Patrice Locke

Patrice Locke

I totally love all of Patrice’s books you can watch my review here, but that doesn’t mean I knew much about the writer behind the books, so in her own words I give you our Writer of the Week…

My third book, The Happiest Marriage in the History of the World, is available for Kindle and in paperback. I couldn’t be prouder of it or of the main character, Tracy Price. She fought her way back into a book that wasn’t meant to be. Until it was.

Sometimes when you’re finished writing about a character, she isn’t finished with you. That’s what happened to me after my first book, Exit Signs. The main character in that story is Tracy Price, a quirky, slightly confused woman who has had success in her work life but struggles with personal relationships. Then she meets Jesse Elliot, an almost-famous musician. She falls madly in love, but their romance travels a rocky road.

The end of Exit Signs, I thought, was the literary end of Tracy Price. She lives on in many of us with our insecurities and social awkwardness. But she was done dancing across the pages of my laptop.

Then in my second book, Fresh Start, Tracy elbowed her way in. I’m 90 percent a panster, meaning my stories evolve as I’m writing them. I didn’t expect to see Tracy again, but there she was, helping the heroine of Fresh Start get a…well, a Fresh Start. Tracy was a minor character, but readers said they were happy to see her again.

So was I.

Then I moved on and started to work on a story that wove New Mexico history into the 21st century. But the story just wouldn’t gel. And Tracy didn’t show up to help, so I had to put that manuscript aside. I wondered when, and if, that story would come together. But you can’t force a story to do what it doesn’t want to do. And my NM history ‘epic’ didn’t want to be written just then.

I was surprised to find that Tracy Price was my main roadblock. She insisted that her story wasn’t over. I assured her that it was. She got her HEA, and it was time to step aside for new characters waiting to be ‘birthed’ on the page.

Tracy was adamant. She had more story to tell. We argued about her HEA. She agreed that she’d had one, but now, seven years later in Exit Signs Land, she was questioning everything about her ‘ending.’ Mostly she was afraid she’d blow it. I would have been content to let her stay in HEA land.

But then Tracy’s best friend Randi suffered a tragedy. Her husband of 20 years died. Randi was devastated, of course, and Tracy was determined to help. This would be Randi’s story, Tracy argued.

“I promise,’ she said.

And I believed her. The story did start out in Randi’s ‘court.’ Yes. Yes. This was Randi’s story of overcoming grief and moving on. What a relief.

But shortly after I started writing ‘Randi’s Story,’ Tracy butted in. She was devoted to Randi, but she couldn’t help worrying that if Randi could lose everything that made her happy, maybe that could happen to Tracy as well. She started tugging at the threads of her ‘perfect’ life, trying to make sure that everything was ship shape—that she was safe, and she could breathe.

I had to rewrite the beginning of the story because Tracy took center stage. This was her story, her children, her marriage were at stake. Pretty soon, I gave in completely. Tracy was determined to be in center stage. Randi was a secondary character, but she was evolving, developing some quirks of her own, trying to find her way in a world that had changed forever for her.

Well, the title of the book The Happiest Marriage in the History of the World kind of gives away the ending, but there are lots of twists and turns along the way.

I’m not Tracy, though because she tells her story in the first person, people sometimes think I am her. My personal happy ending is less clear-cut. But it’s turning into an amazing journey. After living in New Mexico for nearly forty years, I have moved to Idaho to be closer to some very special family. I’m buying a house. I’m settling in.

And, finally, my Western history ‘epic’ is revealing itself on the page. Life is good. Thanks, Tracy. By the way, she happens to live across the street from the main character of my ‘work in progress,’ which doesn’t have a title yet. One thing is for sure, though, it will have some participation from Tracy, and, probably from her luscious rock-star husband Jesse who still haunts my dreams. I must confess that I often see his face on the TV screen in the form of various actors who are almost as pretty as Jesse.

Keep in touch with Patrice via her social media:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/bypatricelocke

TWITTER: @PatriceLocke

Website: www.bypatricelocke.com

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