Monday, January 3, 2022

Spotlight--Patty Smith Hall

Patty Smith Hall here, and I wanted to share with you about this strange yet interesting knack I have of finding bits of history that aren't taught in any high school or college class. But let me start from the beginning.

After I was injured on the job, my nursing career took an unexpected detour. I could no long work in a hospital setting(the possibility of re-injuring myself was high.) It took six months to find a new job as a nurse for a large allergy practice in Atlanta. One of the doctors there was into medical research and after talking with him, I decided I'd like to give it a try.

I loved it! Collecting facts, digging through countless studies, interviewing patients--I couldn't believe my good fortune. Anyway, doing medical research taught me to dig for answers to other questions. Before too long, I found myself digging around in some of the books I was reading at the time. The internet wasn't a big thing at the time so I used the library or the local bookstore to help me in my search.

It's funny what you can find when you least expect it. For example, my first book, Hearts in Flight was based on a paragraph I found in a library book. My daughters went through the phase of reading anything that had to do with World War II and as they were still young, I'd read the book before I lent it to them. That paragraph about the women pilots of WWII interested me. I started digging deeper, going to air shows and meeting with some of these woman. I talked to one of the engineers who designed the B-29 or the Widow maker. A D-Day pilot even taught me how to take off and land a P-52 Spitfire. By the time I finished my research, I was ready to write!

I'm also a big believer in reading several newspapers a day. I've discovered many interest items for my stories from reading the paper from front to back. For example, I was reading the obituaries in the Grand Rapids Press and came across this young guy's obit. It read like most obituaries--So and so died, leaving behind such and such or so and so. But this guy's family had listed his Sunday school class, a group known as the 'Bachelors to the Rapture.' Now I was asking myself--what kind of guys join a study group called that? My imagination went crazy over all the possibilities and by the time I finished reading the rest of the paper, I had two strong story ideas.

Festivals are also a great source for little known history. While I was researching my book on the Georgia gold rush, my husband and I went to several Cherokee Indian festivals near our home in the North Georgia Mountain. I take tons of pictures--photographs help me nail the setting and gives me ideas for different scenes. I visit with the vendors and ask tons of question. During one of these festivals, I spent an hour with the blacksmith, talking about what tools my character would need in his smithy or watching him fashion a pot out of red-hot iron. I also spent time at the house of Chief John Ross who led the Cherokee during the Georgia gold rush. It was there I learn of how the chief turned to acclimate the Cherokee to the settlers' English ways.

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                                     Gold Dust Bride

Abigail Matthew's ambition is to run her family's iron mines alongside her father. With the company in trouble, Abby goes to the north Georgia mountains where iron and gold are rumored to be found. Abby is certain the mountains hold the ore their company desperately needs but the task is made difficult by the influx of miners and the interference of Micah Anderson, the town's sheriff and blacksmith who hinders her progress...and steals her heart.

Micah doesn't understand the mad rush for gold. He sees the miners no better than the father who gambled him away in a card game. That someone as lovely as Abby would take such a risk grates at him, but doesn't diminish their attraction. Working alongside her, Micah discovers hidden depths to Abby's character. But when she is put in danger after witnessing a crime against a Cherokee Indian, will Micah gamble his heart on the woman he's come to love?

Multi-published author Patty Smith Hall lives at the foothills of the North Georgia with her husband of 38 years, Danny and her spoiled puppy, Daisy. Besides being a writer, Patty serves as an acquisition editor for Winged Publishing where she enjoys helping new authors get published. In her down time, you can find her working in her flower garden or playing with her grandsons. 

You can contact her at


  1. Thanks for posting today and telling us a bit more about yourself. I'm so glad that God gave many of you writers an insatiable curiosity, I know that we readers benefit greatly from that! And I'm so glad knowing that the authors I love can be counted on to do the research needed to produce a story that is historically accurate...with that writer's license to dream and adjust!!

    1. Thanks for coming by. I'm a real stickler for history so I dig deep when I'm researching and at times, find something else that deserves a book of it's own!

  2. Great post! And I agree - ideas often come from unexpected sources. The spark for my debut novel came from a middle-school book about the Oregon Trail that I read with my daughter when I was homeschooling her. I had forgotten about all the things the travelers left behind to lighten the wagons. Hm... If I could get my heroine left behind, she could use those things to survive until the hero found her. Then I had to come up with the rest of the plot. LOL

    Fellow nurse here. Sorry your career took such a turn, but it sounds like you made the best of it.