Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Patrice Locke and Her Debut Romantic Comedy, Exit Signs

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 7 comments
 When Patrice Locke allowed me to read the final draft of Exit Signs, I hoped to be amused. I wasn't prepared to be blown away. 
I love this book!  I fell in love with Patrice's voice and most of all, with Tracy. To me, this a romantic comedy the way Austen books and the Shopaholic books are romantic comedies. I read till I couldn't keep my eyes open and dreamed about it in my sleep. 
I am so very happy to introduce you to Patrice. And I am gifting a lucky reader with a copy of Exit Signs.

Patrice, please tell us a little about yourself. 
I’ve lived most of my adult life in New Mexico, where the blue sky is brilliant, the vistas are breathtaking, and the air is thin. Personally, I am none of those things, so I appreciate living in their midst. 
As a former journalist, B.A. Michigan State, I know that news stories often have sad conclusions. I wrote enough of them. So when I switched to writing fiction, I knew I wanted to make all the endings happy. Real life supplies enough difficulties all on its own. 
My day job is teaching English, which I’ve done at every level from elementary to college. (M.A. Secondary Education University of New Mexico).  

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.  
After a series of encouraging emails, editor Caroline Tolley with Soul Mate Publishing, wrote that she’d love to acquire my novel “Exit Signs.” I printed the email in giant type and flitted (yes, I flitted) around sharing it with everyone I know, and some innocent bystanders as well.  
In terms of exciting moments, that one ranks after the births of my two children and before the time in eighth grade when I got an on-the-air call from a major Detroit rock radio station, announcing that I had won a gold and diamond watch for decorating a turkey drumstick bone to look like Batman. My talents, apparently, know no limits.   

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?  
A writer friend introduced me to Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books and I enthusiastically read every one I could find. What I love is the dialogue and interplay between her heroes and heroines. 
I consider my genre any books about women’s lives, so I have to say that Jane Austen is my all-time favorite. It may be a cliché, but I adore “Pride and Prejudice,” especially Elizabeth Bennet. I could listen to her turn down marriage proposals all day—from the time she assures Mr. Collins that she is the last woman who could make him happy, to her diatribe when Mr. Darcy manages to insult her with his first profession of love. 
The bottom line is I appreciate is the use of language and the way words lead the characters to their destinies in fiction and do the same for people in real life.  And I appreciate your use of language. If I knew how to get your book to SEP, I would send it to her. I LOVE Exit Signs. Wait. I already said that, didn't I.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career? 
 It’s an internal one. I was writing two stories that were unrelated, but were meant to fit together somehow. Then a character in one of the stories ‘told’ me where he fit in the other narrative. His announcement was somehow crystal clear, though I wasn’t hearing voices. 
I’d heard other writers talk about how their characters ‘spoke’ to them, but that’s the first time one of mine did that. Elated, I told a friend I had just found out something about my story “from the hero.” The surprised/doubtful look on her face was enough to convince me that I had just experienced a bit of creative magic. Or maybe I was just a bit crazy. Either way,  it was quite exciting. I've had that moment. It's glorious.

Any advice for new writers just starting out? 
 Though I’ve been writing all my life, starting with a career in journalism, I still feel ‘new.’ What works for me is asking a plethora of people to read what I’m working on, whether they are writers or not. The key is assuring readers that their comments—positive, negative, or puzzled—are not only welcome, they’re crucial. 
Writing is like having a child—you know you’re bound to be biased, so you need to listen carefully and take seriously what others have to say about your beloved person/manuscript. If you don’t—in either case—you may miss clues about problems that could be fixed if you were aware of them. 

Tell us about Exit Signs (my new favorite book.)  
 “Exit Signs” is my first published novel. It’s a romantic comedy about researcher  Tracy Price, who becomes obsessed with a writer who vanished from New York in the 1930s. When a suitcase full of that writer’s unpublished work surfaces in present-day Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tracy’s job is to piece together what happened to the missing woman. 
At the same time, Tracy tries to apply the writer’s advice to her budding relationship with reluctant rock star Jesse Elliot, who has just arrived in town. 
Tracy doubts that Jesse can ever be honest with her, and wonders if she even wants to know the truth about him. He, on the other hand, decides that she’s crazy. 
Solving the mystery of long-dead writer turns out to be the only thing that can resolve their differences. 

