Author: Patricia Mann
Genre: Woman's Fiction/Chick-Lit
Page Count: 216
Published: January 3, 2013
Publisher: Mannequin Vanity Publishing
Read It & Reap Date: 2014
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:
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