Despite their sky-rocketing success, Patty, and Clayton ("Matt"), who preferred their shortened names, hadn't slackened their pace.
"We spend our time either traveling to research our books and publicizing them-last year it was a cruise on the Mississippi River, a car trip through Austria and England, and several short trips to New York City-or at home writing them. We invest all our earnings in a corporation titled Pywacket Inc. named after our black cat, and we pay ourselves identical salaries."
Home for Patricia was a comfortable, split-level California house. It was built on a hillside and was surrounded by greenery and a pool. A path leaded to a neighboring house, which they purchased for the purpose of having additional office space, guest rooms, and a game room. All the windows overlooked a spectacular view of Los Angeles.
Patty's office was in the main house and Matt's was in the "second" house. "Now we both have two separate offices for all of our material," said Patty. "The second house is wonderful for visits from my sons and their families, and the large game room on the top floor is furnished with a regulation-size pool table, pin-ball machine, pachinko, darts, and a small slot machine."
Relaxing in her hot tub alongside the pool, or sitting in her quiet office, overlooking a canyon and trees, with her typewriter facing the view, Patty was serene. She wrote approximately 1,500 to 2,000 words a day. When she wasn't working on a historical romance or a romantic suspense novel, she was composing songs and poetry. Her collection of poems, Love's Many Faces, was published in 1980 by Pinnacle Books.
A native Californian, Patricia Ernst was born on July 1,1927, a moon child, a dreamer with a penchant for creativity. She was raised in San Fernando. According to her, "The valley then was nothing but cattle ranches and tumbleweeds, and the area was used by film studios to film Westerns." A child performer, her mother thought she might become another Shirley Temple and enrolled her in a famous Meglin Kiddies school. "I still enjoy music today," said Patty, who recorded two of her songs professionally and sang them for the demo tape.
Her parents divorced when she was five and her younger sister was three. "My father received custody of us. Life after that was a succession of boarding schools or foster homes," Patty disclosed. "I became very close with my sister and we continue even now to be good friends. Reading and daydreaming became my favorite childhood pastimes and formed the basis for my later becoming a writer."
In 1946, the nineteen-year-old Patricia married Marvin Owen Brisco and they lived in Arizona. During their fifteen-year marriage, she raised two sons - Michael and David. It was while the boys were young that Patricia began writing fiction. Following a move to Oregon she sold her first work. "Two poems for a dollar each to a Portland newspaper which printed a weekly column of verse " she remembered. "Next, I sold a science fiction and fantasy story to Escapade, a men's magazine.
"When my husband and I divorced, I began to work at the California State University during the day to support myself and my sons and continued writing at night. I worked there for seventeen years altogether, starting in the accounting office and later becoming office manager for the Office of Associate Students. I thoroughly enjoyed my job and it wasn't until 1977 that I finally left the university. The bestsellers were calling me," she stated with a wink.
Patricia met Matt at a local writer's group in California. It was a collaboration at first sight and their meeting soon resulted in two novels: a fantasy and a juvenile tale. Real-life romance followed and after his divorce from his first wife; the couple married in 1971 and moved into their residence in San Diego, California, with a new cat, Pywacket.
The Patricia Matthews historical romances came about in 1976 at the suggestion of the Matthews's agent, Jay Garon "Until this time Patty had been content writing Gothic mysteries, fantasy and mystery short stories, juvenile books a play, and poetry using the name Patty Brisco and P. A Brisco " Matt recalled, his eyes clear and thoughtful behind his spectacle's
"Realizing that I could write an adventure story, using the romantic format popularized by Rosemary Rogers and Jennifer Wilde," Patty continued, "the writing began on Love's Avenging Heart. Seven months later it was on the best-seller list. I used Williamsburg, Virginia, as the locale because we had visited there and it had really captured my imagination "
The ten-book Love series for Pinnacle was completed and sold successfully around the country, with such titles as Love's Magic Moment and Love's Avenging Heart.
Although Patricia Matthews's name appeared for Bantam Books on future historical romances, the joint name of Pat and Clayton Matthews signaled a series of contemporary suspense novels, also published by Bantam. Midnight Whispers was the first release.
As Patty explained, "I'm very interested in other genres. Under the pseudonym of Laura Wylie I wrote an occult novel titled The Night Visitor, for one of my hobbies is witchcraft and occult objects."
The effervescent Patty also surrounded herself with other hobbies, collecting things she could buy on her travels: frogs, unicorns, and netsukes. On her shelves and coffee table was a wide variety of mystery novels, for both husband and wife belonged to the Mystery Writers of America Association. In the midst of her eclectic decor in the living room and in her study, was the cover art from several of her historical romance books, framed and hung like posters. "We finally make enough money to buy the original art from the illustrators," Patty said with a grin, verifying a known fact that the price was high, sometimes as high as $3,000.
The Matthews's successful writing careers had enabled them to buy a vacation home in Pacific Grove, California, and to trade in their Volkswagen bug for a Porsche 924, with LOVES on the license plate! But they had the same comfortable lifestyle and friends; they enjoyed good neighbors on the beautiful winding canyon road, and Patty's two sons were frequent visitors.
Patty's interest in composing had increased. "I'm becoming more involved in the writing of romantic songs. I've recorded some records for possible promotion. And if others like my voice, I may be heard singing my own songs over the radio. Who knows? That would be another dream come true."
Besides the monetary success, the satisfaction of knowing that her work was read and appreciated was particularly gratifying for Patty. "I am continually touched and warmed by the lovely letters I receive from my readers telling me how important my books are to them. It is very rewarding to know that you can bring enjoyment, and sometimes even encouragement, to other people."
Clayton died in 2004. Patricia died at 5:30 a.m. on December 07, 2006 in the familiar house of Brisco in Arizona. (Love's Leading Ladies by Kathryn Falk)
Patricia Matthews's Books on Amazon: Patricia Matthews This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/1354179.html.