Monday, September 15, 2008

Let's give a big SRN welcome to Denise Patrick

Hi! Welcome to our monthly interview at SRN. Today's guest is Denise Patrick.

I'm Denise and I was an army brat. Although I haven't lived in Utah my entire life, as of now I have lived here longer than any other place in my life time (18 years). I'm going to date myself by telling you that I started reading romances when I was in my very early teens. My mother was hooked on Barbara Cartland and I read what she read. From that I developed a love of Traditional Regencies - my favorite genre to write.I've always loved to write and wrote many stories during my teenage years, but I never really thought about publication. My Aunt (Mom's sister) and I used to read romances and joke that we should write one someday, because some of them were so over the top or lame that we just laughed at them. Then she died in 2002 and I realized that "someday" would never come. As a form of therapy, I started writing again. By 2004 I had four complete 100k novels sitting in my computer and had no idea what to do with them. I stumbled on the eHarlequin website and the rest, as they say, is history.Interestingly enough, my first published book was an Inspirational - a genre that I rarely ever read and certainly never thought I could write. But, I had an idea for a story and a friend who encouraged me to write it down.I write for two publishers, By Grace ( and Samhain (, and currently have five books out. I'm still learning the ropes and everyday I find something new and interesting about this business that I didn't know before.-----------------------------------

Thanks for the opportunity.

What do you do on a typical writing day?
I don’t know that I have a typical writing day. I work full time outside the home, so my writing is confined to the evenings. But, I am also active in my church and other groups that sometimes take up my evenings with meetings. I probably only get two good evenings a week to write, but I try to spend most of my Saturdays on the computer, too. There is no real routine beyond sitting down, spending a short time reviewing where I stopped, then plunging in.

What do you do for inspiration?
I read. Before I start a new historical, I immerse myself in a specific period of history. If I want to include references to actual events and people, I read up on them. Then I also read other historical romances. I have favorite authors that can immerse me in the period so thoroughly that when I start writing the settings and dialogue just emerge.
I also write inspirationals. When I start one of those, I usually pick out a song with the theme I’m exploring and listen to that. Thank goodness for mp3 players and headphones, or my family would be heartily sick of specific songs by the time I finish a book. Not me, though. The song usually is a favorite to start with and writing a book based on it only makes it moreso.

Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
I love light paranormals, but I’m not sure I have one in me. The idea of giving someone a special power or talent that no one else has and seeing what they do with it has always intrigued me. I’m not into world-building, though. And, I’m not very fond of vampires, so my idea of a “light” paranormal would be more like “Bewitched” with specific constraints on the power.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I’m a pantster through and through. When I start something new, I open a file and jot down a few ideas. Usually that consists on the characters names and any secondary characters that I can think of. There’s a setting, and the beginning of some sort of conflict. Then I start writing and flesh everything else out as I go. Of course, this causes lots of re-writing because sometimes I get to Chapter 10 and decide that I want my heroine to do something that I said in Chapter 4 she couldn’t do – or had written another chapter in such a way that for her to take that action would ruin the book. Or, sometimes the characters just decide to go off on their own and take me along. (For which I am extremely thankful.)

How can readers find out more about you and your books?
I’m not very good a keeping up on the web, but I just recently put up an experimental (read, free) website. I have a blog that I add to at least once a week, sometimes more, and I have a forum on Coffee Time Romance where I discuss my books and give the readers insights and background into my writing. The Forum currently has a running background thread for my current series, Gypsy Legacy, in which readers can find out more about the history of the characters in the series. I also have MySpace page, a page on Authors Den, Goodreads, and Historical Fiction books. My website has the entire first chapters of all my books. Links to all of my pages on the web can be found on my blog.

Coffee Time Forum:

In the writing that you are doing, who would you say has influenced you most?

A good question. I suspect my inspiration has come from a variety of people and places. I can’t talk about favorite authors without starting with Barbara Cartland. Hers were the first historical romances I read in my early teens. My Mom was absolutely addicted to them and since we read a lot of the same books, I read what she read. By my late teens, we’d moved on to Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers and many more in between, but I never stopped reading Dame Barbara. Her syrupy sweet and innocent Regency heroines fed an imagination raised on fairy tales. Much of what I write is that, but not quite so sweet. My interest in history was also fueled by her after I read one of her historical biographies.

