Interview with novelist Patrice Locke

Author Patrice Locke is here chatting with me
about her new romantic comedy, Exit
Signs.

During her virtual book tour, Patrice will be awarding one $10 Amazon or Barnes
and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be
entered for a chance to win, use the
form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit
her other tour stops
and enter there, too!


Bio:
As a journalist, Patrice Locke wrote a lot of stories with
unhappy and even tragic endings.

 Facts
are facts, and a writer doesn’t mess with facts.
But fiction is another world.
Patrice began writing novels, where she could control the endings and make them
as happy as she wants. The best thing about fiction, she says, is having time
to think before her characters speak, so they can say the things most of us
only come up with after the perfect moment has passed.
   
She loves to write, read, and
watch romantic comedies where life always turns out the way it should. Her only
obsessive relationships are with semicolons and Oxford commas.
 
Though she doesn’t like to
brag, Patrice is an award-winning artist. She won a gold and diamond watch when
she was 13 for decorating a turkey drumstick bone to look like Batman. Alas,
that was her last recognition in the fine arts.
        
Patrice lives in Albuquerque,
New Mexico, where the blue sky is brilliant, the air is thin, and the vistas
are breathtaking. She is none of those things, which is one reason she enjoys
living among them.

Welcome, Patrice. Please share a little
bit about your current release.
Exit Signs is the story of researcher Tracy
Price who becomes obsessed with finding a writer who disappeared in the 1930s
and decoding the enigma of a musician whose ‘fans’ either idolize him or
despise him.

Content to live her life in the no-drama style of the documentaries she creates,
Tracy is not pleased to realize that rock star Jesse Elliot is inadvertently
rewriting her script, turning her life into a convoluted combination of slapstick
comedy, classic cartoon, tear-jerking drama, western adventure, and love story,
not necessarily in that order.
She’s not
sure whether she wants to sleep with Jesse or take a swing at him with a
ball-peen hammer because he gives her such mixed signals. The key to their
relationship turns out to be snarled in the middle of advice from the
mysterious missing writer.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was
bored, sitting in the Denver airport, paging through a People Magazine,
thinking about celebrities when I saw a man who looked like a famous musician –
a poor man’s version of the star, anyway. I started to create a story for him
and wrote up the results of that as an isolated scene.
After that,
I couldn’t stop wondering how he got into the predicament I imagined for him,
how he would respond to it, and what affect would his situation have on his
life.
Voila,
Jesse Elliot, minor rock star was born and his reluctant fan Tracy appeared to
tell his story.

Excerpt from Exit Signs:
Jesse lunged toward me. It was too late. I had already launched. He reached out
but didn’t connect. Instead, I broke the trajectory of my upper body by
grabbing him at chest level and sliding down. He was pushed backward into the
table, which stabilized our ungainly host-parasite tableau. He softened my
landing so that physically I was fine, but my pride was ready for intensive
care.

Heaped at
his feet, like a demented penitent, I hugged his knees, my face pressed flat
into his thighs. I might as well stay down. What’s worse? To stand up and face
you, or remain here, nestled between your legs? What do you think? Then, the
finishing touch: I erupted into nervous, snorting laughter. He guessed there
was no serious injury.
“It’s nice
to see you, too. You are okay, aren’t you? Can you stand?” He reached for my
arms to unwrap them from his legs and help me up. I jammed my eyelids together
to conjure up a do-over, but no such luck.
I would have to deal with it.
He held my elbows in his hands. “I guess we were both in a
hurry to see each other.”
I do
appreciate your attempt to lighten the mood, but you are standing SO close. I
can feel your body heat. Or is that mine? By the way, you smell tart and fresh,
like a lime.
I stared at his shoulder. My dignity meter was stuck on
empty.
“Enthusiastic greeting. Thanks for that.” He was blatantly
amused.
“It was
nothing.” I stepped backward to regain a semblance of independence. Don’t mock
me. But, you did go to all the trouble to bring your hair. And your eyes. I
might forgive you for witnessing my disgrace. That hair.

What exciting story are you working on
next?

The working
title is “Ghostsitter.” I’m having fun creating an unreliable narrator who is
trying to turn her life around while she keeps backsliding into her old ways.
She’s spent her life getting by on her good looks and just as she hits rock
bottom a series of problems begins to rob her of her gorgeous hair, alabaster
skin, and physical grace. Limping around, wearing an eye patch and finding
herself destitute, she has to find a way to rearrange her character and her
life.
On the
surface, she’s a scoundrel, but I’m finding that the more I know her, the more
I like her. I’m hoping readers will feel that way as well. Also, she gets to
fall in love with someone who looks past her appearance and likes what he sees.
He has to look deeper because she’s really falling apart.
One thing
that inspired me was a 100-year-old high school complex in Albuquerque that has
been renovated and turned into urban lofts. A lot of my story centers around a
building modeled after that one. I’ve been fascinated by that whole concept and
the building itself for years.

When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
Forever. I
think it’s hereditary. My maternal grandmother, who was from Scotland, was
renowned in the family for her morality tales of “Helpful Joe.” My mother was a
memoirist who tracked family history and was a faithful correspondent with
dozens of people.
I started
with a degree in journalism, writing news and feature stories and then switched
to fiction, so I’ve always thought of myself as a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you
do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m a
teacher with a few years to go before I can retire. My nest is empty, so I can
arrange my time off and weekends to accommodate writing, which is my first
love.

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?

Obsessive
revision. I teach writing and ‘read, re-read, re-read, re-read’ is my motto. My
personal classroom quote of the year is “Writing is a process, not a race. You
get the best results when you s-l-o-w down.” If I can only impart one tidbit of
knowledge, I think that would be it. I feel that I am on a quest to get people
to RE-READ what they write before they share it.

As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?

An
archaeologist. I grew up in Detroit and the King Tut exhibit came to the city
as it traveled the world when I was in elementary school. I was obsessed with
Egyptian lore and King Tut. Working in Egypt would have been a long shot, but
then I did end up living in New Mexico, one of this country’s most
archaeologically rich areas.
But when I
realized that archaeologists work on tiny bits to create big theories, I
realized I wouldn’t have been good at that. I like to work the opposite way –
big idea down to the details. I think that’s what writers do, in general. My
brain does not follow a linear path. When I see the painstaking, jigsaw-puzzle
like work archaeologists do, I know I would not have been good at or happy
while doing that. I’m a history geek, though, so writing allows me to research
the past and weave it into stories that take place mostly in the present.

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?

Rather than
blab on about myself, I’d love to hear recommendations from readers of good
romantic comedy. I like most of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books and I enjoyed
the first two Bridget Jones books. I love snappy dialogue and I’m always on the
lookout for smart romances. I guess I would ask, what makes you laugh and
satisfies your urge to read happily ever after romances?

Links:
Thank you for being a
guest on my blog!
Thank you
for having me!

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10 thoughts on “Interview with novelist Patrice Locke

  1. Bernie Wallace says:

    What is the best book that you have read recently? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win.Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

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