Welcome, Patricia. Please give us a brief sketch of your featured book, Deception –Natchez Trace Park Rangers, Book 4.
When ISB Ranger Madison Thorn arrives in Natchez to investigate a white-collar scheme, she has no idea she will be thrown back into the violent crimes division–or that it will get so personal. She’ll have to work with her childhood enemy-turned-handsome charmer to unravel the clues before it’s too late.
Sounds exciting, Patricia. What inspired you to write this book for your series?
Deception is the fourth and last book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series, and in it I wanted to redeem Clayton Bradshaw. When we first met him in Standoff, Book 1 in the series, he was a suspect, and I knew then the last book would be his. In Deception, I focused on him being a recovering gambler with a new relationship with Christ. I will miss Natchez and the Natchez Trace!
Do you have a particular take-away that you hope readers will pick up?
I hope they will realize that forgiveness is more for the person who needs to forgive than the person who needs forgiving.
Such an important thing for us all to learn. Did you face any unusual challenges in putting this book together?
Time. For several months I had it in my head that I had five months to write Deception. From January 1st to May 2nd. In case you’re wondering, I’ve never been good in math, and even if May is the fifth month, there are not five months from January to May. I realized that on December 26th. I had 500 words written…only 89,500 more to go…
Has writing impacted your relationship with Christ?
Being a writer has helped me to see Christ, the Greatest Creator, differently, and also to rely on Him more. My prayer life has greatly increased as I depend more and more on Him for my story. Some days it’s praying for every other word. But oh, the joy I feel when He gives me a twist or scene and it plays out on the computer the way I see it in my mind!
It sounds like you enjoy the process of writing. Why do you love it so?
That’s kind of like asking why you breathe. I’ve written since I was thirty-five except for a seven-year period that He pulled me away to work in the abstinence program. It’s funny—during the time I worked with abstinence, I didn’t have one single fiction thought. But not long after that job ended, I was sitting on my sofa having my quiet time when a woman appeared in my thoughts. She told me her name was Taylor and someone was trying to kill her. I was ecstatic—God had given my suspense stories back to me.
How exciting that must have been for you after all that time away. Do you have any experiences with readers who have been encouraged by your fiction?
I once had a reader contact me and tell me I had an error in my story. I had called a respiratory therapist a respiratory nurse. Uh-uh. No Way. I knew better than that. But sure enough, there it was on the page number she gave me. I thanked her, and had my publisher make the change.
Then, since she’d been a nurse for twenty-five years, I asked her to read over A Promise to Protect, the book I was working on. It featured Leigh Somerall as a doctor. She agreed and caught several mistakes.
She’d bought Shadows of the Past from me at a local writers conference, and I assumed she wanted to be a writer. So once I turned the manuscript in, I asked if I could give her a book on writing. She passed on the book, saying after what I had to go through to get a book turned in, she didn’t think she wanted to be a writer after all.
Then she said something that brought me to tears. She believed she was supposed to read the manuscript she worked on because she had the same problem as my heroine, and seeing how she dealt with it showed her she could do the same thing. My book had changed her life.
And that’s why I write.
What an outreach, Patricia, a real opportunity to touch people’s lives. Are you involved in other ministries as well?
In 2002 a friend and I formed Aiming for Healthy Families, a nonprofit to work with teens, teaching them how to make good choices. We co-wrote RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum and a workbook. Twenty years later we are still working with teens. While neither of us still go into the schools, I’m proud to say that our nonprofit sends teachers into all the schools in Northeast Mississippi, presenting programs that help teens make better choices.
Do you have other talents aside from storytelling?
I am a potter (I used that in the schools to show reclaiming sexual purity), and when I have time, I throw mud on a wheel to see what happens.
I’m certain that better things happen with you than if I threw mud on a wheel!
What about reading? Anything specific you enjoy?
I read just about anything, including the backs of cereal boxes. My favorite is any kind of mystery. I just finished James Scott Bell’s fabulous No More Lies.
Do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
I have two rescue cats who ignore me…well, one of them. Suzy has to get in my lap and sleep whenever I’m typing. She probably thinks if she didn’t I wouldn’t get any work done. And she’d probably be right.
Do you have any new projects you’re excited about?
In Counter Attack, the Queen’s Gambit Killer follows Chattanooga Detective Alexis (Alex) Stone to Apacola County where she is the interim sheriff, and strikes again, leaving a white pawn and a chess move on the victim. Nathan Landry, police chief of Pearl Springs and Alex’s high-school crush, joins her in finding the killer.