Author Name: Pat Henshaw
Book Name: Redesigning Max
Series: Foothills Pride
Book: Two (Can be read as a standalone)
Release Date: July 29, 2015
Pages or Words: 73 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG
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 English comp 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 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.
- Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.
Both Fredi and Max play instruments for pleasure in their spare time. Fredi loves the clarinet and can play a number of Benny Goodman tunes, which he does outside on the patio, much to the enjoyment of those living around him. Max plays ragtime piano. He tells people that syncopation makes sense to him, when waltzes and tangos and other music styles don’t.
- Have you ever written something that made you cry?
No, my writing tends to be upbeat, and there are very few sad scenes in my books. However, that may change in Devil’s Food, the sequel to TheVampire’s Food Chain, in which the focal character is gradually dying of a disease endemic only to vampires. We’ll see.
- Have you ever co-written with someone before?
Yes, I’m currently working on a contemporary romance tentatively titled Why Not Love? with my writing partner Sydney. We’ve worked together before but never sold the book we produced. Now that we’re both retired, we have more time to work together.
- What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
Life seems to interfere much too often. Even in retirement, it’s difficult to find a consistent time and enough hours to come away with something decent. I think I got more done when my children were little and I was getting up an hour before I had to get them up and ready for school every day! Also, for some reason I’m a slower writer now—age maybe?—which makes the process much longer. And, yes, I know I shouldn’t complain since I am retired.
- Name your four most important food groups.
Like the food pyramid? Uh, caffeine and chocolate are at ground level—the more, the better. Then I guess I need some protein, and because my husband insists, some fruits and veggies. I’m still partial to the Nebraska diet: beef, corn, and potato salad, all washed down with iced tea, and a brownie for dessert. Can’t go wrong with a solid Midwestern meal.
Thank you, Pat, for visiting the JGB Blog. Good luck to all who enter the rafflecopter below. Enjoy!
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.
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.
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.
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