OC Bookly Interview: Victoria Patterson

Categories: OC Bookly
Victoria Patterson, author and critic
This week, class-conscious literary star and local girl makes good Victoria Patterson makes bad, very bad, or at least naughty in this, OC Bookly's first author interview. Patterson, whose take on alienation, greed and South County luxury-life mores comes with plenty of winning characterization, style, wit and humor, arrives at her insights by way of Newport Beach and Corona del Mar, where she grew up and, it seems​, read a lot of Edith Wharton, to whom her work is favorably compared.

In a challenge to all that is decent, her novel This Vacant Paradise (2011) and short story collection Drift (2009), empathize with the down and out and, somehow, even the up and out.

Not that they deserve it. Probably my own favorite of the interconnected stories in Drift is about an alienated young woman whose naivete pokes through the bubble-life that's been given her. 
Her brilliant short story collection

Then there's the brain-damaged skateboard kid. Oh, and the waitress working at a restaurant where it's hard to tell who's stealing from whom. Hell, I guess I like 'em all. The cast of characters in Patterson's work includes loser heir, lonely heiress, desperate waitresses, divorced trophy wives and pitch-perfectly rendered dowagers. And, of course, you'll recognize the locale.

Patterson is also a whip-smart critic and excellent teacher. She wrote recently at Tom Lutz's reliably brilliant Los Angeles Review of Books, where she gave Jonathan Franzen a spanking for his recent "appreciation" of Edith Wharton in the New Yorker.  
Likes to party, South County-style

Patterson's work has also appeared in the LA Times, Alaska Quarterly Review, Southern Review and, now that I think of it, Santa Monica Review, quite a terrific journal indeed. She lives with her family in So Cal and teaches at Antioch's MFA program and as Visiting Assistant Prof at UC Riverside. Oh, yes, and did I mention she's among the writers appearing at the upcoming April 14 Literary Orange

Patterson sat down with the Bibliofella in his book-filled attic, sunlight seeping in through the cracks in the lathe and plaster, each of us stirring chilled beverages with tablespoons from my collection of stolen restaurant silverware. Patterson wore Alexander McQueen and Mr. Bib wore his ratty old Chumbawamba t-shirt, but with a fetching ascot. You should have been there!

OCB: How much guidance in your writing do you receive from your famous father, bestselling crime and spy novelist (and former chair of Common Cause), Richard North Patterson?

: Not as much, Mr. Bib, as I do from my estranged cousin, the bestselling everything writer James Patterson.

How helpful do find the alphabetical listing of writers at the upcoming Literary Orange writers' conference? Shouldn't its organizers have presented the names in order of, say, book sales or apps, movie deals or possible appeal to people who read "chick lit"? 

I disagree, Mr. Bib. Authors should be ranked and presented in order of weight, body-fat ratio, and hotness factor.

Do you know where the decapitated head of Corona del Mar's iconic restaurant totem The Quiet Woman is? Has it (or she) perhaps started her own restaurant, and what might be a good name for it?

No comment
Rumor has it, Mr. Bib, that Ms. Quiet Woman Head is buried beneath the restaurant under the exact spot where the pseudo-rock and jazz bands play. Her spirit haunts the streets and cannot be defeated. If Ms. Quiet Woman were to open a restaurant, it should be called F*** YOU, I'LL TALK IF I WANT TO.

Please do elaborate on just how brilliant you are, Victoria Patterson, as regards your invention of the totally wickedly beautiful character of a brain-damaged OC teenage skateboarder named, yes, John Wayne.

Stop it some more, Mr. Bib. Stop it some more. John Wayne loves you, as do I.

I'm guessing you were a cheerleader in high school?

Ah  yes, Mr. Bib. Glory days. Sadly, I had to give up the head cheerleader position junior year, as I was overwhelmed with my debutante ball arrangements.

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