Last Rites is an exciting read. Charles Patterson is no newcomer to the writing world, with  eleven books under his belt including one about Marion Anderson, he has shown himself to be very competent author. In this new book “Last Rites” he talks about Tom Reed, an Episcopalian pastor, another in a long line of his family. After spending years in the seminary and excels, he realized that he had made a huge mistake. This mistake becomes extremely evident when he is packed off to a small Parish in the remotest part of upstate New York. He conducts more funerals than baptisms and the only “amen” he gets is from the squeaking of the pews. After a series of run-ins with the laymen of the church on everything from the flag on the church lawn to the youth group using the sanctuary for a Rock concert he becomes unhappy and discontented with the path of life he had chosen. His liberation came after his nursing home bound father finally died. He resigned the parish and jetted off to New York to just live without a single collar or rectory in sight. The title of the book “Last Rites” come from his time in New York and a series of real life experiences that transcend his life experiences.

The book is fun ride and while it will not take a place among some the great literature of our time it is entertaining and anyone who grew up in church will laugh at how well the author has brought the politics of any church to life on the pages. The characters are will written and dynamic. The dialogue is not jaded or fake it jumps off the page and reads like you the reader are overhearing the conversation. A very good book overall.

I had the opportunity to talk with Charles.

Where was your inspiration for this book?

It’s about a struggle to come to terms with the church that I personally experienced.

Is it based on real life experience or in some way on a person’s life?

Real life experience although all the characters in my novel and almost all the events are fictional

Did you do any research and how did you do it?


How long did it take to write this book?

I began it in the 1970s and revised it several times. However, when I couldn’t get it published by the early 1980s (I had three different agents along the way), I put it away in the closet. My sister recently discovered a copy of the ms. in her attic that stimulated my interest, especially when she said she read it and cried. So I worked on it some more, and it’s now finally in print. Therefore, it took me 30 years to get it published, but most of that time I didn’t work on it.

What are you writing habits?

I’m divorced, live alone and work at home. I don’t have TV or a cell phone, so I can have long stretches of solitude to write. The best writing I do is in the morning. I’ve written eleven books and love the process. Sometimes I join a writers’ workshop (I live in NYC) to get feedback on what I’ve written before I submit it to an agent or publisher. People who know me email me rather than call. TV and the phone are the enemies of writing.

Tell me a little bit about yourself outside your writing life.
I do freelance editing, have a few therapy patients, and do occasional teaching. I enjoy helping others write and get published. For several years I taught in the Hunter College Continuing Education program a course called “The Book Inside You: Writing and Publishing Your Own Book.” I also love to read and wish I had time to do more of it. Books are my life.

There is more information about me on my websites: &

You can buy “Last Rites” at amazon and major booksellers everywhere.

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