Today we sit down with author Paty Jager for a round of Q&A. Learn more about Paty and her books at her website and blog.
What genre/genres do you write?
historical and contemporary western romance, historical fantasy romance, action adventure with romantic elements, mystery
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
When my children started school I decided to take my interest in writing to another level. That’s when I wrote my first mystery. One that has yet to be published and may never. It was after that, I discovered Romance Writers of America and learned how to hone my writing and learned the business side of writing.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
It was nearly fifteen years from the time I started writing novels to when I had a western historical romance published by a small romance publisher.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I’m a hybrid author. I’ve had over ten books published with the above mentioned press. Since 2011 I’ve been getting my rights back to the books and self-publishing them as well as self-publishing new releases.
Where do you write?
Right now, until we get our house built, I write on a 2 foot by 4 foot table in our 200 sq. ft. cabin. When the house is finished, hopefully by New Years, I’ll have a wonderful office to write in. I’ve been gathering Native American decorations to help put me in the mood of my current mystery series, Shandra Higheagle Mystery.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I like to write with music. The type depends on what I’m writing. I listened to Mayan, Incan, and Mexican while I wrote the Isabella Mumphrey Action Adventures. With my Native American historicals, I listened to Native American music. For the historical romance books, I listen to bluegrass music. My mysteries are written to Native American and jazz music.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I would say about half of my plots and characters have been sparked by real life. Either from people I know or songs or the radio. My first contemporary western romance Perfectly Good Nanny started by listening to a talk show on the radio. The DJ was talking about how children had ordered items online and the parents didn’t know until the merchandise arrived at their door. I used this premise and had a young girl order a nanny over the internet without her single father knowing until the woman arrived. Then I placed them on a rural cattle ranch and used my ranching knowledge to show the day to day living of the characters. That is just one way I’ve used my real life in a book.
Describe your process for naming your character?
A process? I didn’t know there was one… Actually, if a character doesn’t pop into my head with a name already, I start jotting down what I do know about them, and then I pull out a baby name book, and look up names in the nationality I’ve given the character. As for secondary characters, their names just pop into my head as I’m including them in the stories.
Real settings or fictional towns?
I use both real and fictional towns. If I’m dealing with history, I like to show ghost towns before they became ghost towns. And if the research I’m doing for a book shows a unique thing about a place or it is needed to show something unique for the story, I use real settings of towns. My Action Adventure series was set in Guatemala, Mexico City, and Arizona. I’ve not been there, but I needed the real settings for the stories so I connected with people in those areas and did lots of research.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Quirkiest quirk…Isabella Mumphrey in the action adventure series has a “survival” vest. It’s a fishing vest with lots of pockets. She keeps items and her survival tin (an Altoids tin with a small signal mirror, 2 X-acto blades, 3 yds. of nylon string, 2 magnetized sewing needles, a Fresnel magnifier, safety pins, and 2 ft. of aluminum foil folded into a small square. Mini magnesium fire starter and tinder tabs. One inch candle, 2 quart-sized zip-lock bags, a glass vial of 20 water purification tablets, 50 ft. of braided fishing line on a sewing bobbin, plastic tube of hooks and swivels, 10 ft. of 24 gauge snare wire) in her vest pockets.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
Wow, my quirkiest quirk… I have to have hot chocolate in the morning like others have coffee or my day doesn’t go well.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Nora Roberts’ The MacGregor Brides. The characters in her series are so real. The books held my interest and I’ve read them many times. Characters are what make me remember a story and that’s what I try for when I write a story. Memorable characters.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
My do-over has to do with college and how naïve I was.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People who talk during meetings or workshops when the speaker is talking.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Chocolate, a pen and paper to write down stories.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I was a receptionist for a male chauvinist doctor who told raunchy jokes.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
I have several bests. Books mentioned above by Nora Roberts and A Tarnished Knight by Kathy Otten.
Ocean or mountains?
That’s tough! I grew up in the mountains and love them, but I also love visiting the ocean.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Definitely country! Grew up on 200 acres near a town of 200 people and now live on 280 acres in a community that only has a post office.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I’m launching the Shandra Higheagle mystery series in January with Double Duplicity. Book two, Tarnished Remains comes out in February and book three, Deadly Aim will be released in March. After that I have the third book in the Halsey Homecoming releasing and another mystery and an Isabella Mumphrey Adventure book.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
You can preorder Double Duplicity now for the low price of $.99.
On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she’d witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever, but just as determined to discover the truth.
Detective Ryan Greer prides himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including Shandra Higheagle’s visions. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Ryan believes in them and believes in her. Together they discover the gallery owner wasn’t the respectable woman she’d portrayed. Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next victim?