Hello! Patrice Locke,
5 Questions to Know You Better…
Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?
Used to be coffee, but I’m tea all the way now. Usually ‘clear,’ I think that’s what you call naked tea. Though I do love lemon, so given the option I will douse the tea in lemon juice, slices, wedges, basically any version. I drink it iced or hot, though I hesitate to admit that because I realize that iced tea is an abomination in the eyes of many. Can’t help it. I like it.
Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?
It’s got to be Tracy from “Exit Signs.” She has a few of my interests, including Romanian pop music, the Beatles, and New Mexico history, but other than that, she is a unique creation. Her bizarre snack combinations, including blueberry-peanut butter-popcorn, are hers alone. I’ve never been as addlepated as she is at first around achingly handsome Jesse, but if that is embarrassment in full bloom, I’ve been a humiliation seedling at times. She’s also my ‘heroine’ because she gets that perfect happy ending we all deserve.
Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?
I do have a home ‘office,’ though at the moment it’s more like junk drawer that has evolved into a junk room. So I have appropriated the corner of my living room because the furniture is soft and it’s my house so nobody can stop me.
Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?
When my mind is unengaged, which happens more frequently than I should admit, characters show up with problems they need me to solve.
Tracy and Jesse from “Exit Signs” were ‘born’ at the Denver airport, where I was waiting for a flight. I imagined a couple having a hugely personal confrontation in front of one of the departure gates where a crowd of bored, disinterested onlookers gradually become interested.
Then I had to figure out how Tracy and Jesse got into the situation that was blowing up for them. So I guess I have a rather backwards planning process. I wrote the airport scene of “Exit Signs” first and then backed up from there. Though I always knew how they were going to end up, I didn’t know how they met in the first place.
And then I was stuck because I had two separate plots happening and I knew they belonged together, but I honestly did not know why at first. Then Jesse told me how the stories were connected. That surprises some people, but not anybody who writes fiction. Characters do have a habit of taking control of their stories and insisting that they know best. In this case, Jesse certainly did.
What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?
My latest story is with my editor at Soul Mate Publishing right now. Fingers crossed that she will like it. It was initially titled “Ghost Sitter,” but since it’s really not a ghost story, several Beta readers suggested changing it to keep from misleading readers. I’m calling it “Fresh Start” now. It’s the story of a woman who wakes up abandoned, friendless and nearly broke in a motel 1800 miles from her home.
She realizes that she needs to hit re-start and renovate her life because her own mistakes have caught up with her. And though she likes what she sees in the mirror – she doesn’t like what’s she sees underneath– in her character. She needs to reconnect with her sister, find a personal direction, and generally become a different person.
My initial inspiration was the idea of creating a very unlikeable character and make her likeable, and to turn an unreliable narrator into someone who can be trusted. I ended up liking her, so I hope other people will too.
A key element to the story is a can of yellow paint, which I hope will feature in any future cover art. In fact, the whole story started with the yellow paint, and I worked backward from there, so I guess that is my process.
Since this story, like “Exit Signs,” is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I wasn’t surprised to see that Jesse and Tracy show up as minor characters in this second story. It happened quite naturally and I was glad to see them when they butted in.