Patricia shares lots of information about the Natchez Trace area, the kind of law enforcement in the U.S. National Parks, and how she came up with ideas for where the bad guys can bury the bodies there. She’s also incredibly encouraging about not quitting, sharing that she wrote for over 30 years before publishing her first book. A great episode to help you keep going in your own writing!
Find out more about Patricia and her books at her website https://ptbradley.com/.
[You’ll need to add 03:28 — 3 minutes and 28 seconds — to the timecode below to account for the episode’s introduction.]
[00:00:01.630] – Kitty
Today’s guest is Patricia Bradley. Patricia is the author of Justice Delayed, Justice Buried, Justice Betrayed and Justice Delivered, as well as the Logan Point series. She’s won an inspirational Reader’s Choice Award in romantic suspense, a Daphne du Maurier Award and a Touched by Love Award. And she was a Carol Award finalist. She is co-founder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. and she’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. Patricia makes her home in Mississippi.
[00:00:33.910] – Kitty
Welcome back, Patricia.
[00:00:36.960] – Patricia
Thanks, I love being here. This is a fun time.
[00:00:40.350] – Kitty
I always love talking to you. I’ve actually I have thought that we had talked so much more recently, but the last time you were on the show was June 2018.
[00:00:51.310] – Patricia
You’re kidding. I was trying to think when I was logging on, I was trying to think of how long ago it was, but I had no idea it was that. I know you hadn’t been in Sweden very long.
[00:01:00.890] – Kitty
Right. Yeah, that’s right. I had just moved here.
[00:01:05.350] – Patricia
Yeah. And the window was open and they were having a parade or something.
[00:01:08.710] – Kitty
That’s right.I couldn’t remember who I was talking to. It was the graduation parade. Yeah.
[00:01:15.530] – Patricia
Yeah. That was fun to get to see you get to say a different something different.
[00:01:23.080] – Kitty
Yeah. Yeah. Oh well so listen, if you are listening and don’t remember talking or hearing Patricia talk before she was on episode 74 in June 2018. And Patricia, I don’t know if I told you this, but I ran that episode as an encore episode on January 2nd 2020 because it’s just one of my favorite episodes.
[00:01:45.400] – Patricia
It was a lot of fun. I like it. It’s just a lot of fun. Yeah. And then I get this Southern accent.
[00:01:52.000] – Kitty
That’s right. And I’m not sure if you were wearing pearls that day, but you have this like just totally put together elegant look. And to hear one of the first things that you say be I just love talking about murder. I was like, I’m going to love this interview.
[00:02:09.040] – Patricia
And do I do love talking about murder.
[00:02:12.130] – Kitty
Well let’s do that some more.
[00:02:13.300] – Patricia
And justice. Yeah. And justice.
[00:02:15.400] – Kitty
I noticed that with all of your titles of your last series. Yeah. Justice is a big theme for you.
[00:02:21.310] – Patricia
[00:02:22.180] – Kitty
I like it. Well, listen, why don’t you give people a little bit of a background on how you got started when you got started. And you’ve got a great story that you just reminded me. I’d obviously forgotten of, about exactly when it was that your first book came out. So why don’t you just start wherever you think is a good place to start there?
[00:02:40.120] – Patricia
I’m not sure if I told this story before, but when I was thirty five, I couldn’t sleep, I had no thoughts of writing, I was a reader, I read everything I read about the back of cereal boxes, I loved reading. And but at that point, I could not sleep well and I’d go to bed, and I lay there staring at the ceiling. And one night as I’m staring at the ceiling, this vision came in my head and it was a man standing in a window.And he turned to me and he said, This isn’t the way my life was supposed to turn out. Wow. Hey, this sounds pretty good. And so I began telling myself his story at night when I couldn’t sleep. And I always tell people these people came to live in my head. I had to write about them to make them go away. And then more people came so that that was and so that was when I was thirty five and I started learning the craft.
But where I lived, I lived in Mississippi, I didn’t know any of the writers. So I began writing and making the same mistakes over and over because no one I had no one to tell me that what I was doing you didn’t do. I mean I was head hopping, telling instead of showing. And so that went on for years. But it wasn’t all bad because Womans World bought my very the very first thing I ever wrote, which is how the snow leopard.And it just blew my mind, that yes, the editor asked for twenty five hundred words. So of course I sent her four thousand.
[00:04:15.770] – Kitty
[00:04:18.110] – Patricia
And normally though the editor would have just said at that time, you sent an sasa, asasa so I always called it, so that they could send your manuscript back to you. You had stamps on it and everything. And so I really want it. She really should have just put it, folded up and put in an envelope and send it back and say sorry when you can send me what I asked for. But she didn’t , she loved the story. Cut it to twenty five hundred words. At that time it was twenty five hundred I think is a thousand now.
[00:04:52.340] – Kitty
[00:04:52.670] – Patricia
Or maybe even seven fifty. I don’t remember but, so, in the end, she bought it. And that had to be a God thing to encourage me, and so I wrote some more and it was seven years, six years maybe before they bought another one, but they came right at the right time to encourage me. And so I kept writing and learning.And then finally in 2007, I went to some writer’s conference and I went back in 2000, but and I began to learn and get other writers involved. And so I formed a critique group and then they would point out what I was doing and which no one had ever done. And I began to learn to write what I needed to. I began to learn how to show instead of tell,I quit head hopping a long time ago because I found out that that wasn’t something you do and but then in 2010, I went to some of Susan May Warrens deep thinker.I went to her very first deep thinkers.
[00:05:59.720] – Kitty
Like a retreat, right?
[00:06:00.660] – Patricia
Yeah, it is where I mean, it’s almost like a college course crammed into four days that that one was four, the next three where five or six days. And then we would start at 8:00 and 11:00 and we would be writing and learning all that time. And so I would take whatever in one year and the next year and build on that. In fact, from the first year to the second year, I got the award for being the most improved writer.
