The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome Dreamspinner Press author Pat Henshaw today, on the What’s in a Name? blog tour. Pat answered a few questions for us, and, all you coffee addicts out there ::cofffeeee::, be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget for the chance to win one of two Starbucks Gift Cards.
Good Luck! ::coffee::
TNA: Hi, Pat, welcome to The Novel Approach. We’re glad to have you here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a bit about yourself?
Pat: Hi! I’m happy to be here. Career-wise, I’ve worked as a theatrical costumer, a movie reviewer, a book reviewer, a book publicist (but can’t publicize my own book for some reason), and an English composition instructor at a community college. Travel-wise, I’ve lived on all coasts (Texas, Northern Virginia, and California) and in the middle of the U. S. (Nebraska and Colorado). I’ve also traveled out of the country to Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Egypt, and Thailand. Personally, I’m a wife and the mother of two daughters, and the grandmother of twins.
TNA: What has drawn you into the world of gay romance? Did you start as a reader in the genre? If so, what was the first book you read that made an impression on you, and what was it about that book that drew you in?
Pat: I was reviewing romances for All About Romance when Amazon’s “New for You” listed a gay romance. I don’t remember what the first book was, but my thought was, why not try it? I enjoyed it because it was fresh and new and not the plotless erotica I expected. At the time I was burnt out on the rote Regency and contemporary romances I was reviewing, and I wondered why no one else at AAR was reviewing m/m romances. I talked to my editor about reviewing some of them, and she agreed since AAR already had an m/m category (with very few reviews attached to it), that if I wanted to read and review them to go ahead. Consequently, I reviewed 75 gay romances for AAR. In addition, I was also reviewing for The Romance Reviews and Booklist at the time. I ended up reading and reviewing 50 gay romances for TRR and 4 for Booklist. I quit reviewing for all three groups when I started writing my own books. You can see my reviews on the sites or go to my reviewer blog: Pat Booked.
TNA: Is there any one book you finished reading and thought, wow, I wish I’d written that? As an author, what resonated with you about the writing and storytelling?
Pat: I reread one of two books when I’m bored, depressed, unhappy, or just need a little pick-me-up. The first is Heidi Cullinan’s Dance with Me which has some incredibly lyric passages and describes dance in terms that makes me want to get up and tango across the room. Dancer Laurie and former football player Ed are both athletes in their own way and their attraction just lights up the page. The other book I read is Renae Kaye’s The Blinding Light. The wonderful sense of humor and the loving attitude of Jake transfer from the page to my soul. I especially enjoy the commentary of Jake’s boss at the Australian pub who compares a love affair to the Seven Dwarves. It’s priceless. (Yes, I wish I’d written that!)
TNA: Your new book, What’s in a Name?, would you call it an opposites attract story? What is it that makes a barista and a bartender, specifically your barista and bartender, work? What’s their chemistry?
Pat: In a way it’s an opposites attract, but I prefer to think of it as an opposites find their commonalities. No two people–men or women–are really the same when they meet, mainly because intrinsically we’re all different people. Our educations, social status, religions, etc. might be “the same,” but we’re not because we process information uniquely. So even though Jimmy the barista and Guy the bartender may seem like polar opposites, it’s when they discover similarities and their meshing points that they fall in love. I think Jimmy puts it best when he describes the two of them out riding Guy’s motorcycle: “As we took a corner and I leaned with him into the turn, I saw the instinctive move as a reflection of our relationship. We moved together as one without comment or discussion. We knew ourselves and we knew each other.”
TNA: What inspired the idea for the story? Is there a real life barista or bartender you were inspired by?
Pat: I have no idea where the idea came from. Since I’m a tea drinker, I relied on baristas Todd and Mark at my favorite cafe to help me out on what Jimmy would like to drink and in the sequel, what drink Jimmy would create for his friend Fredi. I’ve spent my life observing and thinking about what I observe. All of that spills out when I sit down to write–and I try to write every day. I think I once called this story a riff on the Rumplestiltskin fairytale without the killing of any babies. But I don’t think that’s what I consciously intended to do when I wrote it.
TNA: Would you like to share some information on your current WIPs and what you may having releasing in the near future?
Pat: Oh, yes. I’ve finished the sequel to this story, called “Redesigning Max,” in which Jimmy’s architect/designer friend Fredi meets and falls for more or less closeted outdoor outfitter and bird watcher Max. It’s the “more or less” that’s the crux of the story–and the interaction with the fundamentalist friends of Max’s family.
I’m currently writing the third in the Foothills stories, “The Behr Facts,” about the Behr Brothers Construction Company (seen in both “What’s in a Name?” and “Redesigning Max”). The Behrs are in deep financial difficulties and call in a handsome, charismatic CPA (is that an oxymoron?) to help find out who’s draining their assets.
Finally, I’m writing the sequel to my self-published paranormal “The Vampire’s Food Chain,” which I’ve entitled “Devil’s Food.” The protagonist vampire, an eternal 20-year-old named Shawn, has been ordered by the gods to visit hell and make a difference there. So far Shawn and her companion warlock Derek are finding that hell isn’t just one place. Where is it, they ask, and what do the gods mean about a “difference”?
TNA: Where can readers find and keep up with you on the internet?
Pat: You can find me at these places:
Blurb – What’s in a Name?: Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it’s a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Bar rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.
Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender’s first name since he’s worn a different name tag every time Jimmy’s seen him. “Guy” Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.
While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he’s distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.
Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Gay Fiction, Romance, Novella