Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Redefining Max by Pat Henshaw

Author Name: Pat Henshaw

Book Name: Redesigning Max
Series: Foothills Pride
Book: Two
Can be read as a standalone

Release Date: July 29, 2015

Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene's Hunting and Fishing, hires him to remodel his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills.  Fredi is an out and proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes' he remodels, and Max is just too hunky gorgeous for words.
When Max starts coming on to Fredi, the designer can't imagine why.  But he's game to put a little spice into Max's life, even if it's just in the colors and fixtures he'll use to turn Max's dilapidated rustic cabin into a showplace.  Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max's life visually?
Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally.  Coming out, he finds is the most exciting and wonderful time of his life, despite the conservative former friends who want to stop his slide into hell.


By the time we got to the Rock Bottom Cafe, I felt like I’d bottomed out. I was hungry, tired, and feeling the first twinges of a headache.
Max hadn’t exaggerated about how much I’d hate the Rock Bottom’s decor. It was the worst of rural cafe: hellacious plastic flowers, grotesque plastic-covered booths, peeling gangrene-painted beadboard walls, pockmarked linoleum floor, and faded food-stained menus. It made the cabin look almost palatial, except it didn’t smell as bad.
As Max slid into one side of a booth and I into the other, he said, “Food’s great here. Okay?”
I glared at him, but I had to admit the odors coming from the kitchen wove seductively around us.
After we’d ordered and had gotten glasses of iced tea, which I liberally dosed with artificial sweetener, Max leaned back in his side of the booth and blew out a little breath.
“So guess here’s what you need to know about me.” He was looking at the tabletop. “I was an only kid when my folks died. Raised by my aunt and uncle with their four boys. I was the youngest and nobody cared what I thought, so I don’t talk much.”
Oh dear. I wasn’t sure which of those statements I should answer, if any. My heart bled for the beautiful man in front of me who would give me a raging hard-on if I let my libido take control.
His words and lack of self-pity made me want to create a unique space where he’d feel completely at home and that would soothe him when he needed it. I probably wouldn’t end up his BFF or someone he could unbend with, but I could create a warm cocoon to shelter and coddle the man or let him entertain his friends comfortably.
The image of the young Max feeling like an outsider when he was thrust on his uncaring aunt and uncle to raise was banished by the waitress who put lunch in front of us.
“Oh. My. God!” I nearly drooled into the chili and homemade bread as I tasted them. “This is incredible.”
“What’d I tell you?” Max gloated. “Said you shouldn’t be put off by the decor. Some of us are more than our decor.”
I spooned up a couple of bites, then looked at Max. “You really do think I’m a snob, don’t you?”
Why was it so easy to get him to blush? I hadn’t a clue, but his quick, mercurial red cheeks had me intrigued.
“No, no, I don’t think you’re a snob,” he protested. “I mean, you’re just so….” He waved a couple of fingers at me, but kept his elbows on the table as if protecting his bowl of chili.
“I’m so what?”
Max shrugged. “I don’t know. Beautiful. And fancy,” he added, ducking his head over his bowl.
Ah, I understood now. Max was intimidated by my suit.
“Look, you came to get me in the coffee shop. I was dressed to take a rich lady through her house later this afternoon. I can work in jeans and a T-shirt”—did Max think I wore suits every day?—“or anything I want. Pajamas even. You just caught me on a suit day.” Which, I didn’t add, was too often for even my overblown sense of style.
Now Max was staring at me.
“Yeah, right. You wear jeans,” he scoffed, but looked interested, intrigued.
I shrugged. “Okay, not when I’m with a client. At home I’m way more casual.” I might have sounded a tad defensive.
“Yeah, right,” Max muttered with a grin.
I left it lying there. It wasn’t worth fighting about. But it bothered me that he saw such a divide between us. I was just a man, wasn’t I? Just like him, right? What was he going on about? Sheesh.

About the author:

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride series, was born in Nebraska but promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat has visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and regularly travels to Rome, Italy, and Eugene, Oregon, to see family. 

Now retired, Pat has taught English composition at the junior college level; written book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helped students find information as a librarian; and promoted PBS television programs.

Pat has raised two incredible daughters who daily amaze everyone with their power and compassion.  Pat’s supported by a husband who keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away writing fiction.


Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Pat Henshaw, author of Redesigning Max.

Hi, Pat, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi!  I’m originally from Nebraska and have lived all over the U. S., landing here in Northern California.  Now retired, I’ve held a number of jobs including theatrical costuming for the Alley Theatre in Houston, public relations for radio and television at WETA in D. C., and teaching first year English composition at a junior college in California.

Redesigning Max, the second of the Foothills Pride novellas, revolves around the unlikely pair of interior designer and architect Fredi Zimmer and the CEO of an outdoors equipment store and wildlife guide Max Greene.  When he hires Fredi to redesign and update his Sierra Mountain mountain cabin, Max finds his life and heart undergoing a makeover too.

Not everyone in the small Stone Acres, California, community is as excited about Max and Fredi getting together as the guys themselves are.  Because Max’s been in the closet so long, he not only has to convince his friends that he’s gay but he also has to convince Fredi, who keeps getting mixed signals from him.

1)      Was there a basis for you story? A previous experience or something else?

Yes, both Fredi and Max are based on two former students who never knew each other and never fell in love in real life.  I always thought they’d be a good match—the more staid, numbers-oriented student needed someone colorful and out-and-proud while the flamboyant student needed someone to ground him.  When I first wrote Fredi into the first Foothills Pride novella, What’s in a Name?, I knew he had to have his own book, and I knew whose little quirks Fredi shared.

2)     What skills do you think a writer needs?

Fiction writers definitely need to enjoy telling stories and answering what if as they watch people react to one another.  Playing make believe and visualizing scenarios in which their characters interact are essential to create stories that need to be told.  Then to translate their stories into ones for readers will be able to read easily, authors need to have a grasp on basic language and punctuation standards. 

3)     What for you is the perfect book hero?
I don’t think there’s a perfect book hero for me.  I’ve read books in which I don’t particularly like the main character but trust the author enough that I want to know how the character will turn out in the end and how the writer will make me like him.  A case in point is Rick R. Reed’s Raining Men.  Character Bobby Nelson was a real scoundrel in Chaser, so when I read that Reed was writing a book with Bobby as the central character, I couldn’t imagine him becoming a hero.  But in Reed’s able hands not only is he one of the characters I remember most but it’s because of his personal turnaround that I think of him as a hero.

4)     Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Not really.  I’ve been a writer for so long that not writing makes me twitch.  I always carry paper, pencils, and pens with me, so if I find myself alone somewhere, I write.  Sometimes the words or ideas don’t work on the page, but I know it’s just a matter of going back and rewriting or editing.  Once a writer gets comfortable with the process, the easier it becomes.

5)     Someone asks you for advice about writing. What do you tell them?

Write.  And write some more.  Talking about writing won’t get you anywhere no matter how intriguing your ideas and how wonderful the characters you describe.  For some people, usually very active people, sitting still and writing is the most difficult part.  An alternative is to get a speech-to-text app for your phone and speak your story.  But if you do, you have to pay close attention when you’re editing because some words and sentence breaks won’t be what you want.  Some writers swear by this method.  Either way, the bottom line is to write.

Where to find the author:

Twitter: @phenshaw

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