BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - Local author Patricia Gaffney's 17th novel, “Mad Dash,” hit bookshelves Aug. 7, and it has generated a goodly amount of buzz.
Local author Patricia Gaffney's 17th novel, “Mad Dash,” hit bookshelves Aug. 7, and it has generated a goodly amount of buzz.
Touted as “a light-hearted look at a married woman's mid-life crisis,” the book tells the story “of two people who love each other, but unfortunately, they staged their mid-life crises together,” Gaffney said.
The book is told “mostly from the point-of-view of the wife,” Gaffney added, although the book alternates between Dash, the wife, and Andrew, the husband.
“For me, (this novel) was both a departure and a return for me,” Gaffney said, who began her career in 1989 writing historical romance novels.
After 12 of those, she switched to what she calls “contemporary, mainstream fiction.”
“I wrote 12 books in about 12 years. Frankly, I ran out of stories I wanted to tell,” she said.
Her debut in the new genre, “The Saving Graces,” spent 17 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
That novel and the three that followed “focused on women's relationships with each other, on mother-daughter relationships,” Gaffney explained.
In that sense, her latest effort is a departure, because it focuses on the relationship between a husband and wife, she said.
“It's another love story, but not a romance,” she added. “It was time for something new. I like to keep doing something new to keep it fresh, keep the level of intensity up.”
Andrew, the staid, steady professor of history at a fictitious college in Virginia, is not based on Gaffney's real-life husband, Jim, she said.
“Everyone tells me Andrew is their husband. I think Andrew is a stand-in for everyone's husband after 20 years of marriage. He's unforthcoming and kind of disagreeable,” she said.
However, Gaffney makes him an accessible character - flawed, yes, but no more so than any other human being.
When asked about her writing style and character development, Gaffney said, “They (novels, characters) don't just come to me. Writing is my job, so I think about it a lot. In a sense, it's like acting. I'm acting the role of the character.”
Her Web site says Gaffney is already at work on her next novel, about a man who finds out his fatal medical diagnosis was mistaken.
“I'm always writing something,” she said. “I have a mental stack of books. I've been blessed with a good imagination.”
“Since I could read, I've wanted to be a writer. I remember when I was 8 reading ‘Little Women.' I wanted to take other people out of their lives” the way Louisa May Alcott did with her novel, Gaffney said.
The Record Herald