IS THIS WHAT I WANT? by Patricia Mann-Review, Interview and Giveaway
Is This What I Want?
Is This All There Is? #2
by Patricia Mann
Genre: adult, contemporary, fiction
Release Date: October 17, 2014
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 17, 2014
Click HERE for our review of IS THIS ALL THERE IS? the first book in the series.
Four difficult months have passed since Beth’s husband Rick discovered her affair with a former student. The couple has worked hard in therapy to salvage their marriage and understand their roles in everything that happened. Things are looking up until Dave reappears, awakening Beth’s fantasies of what could have been had she taken their affair to the next level. Now that she is faced with another opportunity, Beth battles an even more impossible dilemma than the first time she was caught in Dave’s web.
Amidst the trouble in her marriage and pressure to shield her children from the discord, Beth is also called upon to help her two best friends, both with serious problems of their own. The stress sparks temptation to seek comfort in her favorite vices. But she knows she can’t hide if she wants to save what matters most. The question is, what does she want?
REVIEW:IS THIS WHAT I WANT is the second installment in Patricia Mann’s Is This All There Is series focusing on thirty-five year old Beth Thomas. Beth is a wife, mother, part time college professor and a woman at a cross roads in her life. When a former student, 22 year old Dave, professes his desire for Beth, our heroine steps out of her comfort zone and into an area that is no longer black and white-but considerably many shades of grey.
Told from two alternating first person points of view (Beth and Rick) the premise of book two finds Beth and her husband in therapy-both couples and individually. Beth’s infidelity has caused a riff between she and Rick-one that continues to grow as Rick suspects Beth still harbors feelings for her former student.
The relationship between Rick and Beth is not unlike many couples who have experienced the heartbreak of an affair but in this case Beth’s step outside of her marriage was more of an affair of the heart. While Rick considers his options for the future, Beth considers all options for herself.
IS THIS WHAT I WANT is a storyline that focuses on Beth’s inner turmoil between what she wants and what she knows she should do. Beth is a woman whose marriage has stagnated and she is looking for something different; something new and in this her choices will affect her family and her life. She is a woman whose immaturity reigns supreme throughout book two as she endeavors to experience the life of those around her. The grass always looks greener on the other side-and Beth believes that there is something more-waiting for her on the other side. When a trip to Vegas with Rick turns ugly, Beth’s marriage will suffer irreparable harm.
Patricia Mann writes about a controversial subject where moments of awkwardness and heartbreak make for some disenchanted bedfellows. IS THIS WHAT I WANT looks at the choices made, for good and for bad, and how theses choices affect those that we love. It is a story about one woman, whose relationship with her husband had been sidelined by pregnancy, children and work, and in this she seeks physical and emotional fulfillment from another source.
Copy supplied by the author.
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi Patricia and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the recent release of IS THIS WHAT I WANT?
Patricia: Thank you so much, Sandy! Thank you for this interview also and for all your support and kind words about both of my books!
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Patricia: I’m a part-time professor and consulting business owner so I work and travel a lot. Like my main character Beth, I have a husband and two sons. I’m similar to Beth in some ways, which is why I use the pen name. But we are so very different in many ways as well.
TRC: What were your goals and aspirations growing up?
Patricia: I always wanted to be a teacher and a writer. I guess I’m pretty lucky that I found a way to make both of those dreams come true. I also wanted to find true love and have a family. Blessed again – though it hasn’t been the easy road I expected by any stretch of the imagination!
TRC: What or who influenced your foray into writing?
Patricia: My dear friend, Corie Skolnick, who is the author of the beautiful and heartbreaking novel Orfan, which is about to be made into a movie, was the greatest influence. She believed in me, showered me with praise, gave me honest constructive criticism, and pushed me to keep writing even when I told her was giving up (which happened about 100 times and still happens regularly).
TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?
Patricia: I don’t relax much. I work a lot. I try to stay involved in my kids’ lives. I exercise almost every day. I volunteer my time a lot. I try to help everybody with everything. My life is mostly void of true relaxation time. But okay… I like to drink red wine. I also like to watch a mindless TV show now and then and if you give me a People magazine, expect to be ignored for about two hours as I devour every word. That’s why I have never subscribed. Inside scoop on people’s personal lives is my crack.
TRC: IS THIS WHAT I WANT ? is the second installment your contemporary adult IS THIS ALL THERE IS? series. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the series? Of the novel?
Patricia: On the surface, Beth has it all. She is educated, has a good career, has a stable husband and two healthy kids. Yet, she feels something is missing. I think a lot of women feel that way in life. We tell ourselves we should be content, but for some of us, our hearts long for something new or different. Something that allows us to feel more fully alive, or more seen by another person, or more excited about something the next day has to offer. Unfortunately, there are many temptations to meet those needs in ways that are not healthy for us, but provide a temporary sense of satisfaction – things like excess food, alcohol, binge-watching a favorite show on Netflix… the list could go on forever. In Beth’s case, she gets caught up in an infatuation, an affair. It’s actually a very common situation, one I’ve seen time and again. And it rarely ends well.