[00:06:31.550] – Kitty
[00:06:34.160] – Patricia
So but I learned Susan May Warren and Rachel Haag, literally, they didn’t, they gave me the building blocks to learn to write, and I took them and I used them. And then in 2012 October, the 26th of 2012, I received an email from my agent, Mary Sue Seymour, who unfortunately has passed away since then. But she was such a sweetheart. But I received an email from her that Ravell was offering a contract for three books, which was unheard of for someone who had never been published.
So that and when the very first book came out, it was five days beyond my sixty ninth birthday. So I want to anybody out there, any writer who thinks they’re too old to write and I want to tell you something you’re not. But you do. When God opens a door, He doesn’t care about your age, He doesn’t care about anything and neither do publishers, they want your work. So learn the craft and be ready for when God opens that door so that you can walk through it.
[00:07:42.130] – Kitty
I love that. Wow. Sixty- nine, when your first book came out. Did you say that you had started with that first story, that you had a dream when you were thirty -five.
[00:07:51.490] – Patricia
I did, but I never wrote that story and I have no idea why. It was not long after that that the story that Woman’s World published came into my head about a woman whose husband had been a hit and run. An accident is supposed to be a hit and run, but she didn’t believe it. And so she starts investigating. And the snow leopard, he was in the figurine business and his partner were shipping cocaine from overseas and the snow leopards. And she discovers that and then so that was that story.
[00:08:30.980] – Kitty
So you started out with this mystery bent, you’ve always written…
[00:08:36.260] – Patricia
I did and I was what you would probably call a lean writer. I do not write rhythmic, I do not write flowery prose, I’m a very lean writer, and I think that’s because I started out writing stories where every word has to count, every word has to do more than one thing almost.
[00:08:59.250] – Kitty
[00:08:59.910] – Patricia
And so I feel probably what I would have been because I’m a bottom line person. This is what it is.And this is why you go so
[00:09:13.380] – Kitty
and it seems like that’s a great kind of I was going to say theme, but that’s not what I mean. A great way to write. If you’re going to write mysteries like I don’t even know I don’t have any idea if anybody has written a mystery with flowery kind of language.
[00:09:32.340] – Patricia
Cozys’s come near Cozy’s are a little bit slower paced and a little bit more information. And I tried writing a cozy, but I found myself getting back into the suspense. So I don’t think at this point in my life cozies meant for me. So.
[00:09:49.020] – Kitty
Yeah, well, so you’ve written I don’t know if you even know quite a few mystery suspense novels and Obsession is the newest one.
[00:10:01.050] – Patricia
Right.It is for Revell. It is the 88 Airborne for us eight, nine, ten,the tenth book for Revell. And then I have two sweet romances with Harlequin. And then I have written the third one for Revell and is the fourth one is due June 1st.
[00:10:22.800] – Kitty
[00:10:24.480] – Patricia
For Revell which will be. We don’t know what the name of yet. I don’t even know what it’s going to be about except it’s set in Natchez and it’s probably going to involve the turning angel with the cemetery.Greg Iles has written a whole story mystery about involving that statue, but that and Windsor ruins, which is a fantastic place in Natchez I loved researching Natchez.
[00:10:49.860] – Kitty
OK, so actually that was one of the questions I was going to ask. Will come back to Obsession in a minute. Explain Natchez Trace, because I was getting the general idea when I was reading the book. But this is not a part of the geography that I’m at all familiar with. So I couldn’t figure out if it was a road or a trail or I didn’t know what it was.
[00:11:11.100] – Patricia
It’s I think in most of our in the book you learn that it is it was a trail started by bisson looking for salt licks, and it traveled from Nashville to Natchez, to the Mississippi River, and then fur trappers began using it. And then Spaniard’s. There were several different ethnicities who found who built up that area. And the last where the Cane cooks, which they would float their wares down, they would go a lot times story there in Kentucky or Tennessee or Ohio, and they would float their wares down to the Mississippi on the Tennessee, or Ohio all the way to New Orleans and then to get back, there were no steamboats. So they would walk from they would travel from New Orleans to Natchez, cross the river there at Natchez and then take that trail from Natchez, to Nashville. It also when it wasn’t called the Natchez trace, but there was another trail that went from Nashville own up into Kentucky, which is not it hasn’t been in Mississippi. There’s not Mississippi. But and there’s an organization. It was like the VAR.
But it’s I can’t remember what it is. But they pushed to have the Natchez trace a memorial or a national park made of it. And it is it’s 444 miles. And they have put it they’ve used the old trace a lot of the ways they laid the road over there. But there are places where you can visit the old trace and still see it. It’s amazing. If I go to my website. I think there’s some pictures there on different blogs, but I need to make a Pinterest board for that. Yes. Mark that down.
[00:13:14.640] – Kitty
[00:13:15.360] – Patricia
Yeah. It is a trail and it’s a there’s the National Park Rangers and then there is the Natchesz Trace Park Rangers. And if the little if they’re govern the Natchez Trace Parkway Rangers are law enforcement only. So the the ones who are not law enforcement in my books are part of the National Park Service, but they’re all I mean, you talk about confusing. Yeah, when I was writing and then so but I didn’t know. I thought it was all under just it was just the National Park Service and so as I’m interviewing the director at Tupelo, that’s where she was based. I learned no, it’s only law enforcement rangers on the Natchez trace parkway
[00:14:12.400] – Kitty
Ok,and it’s multiple states. So this is some sort of special thing.
[00:14:16.990] – Patricia
It goes from Tennessee through Alabama and Mississippi.
[00:14:20.170] – Kitty
All right. Interesting. OK, well, that helps me to understand, because this series is actually what’s the series name is has something to do with the Natchez Trace,
[00:14:30.350] – Patricia
The Natchez Trace Park Rangers.
[00:14:32.590] – Kitty
OK, all right. And so tell us a little bit about Book one and then let’s talk about book two that just came out. Yay! Congratulations.
[00:14:40.870] – Patricia
Yes, thank you. I’m really excited about this, so I’m excited about all of them. But the one when you birth a book, you really get excited. But the first book was Stand Off and it Luke and I always like on my character’s name. I cannot believe that.
