being “dried up,” or having nothing new to say. But this doesn’t stop her from going to work.
She writes for five mornings a week in her Northern California home. “I like to think of writing as going into a beautiful garden but one that requires effort to enter. When I’m in the writing garden, I am in heaven. I also love it when I struggle with a particular aspect of a piece or a story and then a beautiful solution to the problem arrives, as if by magic.”
Currently working on a novel, the author wants to complete it before delving into another nonfiction book. Her greatest challenge as a writer is writing endings. “Sometimes I write what feels like a contrived ending just to be done and then need to go back and rewrite it. Because endings are a challenge for me, it also feels like a great accomplishment when I come up with an ending that sings,” Somlo says.
In researching publishers, Somlo was pleased to see that WiDo had a large number of women authors in their list. She felt from reading the website that WiDo editors “would get this collection, which is a deeply personal book.” She felt confident that since WiDo reviews marketing plans before offering a contract, “WiDo was serious about marketing, in addition to choosing quality work.”
Maldonado states, “Patty was extremely professional in her approach, responding to my requests promptly and politely. Besides being an amazing writer, I knew she’d be a joy to work with in editing. She is a polished professional and we are so happy she chose to publish her work with us.”
Patty Somlo has received four Pushcart Prize nominations, been nominated for storySouth’s Million Writers Award and had an essay selected as a Notable Essay of 2013 for Best American Essays 2014. Author of From Here to There and Other Stories, Somlo has a second short story collection, Hairway to Heaven Stories, forthcoming in January 2017 from Cherry Castle Publishing. Her work has appeared in journals, including the Los Angeles Review, the Santa Clara Review, Under the Sun, Guernica, Gravel, Sheepshead Review, and WomenArts Quarterly, and numerous anthologies. Learn more about Somlo at her website www.pattysomlo.com.