Friday, December 12, 2014

Interview With Author Patricia Stoltey by Jacqueline Seewald

Patricia Stoltey loves books and authors and regularly features guest writers from a variety of genres on her blog ( Ruled by the fearsome Katie Cat, Patricia and her husband reside in Northern Colorado where Bill escapes to play bridge and enjoy ham radio while Patricia avoids her writing and blogging tasks (and Katie Cat’s demands) by meeting writer friends for coffee, mostly to talk about procrastination. In other times, Patricia has lived in Illinois, Oklahoma, Indiana, Florida, and the South of France. You can learn more about her and her novels at her website ( She can also be found on Facebook: (, Twitter (, Google+ (, and Goodreads (  

Question: What is the title and genre of your novel?  Why did you select them?

Answer: First, let me thank you all at Author Expressions for letting me jump on board with news about my Five Star release. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Dead Wrong is a novel of suspense about a woman on the run but she’s dead wrong about who’s chasing her. You can see why I chose the title, but now that I know how many other novels have used that title, I wish I’d done a little more research first. If readers search for Dead Wrong, they’ll find a long list of books before they get to mine. Hopefully they’ll search on my name instead.

I chose to write a standalone suspense novel after my two Sylvia and Willie mysteries were published. I’m not sure writing a series is my primary interest, although I do have one more mystery Sylvia Thorn could solve. To me, standalones allow a greater mix of plots and characters…and I don’t have to keep track of all those important stats for the next book.

Question:   What inspired this novel? How did it come about?

Answer: I started with the “woman on the run” idea because I enjoy reading suspense, psychological suspense, and thrillers. At the beginning, my plot was big and included a threat to the whole country. Gradually I tightened the focus and used a real-life crime that actually happened to a company I worked for. The rest of the story came from my overactive imagination and the desire to write some of the novel from the bad guys’ points of view.

Question:  Could you tell us a little bit about the heroine and/or hero of your novel?

Answer:  My main character is Lynnette Foster, a young woman who recently lost her father and had moved from Indianapolis to Florida, thinking she had a new job with a major Miami newspaper. That didn’t work out, so there she was, alone and lonely, working as a cocktail waitress. To ward off the constant advances of drunks and college boys on spring break, she took a self defense class taught by a sexy cop. She impulsively married the guy, and a week later was on the run with a black eye and bruised nose. Lynnette runs into big trouble when she crosses paths with a really bad dude, Fat Ass Sammy Grick (more evidence of my overactive imagination).

Question:   Can you tell us about some of your other published novels or work?

Answer:  Five Star and Harlequin Worldwide Mystery published my Sylvia and Willie novels, The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders. The ebooks are now available for Kindle and Nook.

Sylvia is a 60-something former attorney and judge, and Willie is her older brother who suffers from a form of PTSD. In the first novel, Willie gets in trouble when he visits the old homestead in Illinois and finds a body. Sylvia travels from Florida to bail him out. In the second, Sylvia accompanies her mother’s travel club to Laughlin, Nevada, where they find a body in the hotel. Willie and their father fly to the rescue, but complicate matters more than they help.

My first published short story, “Three Sisters of Ring Island,” just came out in the anthology, Tales in Firelight and Shadow. It’s a creepy retelling of the Norwegian folk tale, “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” only now the three characters are humans instead of goats, and they don’t deal with their situation in quite the same gentle way.

Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer: I’m finishing up the second draft of another suspense novel tentatively called Out of Control.   It’s not a true sequel to Dead Wrong, but I have reused a couple of characters. The female police officer who plays a relatively small part in Dead Wrong had now been newly promoted to detective and she’s the main cop who’s dealing with the murder of a young woman in Glades, Florida.

I also have two sort of finished novels ready for revision and editing. One is an untitled mystery, and the other is historical fiction. I plan to submit that one to Five Star for the Frontier Fiction line.

Question:   What made you start writing?

