How mystery author, Patricia Sprinkle, got started, and other questions you always wanted to know.
I had been writing mostly articles and occasional short stories when my husband asked one evening (while going over the budget), “Why don’t you write a mystery to pay for the ones you keep buying?” Immediately I knew what I wanted to write: the story of a body found in an unheated Chicago basement during a spring thaw. When I went to my files, I discovered to my amazement that I had a thick file labeled “mystery ideas,” which contained characters, clippings, and some plot ideas I’d accumulated over the years.
As I began to write mysteries and got to know a number of other mystery writers, I discovered there is a particular kind of mind that loves to plot out crimes; we can either become criminals, police officers, or mystery writers. I decided to do the latter.
You have written three series. Their publication dates indicate you sometimes overlapping one with another.
How do you keep track of the differences and keep from mixing up details?
I finished Sheila Travis series before I began the Thoroughly Southern books, but I wrote the three Family Tree books while writing the TS stories, and it nearly did me in. Keeping track of details wasn’t hard, because the books were set in such different places and the detectives were such different people, but when you are writing one book you are generally having to promote the most recent one while also writing a synopsis for the next one, and for three years I was juggling so many books in my head I wound up exhausted. That’s one reason I took the year 2007 off from writing to rethink what I wanted to do.
Do you think mysteries have changed since you wrote your first one in 1988?
Yes, in several ways. The proliferation of computers means that a lot more people are writing now than used to when it was a far more arduous process, and largely due to publishers’ demands, the genres have expanded and changed. Women PI’s seem to get more and more violent and amoral. Some amateur sleuths spend far more time involved in some activity (knitting, embroidery, gardening, running a bed-and-breakfast) than they do in actually solving a crime. Hybrids have sprung up: supernatural/vampire sleuths; sci-fi sleuths, romantic mysteries. I find myself more and more putting books down part-way through because what I love is a good puzzle I can try to solve before the sleuth. Those are harder to find.
And those are the kinds of mysteries readers are looking for. http://www.patriciasprinkle.com/
Thanks, Patricia, for being an author who satisfies our cravings.
Stay tuned when, next time, Patricia tells how she incorporates her Christian faith in her writing.
You can read Janet Sketchley’s review, When The Dead Lady Sings, by clicking on the book cover .