Tuesday, April 8, 2014

20 Questions with Author/Editor Patience Bloom!

It’s a rare pleasure to feature the creative work of one of my book editors! Patience Bloom (then Smith) groomed my “Warrior” contemporary series as senior editor for Harlequin’s (then Silhouette’s) Intimate Moments (now Romantic Suspense) line. (I just got dizzy following those edits). After spending several delightful evenings with her memoir Romance Is My Day Job, I enthusiastically recommend this fun and often poignant insider look at the dating life of someone who makes romance their profession. From teenage daydreams of Duran Duran (tho’ I personally planned to marry Simon, not John!) to comparisons to literature’s famous doomed relationships, her path to finding True Love one fictional hero at a time is filled with heartbreak and humor and a glorious happily-ever-after. To prove that editors are really people who love books, just like us, Patience answers my 20 Questions and offers a teasing glimpse at this gem of a romance (she had me at the book trailer!).

Meet author/editor Patience Bloom:

Getting to know you:

1. Night owl or early bird? 

Unfortunately, both. I love staying up until 2 a.m., but because I spend time in an office, I need to be a morning person, too. The sun and chirping birds make me happy, along with coffee. Afternoons are not my brightest Patience time.

2. Other creative outlets? 

I knit, run, go to theater and watch far too many movies/TV shows. I’m a pop culture junkie (and read all the tabloids).

3. Things that make you want to go “EEEEEEK!” 

Vomit. I run in the other direction. I hate it even in books and movies (unless a Judd Apatow movie).Though I’m fine with gushing blood, I’m phobic in general—heights, mild agoraphobia and claustrophobia, crowds, germs, boats, flying, etc…. I keep some of the “eeek” well hidden and pretend it’s not there, but basically, I’m a mess! And yet, if you need me to get rid of a cockroach, spider, or rodents, I’m your girl.

4. Favorite books from childhood. 

All Judy Blume, Wizard of Oz and Chronicles of Narnia books. As a child, I read everything, including biographies of Presidents and literary fiction (Dickens, Tolstoy—though I barely understood these). I’m a giant book geek and will read whatever you put in front of me, except for a physics or economics textbook.

5. Three favorite movies:

The Lives of Others, Heat and Ordinary People—all very depressing but I love them. Happy movies I also adore: Maid in Manhattan, The Mirror Has Two Faces and The Holiday.

6. What’s on your Bucket List? 

I’ve only ever had one thing on my Bucket List and it’s very girly: Meet Duran Duran. I’m not pushy enough to try to accomplish this, which is okay. I have everything I want in life.

7. Your first kiss . . . 

Was a nice surprise at sleep-away camp when I was sixteen. He was drop-dead gorgeous and I thought he only liked me as a friend!

The Written Word:

8. Favorite type of hero (Type A bad boy or Type B good guy) Examples. (Which would you rather live with?) 

Type B, all the way. Nice guys are hot. I would choose Working Girl’s Harrison Ford over Wuthering Heights’s Heathcliff any day!

9. What type of fiction heroine would you be?Jane Eyre or Lara Croft? 

I’m a mix between the two. Moody and serious, but athletic. So while I’m crying over the clouds in the sky, I’m doing wind sprints.

10. Favorite genre to read? (Is it what you write?)

Outside of romance (my day job) and commercial women’s fiction, I love non-fiction, especially memoirs. I enjoy reading about interesting people with impressive accomplishments.

11. What are you reading right now? 

Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things and Pretenders by Lisi Harrison.

12. Paperback or e-book?

Paperback if I really want to keep it forever, give to a friend, or refer back to it. E-book if a quick subway read or my 1:30am read while husband is asleep.

13. Favorite books you can read over and over. 

Anything by Emily Giffin, Susan Mallery, and Nora Roberts.

A Writer’s Life:

14. OCD plotter or free range pantser? 

I’m a free-range pantser and this doesn’t work for me. I have the hardest time with plotting. If I have to create a plot for work, no problem. I can come up with wild stories, which other people will write.Right now, I’m trying to convince myself that I’m creating a plot for work.

