27 year-old local author publishes debut novel to wide acclaim

By Ariel Worthy

The Birmingham Times

'Protect Your Entrance' is the debut novel by Patrese, who moved to Birmingham in 2006 from New Jersey. (Ariel Worthy, The Birmingham Times)
‘Protect Your Entrance’ is the debut novel by Patrese, who moved to Birmingham in 2006 from New Jersey. (Ariel Worthy, The Birmingham Times)

It began as a Facebook challenge to pass time and turned into an urban novella.

“Protect Your Entrance” is the debut novel by Patrese, who moved to Birmingham in 2006 from New Jersey. The book follows characters Tasha and Lo, and shows the troubles of their marriage, betrayal, and abuse from a woman’s perspective.

“It’s not really based upon my life, but it’s something everybody can relate to,” Patrese said. “It’s a lot of things that people deal with in real life that’s in the book,” she said. “Even if they don’t directly deal with it, they know somebody who has.”

Writing this book was Patrese’s opportunity to overcome her own obstacles, she said.

“I’ve been in the public light negatively, and people have hurt me, so I feel like this is my time,” she said. “In 2014 I was temporarily homeless and staying in different hotels; I went through a whole lot, and when I was able to focus and eliminate all distractions I could just write and I knew that was my gift already, so I could focus on my talent I was able to push through and get it published.

Patrese, 27, – who will be doing a book tour and going to Maine, New Jersey, Detroit, LA, New York, Miami, South Carolina, Georgia – said she wants to donate a percentage of her April proceeds to the YWCA.

“One of the characters was being abused, and I wanted to raise awareness; I’ve been abused as well, so I want some of the money to go to [the YWCA] because they are helping women who are in these dangerous situations.” Patrese said.

“Protect Your Entrance” is more than a book title, she said. “Protect your mindset, protect yourself as a person. Focus on where you get to where you need to be.”

Patrese is hoping the story, which is selling in London, can continue to reach people. She is looking to producing a play based on the book at the Carver Theatre this fall.

“Birmingham has been really supportive,” she said. “My mom would tell me I could write, but when I saw people were into my book, I was like ‘wow.’ Once I saw that the book hit London, I knew that I was on to something.”

“Protect Your Entrance” is sold at Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Amazon, and OutskirtsPress.com/Patrese.