Saturday, September 19, 2009

Author Interview with PATRICIA STOLTEY

Patricia Stoltey is the author of the Sylvia and Willie mysteries, a prolific blogger, an excellent marketer, and an all-around terrific person. She currently lives in Colorado and has lived in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma and...the south of France.


Your bio says that you’ve lived in the south of France – has that produced any fodder for your writing?

I have the first draft of a romantic suspense novel sitting on a shelf, waiting for me to do a big rewrite…someday. It needs a lot of work. It’s the story of a young woman, a computer analyst, who’s sent to the south of France on a business trip. She meets a French journalist who has recently escaped from a hostage situation in Lebanon and is still suffering from guilt at having left the other hostages behind. He, of course, is a sexy guy. The woman falls for him before she realizes he’s under pressure from a police detective to help rescue the others, the detective’s brother included.

How long have you been writing? In what genres do you write?

Oh, goodness. A really long time. I’ve always worked full-time, mostly in the accounting and accounts payable fields, which meant a lot of hours. For a long time, I wrote in bits and pieces, and I rarely submitted any of my work. Always in the back of my mind, however, was the thought that someday, someday, I’d write a novel. Eventually I did it. The first book was co-authored with my brother, and was an action/adventure novel based on his experiences in the transportation industry. Then the romantic suspense. Then the first Sylvia and Willie mystery. Followed by a novel of historical fiction. Another Sylvia and Willie mystery. And now I’m working on a suspense novel. The mysteries are making it all the way to hardcover. Everything else needs revising before I can go any further.

What prompted you to write mysteries instead of other types of stories?

I love to read mysteries, so it seemed the most logical type of story to write. I’m experimenting with those other genres too, and hope to spread my wings a bit as time goes on. But I grew up reading Nancy Drew, and then graduated to the mysteries my mom was reading (Erle Stanley Gardner, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh), so I was hooked on that genre a long time ago.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Making myself sit down and write. I have so many interests that I have trouble staying focused on one project or activity. The other thing, of course, is that I didn’t get serious about writing until I retired. With work and family, I couldn’t put in the time and effort needed to get published when I was younger. I wish I had tried harder.

The Desert Hedge Murders was released in August. Tell us about the story and let us know where we can buy it.

The Desert Hedge Murders is the second book in the Sylvia and Willie series. Retired Florida circuit court judge Sylvia Thorn accompanies her elderly mother’s travel club, the Florida Flippers, on a long weekend jaunt to Laughlin, Nevada where they plan to take a couple of tours, gamble, and enjoy good food. When one of the ladies finds a body in the tub in her hotel room, the Flippers want to investigate the crime. It’s up to Sylvia to keep the wild bunch out of trouble, but she’s pulled into the case when one of her mother’s friends disappears. Soon the whole crew is in danger, and Sylvia’s dad and brother, Willie, fly to the rescue from Florida. The novel is available at online booksellers and can be ordered from most chain and independent bookstores.

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

The current project is a suspense novel, and I’m also outlining the next Sylvia and Willie mystery. I don’t have a contract for either one, so anything can happen. In a way, I like having the freedom to choose my own projects. On the other hand, I might write more if I had the kind of pressure and deadlines authors have when they get multiple-book contracts.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Study books and blogs and websites and comments from a critique group in an effort to learn the art of self-editing. Do whatever it takes, because unpolished manuscripts are too easy for agents and editors to reject without reading beyond the first couple of pages.

What writers’ organizations claim you as a member?

I am a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime (national and local), Mystery Writers of America (national and local), and Northern Colorado Writers.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

I will attend Bouchercon 2009 in Indianapolis in October. Other appearances will be posted at my website as I schedule them:

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

I had a lot of fun writing The Desert Hedge Murders because I named some of the elderly ladies after my cousins and then gave them wacky personalities. My goal was to make this book less serious than the first one, even though murders are involved. There’s something about quirky elders that make stories very appealing to me. I hope it works for my readers as well. The reviewer in my local newspaper said, “Perfect for a snuggle-in reading session.” I like that.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

My website is and my blog is I’m on Facebook as patricia.stoltey and on Twitter as @PStoltey. I'm also a contributor at The Blood-Red Pencil blog.


  1. Love the interview and the Sylvia and Willie mysteries sound great. One comment you made "I have so many interests that I have trouble staying focused on one project or activity" struck me. I can so relate to that. I wish I could be more focused at times, I would get a lot more done.

  2. Good morning, Linda. Thanks for doing this interview with me. It looks great.

    And hi to Amy -- Having a lot of interests makes life fun and interesting, but there is a downside. I still struggle to finish projects before I rush off to try something new.

  3. Diane Cheatwood9/20/2009 2:40 PM

    Thanks for the great interview! You're absolutely right when you say Pat's "an all-around terrific person." (Full discolsure: she's my favorite twice-published cousin!) When our college-age son Brad found out her first novel was to be published, he asked what it was about. I told him it was a murder mystery, and he said, "She can't do a murder! She's too nice!" My totally objective (!) opinion: both books are worth getting, whether they're at the bookstore or the library.

  4. Aw, shucks, Diane. You're too kind.

    And definitely objective (!). LOL

  5. Pat,

    I think the covers of your novels are exceptionally lovely. I look forward to reading your new novel.

    All the best,

    Jacqueline Seewald
    The Drowning Pool, Five Star 2009

  6. As Amy said, I can relate to having a plethora of interests and projects. Am in the process of paring them down.

    For someone who has trouble staying focused, Patricia, you sure do a terrific job!

  7. Jacqueline -- I have been so pleased with the Five Star covers. I can't say enough good things about the folks who do the cover art.

    Linda -- I keep thinking about the authors who are doing all this stuff and also have a book deadline hanging over their heads, and I count my blessings. My deadlines are all self-inflicted.

  8. Hi Pat.
    I love the CONCEPT of your books. It IS fun, and you also seem to have a built-in audience. So many retired adults do seem to travel on these tour groups . . . and the rest of us have seen them. What a fun concept.

    Best of luck, though I doubt you'll need it. Can wait to read your NEXT book.