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Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy writing schedule to be with us today, Patricia. Why don’t we begin by having you tell us a little bit about your background?
Okay, I’ve been writing full time for about four years. Prior to writing my most recent career was as a mortgage broker. Prior to that, I was a nurse in the Immune Suppressed Unit at a hospital here in Southern California. Most of my patients were HIV/AIDS patients. I’m a mother of 4 and a wife of 25 years. I have a busy household with dogs, a cat and my 86 year old father.
When did the realization hit you that you absolutely had to be a writer?
As my mortgage career of nearly twenty years dried up an blew away, I went back to my first love, reading and after about fifty books, I thought hey, maybe I should write, so I did. It took me about three months but I cranked out a 130K word novel.
How many books have you written? How long did take for your first book to be published?
I’ve written seven full length novels in the last few years, am working on the eighth and I have another three in synopsis form, barking at my heels to be written. I submitted the first published work to nine agents and publishers and was rejected by eight of them. It took about three months to get that first acceptance and then it was conditional upon fixing some point of view wobbling issues. After resubmitting it, it took another six months to get a contract.
How long does it generally take for you to write a book?
I wrote my first published novel in twenty six days but that’s an anomaly. It generally takes me between six to eight weeks to complete a full length novel.
When did you start writing in the Male/Male genre? What about the genre interested you the most?
I started writing M/M about two years ago. I felt like I’d come home the very first time I read a M/M book. I like to read and write about how men resolve their sexuality conflicts within themselves. I think coming out must be an exceptionally torturous time in their lives.
Do you write full time? If not, how many hours per day do you try to dedicate to your writing?
I do write full time. I work anywhere from two to twelve hours a day. It depends on whether the creative juices are flowing or not.
Do you typically do revisions/edits as you’re writing, or do you write straight through and revise later?
I’ve done both. The best way for me is to write the entire book as a first draft and then go back and edit for a final draft before submission.
Do you outline your plots before you begin the writing process, or do you write in a more freestyle fashion?
I have OCD really bad so I first write a one to two page synopsis and then write a complete outline which is about 1500-2500 words. The outline remains fluid throughout the writing process because I do go off on tangents or explore new plot lines as I go along. The outline is important for me, because if I didn’t have it, I’d forget important plot points and probably never finish the work.
What sorts of research do you do before and during the writing process of a story?
I don’t generally do a whole lot of research before I begin. When I come upon something I really need to know that I have no experience with like the name, make or model of a gun, I do the research right before I write that into the manuscript. The most research I ever did was for the thermo imaging camera in “Undercover Nights”. That fascinated me. I also did a lot of research in the Israeli self-defense method called Krav Maga for “Warrior Nights”. Those are really fun moments in my writing and I enjoy learning something new.
What has been the most difficult topic you’ve ever tackled in your writing?
All of my books have a villain. One of them was a pedophile. I had to be very careful when I wrote his character because he starts out as a sexy hook up but once my hero realizes what the guy really likes, he high tails it out of there. I had to make sure that I left the reader with nothing likeable about this monster. In several of my novels, one of the heroes has been through a very serious childhood trauma whether it be the loss of someone close or abuse. I try to handle the subject with as much honesty as possible without romanticizing it at all.
How much of yourself, your life experiences, and the people you know manifest themselves into your characters? Do you have one particular character you love above all the others?
I use my real life a lot in my writing. My character in “Leather Nights” Jake is essentially modeled after my life in the mortgage business. The ending of his career and the loss of his wealth and his house and the life he was accustomed to living was basically a mirror of my own. As a reward to him for the suffering he endured, I gave him Cade Littlebear, my very favorite character. Cade is absolutely dreamy and every man and woman on earth should have such a man, a fantastic sexy lover, great father, loving husband to Jake and a wonderful provider for his family.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get beyond it?
Not a block so much but more like days where I just can’t find my muse. I force myself to write every day, even those when I’m not feelin’ it. It’s like pushing yourself to run that last lap and cross the finish line. If you don’t do it, you won’t get through it.
Some authors use music as their inspiration when writing. They list the “soundtracks” for their novels so their fans can enjoy listening to the songs that drove the story. Do you listen to music as you write?
No, I have to have silence wherever I set up my laptop. I can’t be distracted by outside influences. I feel like I owe my full attention to my guys and to my readers.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they feel, experience, or gain from it?
I hope they fall in love with my guys as much as I love my guys. The whole purpose of my writing is to fall in love all over again by the end of the story. I hope that I can make the journey pleasurable as well as entertaining.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received with respect to the art of writing? How did it change the way you approach your craft?