Oh, my goodness. Right now, it’s just gone, but anyway, Luke is within the law enforcement rangers. There are R.S.B Rangers, which are investigative services branch and he is and there’s only about 36 in whole United States. And they are an elite group there, what you would call the FBI of the park rangers. And so but they’re running drugs up the trace, which is there’s not a lot of traffic, there are not a lot of law enforcement up and down the trace.
So if someone is minding their own business and not breaking the law is no problem to run anything through there because it’s just an isolate. It is isolated. There’s very little phone service. There are places where you have absolutely no phone service. And I’m hoping at some point since Mississippi is getting out, but all of them either whether it’s Tennessee, Alabama or Mississippi, there are places there, absolutely no phone service.
[00:16:13.000] – Kitty
Yikes. so it’s.
[00:16:15.210] – Patricia
Yeah. And I don’t travel it at night anymore. I have traveled the last time I traveled at night, we had deer jumping across the road. It’s a two lane road. Yeah. And one reason I like it is because there are no trucks whatsoever on it. It’s just a very if if you’re in the mood for a pleasant drive, if I will. When I drove to Jackson from Corinth, I would drive to to get on the trace and it was just a nice you can only go 50 miles an hour, but they usually don’t bother you if you go fifty five or so.But it’s a really pleasant drive.
[00:16:55.080] – Kitty
Yeah, there’s a there’s a drive when in Michigan that you would get off the freeway but then there’d be another 45 minutes to get to where we lived. And you did not want to get off the freeway at our exit anywhere near dusk. It’s like let’s get there early or let’s stop at that freeway exit and have a really long dinner because just deer deer deer deer and so many deer accidents.
[00:17:18.690] – Patricia
I know it’s scary.Yeah. I mean, we literally had one to jump. Just I think they’re hoof got our fender and said, Lisa, that I was with the director of our non-profit because we have been down to trace to do some abstinence programs and it got light and we were right there at the trace and it was a bad decision. We should have gone on over to 25. So.
[00:17:53.770] – Kitty
[00:17:55.420] – Patricia
And that’s the last time I’ve been on the trace at night.
[00:17:58.570] – Kitty
Yeah, that makes sense. OK, so one of the things, so many things that you and I usually do this like we’re like little pinball’s inside the machine.
[00:18:09.760] – Patricia
One thing triggers another. Exactly.
[00:18:12.310] – Kitty
OK, so I’ll try to keep us on track here. So I was I was wondering about the geography and what this is. So that’s that’s that. So give us an idea about what the series then is about and then tell us about Obsession, which just came out.
[00:18:28.420] – Patricia
It is.It’s about different. I usually take the character from one book, Emma,Brook was my character’s name. Rick Danvers was the character in Stand Off and her best friend was Emma and she is in Standoff. And then so the next book, which that was about Brook finds her dad, her dad’s a park ranger, law enforcement ranger, and she is moving from the interpretive side, which is how you say when you go to the Park Service, the National Park Service, you will see these rangers and they were conducting tours and things and giving you information.
Those are the interpretive rangers. They generally do not wear a gun. Now, I think maybe out west they may. But in this area, the interpretive rangers are not law enforcement and they don’t wear a gun. And then there’s the law enforcement ones who. And they. They have to know the area because they can they can do the tours that they had to, but mostly they’re primary things to keep peace on the trace and solve the murders and things like that and anything else.
So, yeah, that’s but anyway, there’s and then Luke was a an ISP ranger and he is trying to infiltrate the cartel, which he does. And so and then they discover who killed her father and it is tied in with the drugs. And then with Emma. When I went to, I had never been to Natchez. My editor wanted me to do I proposed a series of park rangers and in fact, I proposed one for the Natchez trace thinking she would run.
It’s about twenty, thirty five miles from me, the trace. And I thought, well, I know that part of the trace in that area. But she fell in love with the name Natchez. And so the story was set in Natchez, which made it a little difficult because I’m having to explain that the Rangers and Natchez are not part of the Natchez Trace anyway, but it so but I had never been in Natchez. I always wanted to go.
And so I took a trip, first trip. I took I have gone about six times now and if Covid hadn’t hit, I would have gone again this year. But I went after I drove the trace all the way from Corinth to Natchez, which is about a seven- hour drive, if you don’t stop, it can be a seven day trip if you are stopping at every place and a lot of people actually ride their bikes on the trace.
[00:21:24.370] – Kitty
[00:21:25.950] – Patricia
I’ve encountered several people who have come down the trace on bicycles from Nashville all the way from Nashville that they want to do the whole thing. And to do that, it would take at least a seven to 10 days because there are so many great places to stop and to if you’re a history buff. So anyway, I stopped at Mount Locust, which is the oldest inn and it was one of the first inns. And when and when you think of an inn, you think of a place where people come inside and sleep until they built another place, it was a place where the trappers and the Cane tacks would sleep on the porch, and the ground around the house because it was it was a dangerous place. There were a lot of robbers on the trace. There were some really, really bad people, mean people. And so you would stop and congregate together for safety. And so Mount Locust was one of the first. And it started out just as a four-room home where people slept on the front porch or the back porch and. And then. They built another an axle inn but it’s been destroyed, but and then there’s two cemeteries, there is a cemetery of the owners and then there’s a slave cemetery. And so and there were slave quarters. And and I knew I wanted to incorporate that. And because in the story, Emma, one of the things she says, she wants to give the slaves the recognition because she is it, she’s not excavating it, but she’s using sonar with ground penetrating radar to find graves and trying to determine exactly how many are there, because she doesn’t believe that the study done in 2000 found all of them.But anyway, that’s when they discover a fresh grave. And so and her brother is missing in the story, and it could be him, she doesn’t want to believe it, she believes he’s still living. But and then she and the middle of all that, she gets someone who is obsessed with her. And that’s where the title obsession comes from.
[00:23:54.880] – Kitty
[00:23:55.610] – Patricia
And he wants to make her his. And
[00:24:01.030] – Kitty
Yeah,that’s what every woman wants. Yeah.
