A Closer Look at…
What’s In A Name? by Pat Henshaw
Author Pat Henshaw Bio:
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.
Our Interview with Pat Henshaw…
1. You’ve lived all over…do you have a place that has felt like home instantly? And what and where is it?
I love Pacific Grove CA which is a tiny community adjacent to Monterey CA on the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It’s the winter home of the monarch butterflies, and butterfly motifs are all over town. The main reason I like it is that it’s where I can relax, be myself, and hear the characters and their stories in my head.
2. What pulls you forward to somewhere or away from other places?
I’m drawn to places with diversity and interesting people where a live-and-let-live attitude seems to be everyone’s mode of operation. I also love settings where people are creative, little art galleries or unpretentious cafes with superior food. I’m more comfortable in small spaces than larger ones. I do poorly in settings where everyone is striving to prove their worth to everyone else through bragging or ostentatious displays of wealth. I’m particularly uneasy in crowded spaces, conventions and the like.
3. Favorite coffee to get you going in the morning?
Unlike my character Jimmy, I don’t drink coffee. My morning coffee is iced tea.
4. I loved the blurb and excerpt for this story. It made me want to get my hands on it immediately. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
LOL. You’ve got me! I have no idea. You know you’ve heard authors say things like “the character just came to me and I went with it”? Well, I hate to say it, but Jimmy and Guy just “came” to me out of the blue. I’m so happy you loved the blurb and excerpt. I hope you enjoy the story too. I had a lot of fun writing it–and yes, I know it sounds strange to say that I had fun sitting and typing for hours on end.
5. What was the muse or inspiration for these characters?
Oh, no! See the previous answer. I really do wish I could come up with something concrete here. I once interviewed Arlo Guthrie who said that songs were floating around in the air all the time and he just plucked one out when it came by. Sounded a little silly at the time, but now I think I know what he was saying. This story was just floating around–it’s a modern tweak of Rumplestiltskin without killing any children, after all–and I just happened to be around to pluck it out of the ethos. And how new-agey does that sound?
6. Why this particular setting?
I live near the Sierra Foothills and have relatives and friends who live in the area where the story is set. When Jimmy, Guy, Fredi, Max, and the Behr brothers came to me, this is where they lived. I know, go figure!
7. Do you plan to incorporate some of the places you have traveled into future stories?
Actually, I have. I self-published a vampire novel, The Vampire’s Food Chain, last year in which I incorporated Egypt, Nicaragua, and a few other places into the setting. I like to call the novel “not your grandma’s vampire novel” because I’ve interwoven the stories of ancient and modern gods and vampires. It’s not the huge leap you might think–they both live forever, right?
8. Favorite coffee shop (can you answer that without getting into trouble with baristas everywhere?)
Cafe Dantorels, with La Bou as a backup. I’ve been going to Dantorels for decades. I’ve watched the various owners put their stamp on the building and the menu, but there’s something about the space that calls to me and makes me love being there.
9. Favorite cuisine to accompany your coffee…
Oh, well, there’s nothing like a good croissant or pastry, is there? I think the French have the concept of sitting, chatting, drinking, eating, and enjoying life just right. Slow Food makes much more sense than fast food to me. Besides, how else will I be able to catch those stories floating in the air if I’m not letting myself be open to them?
10. What’s Next for Pat Henshaw?
I’ve submitted the sequel to What’s in a Name?, another novella called Redesigning Max about Jimmy’s good friend, Fredi Zimmer and the outdoor sports store owner Max who just needs a little courage to make his move. I’m currently writing The Behr Facts, the third in the novella series, about the construction company that’s mentioned in the previous books. I have an idea about a fourth book, but I’m caught up in this first.
Also, I’m writing the sequel to The Vampire’s Food Chain, called Devil’s Food in which the protagonist, a vampire named Shawn, must visit hell and make a difference there. Finding hell is the challenge at the moment. It’s spread so many places!
Where can you find the author?
Goodreads Author Page
Book website: http://whatsinanamenovella.blogspot.com
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyD
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press
About What’s In A Name?
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 Bar 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.