Excerpt from Exit Signs by Patrice Locke (If I were you, I'd jump over to Amazon and read the first chapter on Amazon. I'm popping over to buy my sister a copy for her birthday.)

Jesse Elliot raked some strands of his blue-black hair away from his forehead. The hair fell right back onto the shoreline of his face like a wave on a beach. I thought of the cliché movie scene where the action cuts to an agitated ocean to symbolize sex. I cleared my throat, and ordered myself to get a grip. 
Instead, I surprised us both by asking him my name. “Tracy Price?” 
Yes.” He confirmed my identity. “It’s nice to meet you.” 
He was all-business; I was all over the place. 
When he sat next to me I wanted to leap up and run away. Instead, I asked, “How do you like Albuquerque?Very original, Tracy. What I wondered was, How does it feel to look like you do? 
“I like it,” he said, answering both my questions. “I like it so far.” 
I felt a surge of power. “I bet. And how long are you staying?” Or, more to the point, would it be too forward of me to sit on your lap? 
“I can’t say yet. Maybe six weeks? This was kind of an unexpected trip.” Bingo. Both questions addressed. 
This was working. Let me know when you decide about the lap thing. I covered my mouth for a fake cough to clear my head. 
He told me he was working on a soundtrack for a movie about a Billy the Kid-like character who time-travels into the future to clear his name. 
I nodded. “Billy’s still got charisma. People are drawn to the legend.” Much as I am drawn to you and your amazing high, sharp cheekbones. 
“That’s true, isn’t it?” he said. 
Yes, it certainly is. 
And then, as if he had heard me, he drew his right thumb and forefinger together across the bottom half of his face, calling attention to the sharply carved facial planes. Yes, those cheekbones. Exactly right. Women are supposed to have those facial planes. Don’t worry, though, you’re too handsome to be pretty. 
We were silent. I was contemplating his perfection. Maybe he was, too.  

What’s your current WIP? 
 My work in progress, “Ghost Sitter,” is a romantic comedy about a woman struggling to change, after lying and cheating her way to rock bottom. 
The narrator, a renowned beauty, who may or may not be named Lisa, is literally afraid of what she sees in the mirror. She’s also worried about losing her latest conquest, a man whose eyes have begun to reflect an unexpected side of her character. 
She swears she has changed, but then she succumbs to the temptation to perpetrate a giant deception, insisting to herself that her motives are selfless. 
Eventually, this woman who can’t even tell the truth about her own name, has to decide whether one last lie will save her or ruin any chance she has to redeem herself.  Do you need a beta reader? I'm available.

And finally, where can we find  you? 
Author Facebook Page: 
 Thank you for being here, Patrice. But more than anything, thank you for Tracy and Buni and Jesse and all your other wonderful characters. I'm so happy to have met them. 
I was going to give away a copy, but Patrice has offered a kindle copy of Exit Signs to one lucky reader. If you don't have a Kindle, she'll give away a PDF instead. Enter below. (Or just go buy it. The book is 2.99 and so worth it.) Happy reading.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Disclosure: Patrice is my critique partner, so I got to read this book in its--well, not infancy, but its adolescence. I was blown away, and I'm an old jaded critiquer. Patrice's voice is just amazing. (I'm the one who turned her onto SEP, so believe me, I know voice.) I hope everyone loves it as much as I did when I first read it!

    1. Thank you, Kathy, multi-published, award wining author, critique parter and SEP proseletizer. You are the best.

  2. I loved the excerpt! This sounds like a great book! Between the excerpt and Sue's strong recommendation I popped over to Amazon to check it. Then I noticed it is only in e-book format. Before i buy it, I wanted to know if it will it be coming out in paperback soon? (that is my preferred format) Thank you for sharing about this new novel. It sounds great!

  3. Publisher says there will be a paperback, but I don't know when. Thanks for your interest! Patrice, mother of Exit Signs. :-)

  4. Thank you, Susan B. James. You will never know how MUCH your very kind words mean to me. (though I do blame you for keeping me from being able to sleep after I first read your praise...was so worth it!)


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