Today I’m delighted to welcome Patricia Dixon as the first participant to Five on Friday. While I know and chat to Patricia via Facebook and Twitter, I’m as keen as anyone else to get an insight into what makes her tick. I’m also pleased to say we’ve got an exclusive, hot off the press picture just for this feature.
Patricia Dixon lives in Manchester and is the author of five novels. After a career in Fashion she swapped all things fabric for bricks and mortar, working alongside her husband where she ran his building company and now, with an empty nest, finally has time to write.
So let’s dig a bit deeper and find out a bit more with Patricia’s responses to Five on Friday.
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Summer Holiday by Cliff Richard – One of my earliest memories is of going on holiday to Abersoch in Wales with my mum, dad and sister. We had a little mini and a trailer stuffed with our camping equipment and I remember being so excited. It was a tradition that as soon as we set off down our street we would sing this song.
Rat Trap by The Boomtown Rats – My favourite band ever and the start of my punk phase. Yes I probably looked dreadful in second hand or home made clothes but dressing this way allowed me to express myself and gave me some confidence. It also ensured that nobody sat next to me on the bus !
Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits – This is my favourite song of all time. I just love it and even now the words bring a tear to my eye. When it was released I was sixteen and I wanted to find a boy who loved me as much as Romeo loved Juliet
Two Princes by The Spin Doctors – I had just escaped a dreadful relationship, one very similar to Freya’s in Over My Shoulder. Even though the song has nothing to do with my situation, it symbolises an important transitional period in my life. Whenever I hear it I recall exactly where I was when it came on the radio. As I drove along I thought – today I can do anything I want! I don’t have to answer to anyone – it was the most exhilarating feeling, it took my breath away. I was passing McDonalds so went inside and ordered a coffee and a portion of hash browns. I stayed there for ages, staring out of the window, enjoying freedom, just because I could.
They Don’t Know by Kirsty MacColl – I love Kirsty and her songs and this one is the soundtrack to the story I’m writing now. It encapsulates perfectly my tale of two young people who have a special yet misunderstood kind of love. The book is inspired by some of her songs and is set in Manchester and France, a bit of a tear jerker that explores a subject not widely discussed.
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
Face cream – Now this may sound vain but I assure you without it I would look 100 by the weekend. In my over-active imagination I do sometimes obsess about being cast-away on a desert island where my main concern wouldn’t be water, shelter and food, I’d be mashing up plants to make wrinkle cream!
My medications – unfortunately I need them to keep the old ticker going.
The news – I could live without all the other programmes on telly but I have to watch the news first thing in the morning and before I go to bed. Even though most of the time it is full of doom and gloom I like to know what’s going on around me.
My home in France – I love Manchester yet our little farmhouse in the Loire is a very treasured place. It’s full of memories and somewhere to escape the city, embrace a simpler way of life and an alternative culture. Blood sweat and tears went into restoring it, the kids mucked in and the four of us worked so hard there. It’s become a huge part of our lives and I’d be devastated if I couldn’t visit.
Music – I cannot imagine a world without it. I have a huge playlist of favourites which inspire, uplift and move me, bring me to tears or make me feel joyful. And I love to dance, even when I’m cooking and doing the housework.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Work harder at school and embrace free education – I was a clever clogs at high school and in the top class, Alpha 1, but I was more interested in art and fashion than the other lessons on the curriculum. I didn’t realise that school is a precious gift that shouldn’t be squandered or taken for granted and in adulthood I’d wish to go back in time and reach my full potential.
Stand up for yourself – I am tone deaf and dreaded music lessons, it may as well have been written in ancient Sanskrit because I just couldn’t understand it or sing a note. However, out of 30 confident and aspiring West End stars the teacher would always pick me to sing. I think she was sadistic and cruel and knew from my blood red cheeks and whispered singing I was embarrassed. So I’d like to go back in time and tell my trembling young self that it’s quite easy to say NO! Detention is a far less painful experience than humiliation.