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
A Special look from Guy’s Point of View:
Falling in love in your 30s, I’m here to tell you, is the shits. Take it from me. You’re rolling along, minding your own business–in my case as the working owner of Stonewall Saloon–and then wham! You think you’re immune, especially since you see so many crap-ass guys doing stupid shit every night. Maybe it’s the bar. Who knows? I never thought good guys went to bars a lot until I met Jimmy.
Along about November a year or so ago, Jimmy Patterson and his stupid as fuck boyfriend started dropping by Stonewall three, four times a week around 8 or 9 and staying sometimes until closing, but mostly for a couple, three hours.
The boyfriend, this asshole named Alex, would parade in wearing whatever passed as the latest style and park Jimmy on a stool at the bar.
Now, see, Jimmy’s the real friendly type. Shoot, he was even nice to Gus, a regular left over from when my Grandpa was owner and bartender. Gus can’t see or hear too well now and for some reason gets on the nerves of my younger customers all the time. Mostly because you gotta yell and repeat what you say to him about a million times. And then he still doesn’t get what you said.
Jimmy never blinked an eye at Gus. Just treated him like all the other guys who sat down next to him to bullshit.
“Good boy, that Jimmy,” Gus’d tell me over and over when Jimmy and Dickhead came in.
I had to agree. During slow periods, Jimmy and I’d talk about all sorts of things. He wanted to open a coffee shop in Old Town, around where Stonewall is, and asked me questions about places along the strip. We even talked quarterlies during tax time and shit like that.
There’s a few queer-run places now the big city guys have discovered us, and Jimmy wanted to know how they got along. Yeah, sure, there’s some resistance from blowhards like Tommy Thompson and a few others, but mostly we’re a live and let live kinda place.
At Christmas we laughed about some of the stupid ass holiday decorations along Main Street. Jimmy’d even asked if I was going to decorate. My answer? Blow me. For a minute it looked like he considered it.
The more we talked, the more lost I was. Got to the point I told one of the other bartenders to come get me if I was in the back when Jimmy came in. Go figure. Never done that in my life.
In the meantime, every time they were here, Dickhead the boyfriend was making the rounds. I caught him a few times sucking cock in the back. Made me so mad I nearly hit him up one side and down the other. I didn’t though cuz I didn’t want Jimmy to stop coming in.
It bothered me though. You know, one of those moral dilemmas. Should I tell Jimmy or not? So I started asking around.
Didn’t help when I learned Jimmy’d moved into a condo with the Dickhead. What kind of friend tells a guy his boyfriend’s a scumbag? On the other hand, what kind of friend keeps the news to himself? Moral dilemma, like I said.
Okay, so we’re coming up to Jimmy’s birthday, which I know because after I had another bartender card him, I wrote the date down. I decide to give the Dickhead one more chance. See if he could man up on the big night. I knew a bunch of Jimmy’s friends were gonna throw him a party at Stonewall, you know try to get him drunk, all the regular crap. So I’d better be seeing Dickhead stand up and act right.
By that point, I’ve already been smacked around by Jimmy-love and am ready to beat down walls to make him happy on his big day. He’s never gonna see his 20s again and he’s feeling the pain. At least that’s what he’s said. I just want the guy to be happy, real happy.
What happened? Well, yeah, you gotta read Jimmy’s side of the story. I mean, don’t listen to me. I can’t tell a story about love. Shit, I can barely tell a clean joke. Just listen to Jimmy. He’s got it covered.
Stonewall [Saloon] was chaos when I got there. Guy and another bartender were mixing drinks as fast as they could. I squeezed in at the end of the bar near the hatchway and sat on an abandoned stool there.
I didn’t think Guy had seen me come in, so when there was a lull in the frenetic pace and he was nearly within arm’s reach, I called out, “What’s a guy gotta do to get a drink in this place?”
Guy looked up, grinned at me, and yelled back, “Fuck the bartender.”
A slim man sitting next to me perked up, gave Guy the once-over, and yelled, “Okay!”
Guy’s startled gaze met mine, and we broke out laughing.
The man next to me sighed and slumped over his beer. “I knew it was too good to be true,” he mumbled.
I patted him on the shoulder.
“Maybe next time,” I commiserated with him.
“Right,” he answered glumly.
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