Answer: I grew up with books, loved reading, and always wanted to try writing a novel. My brother had a story to tell about his years in the transportation industry, so we tried co-authoring an action/adventure tale involving unions and management. Once I had that first draft printed out, the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming. I churned out another novel, this time romantic suspense. Finally I knew what I wanted to do as soon as I could find the time. Not counting the writing classes and bad short stories and occasional mystery fan conventions along the way, the time didn’t come until I retired from my real job in the real world.

And just so you know, the action/adventure novel, The Troubleshooter, made it into audiobook about 14 years ago, but has never been in print (and probably never will be unless I find a spare year to do a couple of rewrites). That romantic suspense manuscript, Against Her Better Judgment, is still on my shelf with its wimpy heroine begging for a rewrite. It’s a better story, but needs a lot of character development.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?

Answer: We learn best by writing, so write as much as you can even though most of it may not get published.
 And don’t throw away anything you write. It’s fun (and a little sobering) to go back and read it twenty years later.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?

Answer:Dead Wrong is available now in hardcover through most online booksellers. I’d also love to have you request the book at your local library. They will need the ISBN which is:  ISBN-13: 978-1432829865.

By the time you read this interview, it’s possible the ebook will be available as well.  

Pat, thanks so much for being our guest author today! Readers, your comments and/or questions are welcome here.


jrlindermuth said...

Interesting interview, Patricia. I like your comment about not throwing away anything you write. In Douglas Greene's biography of John Dickson Carr he tells about Carr revising and using for fresh stories plots he'd invented in his high school days.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning! Thank you so much for having me on the Author Expressions blog today. I'll check in periodically to say hi and respond to comments.

jrlindermuth -- thanks! It's fun to go back into the old stuff and pick out the ideas we had that went nowhere at the time. After a few years, those notes can act like a prompt, sending us in fun new directions.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I'm glad to see a story focused on a woman in her sixties. I also like your reminder that we should look back at work we set aside, like Carr, and see if we can do something with it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tough when there are other books with your title, but maybe that will get more readers when they land on your book instead.
Cool that you're taking a small character from the book and giving her story.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Susan, Thanks for dropping by. I may have to go back and write another Sylvia and Willie mystery one of these days, just because I enjoy writing about the older sleuths. For now, however, I'm working with younger characters, mostly in their 30s, and trying to remember what it was like to be 30 something. :D

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I was fortunate my publisher changed the title of one of my books or I would have had the same problem as you, Patricia.
You've lived so many places but you certainly settled in the most beautiful state.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Alex, I learned my lesson. I'll always check from now on before deciding for sure on a title.

Hi Susan. Yes, we love Northern Colorado so much. We're only 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park. :D

Jacqueline Seewald said...


I'll just mention that one good way to check on title availability is by putting it through World Cataloging.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good idea, Jacqueline. In the case of Dead Wrong, just doing the search on would have told me a lot.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Congratulations on Dead Wrong! I love that you're writing a spinoff of the book now.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. I've decided spinoffs make more sense for me than a series. Gives me more of a chance to flex my crazy imagination.

Jan Christensen said...

Loved this interview. But I often cringe when I go back to read old, unpublished writings. I could get so wordy.

Anonymous said...

Jacqueline - Thanks for hosting Patricia.

Patricia - I love your answers to these questions. And it's so exciting that you're working on a sequel to Dead Wrong. Looking forward to reading it.

Anita Page said...

Hi Patricia, I'm also an advocate of saving everything.Like Jan, I sometimes cringe, but occasionally find ideas worth revisiting.

Best of luck with Dead Wrong.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Finally, I'm back from my "one big signing and party" for Dead Wrong. I had a very nice turnout and a wonderful time with great questions and a lively discussion.

Jan, you are so right! I also find stiff, formal dialogue and a multitude of other sins in my old stuff. However, it makes me realize I've learned a few things along the way.

Thanks, Margot! I'm calling it a spinoff now instead of a sequel, but it's turning into my favorite effort so far.

Thanks for stopping by, Anita. Sometimes we didn't know how to proceed with those early ideas, but after a bit of writing experience, we can take that brilliant thought and run with it.

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