15. Which was easier to get, agent or editor? 

For me, both were easy. What helped was that I had a unique story and was already in the biz. Before Romance Is My Day Job, I had a very difficult time getting an editor for my fiction, but I attribute this to having a less-than-saleable project(s).

16. Do you have a set writing schedule? 

No. It’s basically any free minute, usually at night or weekends.

17. Solo muse or critique partner(s)? 

Solo muse. I just send straight to the agent/editor.

18. Biggest hurdle to getting words on the page and how you overcome it. 

It takes a few tricks to get me to sit down writing because I’m a child. I get chocolate and don’t eat it until after I’m done. I write down my goal on a whiteboard. Then I set a timer and say, “Just write for thirty minutes, see what happens.” Usually, I will go over that time. I also set word count deadlines for myself.

19. What’s on your desk? 

A ball of yarn, Purrell, a Happiness Jar, four kinds of lip gloss, stacks of notecards, a calendar, Patrick Smith Botanicals face serum, and nail filing kit.

20. When can we get your next book and what’s it all about?

My current book, Romance Is My Day Job (Dutton), is out now. It’s my memoir, the story of how a romance editor found true love after decades of romance reading and dating failures. The next book is one of four different projects that I’m working on—fiction and nonfiction--and, for now, that’s a secret (I’m superstitious). 

Who knows the ins and outs of romance better than a Harlequin editor? A surprising and exhilarating look into Patience Bloom’s unexpected real-life love story.

At some point, we’ve all wished romance could be more like fiction. Patience Bloom certainly did, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like the heroines’ on the page: That shy guy she had a crush on wouldn’t just take her out—he’d sweep her off her feet with witty banter, quiet charm, and a secret life as a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Bloom kept reading books that fed her reveries.

Years later she moved to New York and found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin. Every day, her romantic fantasies came true—on paper. Bloom became an expert when it came to fictional love stories, editing amazing books and learning everything she could about the romance business. But her dating life remained uninspired. She nearly gave up on love.

Then one day a real-life chance at romance made her wonder if what she’d been writing and editing all those years might be true. A Facebook message from a high school friend, Sam, sparked a relationship with more promise than she’d had in years. But Sam lived thousands of miles away—they hadn’t seen each other in more than twenty years. Was it worth the risk?

Finally, Bloom learned: Love and romance can conquer all.

Book Trailer

Before her tenure as a senior editor at Harlequin Books, Patience Bloom had as many career choices as hometowns. She wanted to be a movie star until graduation from Oberlin College. Then came reality—that, perhaps, becoming the next Danielle Steel would be involve less dieting. Her creative muse wouldn’t pay the bills, so she spent a short period as a secretary (she still loves clerical work). In New Mexico, she used her fluency in French and Latin to teach high school and also got a master’s degree in French Literature at UNM. By 1997, she had moved to New York City, where she landed in publishing. In addition to devouring true crime, literary fiction, and romantic comedies, she mainlines celebrity memoirs. At Harlequin, she works on a wide spectrum of romances with a specialization in romantic suspense. Patience came across her own Prince Charming in her forties, which inspired her to write Romance Is My Day Job (Dutton).

What relationships have you had that embodied a fictional hero? Share your Heathcliffs, Roarkes and Byrons.


  1. Interesting interview. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great interview! I thought Patience was downright adorable before, but now I have even more reasons to like her. Just reached her book on the to-be-read pile and am starting her dating journey of misery today. :)

  3. Loved reading about your journey to your HEA, Patience. Here's wishing you many years of happiness. My Prince Charming and I will celebrate 60 years of marriage in June -and can truly say we've been blessed with love and laughter each year. With four kids, nine grandkids and five great-grands, our HEA is everlasting.

    1. Thanks, Loralee! Congratulations on 60 years! That's awesome! -- Patience

  4. What a cute couple! Here's to many years of true romance for you.

  5. Wonderful interview and the book trailer is awesome! I've loved hearing about your life. I wonder now if being a romance author is bad for marriage... I keep hoping that some wonderful hot vampire or shifter will jump out to protect me... or even my husband will take out the garbage without the 15 reminders... Well a girl can dream!

  6. This was a fun interview, Patience, and of all the book trailers I've seen so far, yours is my favorite. Congrats on a great job and best of luck with the book. :)