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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Patricia D’Arcy Laughlin shares the inspiration behind her controversial new book, Sacrifices For Kingdoms, which explores the concept that God has no gender.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Patricia D’Arcy Laughlin about her life and career, being inspired by patriarchal religions to write her new book, Sacrifices For Kingdoms, and her creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Patricia D’Arcy Laughlin. I was born on the, at that time British, Island of Trinidad, and until immigrating to the USA in 1979, I lived there except for school in England from 14-17 years of age. I loved to write from a very young age, mostly poems, and I composed several songs. I was also very artistic, drawing and painting, made my own paper doll clothes, and designed and sewed my other dolls’ clothes.
On the other hand, I was a bit of a tomboy. When my siblings and friends gathered in our backyard to play cricket or football (soccer) I would pause my artistic endeavors to join in. We also had a trapeze on the breadfruit tree, on which I would perform circus stunts, and have scars to show from that as well as doing ballet on my bike. My Mum told me I was her “Princess Tomboy,” I loved the elegant and genteel as well as the rough-and-tumble of child play.
I started world-traveling when I was young. This opened my horizons and my mind, and I became curious about cultures, religions, and the history of civilizations. Over the years, I had a variety of jobs: managed a boutique, trained dining staff at T&T Hilton Hotel, helped in my father’s office, and modeled in between. I was the youngest airline hostess for BWIA until I got pregnant, and after having my three children, I developed my own art medium, which the media named “Unique Stainings on Wood.”
I am still married to my teenage sweetheart. We have 3 awesome children, 5 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
Probably around age 10. Later, while I was attending high school in England, I actually wrote a play in Victorian Shakespearean language in a little red notebook that I hid inside my sweater. Whenever I began to get bored in class, I’d sneak into the restroom and write. As the years, and experiences went by, I became fascinated with other people’s stories about their experiences, and felt I should include them in a book, as they were so varied and entertaining.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I started writing anecdotes in a large notebook whenever I could find the time between raising my children, handling a hectic social life (both my husband and I come from large families, and Trinidad is a very social place), fundraising for schools and charities, traveling, building our home, and developing “Unique Stainings on Wood.” I sustained damage to my inner ear when I was 28, and went with my mother-in-law, Jan (who had debilitating arthritis), to a health spa in Naples, Florida, to try and fix our problems.
During our 30 day fast, with no telephone, TV, or mobile phones in that Natural Hygienic Facility, and getting physically weaker for conversation, and bored, with each day, I mentioned that I always wanted to write a book. Jan immediately gave a nurse money and instructed her to get me necessary writing supplies. I then started Sacrifice For A Kingdom, which we later changed to Sacrifices For Kingdoms in a second, updated edition.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
From about age 15, I started to think about relationships between royals and commoners, and writing about that someday. After getting married as a teenager, and beginning to enjoy exploring my sexuality, and listening to the experiences of friends and family, I began adding anecdotes into my notebook, and continued doing so throughout the years. I learned at an early age that we learn by listening, not by talking.
Writing the first draft by hand took me decades. I spent years researching through world travel, reading countless books, and attending numerous seminars. Learning to use a computer and typing it up took another 3+ years. Altogether, I’ve invested a great part of my life into this story. It is a Trilogy.
What made you want to write Sacrifices For Kingdoms?
My experience of living on 2 British islands, Trinidad and England, and growing up with royal traditions, meeting some royalty, then learning from my deceased father’s papers about my ancient D’Arcy family, I became aware that royal people are basically just as prone to suffer severe pain, experience great joy, and make sacrifices, as everyone else is. This inspired me to write a novel showing that each of us is our own kingdom, for which we make sacrifices.
During my world travels, I learned a lot about ancient religions that believed in Goddesses as well as Gods, and began to question the validity of the patriarchal religions of the last 2,000 years that barbarian patriarchal tribes originally invented, where they decided there should be only one God, and it’s male.
My research has proven that these barbarians used their ‘muscle’ to control the more advanced Goddess or Goddesses-together-with-Gods’ religions. “You control the mind, you control the money.” Knowing the intelligence of females to be equal to males when given the same education and opportunities, and observing the ongoing oppression of females in these religions which influence even non-religious societies, I began to be angered by the pervasive inequality and abuse that females worldwide have suffered ever since. I became aware that not everyone was as fortunate as I to travel, research, and get answers about what caused the denigration of females in ‘holy’ books, leading many men to feel they are entitled to control the planet, which causes violence, conflicts, and wars, because of the overload of the more aggressive hormone, testosterone.
I was compelled to write my main character, Elizabeth’s equality speech, “God Has No Gender,” about the need for gender balance in power, in order to educate people, enlighten them, and inspire them, in addition to entertaining them.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Sacrifices For Kingdoms?
- Peace of mind.
- Researching, and interviewing numerous people about their romances and sexuality.
- Recovering from the trauma of discovering the truth about the damage done by patriarchal religions.
- Building my confidence to expose all I had learned in spite of any controversies that this knowledge may cause.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
Several amazing strong women, some of whom may recognize themselves in this book. I didn’t want Elizabeth to be a cliché Cinderella. I think the ‘rags-to-riches’ female stories have been beaten to death. We’ve all had some experience of them in some way in our own lives. Elizabeth had to be vulnerable yet strong, sophisticated, and empowering. Her journey through betrayal, extreme danger, conflicting emotions, and final decisions, had to be thought-provoking yet relatable.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
There are a few antagonists in this story and I have been inspired conceptually by many world rulers, authoritarians, and politicians.
What is the inciting incident of Sacrifices For Kingdoms?
Elizabeth’s “Tragedy,” and a surprise encounter with royalty.
What is the main conflict of Sacrifices For Kingdoms?
Torn between ‘kingdoms,’ Elizabeth must decide which one is worth sacrificing for, and the consequences that will undoubtedly follow.
Did you plot Sacrifices For Kingdoms in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I’m basically a planner, but during writing and researching, things happened that would change the course of my plans. As Robert Burns put it, “The best laid plans of mice and (wo)men often go awry.” However, when inspiration takes hold, I write freely as the ideas unfold for days on end!
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Sacrifices For Kingdoms need?
I had two educators read my manuscript, a man and a woman in order to get both genders’ perspectives. Both loved it. The man told me to “lose 100 pages, and put it in the sequel,” which I did. The woman told me the sex was so “titillating and numerous,” that I should also take some out to put in the sequel, which I did. A female friend, and a voracious reader, loved it, but feared I would need a bodyguard primarily because of Elizabeth’s speech.
An author of spiritual books in New York contradicted that thinking, and said people today are more sophisticated and knowledgeable about the damage that patriarchal religions still do. I eventually hired a professional company to proofread and edit my book.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Believe in your story, believe in yourself. You will be surprised at the different attitudes you’re going to get from people when you divulge that you are writing a book. Some will be thrilled and supportive. Others may be cynical, some may be envious, and others may be blatantly critical of you with a “Who do you think you are?” kind of attitude in an attempt to put you down. So, believe in yourself, ignore any degradation, and just go for it!
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
The second book in the Trilogy, Sacrifices Beyond Kingdoms, is finished and will soon follow Sacrifices For Kingdoms. The third book, Sacrifices And Triumphs is well underway.
I am also, in between writing the Sacrifices For Kingdoms Trilogy, working on a sort-of autobiography titled, Welcome To America!
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Yes. Absolutely. The reviews on my website for the first edition have been extremely encouraging. I will keep writing as long as my brain keeps working! 🙂
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