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#Interview with #GuestAuthor Pat Henshaw, author of “What’s In A Name?”

Interview with Guest Author

Pat Henshaw
A barista, a bartender, and love.

Thank you for stopping over to visit, Pat. In case my lovely readers don’t know who are—though I’m certain they all do… right guys?—I thought I’d do a little sit-down visit with you and help us all get to know you a little better.

What makes your stories different from other authors out there?

Pat: I think of my stories as entry level M/M romances since they have no sex scenes, but are primarily about love and how two men fall in love. I see my reader/s as men and women who never thought they’d ever read a romance, but have heard so much about them that they want to read one to find out what they’re like. I also see my reader/s as curious about exploring love, not sex, as we both try to figure out what makes one person love another one.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

Pat: I’ve always been a writer—having been a reviewer (books, art, film, stage) for many decades and for many venues. So in a way, I’ve always thought of myself as a budding author. But the big moment for me was split in two parts: when I self-published my fantasy novel, The Vampire’s Food Chain, and when Dreamspinner offered me the contract for my novella, What’s in a Name?

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to get past it?

Pat: Rarely do I suffer from writer’s block. (Have you read David Markson’s Reader’s Block, by the way? Brilliant book. But then I think Markson himself is brilliant.) Writing is like everything else in life. It’s not going to get done if you don’t do it. So sitting down and writing just anything is my cure for the writer’s blahs (uh, block).

I was asked this recently and would love to find out your take on it… If your writing was translated, which would be your preference: TV, movie, play, or Broadway?

Pat: What’s in a Name? would be a cute made-for-TV movie, I think. Honestly, I can’t imagine anyone picking it up for TV, though.

Does your family know what you write, and if so, how did they react when you first told them what and how explicit your writing would be?

Pat: Yes, my family’s been very supportive. My husband is my harshest editor, and our younger daughter is my eager reader and fan. Beck is the daughter who went to the RT convention in New Orleans with me and was more excited than I was to be there and to talk with all the gay romance authors. She’s enraptured with J. P. Barnaby and can’t read enough written by her.

LOL. Sounds like she’s a ton of fun 🙂 Have you ever met someone in real life, or a stranger, that you turned into a MC?

Pat: I taught English composition at a community college for decades, and many of my students were gay men who wrote essays about being gay and their lives as gay men. I’ve put bits and pieces of Curtis and Dennis and Hei and others in my main characters mixed with traits from other men. But so far I’ve never created a character who is totally one of the men I know.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Pat: I can’t answer this question because it depends on the genre and my recent reads. I have way too many “favorite” authors that span centuries and continents and genres and languages.

Boxers, briefs, commando? What’s your favorite way to “dress” your man?

Pat: My men stayed clothed pretty much all the time in my books. Funny story about men’s underwear? I once watched a student de-pants himself in his effort to turn in his essay. His foot caught on the hem of his baggy jeans which pulled down the jeans and the boxers. In front of the entire class. For some reason, he didn’t come back the next class period and dropped the class.

Sad in a way. Hope he kept writing.
We already know you love to write/read in different genres, but why do you feel you share your voice best when writing amongst the different genres?

Pat: I’m happy writing both contemporary gay romance and vampire fantasy. In the gay romances I’m trying to get a handle on how men view love, and in the fantasy, I’m struggling with the concept of god and immortality. One series is a little lighter than the other.

And just because I love to tease 😉 what are you working on now, and what is coming up from you next?

Pat: Dreamspinner has contracted for the sequel to What’s in a Name? which is entitled, Redesigning Max. Max features Fredi Zimmer, the out-and-proud architect/interior designer, in the first book as he falls for a rugged outdoorsman. I’m also in the process of writing the third book in the series, The Behr Facts, about the Behr Construction Company CEO who cameoed in What’s in a Name?

As for The Vampire’s Food Chain, I’m currently writing the sequel, Devil’s Food, in which the gods tell the vampire heroine she must visit hell and make a difference there. Hell, as it turns out, isn’t so easy to find. I’ve also plotted out the third book, Angel’s Food, in which the vampire must decide if she wants to be a god or not. All fun stuff.

All of those sound so interesting (and I have a thing for vamps, lol…. sooo….)
On that wonderful note, I thought I’d share a little from What’s In A Name? So sit back, relax, grab a drink, and enjoy!

What’s In A Name?

M/M Contemporary Romance
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 21, 2015
Length: Novella / 90 pages

Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it’s a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Saloon rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.

Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender’s first name since he’s worn a different name tag every time Jimmy’s seen him. “Guy” Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.

While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he’s distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.


“Okay. How’s this for a deal?” He put down his knife and fork and leaned into the table, stabbing me with his eyes. “I’ll give you a week to guess my name. Seven chances. Every day you can ask a few questions, then come up with what you think my name is. If you’re right, I’ll buy the best bike for you and teach you how to ride it.”

“And if I’m wrong?”

“You owe me a kiss.” He leaned back in satisfaction.

“A kiss? One measly kiss?”

“Oh, I don’t want the measly ones. I mean a real, God of Love kiss. Something to set my ass back a couple a notches.”

Now I really laughed. Right. Me, giving him a humdinger of a kiss? Right. Who were we kidding? Oh, well. Didn’t matter because I was going to accept his challenge.


Day two of the bet dawned bright and cheery. Guy was still asleep when I wriggled out of his hug and stumbled to the bathroom.

I was awake and raring to go. I had to check in with Felicity, who, I hoped, had figured out where I’d spent the night. I had to give her Guy’s phone number as backup in case she needed to find me and I’d left my phone in another room.

I also had to check in with the Realtor and find out if there was a counteroffer on the new place and if I could tell Brian, our banker, that it was a go.

