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Friday, April 8, 2011


Mystery and suspense author Pat Dale is our Book Club Friday guest today. After a career as a professional musician and educator, Pat turned to the pen to craft more than a dozen novels and novellas. She uses musical rhythms and values to write what some might call poetic prose. Learn more about Pat at her website.

Pat is offering a copy of her romantic suspense,
A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND to one of our readers, but this is a different sort of contest. Read on to learn how to enter. -- AP

How do writers come up with such wild ideas?
Sometimes I embarrass myself with the things my characters do. I’m really a nice person; I mean, really. Have I ever murdered someone? No. Have I ever engaged in kinky sex? Uh, no, not that I would ever tell about. You can take that as another no. LOL

Have I ever wanted to commit murder? You bet! Have I ever had sexual fantasies that exceed what I’m willing to do? Oh yeah! Did I have to follow those desires to write about them? No way, Hosea.

And there’s your answer in a nutshell. Imagination, dreams, fantasies all come into play in my writing. As an author, I exercise ‘creator’ power over my characters and they will do what I write them to do. Oh, they complain loud and long at times, and I listen well. Usually, if a character whispers in my ear that I’ve taken them too far, I have. Most successful authors, in my opinion, pay close attention to the limits they set for their main characters.

I’ve joked that fiction writing is the only arena where a practitioner can be a certified loon and get paid for it, only partially in jest. To date, I’ve killed off 32 characters in just 7 of my novels. To be fair, there are five other books where nobody dies, so that would make it 32 for 12. Sounds bloodthirsty, doesn’t it? But, of those deaths, only 15 are violent and two thirds of them are bad guys doing bad things before they face justice.

Now for the kinky sex stuff… Nah, I’m not getting into that. Hee Hee Hee! Besides, what is kinky to one is run of the mill to another. Suffice it to say I approach sex scenes in my books on tiptoe. I’m not opposed to writing a pretty explicit scene if the genre calls for it, but I will not write my characters into lurid scenes for the voyeuristic thrill of it.

How about writing my heroine into a scene where she must do something that is totally against her mores? Now that can lead to amazingly successful dramatic character arcs. And character arcs are what keep a reader reading. Oh, many will call it something else. Character maturation, re-shaping, or what you will; following a main character’s growth from where she begins the story to her eventual triumph or failure at the climax is what rivets one to the pages as they fly by. Now that’s what good writing is all about, and why a good author needs lots of imagination as well as a willingness to go out on a limb from time to time, insisting the character does as she’s written to do.

My take on it. What’s yours?

My latest romantic suspense novel SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY is being released today (April 8, 2011) by Muse Publishing. A short blurb:

Anika Henry, RN, has lost her husband to war and her son to a hit and run driver. Looking for some reason to keep moving forward, she loses herself in her work in the children’s ward of the hospital in Ft. Collins, Colorado. When Ana meets Dan Morrison by way of his sick daughter Sherry, life seems to beckon to her. Dan had lost his wife to cancer two years earlier.

They bond, Sherry takes to Ana, and fledgling romance blossoms for the adults. After Ana discovers a car that shows all the signs of being the one that killed her boy, she blows the whistle on Dan and her future turns as dark as a buried coal mine at midnight. Will Dan be found innocent? If he is, will he ever have anything to do with Ana again?

You’ll want to read SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY to find the answers to those and other questions. I promise a fun read and worthwhile characters to get to know along the way. Also, you’ll meet Ana’s dog Molly, modeled after my own German Shorthair, the Unsinkable Brown Molly.

I want to give someone a copy of one of my previously released romantic suspense novels, A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND, available in trade paperback or eBook from Whimsical Publishing. So I’m having a contest and the winner will receive a copy of the book in electronic format, set up for your eReader. To enter, all you have to do is send your guess as to how many characters die in my next book release, DANCE WITH THE DEVIL, a romantic family saga to be published by Muse Publishing in July.

Hint: more than one, less than nine.

First correct guess wins the book! And everybody who enters will receive by email a free chapter of a new romantic comedy I’m finishing as we speak. Through subsequent months, all chapters of THE LAST COWBOY IN TEXAS will be given away for free. It’s the funniest thing I’ve done to date.

Send your guess to: patdale@charter.net and you could be the winner. Good luck, and happy reading!

Thanks for stopping by today, Pat. -- AP


jeff7salter said...

Pat, I sent my guess in an e-mail. I'm sure I won, so just go ahead and send my print copy of the book. LOL.

Love your comments here today. I, too, feel the awesome wonder of having created my characters ... mixed with the weighty responsibility to insure they have reasonable motivation for what they do / say and act / react with similar consistency as real-life humans.
Like you, I tend to follow my characters and listen to them. So far, none have halted me but I have -- during revisions -- read scenes where something doesn't sound right. Usually it's a matter of the wrong person saying or doing whatever.
No dead bodies in my stories so far (except as back-story) but -- lilke you -- I did *give* my dog and cat to my female protagonist in my first three manuscripts.

Karen Cote said...

What a gracious host but then I know from personal experience just how special your host today is, Pat.

And then there's you...this isn't the first time I've seen your incredible talent. You're amazing and write with such clever emotion. When I heard one of my favorite people was hosting one of my favorite authors I had to stop by. I wasn't disappointed. Thank you for sharing your intriguing comments and I, for one Pat, can attest to what a nice person you truly are.


Karen, I know I'm blushing, and I'm sure Pat is as well. Thank you!

Jeff, thanks for stopping by today. You always have such interesting comments.

Pat Dale said...

Thanks for the kind words Karen and Jeff. And Lois, what can I say? You continue to amaze me with your wonderful sense of humor and talented writing. I had a number of folks contact me and say they couldn't log on for one reason or another, but it was fun being here with you. Thanks again for having me.
Pat Dale


Pat, thanks so much for stopping by today and for all those nice things you said.

J Q Rose said...

Making up characters and situations is why we all write isn't it? That's just plain fun. Best of luck on your new release. Love the premise.