The editor that accepted my first published book “Leather Nights” made me re-write it and fix my point of view wobbling issues. Before she told me, I didn’t even realize that I had those issues. Once I reworked it, my writing improved by leaps and bounds. That’s where having a great editor really helps.
Will you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing now that you’re a published author?
First, finishing the manuscript isn’t the end of the process. It’s only the beginning. There’s a lot of marketing that an author has to do prior to and once the book is released. Second, I have learned not to take myself so seriously and be flexible in my acceptance of editorial decisions. The publisher/editor is really a partner who wants your success for their success. Third, I’ve learned not to let the bad reviews take a piece of my soul. The very first one knocked me on my butt and I felt as though I’d had all the air sucked out of me. Now, I take them in stride. I know that not everyone will like my books and that’s okay.
If you were to offer a word of advice to a new author just starting out, what would it be?
Keep writing and don’t let the rejections get to you. My first book was rejected thirty-nine times before I got it published. It ‘s called “Gypsy Knight” and will be released October 12, 2011 and that is exciting for me. You will get lots of rejections. Don’t ever give up. Keep writing and believe that someone will pick you up.
Do you generally have the titles of you work planned before you begin writing, or does that happen later on in the writing process?
Both. I’ve even changed the title after contracting the novel while I was in the editorial process. “Leather Nights” was originally called the Biker and the Banker (dumb huh?) and “Undercover Nights” was (The Devil’s Poison). Sometimes I have the title in advance but not usually.
What is the question you’re most frequently asked by your fans?
Happily, it is “When is your next book coming out?” I love that question. It’s a great feeling for an author to be asked that.
What is your most memorable fan experience?
I had a fan contact me on Facebook and ask me if I was going to Gayromlit in New Orleans because she wanted to meet me. I thought that was so cool. It turns out that she lives about ten minutes from me, so we’ll probably get together for coffee at some point.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase awareness of your work?
I do interviews like this, I have a large following of friends on Face Book that I interact with every day and I do a lot of marketing through social networking. I guest blog for other authors on their blogs when asked and I’ve just been asked to do a weekly post for a gay online magazine which is very cool.
Do you find it difficult at times to keep your creative fires stoked? How do you keep that “spark” alive?
I wouldn’t say that it is difficult to keep the fires stoked. That said, I do have days when I’m totally “on” and days when the creative juices just aren’t flowing. When I need a spark, I read a great M/M book and get into someone else’s life for awhile. I read about 400 books a year.
The e-reader is changing the way people access and enjoy books. What pros and/or cons do you see surrounding the business of e-publishing? Do you believe the day will come when digital books will eliminate print books, entirely?
Gee, I hope the love for ebooks continues to grow so that people will keep buying my books and I can continue reading them. I don’t think print books will ever go away, at least I hope not. I can’t imagine not being able to hold something beautiful in my hand and smell the print on the pages when I need to.
When you have the chance to sit down and enjoy some quiet reading time, what sorts of books are you most likely to pick up? Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite books are M/M romances. I especially like contemporary and that’s what I write best. If I were to name my favorite authors, I’d hurt the feelings of some of my best friends by virtue of leaving them out so I’ll just say that the author that influenced me most is a lady by the name of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, who passed away the day I finished writing my very first book, July 6, 2007. She wrote books you may remember like “The Wolf and the Dove” and “The Flame and the Flower”. Those books changed modern romance forever and they were the first romances I ever read over thirty years ago. When I read them, I discovered love for the very first time.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I couldn’t imagine not being a writer but if I were anything else, I’d like to be an artist like the unbelievably talented Paul Richmond. Unfortunately, though I paint, I don’t have anywhere near his talent.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing? Do you have any hobbies?
I love cooking and I’m pretty good at it. My happiest days are spent writing for awhile and then cooking a great meal while listening to one of my favorite country singers. I also love spending time with my kids, especially the youngest, Sasha who is a very funny little person. The others are grown and are busy with their own lives.
Okay, now here are a few questions, just for fun:
What’s your favorite fast food?
I love Taco Bell. Mexican food is my absolute favorite though the Mexican’s would be insulted to hear me call Taco Bell Mexican. Everything I eat has to be drowned in hot sauce.
If you could travel through time, what time period(s) would you most like to visit? Why?
I think I’d like to visit the 1940’s or 1950’s. The 1940’s were an especially romantic time when men and women went out dancing and to dinner without expectations of ending the evening with a sexual encounter. It seems that it must have been a simpler time and because people didn’t fall into bed on the first date, it must have been more romantic.
If we were to look around the desk where you sit to write, what would we find there?
My laptop, my glasses, a handful of flash drives, my Kindle, a bunch of book cases filled to overflowing with books and my cell phone.
What’s your favorite movie?
