I met Pat Cronin at my very first Golden Crown Literary Convention in Atlanta in 2007. We were on a cop/EMS/firefighter/something-or-other panel together, and she was hilarious. As the years passed, our acquaintance evolved into a friendship I’ll cherish for life.
Along with being a really cool human, Pat’s a Goldie Award winning co-editor of Blue Collar Lesbian Erotica, and writes some really cool books, too. Her debut, Souls’ Rescue, was an Ann Bannon Popular Choice award finalist. Pat’s second novel, Better Together, is a love story spanning the Atlantic, and her newest effort, Reflections of Fate, a sci-fi romance, is slated for release April 1st. And that’s no foolin’! Pat has kindly agreed to cough up three books for three lucky commenters, winner’s choice, paper or e-book!
You were the director of the Golden Crown Literary Society for a number of years. I hazard a guess that that the GCLS IS something close to your heart. Why?
I joined GCLS in 2004 at Lori Lake’s insistence. LOL. It was new, exciting, and was gearing up for the first con to take place in 2005 in NOLA (New Orleans for those of you not in the know.) It didn’t take me long to become heavily involved at first as a volunteer, then later a member of the board and eventually the executive director. For me, GCLS has helped to mature my craft with the incredible educational opportunities at each con, along with the friendships of fellow authors, editors, and members in general. I’ve made life-long friendships through GCLS and I will always be grateful for that.
I put a lot of my life into the organization, putting my writing on hold for five years to help see GCLS grow and become prosperous—as it was on the verge of collapse when I became the executive director. If not for Lori Lake, Mary Griggs, and Mary Phillips, I don’t think the group would be here today.
What’s the big bad backstory behind your writing? What got you into it? Who has helped you along the way?
I’ve been writing since I was in grade school. I don’t know what got me started, but I’ve always been a voracious reader and I guess it grew from there. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. My 6th grade reading teacher gave me the most/biggest boost of encouragement when I was young. She saw my passion for writing. She was an amazing teacher, who died not long after from cancer. She was a great role model and I hope I’ve lived up to what she believed in.
When I decided to write seriously, I found a life-time friend in Lori Lake. She has been a mentor to me and I can honestly say I’m a better writer because of her. And, of course, without the amazing friends of my writing group, the BABA’s (Bad-Ass Butches w/Attitude) I would not be having as much fun as I am now!
You’ve said that Better Together is a book very close to your heart. Why is that?
It’s loosely based on me and my wife. The loosely part is that one woman is Dutch and the other is an American and they have a long-distance relationship, which we had for six very long years. Despite a lot of nay-sayers telling us we could never make it work, we’ve now been together ten years. So that part of the story is very close to me, personally. The title is what we have inscribed in our wedding bands—“Better Together.” Also, the storyline that deals with Kristy’s illness is also close to me as my dad died from pancreatic cancer. I pulled a lot of stuff from my experiences with him for this book.
Where did you get the idea for Reflections of Fate? Are you part Cherokee?
RoF was written about fifteen years ago, after I made my first trip to Cherokee, North Carolina. In Southwest Ohio, most people go to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge for vacation, so I was pretty familiar with that area. The Cherokee fascinate me. Everything about them, the culture, how they are the most “adaptable” Native Americans, how they are bringing back their history…it’s amazing. My step-grandmother is half Cherokee, but that wasn’t a factor. I’ve been to Cherokee, NC a dozen times and each time I learn something new. It’s a beautiful and wonderful place to visit.
In Reflections, you made up a bunch of hoo-haw about building materials and the metal they’re made of, the description of spaceships, and what people wear. Where did you get these cray-cray ideas?
I have a vivid imagination? I’m a sci-fi geek? I have no idea where that stuff comes from. My wife is afraid of what lurks behind my forehead. I can only say that when I need to make up a word I will use the first word I hear or see and mess around with it until I get something that is pronounceable and looks “foreign.” The colors, sizes and shapes sometimes come from my doodling in a notebook to get an idea of what something might look like. My drawings are rubbish, but at least I can describe them!
I know you were a crazy sci-fi convention attendee. What conventions did you hit? Which were your faves?
Oh, the sci-fi cons. From Star Trek to Xena to Star Wars, I’ve been around the celestial block! But, until I went to my first Xena con, I hadn’t made many connections to the other attendees. But Xena was different. Outside a hotel in Burbank, CA at the 10th anniversary con, I met this woman who spoke with an Australian accent and came from The Netherlands. That con literally changed my life and I’m a little sad we couldn’t be there for the 20th and final con this year in CA. It would have been fun. I miss going to these geeky events. There’s just nothing like spending a weekend swimming in the iconic visages of something you enjoy so much! Regardless of what anyone thinks of geeks like me, programs like Star Trek, Xena and the Star Wars movies changed society. They changed how we see women (ST was the first to put a woman in an authoritative position—and she was an African American!) how we view ourselves as human beings, and how much fun one person can have in 45 minutes of fantasy action that you can watch over and over again. Nearly 40 years after the first Star Wars movie the themes and ideas are still relevant. Same goes for Star Trek, and I think in another twenty years we’ll still say the same about Xena. How can you NOT enjoy these adventures?
Are you a Trekkie or Star Wars freak?
Well, it’s my mother’s fault. That’s my story, anyway. She was pregnant with me when Star Trek premiered — Sept 8th, 1966 — and watched the show. I believe I was watching as well and have not stopped since. I have seen every incarnation of Star Trek and watched the Star Wars movies enough times to tell you who says “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…” in each movie and when. I can’t get enough of any of them. So yeah, I’m a Trekkie and proud of it! (Please note I’m a Trekkie and not a Trekker—I loathe that word!) I should add I’ve met most of the cast of all the shows by going to the cons when I was younger. I even had a Star Trek uniform. Which one? A medical officer, of course! I am a retired paramedic, after all.
I think there’s also a convention story revolving around your love life! Let’s, dish, baby!
So, I met my wife in Burbank, CA at a Xena con. Sounds like some kind of repeat story, as a lot of women meet at these cons, but we did and except for the two weeks she stayed in CA after I left, we haven’t gone more than two days without talking, writing, or seeing each other. If I go to the US without her I last about a day before I’m missing her and not sleeping. I know, I know. It sounds like a sappy romance that if you read it you’d be bored to tears! But it’s true. Not many people can say they’ve met their soulmate, but we can.
We did the long distance thing until I had to retire from the fire department due to a severe back injury. My IT job lets me work wherever I am so I moved to The Netherlands. Let’s just say the slower pace of life here is awesome. I never thought I’d like not being able to go shopping on a Sunday, but I do! It’s like Mayberry, RFD.
Thanks for popping by, Mayberry! Good luck with the new novel!
Pat Cronin is the Goldie Award winning co-editor of Blue Collar Lesbian Erotica. Her first novel, Souls’ Rescue was a finalist for the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. Pat is a retired paramedic/firefighter now working as an editor and writer. She currently resides in the Netherlands with her wife, Sandra, and their kitties. Visit her website here.