TRC: Are any of the characters (or is the premise) based in reality or a combination of fact and fiction?
Patricia: All of the characters and events are based in reality with a touch of fictionalized qualities and experiences thrown in. Beth’s story is a mix of fact and fiction, but definitely more fact – from my own life as well as many women I’ve known.
TRC: What genre would you categorize the series? Women’s Fiction? Romance?
Patricia: It’s women’s fiction but romance is an important aspect of Beth’s story. I was once told that romance novels must have one clear hero and one clear heroine. Love triangles are frowned upon. Beth, Rick, and Dave are in one hell of an ongoing love triangle so it seems that the four of us are not welcome in the romance world. Still, in my defense, I must say that there’s a lot of juicy romance in my novels.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?
Patricia: It will be a trilogy. I’m working on book three now.
TRC: Many readers have felt a ‘kindred spirit’ of sorts to Beth’s character in IS THIS ALL THERE IS? especially the women who may have experienced some of the same issues and felt lost in their current situations. What do you say to these women or anyone who has considered stepping out of their marriage and into something they see as more exciting
Patricia: Get therapy. If you can’t afford it, talk to smart friends, preferably older friends who have been through many relationships. They’ll tell you the same message I try to convey in my books: love yourself, work on yourself, a relationship will not heal or save you.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters in this storyline, which models or actors best represents your ideal image?
Beth: Kate Hudson (with a little brown hair dye)
Rick: Matt Damon
Dave: Zac Efron
TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Patricia: You draw upon your own experiences (and/or those of people in your life) but make them bigger, scarier, and much more compelling. At least that’s what I try to do.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Patricia: The characters are totally in control. They are real people in my head. They tell me what they want to do and sometimes I fight with them to try to talk them out of their stupid choices. They always win.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Patricia: I think the writer needs to feel the emotions of the characters while writing, at least to some extent. When I’m reading, I can sense that energy coming through the page or screen. Even if an author hasn’t had the same experience as the character, the pain, shame, guilt, lust… whatever should come from deep within the author’s emotional center. For me, a writer fails if I don’t pick up on his or her profound connection to the story and characters on an emotional level as I’m reading.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s
Patricia: Still trying to figure that one out. I suppose setting small goals such as writing a page a day might help. Maybe letting go and reminding yourself that even if you write crap, you can always delete it and start again. As you said, it’s a very real phenomenon and not one I feel I have the best handle on yet.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background,) did you encounter writing this particular story and series?
Patricia: Separating my personal experiences from the fictional story was tough for me. Not much research was necessary because the backdrop of Beth’s life is so similar to my own. Writing a sequel was challenging at times because I had to make sure that all the little details were consistent with the first book. But honestly, for the most part, this second book just poured out of me. Thankfully, I had a great editor who caught little slip ups, which allowed me not to worry about things like that so much.
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Patricia: It would take pages and pages to acknowledge all of them! I have so many author friends now and I adore every one. But okay, here are some of the ones I talk about writing with regularly: Corie Skolnick, Shelly Hickman, Sárka-Jonae Miller, Renee Carlino, Eileen Goudge, Meredith Schorr, Samantha Stroh Bailey, Eleanor Parker Sapia, Lori Verni-Fogarsi, Emha Goliesh, Isabella Louise Anderson, Amanda Askel, and many other Booktrope authors as well as the women in the Chick Lit Goddess writing group. I’ve left so many out, I feel terrible, but I love them all!
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Patricia: The third book in the Is This All There Is? trilogy. It picks up eight years after the second book leaves off.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Patricia: Just a final thank you to everyone who has read either book or both books, especially you, Sandy. They are not easy stories to read, but my intension is to help women appreciate themselves, take better care of themselves, and make healthy choices. I also want to dispel the myth that anyone who is unfaithful in a marriage is a bad person. These situations are complicated and there are always a whole host of factors that play a role and should be examined carefully.
Favorite Food: Kale and Quinoa salad
Favorite Dessert: Pinkberry original frozen yogurt with pomegranate seeds
Favorite TV Show: Walking Dead (at the moment)
Favorite Entertainer: Oprah
Last Movie You Saw: Gone Girl
Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark
Secret Celebrity Crush: George Clooney
Last Vacation Destination: Italy (aka paradise)
Pet Peeve: Cruelty of any kind
TRC: Thank you Patricia for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of IS THIS WHAT I WANT? We wish you all the best with your future projects.
Patricia is graciously offering the following giveaway exclusive to The Reading Cafe:
First Prize: an ecopy of IS THIS ALL THERE IS ? and an ecopy of IS THIS WHAT I WANT? (books 1 & 2) to ONE (1) lucky commenter. ONE commenter will win both books.
Second Prize: an ecopy (winner’s choice) of either l IS THIS ALL THERE IS? or book 2 IS THIS WHAT I WANT to TWO (2) lucky commenters.
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8. Giveaway runs from November 10-14, 2014