High Anxiety by Mel Brooks. Fantastically funny stuff.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
That I’m the only one in my family that can seem to notice a sink full of dishes that need washing.
How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?
I have a fantastic sense of humor and I’m also very funny in real life. I love to laugh and make people laugh more than anything on earth. Silly humor like Mel Brooks and slapstick comedy like Laurel and Hardy makes me laugh. A funny dry British wit also does it for me. One of my best author friends is from London and she keeps me in stitches with two or three sarcastically dry words most of the time. I love watching a good stand-up comedy and adore the “Blue Collar Comedy” guys.
Who are your favorite actors, both male and female?
I love Tom Hanks, Vince Vaughn, Adam Sandler, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock and Steve Martin.
Who’s on your iPod/MP3 player?
A lot of 70’s and 80’s rock and the rest is country. I adore country.
Without getting up to look, what’s under your bed?
A whole lot of dust bunnies and nothing else.
Do you speak more than one language? If so, which ones?
I speak English and Farsi fluently. My husband is Persian and we’ve been married 25 years. My mother-in-law lived with us for about 9 years. I use the Farsi in a lot of my books.
Thanks again for spending some time with us, Patricia. Will you tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
You can find me on Facebook and I’m in the process of setting up my new blog called Naughty Passions as well as my new website.
We’d love it if you’d share a favorite excerpt from one of your books.
Sure. This is from my current release “Undercover Nights”:
Gage woke sometime in the night covered in sweat. Cody lay on the bed beside him, the muscles in his arms bunched as he raised his hands against some invisible attacker.
“Stop!” Cody shrieked. “I can’t take it Uncle! Okay! I’ll do it!” Cody was panting, flailing arms, covering his face from unseen blows. “Again, yes again! I will do anything! Please just stop…” he whimpered, a little boy’s voice coming from him. “Please just stop,” he sighed and Gage noticed the blood running from Cody’s lips.
Gage watched the man as his teeth clamped down, cutting into the ragged lips again and again as he tried to bite through them. Gage had to stop this somehow; he realized that Cody was still asleep, though deeply locked in a primal fight for his survival. He reached for him, wrapping his long arms around Cody as he crooned into his ear. “It’s okay baby, I’m here… Gage is here Cody… shh.”
Cody struggled for a moment, his whimpering cries echoing around the walls of the apartment, before going limp in Gage’s arms. Gage continued to rock Cody, absorbing his tears as they fell. Cody wound his arms around Gage, pulling Gage in tight as the silent tears turned to sobs which wracked his body. Gage smoothed his hands over Cody’s back, pushing aside his hair and laying his warm palms directly on the ravaged scars so that Cody would feel the tenderness in his touch. “No more pain Cody, no more. Only love baby. All you feel now is love.”
Cody was sobbing, clinging to Gage as if he’d never breathe again, never be able to escape the beast that filled his memories, his nightmares, the dark places in his soul. Gage could only hope that little by little, he was replacing the beast, filling the empty spaces that the monster had left all those years ago.
Gage moved his palms to another area of Cody’s back, pressing softly against the ravaged skin as Cody’s sobs quieted to silent tears. “Gage?” Cody choked out.
“Yes baby, it’s Gage. I’m here, love. Shh, I’m not leaving.” He moved his warm hands to another place that hadn’t been touched yet, pressing down as he soothed the tortured soul that was Cody.
Cody seemed to relax with Gage’s soft voice at his ear. “I’m sorry Gage. I’m sorry. I never wanted you to know. I wanted to protect you from me.”
Gage couldn’t wrap his mind around the phrase. Was it possible that Cody thought he had anything to do with his own brutalization and was now worried about protecting Gage from himself? “Sorry Cody? Sorry for what?”
Cody pulled out of Gage’s hug, lifting his head as he stared down into Gage’s tear filled eyes. His eyes traced over Gage’s beautiful face looking for the pity that he’d expected to see. He knew he’d leave if he saw it. He could live with his own shame but not if he shamed Gage. There was no pity in the violet depths, no condemnation. Gage’s eyes reflected back love. Cody blinked. He’d never seen love in anyone’s eyes before. He couldn’t ever remember seeing that in his mother’s eyes before her death. He rarely looked into her eyes, unable to bear her pain.
“What could you possibly have to be sorry for sweetheart?” Gage lifted his head and kissed Cody’s lips softly.
Cody laid his head back down on Gage’s muscular shoulder; pursing his lips, he found his mark on Gage’s neck as he brushed his mouth lightly against it. He closed his eyes as Gage’s warm hands moved again on his back, pressing softly as Gage healed him even more with a loving touch.
Thank you Michele and Lisa for allowing me this forum