[00:24:05.250] – Patricia
but he sends her daisies and which is her favorite flower, but then he sends these creepy notes and then then they find out there have been other people, the people who have been murdered. Her brother was accused of murdering his girlfriend and he then he disappeared and everybody thinks he ran away because he was afraid he would be railroaded. And so it’s my stories are always kind of complicated.They’re a little bit hard to explain without it sounding convoluted.
[00:24:39.610] – Kitty
Yeah, but they’re so fun to read. I was telling you before we started that and before not even the end of chapter one, like the middle of Chapter one gunshots. I’m like, oh yeah, we’ve already started. And then like just a couple of chapters in it wasn’t again, it wasn’t very far. And there was already three people that I was like, is this going to be the stalker person? There’s this one is this one. I’m like, well, it could be this one because of this, this one because of that.But I know, you’re great at Red Herrings. Your last book, I couldn’t decide. I’d narrowed it down to two people in the last chapter and I was still wrong. And I was so happy.
[00:25:20.090] – Patricia
I try to give enough clues, though. If you’re really paying attention, you can guess who it is or get close to it.
[00:25:28.540] – Kitty
[00:25:29.200] – Patricia
but I do a lot of times I don’t know to the end who it is. Yeah. So I mean I don’t see it. I don’t know how the reader can either.
[00:25:36.610] – Kitty
[00:25:37.360] – Patricia
And I don’t know how well it’s happened more than once.
[00:25:41.560] – Kitty
Oh yeah. No doubt. But that’s the cool thing about how you write. I mean when I talk to you I’m always like that’s so amazing. Like how you like create this whole story and you don’t even know who it is. I just think it’s really cool. It makes me want to try it.
[00:25:55.210] – Patricia
Well, I try to make there at least three people who it could be. You know, who have reason for ,the motive means and opportunity to have at least three who have all three of those, so in some ways it’s like a cool scene. So in that you want to point to different people.
[00:26:17.280] – Kitty
Yeah, OK, so we’re going to spend spend the episode talking about suspense and mystery. But one of the things that you and I were talking about by email when we were trying to decide exactly the topic, and sometimes I, I’m not sure whether or not people want to hear more about research and better ways or different ways to do research. But some of the things you wrote in the email, I’m like, yes, we need to at least discuss it long enough for me to ask what.OK, so one of the things is that you actually explored this area in person and.
[00:26:54.000] – Patricia
[00:26:54.660] – Kitty
And so it wasn’t just YouTube or Google Maps or research on the Internet, but you’ve probably done those sorts of things for other books. So give us an idea of what you think are some of the differences.
[00:27:09.390] – Patricia
The other books I have written the Logan Point series and the Memphis series. I was very familiar. I grew up in Memphis. My former brother in law was a Memphis police officer. I had access to the cold case detective. So those things were not hard. I would go and interview him or shoot him an email if I needed that. I didn’t have a lot of problem with that, that just I had never been to Natchez, so I went. That was my watch, I’m sorry.
[00:27:44.410] – Kitty
Somebody saying, hello, this is very mysterious,
[00:27:48.510] – Patricia
I know, but anyway, so I have been to Natchez so I just drove down.I stopped at Mount Locust and I’m thinking this place is so steeped in history. I’ve got to set something here. And it wasfantastic. I wasn’t sure what, but I knew it was going to be something about the slave cemetery. But at that point I was researching the first book. So my next trip down, I stop and the park ranger was there. And so I interviewed her and I talked to her. And I thought yeah this is it. We are almost certain that there’s going to be a body in the cemetery.
And so I’m writing the book and I know I need my help with the body. This is before I get started. I’m really I’m still figuring it out. And so I go back down there and there’s a new ranger. And so I’m talking to him and I said I need a place to put the body is there a road that goes behind the cemetery?
And he said, Oh, yeah, because, I mean, how do you get how are you going to get the body up there? You can’t you can’t get to the the Mount Locust after dark because it is locked the main right of the trace. But the road that goes behind it, you can. So I drive back there.
So he said just go back here and you go and then when you then you’ll take a right after, when you when you hit the next road. So I said, OK, so I go back there and it was it was perfect for for moving a body and for someone hide out, to park the car and do whatever, so. So I start looking for the road to turn right and. There’s no road and the road starts getting narrower and I had gone at least two miles by now, and there are no houses on either side or slews or alligators are down there.And so I’m driving and I’m thinking, how far away where is that road? I drove about five or six miles on a one lane road thinking, you are so crazy a woman alone in this area.
I would occasionally. So I one time I finally did come to a place where it looked like someone might live but it was hard. I couldn’t hardly turn around, so I kept driving. Finally, I came to a road that fork and it went left and right. And I thought, that’s not what he was talking about. Now I knew I wasn’t supposed to go that far. So I was able to turn around there and I backtracked and finally found the road.The road did. You didn’t stop and turn right ,the road on its own, just kind of segwayed down to that other road. And that didn’t even look like it was … Anyway. So that’s part of my research.
[00:30:53.530] – Kitty
[00:30:54.140] – Patricia
I found places to put bodies there,
[00:30:58.060] – Kitty
Well between the alligators and not being able to turn around.And possibly one of the areas that has no cell phone service, like my heart, had no cell phone.
[00:31:06.250] – Patricia
It had none I because I would have gotten the GPS. I would have done my GPS and gotten back to the tracks. No service whatsoever.
[00:31:15.010] – Kitty
Oh, my gosh. Yeah.
[00:31:17.410] – Patricia
So I used a little bit of that fear in the book.
[00:31:20.200] – Kitty
Yeah, but OK, so do you think of it that that those moments like helps you to think of things in a way that was, I don’t know, more than if you hadn’t had that experience?
[00:31:34.450] – Patricia
Oh, I think so. I think it helps you to it helps you to incorporate those feelings of fear and of unknowing. And what have I done, you know, sort of thing how crazy you might be to even do something like that.
