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Interview with Patricia Bradley

Patricia Bradley is a woman of many talents, able to weave award-winning tales of romance and suspense in addition to teaching writing workshops and occasionally trying her hand at pottery. Her tag line is “where love and faith cross paths with murder”, which gives you a pretty good idea of what she likes writing about! If you love romantic suspense (like I do) you need to add her Logan Point series to your reading list. I’m excited to introduce you to Patricia as we talk about book three in this series, Gone Without A Trace.

Tell us a little bit about where the idea for Gone Without A Trace and your Logan Point series came from.
When I was writing the first book in the series, Shadows From the Past, my heroine, Taylor Martin, was talking with Detective Livy Reynolds about another friend who had been missing for two years. I knew then I wanted to tell that story and Gone Without a Trace was born.

As for the series, I live in a small Mississippi town, so small town life is what I know. I started writing the first book in the series in 2007 after a woman popped into my mind and told me someone was trying to kill her. That woman was Taylor Martin.

While I was writing that book, characters other than the hero and heroine started demanding that I tell their stories. So far I have three books in the series and just finished edits on the fourth.

What did you enjoy most about writing Gone Without A Trace?
That I fooled my editor on who the villain was. I love writing all the twists and turns in suspense.

What was one challenge you faced while writing Gone Without A Trace?
Researching how long it takes a body to decompose in cold water. I’m more than a little squeamish.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
These two questions are probably two of the hardest questions for me to answer.

Who spurs me to write? God. He gifted me with the ability to tell stories. To not use that gift would be wrong. But along with the gift, he also plants that desire to write. It’s up to me to discipline myself and do the actual work.

As for where my ideas come from—often out of thin air. Like Taylor appearing in my mind and telling me someone wanted her dead. Before I started writing, I read. Didn’t think much about writing. Then I turned thirty-five and couldn’t sleep. One night as I lay awake, a man appeared in my imagination. He was staring out a window at a smoke-stacked city. He turned and looked straight at me and said, “This isn’t how I expected my life to turn out.”

For the next several weeks, when I couldn’t sleep, I made up stories about that man’s life and how he’d gone wrong. That was the beginning of my love affair with stories. Funny thing, though. I’ve never written that book. Maybe someday…

What (or who) has been the biggest influence to your writing career?
Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck changed my writing life. I started writing when I was thirty-five and kept making the same mistakes over and over because I didn’t have anyone to show me what I was doing wrong. I submitted fifty pages to Susie for a paid critique and received my manuscript back with so much red on it I thought it had bled to death. But I learned from the comments, and then attended their first Deep Thinker’s retreat. And then another one. Four in all. Susie and Rachel have done so much to help new writers learn the craft!

I also want to mention how much help ACFW has been. Right after I joined ACFW, I became part of a critique group. There were about 6 originally, and four of us have become very good friends as well as craft partners. I’ve learned so much from the courses and from the main loop. It’s so wonderful to have a place to meet where someone “gets” you.

What author(s) do you look up to? And why?
Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck for their willingness to share what they know with struggling new writers.

What are some of your favorite romantic suspense books?
Oh, goodness. There are so many, and I’m sure I’ll miss some of my favorites, but here are a few: Lisa Harris’s Southern Crimes series. Sandra Orchard’s Port Aster Secret series, Kristen Heitzmann’s Freefall, There are others…

What’s next for you and your writing?
I’m writing a new four-book series set in Memphis about cold cases. Part of the stories will be set at the time of the murder, and I’m having a lot of fun going back and forth in time. Challenging, too.

Any parting words?
Thank you for the interview. I hope I’ve said something that will encourage other writers. One thing I’d like to share: if you want to write, learn the craft and don’t give up. I wrote for thirty-three years before I received a contract. What if I’d quit at year thirty-two?

Thanks for sharing with us, Patricia!

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