Patricia fell in love with history as a five-year-old, listening to her mother read aloud. This early encounter with history as "story" eventually led to a B.A. in history, while her love of research (and the need to make a living) led to a Master's degree in Library and Information Science. She was appointed to the library faculty at the University of Tennessee, but early morning writing sessions eventually fueled her departure from academe for a full-time writing career. After many years as a freelancer, Patricia returned to academe and earned an M.F.A in creative writing from Spalding University.
Thanks to the research skills she acquired as a university reference librarian, part of Patricia's freelance career has involved doing research for clients on topics ranging from women's health initiatives to quilt patterns. One of her more interesting assignments involved researching the melodic origins of the hymn, Amazing Grace, for author, Alex Haley.
Patricia's commitment to social justice issues has included working with Central American refugees as part of the Sanctuary movement, and co-founding a group called LEAF to fight mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Her work with LEAF was highlighted in Something's Rising, edited by Silas House and Jason Howard.