[00:31:51.730] – Kitty
Yeah. And then
[00:31:53.320] – Patricia
but I never have thought I usually just go barreling off. So I went to Windsdor ruins , I mean Windsdor ruins played a very small part in the first book and it was a three story house, the beautiful I mean, it was it was a mansion and someone at a party and I think 1905 lit a cigar and put it on the window and burned it down.
[00:32:27.500] – Kitty
[00:32:27.880] – Patricia
And what are left are, I think, eighteen columns. Stone columns that in it is so eerie, so I guess that is where my next murder will be,
[00:32:39.770] – Kitty
oh, I can’t wait.I know that’s so weird, but
[00:32:43.250] – Patricia
yeah, I know it’s terrible to think about, but it’s fiction,
[00:32:49.150] – Kitty
[00:32:50.580] – Patricia
And the bad guys are always caught.
[00:32:52.940] – Kitty
Yeah.Thats the justice part
[00:32:56.960] – Patricia
He has to be smart enough that my hero and heroine have to be smarter.
[00:33:02.030] – Kitty
Sweet. I love that.
[00:33:05.150] – Patricia
I mean you can’t be accidental or or you can’t just happen. They can’t just happen. They have to do something. Yeah. To overcoming.
[00:33:17.220] – Kitty
Is there do you have any kind of method or things that you do to try to come up with the best possible story like that, I mean, to try to think of what smart people would do and then what other other smart people would have to do in order to, you know, work around each other.That’s it seems to me that’s that’s a lot of thinking and planning.
[00:33:37.860] – Patricia
Mostly.For the first half of the book, my hero and heroine are reacting to the bad guy, and so I mostly have to have him in my head and occasionally because. So it’s very, very hard to put the villain in my head sometimes. I know with Justice Betrayed, I think I had a psychopath. And when I hit that wall at 60, am I right, I finally get my characters where I think I know what they would do and the motive and all that, and I start writing and at thirty thousand I usually hit a wall and have to go back and start over to see where I went wrong because I can’t go any further.
And then I hit a wall again at 60 and as I’m looking at them, figured out that I did not had not really put that character in my head. And so I stopped and research psychopaths and sociopaths and there was a reason why I didn’t want to put them in my head.
But when I did that. It clicked, and so I knew they don’t think normal there is a psychopath or a sociopath in Obsession, and he is very normal in most places, most ways, and so I was able to stay out of that pretty well, it was a little bit different than from the other who was a woman was that made it harder for me, for a sociopath to be a woman?
[00:35:24.960] – Kitty
Yeah, that’s the one that I think you are on the show talking about. Yeah. OK, so so the villain a lot of times is just kind of a amorphous image in your mind until you start understanding a little bit more about what they’re doing and why.
[00:35:45.550] – Patricia
No, most time I know what they’re doing and why, but a lot of times I don’t want to put their emotions in my head. But on this one, it really wasn’t hard because he was just obsessed with her.
[00:35:57.310] – Kitty
[00:35:57.820] – Patricia
And and then it turned out it all kind of weaves together. And there are in this there are one, two, six people who are murdered by this one person. Yeah, and it takes a while to get to why that happened. And so and it was very revealing when you discovered the plot. And I gave a little few clues along so that you do understand why he’s the way he is.
[00:36:31.980] – Kitty
[00:36:33.480] – Patricia
[00:36:34.410] – Kitty
Well, I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m totally going to be reading it again when we’re done.
[00:36:39.720] – Patricia
Yeah, I enjoyed that was. In some ways, it was very hard book to write in some way I was. It just was. It was I was finishing up just as covid hit and made it very kind of made. I kind of had trouble focusing. Yeah. For a while. But but I did get that one finished. But the next book, The Crosshairs was really covid did a number. Because the person who died here in Corinth was a friend of mine, and so it really drove it home very early and it was just really hard for me to get my mind and finally.I quit watching TV.
[00:37:27.480] – Kitty
Yeah, yeah. That makes sense.
[00:37:32.180] – Patricia
I’m hoping that this is almost to the end, I hope, when we’re on the last go round with it. Yes.
[00:37:37.750] – Kitty
Yes.Yes. You and I are talking in early December and there definitely is a lot more hope in the air right now.
[00:37:42.790] – Patricia
[00:37:43.750] – Kitty
yay for that.So let’s let’s definitely keep our mind on fiction, because it’s easy to talk about where we’re going to put the bodies in fiction. And that was one of the other funny thing. It’s funny to me, things that you said in the email was, you know, when I was doing the research, exploring the area, I found a lot of places to bury the bodies. And I was like, I was so awesome. The only times that I’ve ever had that feeling is when I’m actually in a place.I’ve never thought that when I’ve been researching a place online or asking other people about things and then going, oh, that sounds like a good place to bury a body. I only really think of when I see a place and I’m walking around there. How does that work for you and how does finding places where you could bury a body help you with your plotting?
[00:38:30.430] – Patricia
The plotting comes first because they’re on this one and everyone is the victim in this. In the beginning when she shot it, she discovers someone is digging in the cemetery. So they very quickly figure out that either body is buried there or they’re burying something. And so and it turns out there was a body there. I’m not giving anything away. But why? My thing is why this body why does this body have to be dug up at this particular time? Why not last year? Why not next year? So once I figured that out, once I figure out that the why ,why now I have to figure out what’s the crime and why now was the crime is someone was murdered and I have to know why they were murdered. But then if this this one, why did this body have to be picked? Why did they have to dig it up now? Why not last year? And so once I get that in my head, which for this particular story, the reason the body had to be moved was she was bringing in the ground penetrating radar, which would have found the body and would have reopened an old case that they did not want to open. So that’s why and I’m not saying that the person who killed him is the one who was digging the body up. But why why does this why this crime now? Why not before? So I have to I have to know that. And because otherwise, I mean, what’s the point? You can’t that’s something you can’t be coincidental.
[00:40:28.730] – Kitty
[00:40:29.660] – Patricia
There has to be a purpose. And that’s what I can figure that out. Then I can start writing the story.
