Monday, January 23, 2012

Kathy L. Patrick talks about Beauty and the Book, The Pulpwood Queens, literacy and more

If you've been reading this blog, you know how much fun I had at Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend. No one does more for literacy, readers or writers than Kathy L. Patrick, so of course I had to corner her and interview her.  That's gorgeous Kathy  below, decked out for The Pretty in Pink Prom at the Pulpwood Queens Weekend! Thank you, Kathy, for doing this interview, and for everything I can think of.

How did the idea for Beauty and the Book, the first and only beauty shop and bookstore, come about? 

The idea happened in the worst way.  I was downsized in my job as a book publisher's rep. I lost my job.  I was devastated as I thought that was my dream job.  But what I learned was that sometimes when a door is slammed a window of opportunity does indeed open.  My sister suggested that I open a hair salon again.  I had put myself through college doing hair, the story is all in my book, "The Pulpwood queen's Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life".  I told her I would be bored just doing hair and she suggested I do the book thing.  Zing! Wham! Bang!  Lightbulbs were going on in my head.  I thought what a terrific idea, I could do hair and talk books and instead of loaning them, I could sell them.  So the beginning chapter is all about me getting a real lemon but instead of making lemonade, I made margaritas!!!

The Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend weekend was unlike anything I've ever experienced--a heady brew of friendship, reading, and costumes!!! I know every year you come up with a theme. Can you talk a bit about how you do decide the theme?  

The theme comes mostly from my interests and the books that we read.  This past year I had read 'Water for Elephants", "The Night Circus", and one of my favorite past reads was Carolyn Turgeon's "Rain Village" and they all had a circus connection.  I always wanted to run away with the circus so this is was a dream of a theme for me.  My life has always been a three ring circus with running a home, a business, and the largest "meeting and discussing" book club in the world, The Pulpwood Queens so "The Greatest Book Show on Earth" was created for this past Girlfriend Weekend's theme.

I was deeply moved by some of the wonderful things that the Pulpwood Queens do to promote literacy. How did this come about?  

One book, one Pulpwood Queen chapter at a time.  I ask all the Pulpwood Queens to take on a literacy endeavor. I have book clubs embracing that endeavor and leading us all in their literacy efforts. My charity of choice is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, I ask the authors to donate a personal item signed for Silent Auction and these funds keep our literacy programs going.  Then this year I decided to award my book club chapters that were doing incredible, mind-blowing literacy endeavors, this the Diamond in the Tiara Award.  By showcasing these chapters it truly is inspiring for all of us to perhaps go one step or more further in promoting literacy.

I hear you yourself are writing a novel!  Tell us about it!  

I have been working on and off on this for years but it's to be called "EUREKA" which means I found it.  All I have to say as a born and raised Kansan, I felt we need a story from Kansas that was beyond "The Wizard of Oz".  It's my love letter to the place that I truly call home.

What's obsessing you now?  

The fact that I am dying to buy an airstream trailer so I can fix it up like a gypsy caravan and hit the road to travel and have literary adventures.  I have always loved to camp and big on decorating to make a place my own.  My Beauty and the Book, I have been told, looks like Moulin Rouge meets a gypsy caravan wagon but I have now reached the point where I really want to see the world.  Vintage is always more intriguing to me than new as the item or in this case trailer has a story.  And my favorite quote by Muriel Rukheyser has always been, "The world is made up of stories, not atoms."

What questions didn't I ask that I should have?  

I just think that if I have one more thing to share is to tell everybody to go after your life's passions.  I was forced into it losing my job but this has ended up one of the best things that happened in my life. For me, my life finally came into full bloom when I decided to go after my true passions, beauty and the book. I never dreamed that when I lost my job that my life would turn out to be so beautiful, so purposeful, and so rewarding.

Kathy L. Patrick
Author of "The Pulpwood Queens' Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life", Grand Central Publishing
Founder of the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Clubs
Beauty and the Book
608 North Polk Street
Jefferson, Texas 75657


Clea Simon said...

So wonderful that you were able to turn a negative (losing a job) into such a positive. I'm sure your book will be wonderful – and you'll be touring the country in your Airstream! Can't wait to read it.

thetorg said...

Love your last question!

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