Strikes Don't Matter
by Denise Patrick
By Grace Publishing
© January 2008


Gina stared critically at herself in the mirror. Her dress was a pale blue cotton eyelet. The simple lines were smooth, hugging her curves comfortably before flaring out into a full skirt that ended just below her knees. A heart-shaped pendant on a gold chain drew attention to the small amount of cleavage showing above the sweetheart neckline. With it she wore matching strappy sandals with wedge heels. Even with the extra three inches, she knew Adam would still top her by at least three or four more. Tortoiseshell combs pulled her hair back from her face and allowed the heavy auburn curls to tumble down her back. She’d given up on make-up in the last few years, but tonight warranted the application of clear lip gloss and a small amount of mascara, purchased during the afternoon’s outing at the mall.
What would Adam think? Would he find her attractive? She hadn’t dressed to impress anyone in a long time, preferring comfort over show. Tonight, however, she wanted him to look at her with more than casual interest.
A knock on her bedroom door drew her from her thoughts. It was Sara.
“That’s a lovely dress. A good color on you.”
“Thanks. Are you all done?”
“Yes. I’ve tortured him enough tonight,” she laughed. “Not that he was concentrating very well in the first place. So you might as well go and put him out of his misery.”
Gina blushed at Sara’s intimation that Adam's inattention had anything to do with her, but picked up her purse, slung it over her shoulder, and followed Sara from the room.
Adam and Craig were standing near the front door. The two were laughing at a shared joke. When Adam turned to look at her, those firm lips curved in a devastating smile, that traitorous organ in her chest nearly stopped beating. He wore dark slacks topped by a long-sleeved button-down shirt and dark tie. Muscular forearms lightly dusted with fine, dark hair were exposed beneath sleeves rolled back nearly to his elbows.
Oh lordy. If all it took for her heart to react was a smile, she was in serious trouble – and they hadn’t even left the house yet.
Craig turned and she hoped, for once, he would remain quiet. She loved her brother dearly, but there were times when he said the oddest things. She was nervous enough as it was; she didn’t need him to play the part of a big brother, as if she was a teenager going on her first date. Luck was on her side tonight, for Craig only winked at her and turned to Adam, “Looks like Gina’s ready, so I won’t keep you. Have a good time.”
She let out the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.
“Shall we go?” Adam’s rich voice tugged at her.
Unable to find her own, she nodded and preceded him out the door.
Once on their way, he glanced over at her. “Do you mind if we make a quick stop before dinner? Our reservations aren’t until seven-thirty.”
“I need to check on my grandparents. My grandfather sprained his ankle today. He’s a bear when laid up. I just want to make sure my grandmother hasn’t poisoned him.”
She chuckled. “Is she likely to have?”
“Not really. Although, I wouldn’t put it past her to slip him a sleeping pill with his pain pill.”
As she stepped out of the car at his grandparents', the scent of roses reached her on the warm breeze and she noticed the colorful profusion of flowers clustered at the front of the house. Their visit was short. His grandmother met them with a speculative gleam in her eyes, causing her stomach to contract. It was his grandfather, however, who made her blush hot enough to need a fire extinguisher when he called her over and whispered to her, “No further than first base. And, you make him work for that, you hear?”
Her choked laughter drew Adam’s eyes, and she tried extremely hard, without success, to smother her giggles. When they left, she knew Adam expected her to share the joke, but she couldn’t. Not without turning crimson all over again. The anticipation generated by his grandfather's comment sent her imagination into overdrive.
“Has your grandfather always been such a curmudgeon?”
“He’s always been a bit of a jokester, but lately I think his age is getting to him. He’ll be eighty in October, and all of these little mishaps remind him he’s not as young as he used to be.”
She smiled. “My father always says, if you don’t like birthdays, consider the alternative.”
He hooted with laughter, his deep voice raising goosebumps on her skin.
“I have to meet your father one of these days.”
Butterflies exploded in her stomach. Did he mean that? Her mouth went dry at the thought; the possibilities.
Unaware of the turmoil he was causing, Adam continued. “Perhaps the next time I come to Salt Lake.”


Maggie Toussaint said...

Very nice interview, Judith and Denise. I'm a pantser too, Denise. Pantsers rule!!!

Denise Patrick said...

Thanks, Maggie. I think that's why it takes me so long to pump out a book. I'm always revising as I go along.

Unknown said...

It's always so much fun to learn more about what makes authors tick. Thanks ladies. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview.

Diane Craver said...

Hi Denise,
I enjoyed your interview. I read Barbara Cartland too. And I loved your Regency Romance, THE IMPORTANCE OF ALMACK'S.

Thank you, Denise and Judith!

Denise Patrick said...

Thanks again, Adelle and Diane. I'm glad you liked Almack's, Diane. It was one of my favorites to write.


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