While I was thinking about my upcoming day, I was fiddling with Guy’s outdated coffeemaker. It had been state of the art once, but now was nothing but a piece of junk. I added buying Guy a new coffeemaker to my list of chores for the day. If nothing else, I could get him something that would start coffee automatically in the morning.

I also grimaced at the coffee choices in his cupboard, not to mention the lack of food there. Opening the fridge, I realized he was a few days late in making a store run.

Well, at least in a little way, I could return some of the favors he’d done for me. The gigantic supermarket in the mall was open, so I grabbed a pen and paper, wrote him a note saying I’d be back, got dressed, and made the trip to and from the store in under an hour.

Guy was sitting at the kitchen table, horrific coffee in hand.

“Hey, you don’t have to shop for me,” he said as he got up and took one of the bags.

“No problem. There are a few more in the car if you want to help. I’ll put stuff away,” I answered.

He slipped on a pair of ratty loafers and started bringing in the food.

“I got you some French roast from Penny’s, and eggs and hickory smoked bacon from the grocery store,” I said as he piled the bags into the spaces I’d left as I emptied them. “So I thought an omelet, biscuits, and bacon this morning with decent coffee. Okay?”

I felt him behind me before he put his arms around my chest, his erection snuggled into my butt crack.

“Babe, you don’t have to do this, you know,” he whispered, then kissed my neck.

I turned and hugged him.

“I know. But I’m doing it for me, not for you.”

His eyebrows went up quizzically. “For you?”

“Yeah. I like how you look right now, and I’d be really sad if you lost weight or got deathly thin.”

He started laughing.

“How long do you figure I’ve got?” he managed to ask.

I shook my head, gazing down at his buff body.

“Wow. I don’t know. A couple of hours? A day at most?” I deadpanned. “I’d really hate to have to watch you shrivel up and all. So I’m going to fix you breakfast.”

He stood chuckling as I got the eggs out so they’d be closer to room temperature before I cooked them. Then I quickly measured ingredients and mixed up the biscuits.

“You want to do something, you can find me a cookie sheet,” I said.

“Say what?” he barked. “I don’t make cookies.”

“Ah, now I see part of the problem with your bad attitude.”

“I don’t have a bad attitude,” he growled.

Laughing I found a large skillet in among his pots and pans, sprayed it down with nonstick, added the biscuit rounds, and left them on the counter until the oven warmed up enough to bake them. Then I used the grater I’d stumbled across in a drawer to get the cheese ready for the omelet.

With everything prepped, I started cooking and baking.

Guy backed off when I wouldn’t let him snag a piece of bacon and sternly told him to wait for the feast.

“Go set the table,” I barked at him.

“Yes, sir.” He saluted.

I grinned at being able to control him. Power is seductive, at least in the morning when I’m trying to fix breakfast for someone. Who would have guessed I liked to order around bears? Or at least this particular bear?

When everything was ready and on the table, including better coffee than I’d originally found in his cupboards, Guy looked stunned.

“Huh,” he said in awe. “Nobody ever made me a breakfast like this.”

Now that was plain old sad. How’d he grown up with no morning breakfasts?

“Your mom never fixed breakfast?” I tried to keep my voice neutral, but even I could hear how appalled I sounded.

“Naw. My mom died a week after I was born. I was too big a baby for her,” he said, helping himself to a pile of biscuits and slathering them with butter. “My dad died not too long afterward, and my grandpa raised me and my older brother. We grew up in the bar.”

His life had been even worse than sad. Two young boys growing up in a bar, being parented by an older man.

“Yeah, mostly Grandpa liked to drink and bullshit with his friends, so when we got old enough to fend for ourselves, we did. My brother, who everyone called Little Man, pretty much raised me until he left for the Army in his senior year in high school.” One, then two biscuits disappeared, followed by about half of the omelet.

I played with my biscuit and dragged a fork through my corner of the omelet. I felt like crying. No wonder Guy was such a hardass with the bar patrons. I was surprised he’d been so nice to me. He deserved better than he’d gotten so far.

Rather than make him go over old ground, even though I wanted to know more, I backed off, since we both needed to get to work.

“So where you wanna go tonight?” Guy asked. “I’m gonna try to take off since I didn’t get to last night.”

“Why don’t you meet me at Penny’s when you get off?” I countered. “Whatever you want to do is fine with me.”

“Sounds good. Now get out of the way, so I can clean up here.” He stood and turned with his plate in his hands.

I swiped the plate and glared at him.

“Not gonna happen, Big Guy,” I said, testing out a twink growl. “This was my way of saying thank you for being there for me. So I’m cooking and cleaning. Go get ready for work.”

We had a momentary standoff until he started to grin, then laugh.

“Okay, okay, whatever. I don’t like cleaning up anyway,” he laughed. “You should see yourself,” he added. “You really look fierce when you want to.”

“Don’t you forget it,” I said, putting the plate in the sink. Cleanup wasn’t such a big deal. Guy had a dishwasher and a disposal unit. Swipe a couple of dishes, some flatware, rinse a few cups and glasses. I clean as I cook, something I’d learned as a barista, so I mean, we’re not talking heavy lifting here. I did more work at Penny’s when we first opened and I was out front. Old habits die hard.

Born in the Heartland of Nebraska, Pat Henshaw has made America hers by living in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California. She has found joy in visiting Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and relishes trips to Rome, Italy, and Eugene, Oregon, to see family.

Pat has spent her life surrounded by words: Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Two of her fondest memories are touching time when she put her hands on the pyramids and experiencing pure whimsy when she interviewed Caroll Spinney (Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch). Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion. Her supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away writing fiction.

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