Elizabeth Chats With…Pat Black-Gould

I first met this month’s guest via Women in Publishing School back in the summer of 2021. Pat Black-Gould, PhD has a diverse background that includes a career as an author, director, playwright, producer, and psychologist. Her short stories have been published in several journals, including Jewish Fiction.net, Panoplyzine, Emerald Coast Review, The Pen Women Journal, Mused, and The Dewdrop. I was privileged to read the manuscript of her latest book before it was published and its message is a strong one that will resonate with adults and children alike. I am delighted that Pat agreed to chat with me today.

Hello Pat, and welcome. I asked you to upload a picture or a photo that best represents you. So tell us about the beautiful portrait above.

I needed photographs for my new children’s book, The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey. I’m fortunate to have a friend, Nancy Nesvik, a professional photographer. I don’t take good photos, but somehow, Nancy captured me in a moment of joy. It was during that photo session that I really learned to appreciate the art that goes into taking good portrait pictures. And Nancy is brilliant. She is also the president of the National League of American Pen Women. It’s a great organization of women writers, artists, photographers, writers, and musicians. And I’m proud to be a member.

Talking about yourself, how would you finish the sentence “not a lot of people know…”?

…that I played a six-foot carrot when I was part of a children’s theatre company. I did a lot of strange roles when I worked with that company. I played a piece of “gunk.” The vice-president of Hoover Vacuum Cleaners chased me and two other actors who played “grit” and “grime” around a department store with a vacuum cleaner. Ah, what one does for theatre!

Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends—which would you prefer?

Given that my background is in theatre, you’d think I’d say going to a show. However, COVID limited in-person interactions with friends, so I’d have to say that spending time with friends is a high priority.

Where is your favourite place on earth—and why?

My son lives in Australia, which is a beautiful country. I have to say it’s my favorite place because my heart is there with him.

How do you relax?

Relax? What’s that mean? Sitting at the beach reading a good novel. As long as it’s not too hot outside. I live in Florida, and as much as I love the beach, the humidity is sometimes hard to handle.

If you could take part in one television programme, which one would it be?

This is Us. I love those characters and the way the show uses flashbacks. I’m writing a novel with my co-author, Steve Hardiman. We use a similar style with our flashbacks. The show’s mood is also similar to our book, except we use a lot more humor to mix in with the pathos.

What would you have printed on the front of your T-shirt?

“A work in progress”

Would you describe yourself as left-brain (analytical), right-brain (intuitive) or a mix of both?

I started out on the creative side, but I also received my PhD in clinical psychology and neuropsychology. So I’ve used the analytical brain for quite some time. But truthfully, they can work hand in hand

Tell us about your book.

For a long time, I’ve been haunted by a story I heard about a little Jewish girl during the Holocaust. Using this as an inspiration, I wrote The Crystal Beads. It was published as a short story and then won first place in both a statewide and national writing competition. After winning those awards, I began doing readings and presentations about the work and then turned the story into a children’s book: The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey.

The story is told from the perspective of a seven-year-old child whose mother sends her to a convent to keep her safe. The book is beautifully illustrated by Katya Royz, who is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. It was important to me to find an illustrator who had a connection to the Holocaust. I was so lucky to find Katya.

Although The Crystal Beads is a picture book, I designed it for readers of all ages. The book contains two study guides, one for children and one for adults. The questions allow for group discussions on empathy, compassion, bravery, and love for one another—despite our differences.

Thank you for stopping by today, Pat. Readers, you can find out more about Pat’s writing and her book on her website. You can also find her on Instagram and on Goodreads. You can find The Crystal Beads on Amazon.

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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