Monday, 24 June 2013

Is This All There Is? by Patricia Mann

Title:  Is This All There Is?

Author:  Patricia Mann

Genre:  Woman's Fiction/Chick-Lit

Page Count:  216

Published:  January 3, 2013

Publisher:  Mannequin Vanity Publishing

Read It & Reap Date: 

Book Description:  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.

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Q & A with Patricia Mann
Q: Tell us a little bit about your main character, Beth.
A: In some ways, Beth might be seen as a role model, having achieved all that we’re supposed to desire in life. At just thirty-five, she’s married with two kids, owns a home, and teaches part time at a university. But when you look beneath the surface, you see that Beth’s life has become a hot mess. How else could she allow herself to be drawn into an affair with a former student? Beth’s kids are running the show at home, she doesn’t know how to communicate her feelings to her husband, and she’s lost control of her time, her weight, and her moral compass. Still, many readers have said they could relate to Beth, because as women who are trying to be, do, and have it all in our world today, something usually has to give. We inevitably learn some lessons the hard way, and that’s exactly what Beth does in Is This All There Is?
Q: Why did you decide to write Is This All There Is?
A: I wrote the first draft in a weekly writing group, which was my escape from a life that was somewhat similar to Beth’s at the time. I had two young children, was teaching part time, and needed a creative outlet. Writing was so exciting and the connections forged with my writing teacher and fellow students were fulfilling and uplifting. As my story took shape, I began to believe it might actually be worth sharing, but it took me years to build up the courage to do that. When you’re a professor, wife, and mother, it’s a little scary to publish a novel about a professor, wife, and mother who has an inappropriate relationship with a former student, fiction or not. This is why I used a pen name.
Q: In your opinion, what makes a good, strong female character?
A: A good, strong female character is smart but also compassionate and relatively self-aware. She may make mistakes, but we have to understand why she would make the choices she makes.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge for indie authors and what have you been doing to overcome that?
A: One of the biggest challenges for indie authors is publicizing a book without breaking the bank. I’ve read so many incredible books by my indie author pals that make me wonder, why isn’t this a NY Times Bestseller? But doing it on your own can be hard. There are promo companies that charge a significant fee and will result in a major increase in book sales, but not everyone can afford that. Also, there are so many self-published books out there these days that it’s hard to figure out which ones are worth reading. I know there are many people who would enjoy my book and wouldn’t mind shelling out $2.99 for it, but I don’t yet know how to reach them all and don’t have a fortune to spend on it. I’m learning though and I won’t give up. Someone suggested that I write a weekly blog to interest people in my book. It’s a lot of work to keep up with and I don’t think it has helped me sell many books, but it turns out that I love it. It’s a wonderful vehicle for engaging in a meaningful conversation with women about all the issues we deal with in our lives. So there’s a ton of advice and all sorts of services for indie authors, but we each have to find our own way and be willing to learn some difficult and expensive lessons along the way. Joining a supportive community of writers is essential, in my opinion. I’ve received so much encouragement and valuable information from a group of like-minded authors on Facebook that I’m part of. I don’t know where I’d be without them!
Q: I heard a rumor that you are writing a sequel to Is This All There Is? - Can you give us a little peek into what that story is going to be about?
A: The rumor is true. I am writing a sequel. Readers have shared such insightful feedback, which I’m extremely grateful for. Many have expressed wanting to know more about Beth’s earlier relationship with her husband Rick and his perspective. I’ve also learned that the way Is This All There Is? ended left many readers wanting to know more about what happened next. So the sequel is about the aftermath of an affair. It’s about learning why it happens and how to repair a marriage damaged by infidelity. Beth’s extramarital love interest, Dave, will return and tempt her in new ways. Beth and Rick may consider separation when things get rough, allowing Beth to ponder the feasibility of actually giving a relationship with Dave a try. But the torture of all the factors, including the kids, will make this an impossible dilemma. I’m also writing another book, which I plan to publish with my real name and I may even decide to merge Patricia Mann and the real me at that point. It’s women’s fiction, but completely different from Is This All There Is? I’m writing it with my mother, who is preparing to retire from over 30 years of nursing, mostly in critical care. She has the most incredible stories, which we’ll include in the book. It’ll be medical drama from the miraculous to the heartbreaking, with everything in between, and some romance thrown in too, of course.
Q: How do you balance work, home, and your writing?
A: I don’t balance work, home, and writing well. Just ask my husband. I do try. I spend too much time on the computer. I get stressed out about things I know I should just let roll off my back. But I honestly have the most amazing husband, kids, parents, and friends. They remind me that I need to take breaks. I have an office at home and my kids will sometimes just come in and sit down and start talking to me. That’s my cue to stop whatever I’m doing, realize it’s not nearly as important as it seems in that moment, and just listen, ask questions, laugh, and be a mom.
Q: What do you do to unwind and relax?
A: I exercise almost every day. I drink wine in the backyard with my husband. I play games with my kids, hang out with girlfriends, go dancing, and I write, write, write, and write some more.
Q: What book are you reading now?
A: I’ve decided that for the time being, all I’m going to read is books by my pals who are also authors. I have made so many writing friends online and they have become very special to me. As a reader, there’s nothing better than being able to chat with the author about the book you’re reading because you’re actually dear friends! So right now, I’m reading and loving In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister, who is one of many cherished members of my beloved Chicklit Goddess online community. I also want to mention some of the books I’ve read and adored lately and highly recommend: Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino, Believe and Somewhere Between Black and White by Shelly Hickman, Momnesia and Unexpecting by Lori Verni-Fogarsi, Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey, and Viewer Discretion Advised by Cindy Roesel.

