Welcome, Patricia!! We’re very excited to have you on Reader’s Entertainment. Let’s talk about your latest book Standoff.
This book is set in Natchez, Mississippi—the oldest city on the Mississippi River. What inspired you to choose Natchez Trace as the locale for your new series?
Part of the Natchez Trace is only thirty minutes from my hometown, and its legends, some true, some not, have always intrigued me. The southern terminus of the 442-mile Parkway is in Natchez, Mississippi, a beautiful town set on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, and a town that I’ve always wanted to explore.
Given the historical significance of Natchez and how landmarks play a central role in this book, what kind of research was required to write this story?
I had always wanted to visit Natchez, Mississippi, and researching the story gave me the perfect opportunity. After my first visit, I fell in love with Natchez with its antebellum homes and rich history— like at one time, Natchez had more millionaires than any other city in America. And one of the restaurants, King’s Tavern, is the oldest standing building in what was known as the Mississippi Territory.
Several key characters in your new series serve as park rangers in Natchez Trace. Why did you decide upon this occupation for them?
You’ll laugh. I’ve always wanted to be a National Park Service ranger. This was my chance to live vicariously through my characters.
You’ve won numerous awards for your ability to keep readers on the edge of their seat in suspense. How do you keep your readers guessing?
This is a difficult question, so let me think . . . I don’t write a long synopsis . . . most of the time only a paragraph or two about the story before I start writing. But I do delve into my characters, so when I’m writing, I ask myself, actually, I pray about what could be the worst thing to happen to this character right now? And then I write that worst thing.
What do you hope readers gain from reading your book?
I write about flawed characters who have real hurts, and I while my message is usually subtle, I want readers to take away that Jesus is the answer. He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
Who would you say is your primary audience?
Anyone who enjoys reading fast-paced suspense, women primarily, but I have a lot of male readers.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on Crosshairs, the next book about Natchez Trace Park rangers. It is set primarily at Mount Locust, the site of the oldest inn on the Trace. And of course, in Natchez.
Thank you so much for joining us today. If you’d like to learn more about Patricia and her books, head to her website.