Interview with Victoria Patterson, author of The Peerless Four

Publisher: Counterpoint

Publication Date: October 22, 2013

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Running so hard you think you’ll choke on your next breath. Lungs burning like they’re drenched in battery acid. Peripheral vision blurred by the same adrenaline that drowns out the cheers coming from the full stadium. And of course, the reporters. The men scribbling furiously on their notepads so they can publish every stumble, sprain, and sniffle.

This was the world of the female athletes in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, the first games in which women were allowed to compete in track and field on a trial basis. Nicknamed "The Peerless Four”, the Canadian track team included some of the strongest, most diversely talented women on the scene. Narrated by the team’s chaperone—a former runner herself—the women embark on their journey with the same golden goals as every other Olympian, male or female. But as the Olympic tension begins to rise with unexpected injuries and disqualifications, each woman discovers new fears and priorities, all while the weight of women’s future in the Olympics rests on their performance.

The Peerless Four is more than a sports novel, more than a record of women’s rights. It’s a meditation on sacrifice, loyalty, perseverance, and the courage to live a true underdog tale.

Interview: Q. Please tell us about the inspiration for your current release.

I’ve always been interested in sports, but I couldn’t possibly think of a novel that centered on female athletes. I thought that was very odd, and then I stumbled on the stories of the first women allowed to compete in track and field at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, and on a trial basis.  I decided: I’m going to write a female-centered sports novel!

Q. How did writing this book affect you?

It made me anxious; also, I got carpal tunnel syndrome.  But I did take up jogging!

Q. Is there anything you haven’t written about that you would like to in the future?

I would like to write a suburban, sci-fi, dystopian novel set on Mars. Sort of like Richard Yates meets Arthur C. Clarke.

Q. Which of your characters would you want to be and why?

I love inhabiting them for the time it takes for me to write the novel, but after that, I prefer viewing them from afar.   Besides, as their author, I know how much they suffer.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

I plan on writing books until I no longer breathe. Whether said books will find a publisher is entirely another question.

Q. What are you currently reading?

I just finished reading a wonderful manuscript by Michael Leone – a collection of short stories. I can’t wait for this to get published. He’s super talented. Other things I have been reading are a lot of humor – Evelyn Waugh, Charles Portis. I would like to use more humor in my work, but it’s hard.  Leone, Waugh, and Portis do it really well.

Q. All of the books you’ve read, which book has impacted you the most?

It’s a toss between ‘The House of Mirth’ and ‘Revolutionary Road’. The former, because of the exacting and brutal portrayal of the upper class’s relationship to money; the latter because of the inherent self-aggrandizement and delusions that shadow us all, especially writers.

Q. How do you like to spend your spare time?

Writing. When I’m embroiled in a project, I sometimes don’t shower for days, and I wear the same clothes. It’s ghastly. My poor kids. My poor husband.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes: please buy my book.

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