The Short and…

Joanna FitzPatrick was raised in Hollywood and when not living in a 16th Century hameau in southern France, she and her husband perch in the St. Lucia mountains above Carmel Valley, California. She has been a screenwriter, artist manager, record company executive; then took a sharp turn onto the road less followed and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with an MFA in Creative Writing. Authored “Katherine Mansfield,” “The Drummer’s Widow,” and is currently at work on her next novel, “The Sketch Box.” (She Writes Press)


the Long of it.

Joanna FitzPatrick was born and raised in Hollywood. Her father, James A. FitzPatrick, produced around-the-world travelogues for MGM. Needless to say they were never in one place for very long. She started her writing habit by applying her orange fountain pen and wild imagination to screenplays and produced her first film “White Lilacs and Pink Champagne.” She loved the work and would have continued, but she had a falling out with the director after he maliciously deleted her name from the film credits. Devastated, she stopped writing and turned her talents where they were much more appreciated in the music biz.

She had no experience, but she made a great impression and was immediately hired by a firm who represented the Divine Diva, Bette Midler. FitzPatrick says Bette showed her what it takes to become an artist; the personal sacrifices made offstage to achieve the pure exhilaration onstage. She also represented The Manhattan Transfer and other dynamic singers and musicians known for their riveting live performances. Her work brought her often to New York City. And when she came home to Hollywood, she missed hailing taxis after all-night jam sessions and dancing until dawn at nightclubs.

So bored with Los Angeles and its excessive sunshine, FitzPatrick made a giant leap of faith and moved to Manhattan with her eleven-year-old daughter. It was a spectacular move. In quick succession, she married again, gave birth to a second child, and was hired as managing director of Gramavision Records. When that company was sold from under her, FitzPatrick’s one ambition was to complete her education that had been cut short at age eighteen to have a career in show-biz. After graduating with a Literature degree at SUNY Purchase, she was accepted at Sarah Lawrence College and earned an MFA in creative writing. Her thesis, SHA LA LA: LIVE FOR TODAY, is a memoir about growing up in Hollywood, marrying and divorcing The Grass Roots lead guitarist, Creed Bratton (who later played himself in The Office) and balancing a career with the challenges of being a single mother.

FitzPatrick’s first novel, KATHERINE MANSFIELD, was conceived on an airplane while reading Katherine Mansfield’s collection of short stories. She spent the next three years studying the famous short story writer through her journals and letters until she knew Katherine well enough to tell her inspirational story.

THE DRUMMER’S WIDOW was her second book release. It was published after her husband, funk drummer Jim Payne (you read it right-she married two musicians) had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She wrote out of the daily fear of what her life would be like without him. Her character, Widow Marisa, showed up on the blank page and led FitzPatrick down a grieving widow’s path.

THE SKETCH BOX is FitzPatrick’s most recent project. A sweeping historical novel with an element of mystery. The story takes place in Carmel, California in 1924, when the iconic village was a haven for female painters. Her character, Ada Belle Davenport, a famous landscape painter, has drowned in the Pacific. Her younger sister, Sarah, also a painter, comes to Carmel to investigate her sister’s alleged suicide. Release date: September, 2021 (She Writes Press)

FitzPatrick divides her time between a mountaintop in Northern California and a small village in Southern France where she gets her most creative ideas.