Monday, April 30, 2012

Scene of the Crime with Author Patricia Stoltey!

Having been born and raised in central Illinois, when I saw a book titled The Prairie Grass Murders, I had to pick it up. Not only is most of the book set close to my roots, I discovered that the author grew up there, too. That's when I knew I had to contact Patricia Stoltey.

Patricia Stoltey
Patricia has written two mysteries featuring former Miami judge Sylvia Thorn and her brother Willie Grisseljon, a Vietnam veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Stop by tomorrow for my review of the second book, The Desert Hedge Murders which takes place in one of my favorite Arizona spots: Oatman.

Before we get to the interview, here are a few links just in case you'd like to learn more about this talented author:

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

I remember The Bewitched Caverns by Leona Train Rienow, which I probably discovered about 2nd grade in the library of the country grade school I attended 1st through 8th grades. I don't remember much about the story except it was about prehistoric cave dwellers, but there was something that stayed with me and still gives me a warm feeling when I think of the book cover. What I do remember is exactly the way the bookshelves looked in all the classrooms because that's where I spent so much of my "study" time.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

Reading for fun ranks very high on my list. I also enjoy "reality" television, movies (mostly on DVD), going out to breakfast or lunch at some of my town's wonderful restaurants with my husband or friends, crocheting, and watching Katie Cat's crazy antics. I also hope to get back into gardening this year, something I've neglected two summers in a row.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

Sunrise, Cache la Poudre River
My hometown is back in central Illinois where I lived on a farm between Champaign and Mahomet. These days when I go back, I'm there to visit family or for a class reunion, so I'm a little out of touch. I'd recommend The Museum of the Grand Prairie near Mahomet's Lake of the Woods for those who are interested in Illinois history. The University of Illinois Arboretum and trial gardens is a perfect excursion for those with a green thumb.

If you ever travel to Northern Colorado where I live now, you'll find so much to do you won't ever want to leave. The sculpture gardens in Loveland, the Colorado State University trial flower gardens, and a drive west of Fort Collins along the Cache la Poudre River are high on my list of favorites.

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Sandra Bullock
I'd definitely choose actress Sandra Bullock.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

Probably Lee Child's Jack Reacher is first, although Sophie Littlefield's Stella Hardesty is so close behind it's practically a tie.

Name one book that you've read that you wish you had written. What is it about that book that made it come to mind?

I'm back to Sophie Littlefield again. I love Sophie's writing style and her main character so much, that I wish I'd written A Bad Day for Sorry. When an author can write that her protagonist "Stella Hardesty dispatched her abusive husband with a wrench shortly before her fiftieth birthday," and now helps other women by adjusting the attitude of their abusers, then you have the makings of a great series.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

I learned I'd sold The Prairie Grass Murders in late 2005, and I remember my writers' group took me out to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant. The first time I saw one of my books on a shelf in a bookstore was at my first book signing. I felt like crying (with joy, of course), but I smiled (big goofy smile) instead.

I don't know if you've seen it, but I love Parnell Hall's video about book signings. What is the most unusual experience you've had at a book signing or author event?

Parnell Hall has a wonderful sense of humor, doesn't he? I avoided a lot of the horrors of lonely signings by working with a panel of Colorado mystery writers in 2007-2009. At least when no one showed up, we had each other to talk to.

The best experience I had was at a two-day holiday craft fair right after Thanksgiving 2010. A regional rural electric coop had just favorably reviewed The Prairie Grass Murders in their magazine and a lot of shoppers remembered. It was amazing timing and resulted in excellent sales for the two days. The worst experience was one of my few solo signings when I sat for two hours with no one to talk to and a bowl of Hershey's Kisses in front of me. I ate all of them, just like a kid at Halloween, and then felt very sick.

What's the best thing about eBooks? What's the worst?

