Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Giving Our Characters Our Hobbies by Patricia Bradley

After I read Shadows of the Past and learned that the author's hobby was pottery, I asked Patricia Bradley to share about adding personal hobbies to our stories. -- Sandy

Patricia: He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer. Exodus 35:35 ESV

Thirteen years ago I had a character for a book, but I didn’t want her to have the same old-same old occupation. When I closed my eyes and brought her to mind, I saw her sitting at a potter’s wheel, outside under a spreading Oak. Occasionally, she would look up from her work and gaze in the distance. That was in January 2001.

I loved it! But there was a problem. I didn’t have the first clue how to use a wheel or clay. In fact when I was in the seventh grade my art teacher brought her wheel to class one day. After I had my try, she shook her head and said, “You’ll never be a potter. Get up and let someone else try.”

In May of 2001, I went to a Women’s Conference and one of the sessions featured a potter. After an awesome presentation, I asked where she learned to use a wheel, and she gave me the name of her instructor. I called him and signed up. And became this great potter.

No. The instructor did say he’d never seen a person so determined to learn how to throw on a wheel. That’s the way potters talk about working on the wheel. Throwing. You see, you take a ball of clay and throw it on the wheel then try to keep it there while the wheel is spinning 90 to nothing.


But I was determined. I bought a wheel, clay, even a kiln. And sat down and practiced. And practiced. Remember the throwing bit? I occasionally threw the clay…out the door. But I kept at it. I think that’s the secret whether it’s writing or pottery or anything you want to get good at. About that time, I began working in the abstinence program in Mississippi, and I used the wheel and clay to show how to build a good foundation for your life and how to reclaim your character when you didn’t build that foundation.

It was seven years before I wrote the book that had a potter in it. In that time, I became quite accomplished at making vases, bowls, and mugs. I even began fashioning jewelry from my porcelain clay. While I don’t have time right now to play in the mud, I am itching to get back to it. But first, I have a third book in the Logan Point series to write. And guess what? My subplot character is a potter…creating beautiful things on the wheel is how she regains sight of who God created her to be.

Have you had an experience similar to Patricia's? Has your character inspired a personal hobby or have you given your hobby to a character?


Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s mini-mysteries have been published in Woman’s World, and her debut novel, Shadows of the Past, is the first of three set in Mississippi and will release February 4, 2014. She presents workshops, her most recent is Writing 50,000 words in 30 days, at the Midsouth Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN on March 8, 2014. Her tag line on everything is: I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write. And when she’s not writing, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Back cover copy:
Psychology professor and criminal profiler Taylor Martin prides herself on being able to solve any
crime, except the one she wants most desperately to solve—the disappearance of her father twenty years ago. When she finally has a lead on his whereabouts, Taylor returns home to Logan Point, Mississippi, to investigate. But as she is stalking the truth about the past, someone is stalking her.
Nick Sinclair pens mystery novels for a living, but the biggest mystery to him is how he can ever get over the death of his wife—a tragedy he believes he could have prevented. With his estranged brother the only family he has left, Nick sets out to find him. But when he crosses paths with Taylor, all he seems to find is trouble.

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