I have another interview with another independent author. Her name is Patricia Rockwell, and she is the author of the mystery novel Sounds of Murder.
Some people write for a paycheck, while others do it for the love of the craft or to fulfill a promise to a loved one. Can you tell me what drives you to get up and write?
I’m retired, so writing for a paycheck is not obviously what drives me. My husband spends his retirement watching television and loafing, but I just can’t stand being so unproductive. Writing mysteries gives me something to do that I enjoy doing without having to answer to a boss.
What is the first book that you can remember having a true impact on you?
The first book that I remember having a huge impact on me was Leon Uris’ Exodus. I remember reading it in junior high school (when I wasn’t supposed to be) and how it made me think about things going on in the world that were bigger than me. It really got me interested in WWII and the founding of Israel (although I’m not Jewish) and it made me question many of the things my parents had taught me. Quite a bit for a book to do for a young girl.
What is one quirky thing about yourself… something that no one outside of your friends and family might know?
I have a lot of quirks. My family tend to tease me about my fear of flying, my love of Amtrak, how I put raisins in everything I cook, and most often and particularly appropriate for a book site—how I committed sacrilege when I brought a book (!) to a Nebraska Cornhuskers’ football game once (in case I got bored).
Yes. They do take their football seriously. What is your current project about?
My current project? If you mean what’s on the market, it would be my first cozy mystery Sounds of Murder which I am promoting and marketing on a daily basis (on places such as your site). If you mean, what’s up next? I have finished the second in my Pamela Barnes acoustic mystery series, FM For Murder and I’m working on getting it formatted and illustrated and out later this year. If you mean, what am I currently writing, my third Pamela Barnes mystery Voice Mail Murder is finished but will be undergoing a lot more editing.
How did the plot and overall story for that project come into being?
The plot and story line for Sounds of Murder developed both from my long time love of mysteries—particularly cozy mysteries—and my own personal work experience. I spent my life (before retirement) as a college professor. Much of my research involved investigating how we communicate and the impact that the human voice has on our communication success. I often utilized acoustic technology to study human vocal behavior and I’ve incorporated my knowledge and much of my research findings into my main character’s adventures.
Do you have any other projects on the burner somewhere (that you can talk about)?
The only projects on the burners (assuming that my stove has only four) are the present book out (Sounds of Murder), the one coming out this year (FM For Murder), and the one that will be out next year (Voice Mail Murder). I guess that leaves one burner, which probably is the burner where I’m concocting another murder in the future. I’d like to kill off a politician in that one (wouldn’t we all?) but I still have to figure out how to tie in the acoustic aspect. I’m thinking I may have it be connected to a political speech that is imitated by a rival and my heroine Pamela has to step in to determine which speaker is the genuine politician. Not sure how I can get a murder in there, but I’m working on it. If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them.
Quick!… without thinking, what are the first five words that come to mind?
Five words—optimist, dog, blue, happy, sun
What do you think those five words say about your personality?
What do these words say about me? Oh, my gosh, I’m afraid they say that I’m a raving Pollyanna.
Do you have any pets? Can you tell us about them?
I used to have a wonderful Pomeranian named Coquette (she appears in my books under a pseudonym to protect her identity). She died on February 1, 2010, and I miss her like crazy every day.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these interview questions. Before I let you go, I have one more question. If the world were to one day have your name as a household name (aside from your writing career) what would you want to be known for?
I’d love to be an actress on Broadway—particularly in musicals—or, if not that, a voice-over actress. I also wish I could make a living playing the concert violin. Of course, it would certainly be fun to be a spy.
(laugh) Yes… it would. Thank you for answering the questions today.