Archive for September 12th, 2019

Pattie Palmer-Baker is a recognized award-winning artist and poet. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest. Locally and nationally she has won numerous awards for her art and poetry.

An accomplished poet, Pattie had been nominated for the Pushcart Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in many journals including Calyx, Voicecatcher, Military Experience the Arts, Minerva Rising and Phantom Drift. In 2017 she earned first prize in the Write to Publish contest, and in 2019 she won first, second, and the Bivona prize in the Ageless Poetry contest.  She has served as the poetry co-editor for VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions.

Del Sol Press awarded MALL first prize for the most promising first novel in 2017.

Pattie lives in Portland, Oregon with her beloved husband and rescued dachshund.

Her website is www.pattiepalmerbaker.com/.

You can follow her at Facebook at https://tinyurl.com/yykrz36e.

About the Book:

A Novel by Pattie Palmer-Baker Winner of the Del Sol Most Promising Novel, 2017

MALL is a sparkling alternate world where everyone is beautiful, employed with enough income to consume and to experience a myriad of pleasures including drugs, gambling, theater, holographic adventures. No poverty and little or no crime. A lot of sex.

But what about the Mall Code? And what happens when Sara, a 21st century woman, accidentally finds her way into this alien yet familiar world? Nona, a MALL mental health practitioner treats Sara upon her arrival and goes against the Code to help her acclimate. Sara seems to be just what she needs, an antidote to Nona’s secret and growing boredom.

At first Sara desperately wants to get home, and, as she seeks a way out as well as answers about her new reality, Nona begins to see MALL in a new light. Is abundant gratification enough?

Things aren’t all beauty and pleasure. Sara experiences dancing in a dangerous orgiastic dance club on a lower level. She attends a gambling session where people bet on living more years when their “number’s up” and a “passing ceremony,” where Mallites are supposedly resurrected into a new life.

Junkers, outsiders lurking on the fringes of MALL, have been fighting Mall Management’s control by creating increasingly dangerous disturbances. For years they have struggled to discover an exit, based on rumors of those who made it Outside and were never heard from again. Through them Sara and Nona meet someone who might help them escape. They both must make the choice that will change their lives forever.

Who will risk leaving and who will decide to stay?

MALL by Pattie Palmer-Baker was recently published by Del Sol Press and winner of the Del Sol Press Most Promising Book, 2017.

ISBN: 978-0-9998425-5-3.


What a suspenseful journey Mall was—a real “page-turner”-  imaginative with firm command of psychological expression and dialogue! Pattie Palmer-Baker captures some of the sexual contradictions, insecurities, and darker motivations of her female characters, and the complex relationships between women. The “surface” allusions to sex and violence throughout the story line work well with the superficial world she describes. Sex all the time—and yet, really, not much explicit writing about actual sexual encounters—the same for violence. This tension of content and form works well for me. What gives pleasure? What gives pain? The many hallways and mirrored rooms give the setting a creepy fun-house effect and increase the sense of a closed world and claustrophobic doom. Her descriptions of the Mallites’ physical appearances and their individual choice of costume in this strange place is creative—a breath of lightness in this frank examination of our quandary about the meaning of freedom in an existential existence. What is real? I was “on the run” with Sara for the entire read! And what a turn at the end!

— Cathy Cain, Portland poet and artist


Would you call yourself a born writer?

No, although I wrote poetry when I was a child. However, I have always had a vivid imagination. I made up stories all through my childhood and sometimes still do. It wasn’t hard to come up with the idea of an alternative world.

What was your inspiration for MALL?

Years ago, a city planner friend and I were talking about different ways to organize cities. He mentioned grouping residences close to malls. And it came to me. What would it be like if people lived inside malls? The more I thought about it, the more complicated this alternative world became. Too unwieldly to keep straight in mind, I decided to write my ideas. And before I knew it my writing took on the form of a novel.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

MALL is the only novel I have written. I explore all kinds of themes in my poetry. I do tend to write a lot about my mother and father; in fact, I have recently finished a chapbook of poems examining the effects of my father’s alcoholism on my mother and myself. In Mall I wanted raise some questions. What is the effect of rampant consumerism? Would a place offering endless and diverse amusement attract you even if you had to give up close relationships? Are deep attachments worth the pain involved? Do we really know what we want and why?

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Twenty years! Well, not really because I spent great swathes of time away from MALL to work on my artwork and poetry.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

No, not really unless I have a deadline. I write a little after coffee in the morning and then a little after a walk, sometimes in the evening before dinner. I write in spurts. I admit anxiety causes me to avoid writing, especially something new. I really have trouble getting the first words on paper. I do enjoy revising, often wondering how I wrote the first draft. Where did it come from? I think I and many other writers have to be in a kind of altered state to write, especially fiction and poetry.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The final revision. I had a demanding, no nonsense editor, but did she ever know her stuff! Sometimes I felt like giving up.

What do you love most about being an author?

This is my first time as an ‘author.’ It’s hard to believe I actually wrote a novel and had it published. I sort of like talking about it. What I love and sort of hate about writing poetry is how much each and every word matters.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I never thought about publishing until a couple of friends read a draft and encouraged me to try. I don’t think I was very serious about the process.  I submitted to a few small presses and a few contests. Winning the Del Sol Prize for Most Promising First Novel, 2017 absolutely shocked me.

Where can we find you on the web?


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