Patricia Leavy’s Second Must-Read Book of The Year

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One of our favorite authors, Patricia Leavy, delighted us earlier this year with Hollyland, her sweet and romantic celebration of love, living with passion, and who the real movie stars on the big screen of our lives. Now she’s back at it with a love story I couldn’t put down: The Location Shoot.

Patricia Leavy’s Second Must-Read Book of The Year

Here’s the scoop. Controversial filmmaker Jean Mercier is shooting a film on location in Sweden. He rents out an inn where he lives with the cast for the 3-month summer shoot: Albie Hughes, British veteran of stage and screen; Charlotte Reed, British indie film queen; Michael Hennesey, American TV heartthrob; Willow Barnes, fallen former teen star looking to make a comeback; and Finn Forrester, legendary Hollywood movie star. 

What is the film about? The meaning of life. In a case of life imitating art, the film explores “the big questions” and prompts the stars to reflect on the crossroads they face in their own lives. Mercier invites his friend Ella Sinclair, a beautiful, provocative philosopher, to stay with them for the summer. When Ella arrives, Finn is enchanted. A sweet, sexy, and fantasy-like romance ensues (I mean, there is a bubble bath scene that’s got to be nearly every woman’s fantasy, so we’re talking some major wish fulfillment). The friendships the group builds are just as satisfying as the steamy romance at the center of the story. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending, months later on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival (followed by the epilogue)…oh my, it is everything! 

This is a book that leaves you feeling good. On the one hand, it’s a light, feel-good escape. On the other hand, it tackles profound questions about how to best live our lives and the meaning of life itself—questions we all face. Leavy’s writing flows effortlessly, bringing you along through the laughs, tears, and joy.

My take: Life imitates art in this wildly romantic novel. Leavy’s unique talent for weaving a thoughtful meditation on the arts into a sexy beach read is on full display in this triumphant page-turner of a book that follows the personal lives of a group making a film about the meaning of life. 

You will fall in love with the characters, but more than anything, The Location Shoot makes you fall in love with life itself. It is a profoundly beautiful and inspiring read. I didn’t want it to end. Highly recommend!

We had a chance to chat with Patricia about her new book. Here’s what she had to say…

Patricia Leavy’s Second Must-Read Book of The Year

What inspired you to write The Location Shoot?

It was a lockdown project. Like so many others, I was bored at home, binge watching movies, double fisting potato chips, and filled with existential doom. I wanted to escape to someplace joyful, romantic, and creative. Due to the pandemic, I was thinking about the big questions of life, and so I decided to write a novel about a group making a film about the meaning of life and living together in seclusion. Given the topic of the film, my heroine became a philosopher. 

Why did you set the book in Sweden?

It’s a place I’ve visited many times. Although I set the novel in a more rural area, Stockholm is one of my favorite cities. Given that my only means of leaving my house at the time was through my imagination, I wanted to spend my days someplace I love. When I was writing some of the scenes, I could practically taste the gravlax and other delicious foods. It was also important that the cast was far away from their homes, living and working in a place that felt far away in every respect. I thought that would lend to the narrative arc about characters leaving their daily lives at a time of personal change, feeling far removed from the day to day, and allowing that experience to profoundly change them.

What do you hope readers take from this book?

This novel made me feel so good. With over 40 books in my catalog, I can say that there are a few that brought me nothing but joy writing them and later rereading them. The Location Shoot is one of those books. I hope it brings readers joy, too. Beyond that, I hope it makes people believe in love in every sense of the word and consider the crossroads they may be at in their own lives, with hopeful and brave eyes. 

Your books are highly original and hard to pin down. They don’t follow the conventions of a specific genre. The Location Shoot had the quality of literary fiction but is probably most easily defined as a romance. Do you consider this book a romance or something else? As an author, how do you feel about these kinds of categories?

Thank you so much. I work really hard on the craft of writing. I write seven days a week—weekends, holidays, vacations. The quality of my writing matters a lot to me, so I’m truly honored whenever my work is compared to strong literary fiction. Often authors who write in genres, particularly romance and women’s fiction, aren’t taken seriously as artists. That’s probably a bigger conversation than we’re going to have here. 

Like many authors, I don’t love book categories. People’s work can be pigeon-holed. Often the categories don’t really fit. My romance novels are really love stories at the core. Meaning, they are about love itself. So, while there are usually humorous moments, they are not rom coms. Big, exciting plots aren’t my thing, either. If there is a kidnapping or car accident, it will be resolved quickly because that’s not the heart of the story. 

My books are about relationships and self-discovery. When there is some plot twist, it’s always just a device for the primary couple to learn about themselves and each other. As you said, my novels don’t really follow the conventions of the genre. I’m proud of that. I like writing in my own style. It’s authentic. I admire writers with their own voice. All that said, yes, it’s absolutely fair and correct to say that The Location Shoot is a romance. While the idea of genres and categories is complicated as an author, they do have a benefit. Categories help readers find books. It’s always double-edged, though. Some readers may feel understandably disappointed when a book doesn’t meet their expectations of the genre. On the other hand, some readers may be pleasantly surprised. Once readers do discover an author they enjoy, they’re usually willing to go along for the ride. Afterall, they enjoy that author because of their style, even if it doesn’t easily fit into a box. 

Tell us about your typical writing process.

I get an idea, which could come from anywhere, some personal experience, an observation, something I overhear at a café, a topic I’m interested in, a piece of art, whatever, and then I stew on it until it crystallizes in my mind. Once I can see an entire scene play out in my mind like a film, or sometimes an entire novel, I start writing, or in some cases doing research to enable me to write. While this is generally my process, the truth is, it never happens exactly the same way twice, which is why I’m still so in love with writing. 

What are you working on next?

I loved writing Ella and Finn’s love story so much, that I didn’t want to leave it. My next novel, After the Red Carpet, picks up where The Location Shoot ends. It comes out in September 2024. I’m also working on a series of romance novels that explore different dimensions of love, and there are a couple other novels in the pipeline. It’s been a really creative time.

She Writes Press: 
The Location Shoot on Amazon:

Patricia Leavy’s Second Must-Read Book of The Year