Sunday, October 13, 2013

Patricia Gligor's Mixed Messages

Patricia Gligor is a Cincinnati native. She enjoys reading mystery/suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses and traveling. Mixed Messages and Unfinished Business, the first two novels in her Malone Mystery series, were published by Post Mortem Press. Both books are available at Amazon, B&N and other fine retailers. She has just sent Desperate Deeds, the third book in her series, to her publisher. Look for it early next year.

Welcome back to the blog, Patricia. How has your environment affected your writing?

I live on the west side of Cincinnati, the setting for the first three novels in my mystery series. When I think back to my childhood, I realize that it’s no wonder I became a mystery writer. My parents, younger brother and I lived in an old two-story house with all kinds of good places to play Hide’n Seek. The basement was an especially scary place; the foundation had thick stone walls, a fruit cellar and a coal bin. We had a large backyard and, at the end of it, a woods extended as far as the eye could see with a cemetery just barely visible in the distance. It was the perfect breeding ground for a young girl, who loved to read Judy Bolton and Nancy Drew mysteries, to develop a fertile imagination.

It certainly sounds like it. How many books have you written?

I’ve written three books to date. I had attempted to write two other novels (not mysteries) before I wrote Mixed Messages but neither of them sustained my interest long enough for me to finish them. Now, the characters in my Malone mystery series refuse to let me go.

I understand that. Give a short synopsis of Mixed Messages.

“It’s estimated that there are at least twenty to thirty active serial killers in the United States at any given time. There’s one on the loose on the west side of Cincinnati.

It’s the week of Halloween and Ann Kern struggles with several issues. Her primary concern is her marriage which, like her west side neighborhood, is in jeopardy. Her husband is drinking heavily and his behavior toward her is erratic. One minute, he’s the kind, loving man she married and, the next minute, he’s cold and cruel.

Ann dismisses a psychic’s warning that she is in danger. But, when she receives a series of ominous biblical quotes, she grows nervous and suspicious of everyone, including her own husband.

As the bizarre and frightening events unfold, Ann discovers a handmade tombstone marked with her name, pushing her close to the edge. Will she be the Westwood Strangler’s next victim?”

You have my attention. How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your books?

That’s an interesting question. Before I began writing novels, I wrote a lot of short stories. When I look back over them, I realize there was a lot of “me” in the characters. I thought I had gotten that out of my system but, as I develop the characters in my series, I see bits and pieces of “me” in some of them. Sometimes, that’s a positive thing and other times . . . . J

You know, that raises an interesting question. My husband tells people he doesn’t know where are my macabre characters come from and that he sleeps with one eye open. I sometimes scare myself, having no idea where the graphic violence in some scenes came from. For example, if Just North of Luck, my second novel, became a movie, I’m not sure I could watch it. I have to wonder how many other writers feel the same way about some of their work.

Do your characters take on a life of their own? If so, which is your favorite?

Although I’m a plotter, my characters always have the final say and, as I write, my outline becomes more of a guideline.
It’s difficult to pick a favorite character. I love seventy-nine year old, Olivia, because, even though she’s been through a lot of hard times in her life, she hasn’t let any of that make her bitter. She’s a kind, generous, loving person.
I’m also partial to my main character, Ann Kern, who, as the series progresses, grows from the shy, nervous wife of an alcoholic to a stronger, more assertive woman.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?

I am a note-maker! I never trust storing ideas in my head. They would rattle around in there and quite possibly end up lost. So, I keep pen and paper handy at all times. When I first have an idea for a book, I jot it down on a scrap of paper. As the stack of papers begins to grow, I condense them onto one page, which becomes two, three, etc. Finally, I create my chapter by chapter outline. Then, I begin to write. It’s a long process but it seems to be the only one that works for me.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

My next writing project will be the fourth book for my Malone mystery series and there will be a change in locale. The Kern family will visit Ann’s sister, Marnie, and her boyfriend, Sam, who live near Charleston, South Carolina. It promises to be an exciting vacation!
At some point in the future, I want to write a standalone novel or two, in addition to continuing my series.

Are your books available in print and eBook formats?

Yes, Susan, they are. Here’s the link to my author page:

Thanks for inviting me to be here today.

Nice to have you back. Continued success!


Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

Thank you for inviting me to be your guest. It's a pleasure to be here!

Dac said...

A nice interview. my settings are childhood also, in south Texas. It's not the same any more; I have to rely on memory.

I was working a novel with a ghost in it. Nobody liked it.

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

I know exactly what you mean. There have been so many negative changes in my old neighborhood but I prefer NOT to focus on them. Like you, I rely on my fond childhood memories.

jrlindermuth said...

I wonder if playing in a cemetery as a youngster contributes to becoming a mystery writer? Looking forward to the new book, Pat.

Unknown said...

Basements are particularly scary for me too. I blame my uncle in Wisconsin for that!! I love your books! Great author and person :-)

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

I'm not sure about the cemetery thing but there's no doubt that an active imagination is a prerequisite to writing mysteries.
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed the first two books in my Malone mystery series. I'm really excited about the third book, Desperate Deeds.

john M. Daniel said...

Congratulations on finishing Desperate Deeds, Pat. You're on a roll!

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

It's been a tough row to hoe this past year. My mom is back in the hospital again but, thankfully, she's improving each day. I thank God for my writing. Writing and editing "Desperate Deeds" helped to distract me from life's problems.

Lesley Diehl said...

Hi, Pat,

I know what you mean by your plotting evolving into a guideline. I recently turned into a plotter from a pantser and my plots are guidelines, very loose guidelines, but they have become a crutch I depend upon to meet deadlines.

Love your books.


Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

Thanks, Lesley! I love your books too!
I've always wished I could be a pantster but it doesn't work for me. Without my outline, I'm like a canoe with no paddle. :)

Susan Whitfield said...

Patricia, sometimes our "row to hoe" can add another perspective or at least some good fodder to our books. It has been a pleasure to have you over and I wish the great sales and more novels in the future!

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

Thanks, Susan!
Mom is getting transferred to rehab this afternoon and I'm doing my best to take things one day at a time. In my mystery series, Ann Kern deals with a lot of issues (like all of us) and I try to portray her and the other characters as realistically as I can. After all, they're "people" too! :)

Marilyn Levinson said...

A fun interview. I always enjoy learning more about my writer friends in their interviews. And Mixed Messages is a great read.

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

Thanks for stopping by, Marilyn! I'm glad you enjoyed "Mixed Messages."

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Pat and Susan,

I very much enjoyed reading "Mixed Messages." I think using a locale or city that you really know adds a valuable quality of reality to a novel's setting, and that's what you've done here.

Marja said...

I love the locale where you grew up. How could you NOT become a mystery writer? LOL I'd have a difficult time trying to figure out which character I enjoy most in your books. I enjoy them all, but there's something about Olivia's son that intrigues me.
Marja McGraw

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

Jacqueline and Marja,
Thanks to both of you for your kind comments. Music to a writer's ears!

Evelyn Cullet said...

I'm so glad you have a new novel coming out soon. Loved your first two and can't wait to read Desperate Deeds.