Safkhet Publishing ~ Summer Reads

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Guest Post: IS THIS ALL THERE IS by Patricia Mann!

I’m thrilled to have with me today, Patricia Mann, author of Is This All There Is? Patricia is sharing her gorgeous new cover (I think you will agree it’s utterly beautiful and perfect for the book), along with a little bit about the story’s inception.
Beth Thomas has the perfect life. At thirty-five, she’s married to her college sweetheart, has two adorable kids, and teaches part time at the local university. But when a friend persuades Beth to go dancing on a rare night out, a chance meeting with twenty one year old Dave, one of her former students, changes the course of her life. Loud music, too much to drink, and the thrill of feeling young again lead to an unforgettable kiss that was never supposed to happen. As she tries to put the memory behind her, Dave’s pursuit leaves Beth torn between what her mind says is right and what her heart and body crave.
Patricia has kindly offered to share a little of the inspiration behind the book below. Both Patricia’s story, and that of her heroine, Beth, is one many, many women can identify with. Is This All There Is has had some excellent reviews, please do check them out. Having browsed and learned a little more about the book, it is now firmly on my tbr list.

About Patricia. The story behind the story. Is This All There Is?
I’ve dreamed of being a writer since I was a little girl. Growing up, I kept journals, penned poems, and fantasized about writing the next Wuthering Heights, one of my early favorites. A couple of decades, a husband, two kids, and dual careers as a professor and consultant later, the dream had been all but forgotten. Then I confessed to a friend that I was depleted and in desperate need of a creative outlet. She recommended a novel writing group that she knew of. It became my oxygen. I started writing the story of a woman whose life was much like mine. It was cathartic to twist my real experiences into fiction to reveal the exquisite joys and heartaches of mothering two children while trying to keep a marriage alive and a career afloat. But before long, Beth, my main character, took on a life of her own. She went out dancing with friends one night and ran into some former students. Would you believe that wild woman had too much to drink and kissed one of them? Even worse, she then allowed him into her life, putting everything she held dear at risk. Everything changed and suddenly Beth was forced to come to terms with her past and decide what she wanted for her future. So I let Beth and her story take over. Parts were based on my real life, other parts were based on experiences I’ve seen friends and loved ones go through. But as I was writing, I began to believe the book could actually be helpful to readers, if I could get up the courage to publish it. I did eventually publish it, of course, but chose to use a pen name, because as one reviewer said about Is This All There Is?, “It’s raw, honest, unrelenting.”

          We ordered more drinks and the six of us engaged in the animated, uninhibited conversation that comes so easily when alcohol is flowing. Shouting over the music and standing way closer to each other than would be acceptable anywhere else, we talked about politics, sex and religion - subjects I avoided in most social settings. The drinks kept coming and I lost track of who was ordering or paying for them. At one point, I remember running my mouth off about how with all the hours I put in at home, I probably made the equivalent of two dollars an hour as a part time professor, while movie stars were making tens of thousands of dollars per minute. Somehow everyone else’s attention seemed to drift but Dave’s eyes stayed fixed on me as he listened intently and nodded with empathy. “It’s just not right. The work you do is so much more important.” That dimple. Those eyes. His undivided attention.
          Later, a spirited debate raged over the validity of the administration’s rationale for the current war, although some of us were too drunk to notice we were all on the same side. But not Dave. He followed each intoxicated train of thought and responded with intelligence and passion, especially when he was talking to me. When he reached past me to grab a pretzel from the bar, I noticed that his hair smelled like apples. Chills ran down the length of my entire body. When there was finally a lull in the conversation, Shelly held up her empty glass and announced that she wanted to dance.
          I glanced at the dance floor. It was jam-packed, the music even louder now. The techno beat of a song I didn’t recognize filled the air. Shelly put the glass down and started gyrating her hips. “I love this song!  Who’s coming with me?” Fahti leapt up and started to pull her away.
            “Come on, Beth,” Shelly said, wiggling her fingers in my direction.
          “No way,” Dave said. “She’s staying right here. It’s not every day you run into your favorite professor.” He turned to me. “Can I buy you another drink, Beth?”
          My heart skipped a beat. Students rarely called me by my first name.

Website/Blog (New posts every Thursday):


Shelly Hickman said...

Excellent post, Patricia! Love the new cover and loved the book. It reminds us all that we're human.

Patricia Mann said...

Thanks, Shelly! I really appreciate your support and kinds words, always. And thank you so much for this lovely feature, Sheryl! It has been wonderful getting to know you a little better. :-)

Patricia said...

Thanks for the introduction to this story and writer! I am intrigued, to say the least! Off to download!

Sheryl said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, guys. Patricia, it's a pleasure. I adore your cover. :) xx