About the Author:  Patricia Mann is a university professor. She lives in California with her husband, their two kids, and a sweet, silly old dog.


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  1. Thank you for the shout out, Patricia! I LOVED your book and still think about it. Meeting you and the other writers in our Facebook group has been such a gift. You've inspired me to exercise more! Fantastic interview!

    1. Samantha,the feeling is so mutual! Finding Lucas is one of my favorite books and it's an honor and pleasure to have met you and learned so much from you!!!

  2. What an interesting interview! I always love to learn what inspires a writer and what their creative process is like. It was very brave of you to write about something that hits so close to home, Patricia! I've heard such wonderful things about "Is This All There Is?" and can't wait to read it myself.

    Thanks for the shout-out for "In Need of Therapy." :)

    1. Tracie, I finished In Need of Therapy and can't wait to write my five star review! I loved it and was sad it had to end, but the ending was awesome! Such a great book!

    2. PS, Tracie, so sorry for misspelling your last name!!!

    3. I fixed Tracie's name in the post :)

  3. Sheri, thank you so much for the wonderful interview questions and for always being so kind and helpful!!!

    1. Thanks Patricia! It was great having you as a guest!

  4. LOL, ladies... I too enjoyed "In Need of Therapy" so much that I actually wrote it down for a reader at my own book launch event!

    As for "Is This All There Is," I can honestly say that it was one of the best books I've read... ever! And I read a lot of books. The way Patricia Mann describes married life and presents the dilemmas in a way that is so real, truly brings a sense of camaraderie to any woman who has found herself in the stalemate stage of marriage/parenting!

    I highly recommend it, and enjoyed reading your personal tidbits above!

    1. Thank you, Lori! Momnesia and Unexpecting are two of my all time favorite books as well! Momnesia floored me and stirred up so may emotions, in a good way. The themes of marriage and parenting and finding balance as a woman were very similar to those in Is This All There Is? but the storyline went in a different, very interesting direction, which I loved reading about. When I realized Unexpecting was a sequel, I was thrilled to get a glimpse of the future of the main character from Momnesia, who I felt so connected to. The "unexpected" twists and turns of Unexpecting had me captivated and wondering what I would do if I found myself in that situation! Your books are so well written and honest, I can't wait for more!

  5. Great interview, Patricia. Thank you so much for mentioning my book!

    1. My pleasure, Renee! Sweet Thing is the most sexy, smart, engaging story and I loved every minute of reading it! I know I'm not alone and I'm so happy for your success with the book!!!

  6. Loved the interview and thank you for the generous mention!

    For those who have not read Patricia's book, please do. Its honesty will make you feel understood and remind you that we're all human. Fantastic book!

    1. Thanks so much, Shelly! I feel the same way about your books! You have a way of creating characters and storylines that help us all feel connected as human beings. I am such a huge fan of your writing and will always read everything you write!!!

  7. PS: I wanted to let you all know that the incredibly wise and knowledgeable Chicklit Goddess Facebook group I referred to was established and is run by Isabella Louise Anderson, who is a much loved blogger and chicklit author in our community! Her two books, Redefined Dreams and The Right Design will be released soon and I can't wait to read them! I recommend checking out her website too: