Today I have author Patricia Mann joining me for an interview.
Firstly, how long have you been writing fiction and what first inspired you?
Is This All There Is? is actually my first stab at fiction! I’ve always kept journals and loved writing nonfiction. I used to envision writing self-help books and in some ways, there is a hint of that in Is This All There Is? I tried to tell the story of a good woman who makes a terrible mistake, in part because it might prevent others from making that mistake. I also hoped it might help those who have made the same mistake with healing and forgiving themselves. Many readers have told me that the book reads like nonfiction, that it seems too real – maybe because a lot of it is drawn from my own life, but not all of it, of course.
Thank you for adding it to your reading list! That means a lot to me. Many years ago, I was a tired, busy, overwhelmed wife and mother of two working one part-time job as a university professor and another as a consultant. I needed a creative outlet. A friend recommended a writing group. I decided to give it a try. It became the air I needed to breathe. I attended every week for four years. Not surprisingly, the story that came out of me was about a woman who is a tired, busy, overwhelmed mother of two working part-time as a university professor. The part where she gets drawn into an affair with a sweet, sexy former student was all her idea.
And what about your next book, what can we expect?
My mother and I are writing a book together and we’re having so much fun! She’s getting ready to retire from over 30 years as a critical care nurse and has the most jaw-dropping stories. I can barely type fast enough to capture all the shocking details as they pour out of her. I’ve always been a fan of shows like Grey’s Anatomy and ER, so writing about some of the most heartbreaking and miraculous medical stories my mother has seen is incredibly exciting. Everything in the book is based on true stories from my her career. Crazy stuff! I’m writing the romance part, with her support as well, because she’s a great writer. Our nurse has a steamy secret relationship with the hot ER doc, but he doesn’t seem as ready as she is to commit, so we’ll see where that goes. So far, I’m having the best time writing about the great sex they have. I almost couldn’t do it when I had to send my mother the first sex scene. But she loved it and encouraged me not to hold back in upcoming chapters. Whew! We’re shooting for a release date in early 2014… fingers crossed.
How wonderful, to write with your mother. Who’s your favourite author and why?
It’s strange, but I don’t tend to read multiple books by one author. I like to read a little of everything. So, I don’t exactly have a favorite author. But I do have a favorite book. It’s The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Reading this version of King Arthur’s tale transported me back in time. I was absolutely obsessed with it both times I read it. In my dreams (sometimes even while awake) I became a priestess with magical powers, just like the women of Avalon and Camelot in the book. I was also Sir Lancelot’s love interest, of course. I’ve just never found another novel so rich with imagery or a story so filled with riveting stories and characters.
How and when do you write? Tell us about your routine.
Sometimes I write my home office, but I don’t feel too inspired there. Maybe all the household chores pulling at me sap my creativity. I love writing at this little health food restaurant I sometimes bring my laptop to. Coffee shops work for me too. Something about being able to take little breaks to people watch or daydream without anything else that needs to be done nearby helps me stay focused for longer.
What have you learnt since becoming a published author?
Great question! These are all great questions! I’ve learned that hearing from readers who were deeply moved by my book makes up for the fact that it doesn’t make money. I’ve learned that there is a world full of talented authors out there to connect with, learn from, and support, which has been more rewarding and wonderful than I ever could have dreamed. I’ve learned that I must be a real writer because even though my first book hasn’t been a huge success by most standards, I’m excited to start my second and wouldn’t trade the experience of publishing my first for anything in the world! I’ve also learned a ton about social media and love playing with readers and writers online regularly!
I loved your blog post about what you’d tell your 20 year old self! What’s your one tip for a happy life?
Love yourself first. Do whatever it takes to be as proud as you can of how you spend your time, how you treat yourself and others, how you look, how you feel, and your goals in life. When that self-love is strong and emanates from your being, everything else will fall into place. Seeking your core of happiness from a relationship, title, or possession is a recipe for disaster.
Thanks so much for joining me, Patricia 🙂
Thank you, Sarah, for these fantastic, personalized questions! I love engaging with authors who I admire and I absolutely can’t wait to read both Amy & Zach as well as Izzy’s Cold Feet!
Is This All There Is?
Beth Thomas has the perfect life. At thirty-five, she’s married to her college sweetheart, has two adorable kids, and teaches part time at the local university. But when a friend persuades Beth to go dancing on a rare night out, a chance meeting with twenty-one-year-old Dave, one of her former students, changes the course of her life. Loud music, too much to drink, and the thrill of feeling young again lead to an unforgettable kiss that was never supposed to happen. As she tries to put the memory behind her, Dave’s pursuit leaves Beth torn between what her mind says is right and what her heart and body crave.
Patricia Mann Bio: Patricia Mann is a university professor and the owner of a communication consulting firm. She lives in California with her husband, their two kids, and a sweet, silly old dog.
Find out more at her website.