Best Author - 2011
She rolled her experiences growing up and coming of age in Newport Beach in the 1980s into her first book, Drift, a collection of 13 loosely linked short stories revolving around the non-beautiful people of the moneyed coastal enclave. The San Francisco Chronicle named it one of the best books of 2009, and it was a finalist for the California Book Award and 2009 Story Prize. Patterson's follow-up, her first novel, This Vacant Paradise, is a modern reinterpretation of Edith Wharton's House of Mirth that once again leans on her hometown for its backdrop, although this time the action is set in the go-go 1990s. The New York Times Book Review hailed the novel as a recent Editors Choice. Another reason to love Patterson is her aversion to promoting her work via social networking. Writing for Three Guys One Book, she describes suffering insomnia while trying to spread the word about Drift on Facebook because "I found myself scrutinizing vacation photos of strangers on FB rather than reading or writing. For this, I blame myself, not FB." For This Vacant Paradise, the Pasadena transplant has stayed off Facebook (one year and counting) and won't tweet, and her Three Guys One Book piece is the closest she'll get to blogging. "Perhaps this is idealistic," she explains, "but I'd rather my work develop a fan base." It already has.