[00:40:36.950] – Kitty
Right. That makes sense now not to put you on the spot, but I’m kind of asking you a question to put you on the spot. Do you have a method for coming up? I mean, you know, you’re going to get to the point where you need to decide the why and the why. Now, do you have a method that you do it? You just write down all sorts of ideas and make a list of them? Or do you brainstorm with friends? How do you do yours?
[00:41:01.910] – Patricia
No I find it, I can brainstorm other people’s stories, very hard for me to brainstorm mine with someone .Mostly, I think noodle it around in my head. I usually right now I am noodling around about that. I’m noodling around in my head the story for the last book in the Natchez Trace series. I know that it will involve the turning angel in the city cemetery, which is not only National Park, the Natchez Trace parkway. It’s not on their property, so they would not be able to investigate that. So that tells me I’ve got to have another murder.
[00:41:43.600] – Kitty
[00:41:45.490] – Patricia
Own parkway property for the Rangers to get involved. And I’m actually I’m not sure who the hero is going to be. I’m thinking. I am thinking it’s going to be, someone that’s been in the other books, but I’m not sure yet. It’s unusual for me to bring in two brand new people for the story, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be, I cant think of his name right now
[00:42:16.420] – Kitty
[00:42:18.270] – Patricia
But he will have to investigate, but he’s got to be able to have the authority to investigate, because the only people I mean, that’s that’s what they do. The local sheriff can investigate because it’s in his county but the ranger actually has priority. So and then that’s why all the murders have happened on Natchez Trace Parkway property or even the National Park Service, so they can investigate those.So and Windsor ruins is and they are it’s part of the Natchez trace or the National Park Service, I’m not sure which I haven’t gotten that far in the story. But I do know and I’ve got to figure out why someone’s murdered. I think it’s so I’m not sure I know that, but that’s what I do. I will think about it for maybe a month. Yeah, because I’m doing something else. Or right now it’s Christmas and once I’ve seen it.
[00:43:28.980] – Kitty
Right now we’re talking in December.
[00:43:30.760] – Patricia
So, yeah, right now, I mean, I’ve got other things going on. And so while I’m doing other things, I can think about that.
[00:43:45.790] – Kitty
I was wondering if it was. Yeah, I was wondering if it was something where you need to be just doing something physical but mindless, like washing the dishes or gardening or putting up Christmas decorations.
[00:43:56.380] – Patricia
Yeah. Yeah, things like that or walking or on the cross trainer or and usually when I first wake up, that time before of waking up and before you actually get up is when thoughts come to me, when I dose, when twistS in the story comes or when, oh yeah, that’s what I’ve got. I’ve got to add that I’ve got put this in. That is my best time when my mind is freschious and I’m a better early morning rider. Yes. When my mind is able to do it better. I kill people easier in the morning.
[00:44:37.290] – Kitty
Now, I have to ask, have you had any characters, were they they had some sort of funny thing like that, like they only kill people at night or I mean, we think about crime is only happening at night, but we know that’s not actually true.
[00:44:50.530] – Patricia
Yeah, it happens. Yeah, but mostly it does. But have you ever thought about why at night?
[00:44:57.120] – Kitty
I guess just because people don’t want to be caught seeing
[00:45:01.500] – Patricia
Right and it’s just it’s dark and so you can’t you can’t see the hidden shapes that are watching you. Yeah. And you can’t see someone sneaking up on you in the dark.
[00:45:14.820] – Kitty
[00:45:15.840] – Patricia
Have you ever been in total darkness?
[00:45:18.330] – Kitty
Just a few times. You know, like out in the country, obviously. Yeah. When there’s no moon. And the only time that it freaks me out is if I’m in someplace where there’s total darkness. But I don’t know the area. Like, I think one time I was at either Gloria Christian Writers Conference or someplace else like that where it was out in the country, but it was someplace that I hadn’t really been before or only one time. And there is something about it that was just terrifying. But I’m not terrified at home in the total darkness, you know, in Michigan or something.
[00:45:51.830] – Patricia
Yeah, well, I’ve been in total darkness, really, other than when I’ll go in a closet and close the door to see what in total darkness is. Yeah, but if I’m writing it. But we had a farm and we had a mobile home there that we stayed when we would we would go there and stay a little bit. And I had cooked dinner and I had some scraps and so I thought on and there were stray dogs around. I will take it out. And so as I’m going, the light is it is not that dark to me. But then when I turn around and start coming back, I cannot see my hand from my face. That freaked me out because I knew there was a wall that at some point between where I was and where I was going and I thought this was crazy.
[00:46:46.830] – Kitty
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:46:48.630] – Patricia
I never did that again, but I had never been in total darkness before.
[00:46:52.950] – Kitty
Yeah. OK, now that you’re saying you can’t even see your hand in front of your face.
[00:46:56.490] – Patricia
[00:46:56.700] – Kitty
[00:46:57.300] – Patricia
I mean, no light. None whatsoever. Yeah. I mean, I had never been in a place where I mean I put my hand just like this and I could not see it. It was just there was no it was a total absence of light. I can imagine what it would be like in a cave. Yeah. That would freak me out. That’s one reason I have never gone to a cave then caving. I’ve always thought I’d like to put somebody in a cave sometimes it would be to go down in the earth. Oh, oh, yeah, because they turn the light off, the guys turn the light off. Yeah. And I think I would hope they would not want me there.
[00:47:40.210] – Kitty
I’ve done it twice like that. And both times I was like, OK, John, give me your hand, because I just need to know that I’m touching something. It’s not bad. Yeah, but the one time it was actually super cool because it was it was just outside Sydney. I can’t think of where we were, somewhere, I think in the Blue Mountains. And it was a cave of not glow worms, but like crystal that glows. Yeah. And so when they turned off the lights, just all of a sudden there was this kind of like pale blue glow everywhere. And it was amazing.
[00:48:17.080] – Patricia
Oh, that would be that’d be neat.
[00:48:19.210] – Kitty
Yeah. But you do have to be in the total darkness for a little bit before you can see that.But more places to bury bodies.
[00:48:28.360] – Patricia
That’s true. Like a good one.
