Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Bridge Club by Patricia Sands

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THE BRIDGE CLUB ( … it was never just about the cards … )

Eight women. Four decades of friendship. One unimaginable request.

How far would you go to help a good friend? Is there a point where you might draw the line?

Partying together as hip twenty-somethings in the psychedelic 1960’s, eight young women begin a connection that will last longer than any ever imagined.

What starts as a monthly card game, turns into forty years that span a woman’s journey from youthful optimism to the challenges and opportunities presented in life’s later years. The complexities of women’s friendships are played out through a maze of life’s inevitable scenarios. Laughter and tears lead to a crisis that challenges principles and proves the power of friendship.

The Bridge Club is a story for anyone who cares about friendship. Not simply the “Hi, how are you?” type but the kind that weathers all storms, unselfishly celebrates triumphs, and hums along year after year with never an unkind word. It does exist.

If you already share a friendship like this, you will relate to the women of The Bridge Club. If you don’t, perhaps the story will inspire you to find it.

About Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada and has degrees from the University of Waterloo and York University. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. Much to her surprise a few years ago, she began to write and her debut novel The Bridge Club has been published through iUniverse. Currently at work on her second novel, part of which is set in the south of France, she is gathering material and writing her blog from the Cote D'Azur until the end of September. Particularly drawn to the rewarding friendships women share, her writing frequently focuses on the challenges and opportunities of life's later years.



Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.
It wasn’t Christmas and it’s not about religion, but whenever I think of that night, those words filter into my head. Kind of bizarre, I know, but that’s how thoughts are sometimes.
The winter storm that consumed the weekend had finally moved on. As often happens, the unpredicted disturbance came at us out of nowhere, much like the shocking news months earlier that bound us together for these two days.
Winds had raged sporadically. Snowfall had fluctuated from light to blinding, including everything in between, but there was never nothing.
Left in the storm’s wake were drift-filled roads, the work of savage gusts whipping the snow across the flat, vacant fields of Simcoe and Grey counties. The white barrage had swirled and funneled as it was sculpted into uneven peaks, trapped between the fencing that bordered the road. Trapped, as between the proverbial rock and a hard place, which was how you might have described this group of friends, but you would have been mistaken. We had chosen to be there.
Dangerous whiteout conditions brought traffic to a halt as roads had been closed around midnight on Friday. Through sheer luck we had left early enough to miss the worst of it. Trust me, you don’t want to be out there when you can’t tell which way is up.
On Sunday evening it was suddenly peaceful. Quiet. Still. A silent calm filled the post-storm air and cast a surreal shroud over the landscape. The pristine snow reflected the moon’s soft glow, making the night appear more like dawn. Had we not been so distracted, we would have appreciated the beauty of it all.
Too numbed by what we had experienced on this weekend to even notice the cold, we stood on the crest of the hill by the farmhouse and watched.
In the distance, a fluorescent blue beam revolved on the cab of a snowplow. Piercing the dark, the probing rays brushed across the mounds being carved along the narrow side road. Blinking red and yellow lights lined the truck warning of its massive size. Following in tandem was a bulky SUV with amber hazard signals flashing. Last, and somewhat diminished by comparison, were the headlights on the unmistakable silhouette of a funeral-home hearse.
The pulsating throb of the combined lights created a slow-motion kaleidoscope silently sliding toward us.
We waited.
That’s how this story ends. Let me tell you how it all began.

Interview with Patricia Sands

What will readers like about your book?

The Bridge Club is based on the forty-plus years of friendship of my real-life bridge club. Although it is fiction, much of what happens in the story did in fact happen in one way or another in real life. Readers often write to me about how they related to one or another of the characters and had similar experiences in their own life. I've heard from women as young as twenty and as old as eighty-three. There's something for everyone!

Why did you self publish?

As a first-time author, I knew it was going to be difficult to attract an agent or publisher. I happened to read an interview with Lisa Genova, the author of the amazing book "Still Alice", and she had self-published through iUniverse. Coincidentally around the same time I read another interview with a very successful Canadian author, Terry Fallis, who also had used iUniverse. That's what pushed me in their direction after I did a pretty thorough investigation into publishing companies. It worked for me.

What is your writing process?

I tend to be a "pantser" rather than an organized planner. I'm working on that! I find that I wake up early with my head full of thoughts and have to go straight to my computer and get them down. Like most writers, once I get into the story it takes over and often leads me places I never imagined in the beginning. It's a great ride!

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

The first draft of The Bridge Club took me a couple of years as I wasn't really serious about it at first. After people began to encourage me to publish, I buckled down. I'm writing my second novel at the moment and it is going far more quickly.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

This story had been in my head for many years and my bridge club had often joked that, since I have always recorded our 'stories' with my camera, I should write a book about "us". When I found myself with time on my hands, I began to write just for the fun of it. There's nothing better than having wonderful friendship in your life and this story became a testament to that. I knew it was something to which many women would relate as there are so many groups of friends just like ours all over the world. Then something happened to another friend of mine that profoundly affected me and I decided that this issue was truly important and would be the crisis that occurs at the end of the story. That really inspired me to get serious and make it happen.


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  1. Great Interview! The Bridge Club sounds like an interesting read. Looking forward to it.

  2. I like the frankness of the interview. Can't wait to get my copy of The Bridge Club!

  3. Great interview! The Bridge Club sounds like a wonderful read for any of us who may have long-standing kind of friends. Thanks so much for sharing. ~Janet~

  4. Love this interview Patricia and The Bridge Club is a story that so many women will relate to I am sure! Reminds us all about the journey through life as the years pass us by .... it seems shorter looking back, doesn't it? A fabulous read!