Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guest Author: Victoria Patterson and "This Vacant Paradise"

Today I'm honored to host guest author Victoria Patterson, the South Pasadena writer whose novel, This Vacant Paradise, was published March 4th. Victoria will be appearing at Vroman's this Thursday, March 24th at 7pm.

 
For the most part, my fiction takes place in Newport Beach, but I live and write in South Pasadena. A tour of the places in South Pasadena (and surrounding areas) where I’ve written, and where my story collection, Drift, and my novel, This Vacant Paradise, came to life, would take quite some time, especially considering the seventeen years we’ve lived in South Pasadena. 
           
For years I worked at the South Pasadena Library (and I still do at times).  I’ve staked out every quiet and isolated work area at S. Pasadena Library, my favorite being the upstairs conference room, although that didn’t last long, considering there was just solitary me. The downstairs partitioned workspace desks near the teen section are great—while said teens are at school—except during “Storytime”(which I used to take my kids to), when the massive avalanche of toddlers’ feet boom from overhead.

Buster’s Coffee on the corner of Meridian and Mission was a mainstay, though ultimately I knew too many people, and would end up visiting and talking rather than working.

For close to three years, I worked at the coffee shop at Vroman’s, and I actually wrote an essay about it.

Pasadena Library, check. Starbucks, check.

For a long time, I worked at Caltech library, on one of the upper floors, with its spectacular view of the mountains. But then it was discovered that a Hummer-graffiti-terrorist civilian was also taking advantage of the library, and Caltech became understandably more restrictive.

This is a small sampling—I could go on and on, because South Pasadena (and Pasadena, San Marino, Alhambra, Sierra Madre) is home to my writing, even if the writing takes place elsewhere. 

24 comments:

Virginia said...

Victoria,
Lucky you to live and work in So Pas and the whole beautiful area. I was privileged to meet bloggers there last spring. I hope to get back soon.

Congratulations on your recent book!
V

Victoria said...

Thank you, Virginia! I do feel fortunate to live in S. PA.

Laurie said...

Don't you just feel inspired in the South Pas library? It's one of my favorite places, too.

Margaret said...

Victoria's book is fantastic. The New York Times gave it a stellar review a few weeks back. I really recommend it.

Petrea said...

I think our whole area is inspiring. That must be why so many writers and artists end up here. But we have some great spots in particular, libraries included.

There's a link to Victoria's excellent NYT review in the top line of the post, so please do read it and wet your whistle.

TheChieftess said...

Sounds like a definite read for me!!! Congratulations Victoria!

John said...

It's so great to hear from local authors. Congratulations on your novel! It should thrill you to see it on the shelf at the SoPas Library

Victoria said...

Thanks all! I haven't seen This Vacant Paradise on the shelf at South Pas Library yet--though I put in a request for a copy! Drift, my collection of short stories, is there. A huge thrill, yes.

Petrea said...

Is it mercenary of me to think it's an even bigger thrill to see it on the shelves at Vroman's?

Victoria said...

Petrea, not at all. I'm a longtime Vroman's customer, since before my kids were even born, and I have to admit that seeing my books at Vroman's has been a real thrill.

Susan Campisi said...

Congratulations, Victoria! I've added you to my list of must-read local authors. And I will definitely purchase your book from Vroman's, my favorite local bookstore. I look forward to diving into it.

TheChieftess said...

There's probably something quite validating to have a library stock one's book!!! Congratulations again Victoria...is it out in paperback yet???

Karen said...

How interesting that you have staked out local spots to do your writing, Victoria.

What necessitated the vagabond writer's lifestyle - was there no opportunity to create a home office, or did you simply need to get a change of scenery to be inspired?

Thanks for guest-posting, I'm going to put your books on my "to read" list also!

Steven said...

I must admit that the book jacket certainly grabbed my attention. Well OK then I think I'm going to read this book. Best of luck to you and I hope you win a Pulitizer for your work.

Desiree said...

It's actually been on my tbr list since Margaret's glowing recommendation on Good Reads! Can't wait!

Petrea said...

Margaret has indeed been spreading the word.

Chieftess, my guess is it'll be a while before the paperback comes out. However, "Drift," Victoria's book of short stories, is in paperback.

http://www.vromansbookstore.com/search/apachesolr_search/victoria%20patterson

I echo Karen's question. Sometimes I write better when I'm away from home but I wonder, Victoria, what is it about working out of the house that works for you?

Paula L. Johnson said...

Love the book cover design—and the NYT review. I'll add this to my book group's list of titles.

Victoria said...

Thank you all! I was gone, busy with kids. Love getting all the comments.

This Vacant Paradise is not in paperback yet, but it is on Kindle.

I don't work well at home--mainly because I end up feeling like "Mom" rather than writer, which means I'll end up doing laundry, dishes, etc. and generally procrastinating.

Margaret has been unbelievably generous and supportive. I'm very grateful to her.

And lastly, I like to joke that that's my image on the cover, that it took many workouts to get in shape for it--but people look at me funny, so I've stopped.

Thanks again for all the support.

altadenahiker said...

Great good luck with your new book, Victoria. (Beantown is my favorite, but it's all a matter of geography.)

Mister Earl said...

I look forward to reading your books, VIctoria. Nice to see a book born and raised in South Pasadena, even if it is about a place I'm not really connected to.

Katie said...

Victoria your book sounds fabulous - and what a great NYT review! And I very much enjoyed the wonderful essay about your experience with All Saints (especially since I'm a lapsed Episcopalian whose religious downfall came when in high school I volunteered to run the daycare instead of going to the service). Can't wait to read your book!

John said...

One of my teachers in writing school was the novelist Shirley Schoonover. She wrote her first couple books when she was a young mom (I knew her in her 60s).

She said she often felt gulty rushing her kids through their paces, or through making dinner, but she had to catch up with her characters, who were "in the office, writing the book without me!"

Petrea said...

I love that bit about the characters in the office writing the book without Schoonover, J.

The article Katie references is linked in the post, "I wrote an essay about it." Oh yeah. Better than church--or church in a different form.

Thanks, Victoria, I've enjoyed this today. I hope there will be more comments to come.

Victoria said...

Thank you as well! I've really enjoyed all the thoughtful and generous comments.
p.s. Katie, that's funny!