The best thing is being able to carry a whole library in my purse when I travel. I have my Kindle loaded up and ready to go. The worst thing? I'm not sure there is a worst thing...unless the airlines forbid use of an e-reader during flight (although I don't really know since I haven't checked yet). I also would tend to want a print book for nonfiction, especially when doing research. I like the ability to flip back and forth, read chapters out of order, and mark pages with Post-It notes in different colors.

On Sale Now!

Thank you so  much for spending this time with us, Patricia. We certainly appreciate the opportunity to get to know you a little better!


Patricia gave me this information about her books:

"Five Star and Harlequin have declared The Desert Hedge Murders out of print, but there are still copies available through online booksellers. I also have hardcovers plus a few paperbacks for sale. The novel will be available as an ebook for Kindle and Nook later this year.

Readers can contact me through my blog if they wish to order a signed copy of The Desert Hedge Murders or The Prairie Grass Murders. My e-mail contact is on my blog's profile."

The link for Patricia's blog is at the beginning of this post, and I can testify to the fact that, although the publishers may say her books are out of print, they are easily obtainable-- and well worth it!

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow when I'll be reviewing The Desert Hedge Murders!


  1. That book she remembers from childhood The Betwiched Caverns actually sounds really good. How exciting that you found out you were both from the same place and you contacted her. Sounds like a great book and wonderful author!

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

    1. I have to admit that I'll be looking for a copy of The Bewitched Caverns. It does sound good!

  2. Cathy - You're featuring one of my favourite blogger/authors. Hey folks, read Pat's books! They're really well-done. And I like Sophie Littlefield's work, too :-).

  3. Great post.



    Silver's Reviews

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Elizabeth. I think you'd like her books, too! :-)

  4. Cathy, thanks a million for featuring me on Scene of the Crime. You did a beautiful job with the interview and the illustrations. I'll check back from time to time to see if anyone has any questions.

    Hello, Megan, it's nice to meet you. I found The Bewitched Caverns still available online. I need to pick up a copy and see if I can pinpoint exactly what stayed with me all these years.

    Margot, how fun to run into you here. And thank you bunches for the kind words. We should grab Cathy and Megan and head for a coffee shop...

  5. Elizabeth -- I love finding more great review sites to explore. I love books so much and am always looking for the next great read.

  6. All of us former central Illinois people love Ill. but live elsewhere. I think that tells you something. I must admit it was a great place to be a child. I've put Patricia Stoltey's name on my list of authors to read. Thanks for the introduction.

    1. You're welcome, Barbara. I had a wonderful childhood there, but it never felt like "home." The day I first came to the Sonoran Desert, I knew this was home. Strange how that happens....

  7. Barbara, it's nice to meet you as well. It's the weather, I think. The Front Range of Northern Colorado actually has milder weather in both winter and spring. Besides family, the things I miss most about central Illinois are cardinals and redbud trees.

    1. I didn't realize Colorado didn't have cardinals. :-( There are cardinals here, but then I think most of the birds in the northern hemisphere wind up here at one time or another.

  8. Great interview of my fellow writer friend from Colorado - Pat! I enjoyed that your questions weren't run of the mill.

    1. I'm glad you liked the questions, Natasha. I've only had one author see the questions and turn up his nose at them. Can't win 'em all!

  9. Thanks for coming by, Natasha. And everyone who has books to buy for little ones, check out Natasha Wing's "The Night Before..." series. They're wonderful.

    1. I used to be in charge of the children's section of a library. That's my excuse for reading children's books now. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Cathy, thanks so much for including me as one of your scene of the crime featured interviews. I'll be checking in again tomorrow to see if any late visitors left comments.

    1. The pleasure is all mine, Pat. You've been a wonderful guest!

  11. I guess I'm one of those late visitors. Ladies, thanks for the great interview! Pat, my husband claims that when we visited Austin, I walked right by Sandra Bullock (twice) and didn't see her.

  12. Hi Jenny, you weren't so late. I had a long day yesterday and pooped out early.

    Celebrities are sometimes hard to spot because they don't seek the spotlight...but your husband saw her? Did you give him the third degree about that? :D


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