Don’t put sugar in the salt pot – At the age of seven I thought this would be such a hilarious prank until my dad sprinkled it all over his sausage and chips. I found it very funny until I was sent to bed to ponder on the fact that his dinner was ruined and after a hard day digging holes and laying water pipes he needed a proper meal. In those days we didn’t have much and I remember being very ashamed of myself.
Get your nose pierced – I went to college at 16 to study fashion and passed the shop on the way home but dithered over having it done, partly because I’m a wimp and that my parents would go mad. Even now I’d love a tiny diamond stud but I’m sure my husband and kids would think I’ve gone mad. And I’m still a dithering wimp.
Your parents are almost always right – This irritating yet hard to ignore fact bugged me all through my rebellious teenage years and crazy London days. I had the most supportive and wonderful mum and dad but I was too headstrong for my own good and probably gave them nightmares. I made plenty of mistakes and poor choices but always thought I knew best. So I would tell myself to bloody well listen to their advice.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
Despite my adventures at polytechnic and then London I’m now very shy and not as confident as I may appear – in fact I’d say I’m an introvert so placing myself in the public eye and being at the mercy of reviewers and having to make new contacts isn’t easy. That said, I’ve now met some truly brilliant people who I’m proud to call my friends.
In my wilder younger days I worked for a famous fashion designer – my surrogate brother, someone who is still very dear to me and holds a special place in my heart.
My favourite artist is Jack Vettriano.
I am still stubborn and rebellious, but in a more measured and controlled way but I think my teenage spirit remains and always will. Perhaps a combination of wisdom and life experience has shown me how to channel my more contrary ways and put the past to good use.
I hate snobs of any kind (music, clothes, social status, art, wine, food) or anyone who looks down on others. In fact I feel the same about inverted snobbery. That’s just as ignorant as the first kind.
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
To make a pot on a potters wheel – not a wobbly floppy one, a perfect vase or bowl.
To own a Citroen 2CV – it has to be left hand drive.
Stay in a castle in the Scottish Highlands in winter. Somewhere remote, preferably by a loch with a log fire in my room and wing back chairs where I’d sit and listen to the howling wind outside. A bit of snow would be wonderful too.
Go to the ballet. I watched a documentary about ballerinas and it got me hooked.
See a whale – I read somewhere that if they look at you they take a photo and never forget your face. I think they are majestic creatures and would love to get as close as possible to one.
Great answers, Patricia now get that nose piercing added to the bucket list!
Patricia has published five books which form the All for Love series, these are set in the Loire where Patricia has a holiday home, a place to close to her heart and from where she gathers inspiration for her characters and tales of French countryside life.
(It will come as no surprise to anyone who follows my book hauling that these are all waiting patiently on my Kindle to be read)
Over My Shoulder is her fifth book and a darker tale set in Manchester and was released in May and is receiving wonderful reviews.
If you’d like to catch up with Patricia’s books you can find more info on Amazon
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A few words from Patricia:-
I’d like to thank Jill not just for inviting me onto ‘Five on Friday’ but also for compiling such brilliant and original questions – I’ve really enjoyed answering them and I hope they’ve given you a bit of an insight into me and my life. If anyone would like to connect with me don’t be shy (pot kettle black!) as I do love to meet new friends and enjoy chatting about all sorts. The book world is a vibrant and supportive community full of great people and I’m so proud to be part of it, so please get in touch and say hello.
In the meantime I’m going to get on and finish my new book which at the moment has four titles – I can’t decide which to use so maybe you could all help me choose. As I mentioned above, this is a love story set in Manchester and France which begins in 2001 and ends in the present day and tells of Daisy, Adam (her best friend) and his brother, Ryan. I can’t give too much away but it is already keeping me awake at night and the first thing I think of in the morning, the characters have taken over my life.
Thank you for taking the time to read the article and I hope you have a lovely day.
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