Intermissions Author Q&A: Martha Patterson

Martha Patterson is a writer living in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work has been published by Smith & Kraus, Applause Books, Sheepshead Review, Silver Birch Press, Pioneer Drama Service, Syndrome Magazine and others. She has degrees from Mt Holyoke College and Emerson College. She loves being surrounded by her books, radio and laptop.

What is your writing process?
I write quickly and revise quickly.  Often awake into the wee hours of the night, I like writing when everyone else is asleep!  Although it’s often said about writers that quality matters more than quantity, I take pleasure in having a large body of work (I’ve written more than 175 long and short plays, and dozens of stories).

Tell us about your story for the anthology. Where did your idea for ‘Drinking’ come from? Were there any challenges writing it?
I thought it would be fun to write about a serious drinker who thinks everyone else’s problems are “worse.”  The only real challenge was keeping humor running throughout the story – I didn’t want the narrator to seem faultless.

In ‘Drinking’, we consider the habits and actions that make up a ‘good person’, something we’ve probably all considered with the events 2020-21. Is this a theme that you’ve explored before?
Yes, it’s a theme I’ve explored elsewhere: moral choices and habits that become ingrained.  I’ve written several domestic comedies (plays) with this theme, where there are arguments between husbands, wives, and children, though the stories have nothing to do with the pandemic of 2020-2021.

Tell us about your favourite reads. Why do you like them?
I like the short stories of Irish writer William Trevor (now deceased), because of his descriptive powers, and sometimes the stories are hauntingly sad.  I’ve also appreciated the novels of female authors Edith Wharton and Willa Cather, tales about women’s romantic lives.

How did you hear about GSP?
I think I heard about GSP via the website Submittable, which lists writing opportunities by deadline.

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