[00:48:32.560] – Kitty
So have you ever. So this is something that I’ve wondered. I’ve been a couple of places in different countries where I was like, oh my gosh, this is perfect for a murder and a burial and, you know, somebody finding the body and stuff. But then I’m like, you know, a lot of US Publishers’, you know, the books are set in the US somewhere. Have you ever had that experience and then found some way to move to a site similar to that in the US just so that you could use that site?
[00:48:59.920] – Patricia
I haven’t. I’ve. That’s good. The only place I’ve ever been where I thought I’d want to do that was Israel. And that would have been maybe on an archaeological archaeological dig. That would be. So I kind of did do that. When I move, I think it was just buried and I had an archaeological a lot, had that dig appear, not far from me, there’s a place not far from where they found dinosaur bones.
[00:49:28.660] – Kitty
[00:49:30.340] – Patricia
Yeah, it’s part of the Pink Palace. Pink Palace oversees it. And that was a neat book to research. But now I think I think and that’s why I love research, is because you learn all these things. I really I had heard about the the dinosaur bones and people would go and they would dig into rocks. And several people have one person found a really neat bone there. So, yeah, that’s but I’ve not been out of the country. I’ve been to on cruises and been and but it’d be hard to move that to here.
[00:50:09.520] – Kitty
[00:50:10.060] – Patricia
Because for some reason the publishers also don’t do not seem to want to put stories in like the Florida area or I don’t know but we’ll see.
[00:50:25.300] – Kitty
Well, when you mention the alligators on either side of the road, when you were driving driving, I was thinking to myself, I wonder if you’re going to have something with alligators eating a body or something in one of your books.
[00:50:37.270] – Patricia
I have thought about it. I have it, but I’m not sure I want to go there. But it is really creepy back in there. The Spanish moss, and it looks so ghostly
[00:50:52.190] – Kitty
Even when I watch, like, a TV show or a movie where they’re doing that. And in my mind, I tell myself a location scout probably found this place. It’s not far from a road. It probably is totally fine, but I’m totally creeped out by watching it on the screen.
[00:51:06.790] – Patricia
I know it is now. A lot goes into settings. The settings can actually be a character.
[00:51:15.350] – Kitty
Is that work that way a lot with you?
[00:51:19.810] – Patricia
Not really and maybe the Natchez more than others for the setting, especially like with Windsor putting Windsor ruins in it and for the different places, because I had one by there’s a place on the Natchez trace, the Indian mounds. And it’s very it’s it’s isolated in a way, but it’s also their houses maybe a mile down the road. But it’s very eerie looking there because, you know, its some of the largest ruins east of the Mississippi.
[00:51:54.520] – Kitty
Wow. Wow. OK, I have to say that even though I’m pretty sure I’d never heard of this before, hearing about your your books here and now, I kind of want to go do some Wikipedia searching.
[00:52:06.910] – Patricia
And I tell you Natchez is safe. Now been talking about outside of Natchez, the crosshairs. Is that part of it is that it’s one of the old plantations. And it was fascinating to learn about that. And it’s I mean, they have some of them. I went and did the tours and they have some beautiful old homes there. It’s just it is absolutely there’s just a different pace there. And everyone is very friendly. And it’s just and it’s right there on the Mississippi. I have several on my blog, if you when you go there, I have many stories. And but I also have pictures. I do a meme for each blog and it’s from a picture photo I’ve taken. And a lot of them are of the sun setting over the Mississippi River. That and it’s just gorgeous there Natchez has a walkway, river walk, that you can walk all along the river. And up and up on the north end of it are homes that you walk by. And they are I mean, they they’re just they’re gorgeous there and people actually live in them. And I actually wanted to move there because I love it down there, but I don’t know anybody down there.
[00:53:31.320] – Kitty
[00:53:34.230] – Patricia
You would love Natchez.
[00:53:35.940] – Kitty
Yeah. All right. I’m going to have to visit there some time. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever been in Mississippi, I don’t think I have.
[00:53:42.450] – Patricia
Mississippi is a state of different areas. I live in what they call the high country, the hills. And then you have the delta and then you have the coast. But in between, you also have like where Natchez is not part of the I mean, it is part of the delta, but not the flat delta. OK, you’ve got quite a few hills and a place there called the Devil’s Punchbowl, and it’s kind of on the Natchez trace and may have said something there because it has a very interesting history. And so I’m still looking at what this looks going to be, where it’s going, where the where the bodies are going to be.
[00:54:21.240] – Kitty
[00:54:23.370] – Patricia
The Devil’s Poncho would make a very interesting place. Thank you. I think you’ve sent me in a different direction.
[00:54:31.650] – Kitty
I can’t wait to hear what you doing. Patricia, this is so interesting. It’s always helpful to hear what somebody else is doing, particularly in a genre that that to me, I’ve always thought that mystery and suspense novels, because of all of the intricate pieces that have to be tied together, but that some of them, you don’t want to necessarily be immediately obvious to the reader. I just find it a more difficult and therefore far more fascinating genre than, say, romantic comedies that I write.So it’s always interesting to to get some some ideas. And and I always feel motivated to to at least try a mystery or suspense novel some time. Whenever I talk to you, I love doing it. I lay down my mystery line first my suspense line, and then I go back and add the romance because it’s easier to kill them than it is to get them together. And and then I weave in the spiritual thread about if I havent already.
[00:55:33.600] – Kitty
[00:55:34.710] – Patricia
The spiritual thread. A lot of time is very subtle. But it’s there. Yeah, and but yeah, and my first draft is usually comes in point seventy five and eighty thousand words, OK, and that is the suspense and it’s a lot of the relationship, but maybe not the relationship hasn’t been developed.That’s what the second draft is for, is to to add ten to fifteen thousand words of relationships. OK, emotion or the. Because to me until I know how the suspense line is going to work out, I can’t do the other.
[00:56:20.170] – Kitty
[00:56:21.010] – Patricia
And these books happen over three, three to five day, well, one book was four days, say, four to 10 day period. It’s kind of hard to fall in love.
[00:56:35.420] – Kitty
[00:56:36.300] – Patricia
With all the and work it into the fast pace of the suspense and most of the time it is they have known each other in the past with. In this particular case, they were engaged. And. Or they were about to be engaged. I can’t remember, but she wanted and she wanted a singing career. And nobody else wanted her to have it, and so she left and she left. That is a lot of the. No, I’m sorry, that’s Cross-hair, see I get them confused with Emma, Emma and and Sam had almost been engaged and he may have even given her a ring when when she got upset with him because he had promised to stay with her brother that night, that he went missing, that he disappeared and he didn’t even though he had a very good reason. His sister had a flat tire on Highway Sixty one and you do not leave a woman. So but anyway, she got mad and broke up with him. And so they had that to overcome.
[00:57:46.850] – Kitty
[00:57:48.230] – Patricia
[00:57:49.910] – Kitty
Wow, OK, so many ideas for things for when I eventually do tell you I finally did it, I tried one.
[00:57:57.420] – Patricia
I think I love writing them, I’d rather write the suspense than anything else. Yeah. The romantic suspense. Well, that’s a real. Yeah. The only thing I might would like better is just write straight suspense thriller. But oh right now I that way. But I think most of my stories lend themselves to having a romantic thread to them.
[00:58:23.930] – Kitty
[00:58:24.620] – Patricia
And I like that. I like the thread that it’s not can’t be what it’s all about.
[00:58:29.180] – Kitty
Right. Yeah. Yeah,
[00:58:30.740] – Patricia
yeah. With suspense romance. Suspense is to me the suspense. A lot of people can split it even I find that very hard to do to have equal amounts of romance and suspense because to me the suspense takes over.
[00:58:46.370] – Kitty
Yeah, well and for me as a reader, like that’s one of the things that I like about your books more than some others, is that it’s more suspense than romance, but the relational things are interesting. And so it keeps me interested in that part, too. But then somebody shoots at them again and I’m like, oh, great, what’s going to happen now?
[00:59:08.990] – Patricia
Yeah, yeah. That’s I’m that way, too.
[00:59:11.870] – Kitty
Yeah. All right.Well, listen, so Obsession is book two and just came out and even though the books are related, they’re part of a series, they’re actually standalone.So you don’t need to read them in order.
[00:59:27.140] – Patricia
You don’t have to read them in order.
[00:59:28.600] – Kitty
Yeah. I’ve been reading Obsession and didn’t totally. Well, I mean, I kind of could get the fact that it was probably in that book one just because they kept talking about her brother. And I’m like with something must have happened in another book. But I didn’t feel like I really needed to know anything that wasn’t on the page.So that made me actually made me happy
[00:59:44.450] – Patricia
the brother wasn’t in the other book, so it was totally. Emma was in there, but Luke was not , no Luke was in that one and Sam was not. Right, didn’t even refer to him because most time I don’t know that who’s going to be the ones in there.
[01:00:02.960] – Kitty
Right. So they really are standalone.
[01:00:06.200] – Patricia
[01:00:08.090] – Kitty
Excellent. Well, listen, where can people find you, this book and your other books?
[01:00:12.780] – Patricia
OK.Go to my website. I have www.ptbradley.com. And on there you’ll find the books. You’ll find my blog, which on Tuesdays, I have a mystery question. And right now I am asking I have what are some of the dumb things that criminals say that you know. And so there are three that are true and one is up and the readers guess which one? And they leave a comment and then they’re entered in a drawing for something, it’s probably usually a book from my library, because I have quite a few books. And then on Fridays I do what I’m reading and I review a book that I’m reading because I read almost every night before I go to bed. And so we find that and I also have a drawing there. And so and you find my path, I’m going to be able to Pinterest board for the stand for the section I why I didn’t in the beginning, because but it’s just it’s hard to do so much. Right. Everything. But I think of a Pinterest board with pictures because I took pictures, I stopped and took pictures when slews where on either side of me.
[01:01:32.260] – Kitty
[01:01:33.650] – Patricia
Yeah. And. So that’s going to be on there and maybe the story with it.
[01:01:39.600] – Kitty
[01:01:40.560] – Patricia
I may do a post about that and link it to a Pinterest board. So and I’m going to make a Pinterest board for the one that I am working on that I’m still have the final list to do. OK, so it’s a lot to writing.There’s a lot you have to do that that you don’t think about. A lot of times when you want to be a writer, you don’t think about all the things that are involved.
[01:02:06.120] – Kitty
Yeah, the marketing and the people continue to stay interested in between books and.
[01:02:12.780] – Patricia
Yeah, that’s one reason I would like to write for love inspired suspense, because those are small books that you could come out in between.
[01:02:21.810] – Kitty
[01:02:23.100] – Patricia
[01:02:24.150] – Kitty
Yeah, that’s a good point.
[01:02:26.300] – Patricia
I get my brain going that way.
[01:02:28.650] – Kitty
Yeah. Patricia, this has been great. I feel like there’s been so many ideas and helpful tips for people who are writing mystery or suspense. Thank you so much for sharing all your time with us.
[01:02:41.910] – Patricia
Thank you. It’s almost like a shotgun thing approach scattergun that goes on ideas day. I don’t know if it might entail that other than me, but and I generally bounce from one thing to another. So writing has been really good for that, though, because it makes me focus. You can ask my friends I’m a lot calmer now than I was before I started writing full time.
[01:03:09.900] – Kitty
[01:03:12.780] – Patricia
You really have to focus to write. And that’s something if you have ADHD, it’s very hard to do. But but it draws me in. So.
[01:03:23.580] – Kitty
All right.Well, another final good last tip. Well, thank you so much. We really appreciate you time.
[01:03:32.920] – Patricia
Thank you. I loved it. I love being here. And the one thing I want to leave everybody with is that if you want to be a writer, whatever you do, don’t give up. Because I wrote for thirty two or thirty four years before my first book came out. And what if I had quit at year thirty two or even in January of last year. So just don’t quit. If God calls you to it he’ll bring you through it.