Reviews and Interviews welcomes mystery, suspense, and romance author Pat Dale, today, to talk about writing and his latest release Dance with the Devil from MuseItUp Publishing.
Welcome, Pat. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
After a long and varied career in electronics, music, and business, I’ve turned to fiction writing and haven’t looked back. I wrote a huge novel that seemed to go well except I could not find a way to end it. Turning to professional guidance, I wrote another book and then another, and I’m still trying to get that first one done.
I returned to my native soil of Missouri to enjoy its scenic beauty and quaint but rock-solid people. I’ve been married most of my life, with five children and seven grandkids so far. I love to work in our garden-like yard in the summer and read every book I can get my hands on.
Please tell us a bit about your current release, Dance with the Devil.
It’s the story of a good man, Buddy Wilson, who’d signed on to teach in an evil little town. He marries into the community before realizing they specialize in infidelity, incest, and illegitimacy. After his marriage fails and he learns that his little daughter was not really his, Buddy moves to another town to start over. A former pupil, Robin Blaik, turns up and they renew acquaintance, beginning a new phase of their lives. As their friendship blossoms into love, they have to face down the demons of their common past.
What inspired you to write this book?
This book is based in part on real life experiences. The characters are fictional, the towns don’t really exist; but the kids who experiment with Satanism are based on actual facts. I wanted to describe the natural beauty of northern Nebraska, contrasting it with the slimy undercurrent of behavior by a group of people who knew better but didn’t care. And I wanted to show that decent values can buoy the spirit and form a basis for successful living, not unlike what had happened to the pioneers who lived there a century earlier.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ve begun a new mystery series set in St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis Blues Mystery series features maverick cop, Daniel Quinn, and psychologist, Sera Moreland. Sera could have been a concert pianist but chose psychology instead. Dan is a crack homicide detective but finds himself at loggerheads with his boss. The first book is entitled, Toccata, and deals with a serial abductor/killer of teen girls who all are gifted at the piano. The second book, Blood Lust, is in process and involves an unsub who seems determined to murder every member of a leading family. Lots of music, classic and jazz, a fair amount of romance, especially in the beginning episode, and occasional total mayhem abound. The third, as yet untitled, book is in its embryonic stages at this time. My goal is to produce at least five books in this series.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I went to college to become a music teacher. My English profs tried to convince me to become a fiction author, but I was a hot-shot trumpeter and the lure of music was too great. From time to time, I would begin a short story, poem, or a novel I’d dreamed up. Sadly, they never went more than about sixty pages. I’d leave my notebook in the trunk of my car and, when I traded cars, they got left behind. I’ve often wondered if anyone found them and tried to finish them. Probably not.
After I’d retired from performing and teaching, I picked up a notebook one day and began to write a story, based on a wayward thought I had at the time. Three months later, I had a pretty good novel of over a hundred thousand words, but I couldn’t end it properly. I sought professional help and, with my mentor’s advice, began a new story. That, by the way, was the genesis of Dance with the Devil. It had to be put aside for a number of years and is highly modified from its original form, but that’s when I first allowed myself to think I might be a writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Because I’m retired from full time employment, I have an open schedule. Of course, I try to maintain a regular system of drafting, editing, rewriting, and submitting my manuscripts. Try is the operative word here. I’ve always been an early riser and the quiet of the morning lends itself to my creative efforts. Sometimes, I dream through a scene so vividly I have to get up and write it down. Usually, I can remember the next morning what I’d dreamed about. So I guess you could say that, for me, writing is a ‘dream’ job.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Other than believing people will want to read my books?
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I didn’t want to grow up. Well, not really. I mean I loved my childhood in our backwoods Missouri Ozarks. But I always wanted to be a fighter pilot. I can still remember watching flights of P-51 Mustangs headed east during the war, on their way to airborne battles overseas. I managed to become an airman, but not a pilot. That’s a crazy thing, too. Two of the things men fear most is burning to death and falling from great heights; both of which are fairly likely for a fighter pilot.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Read my books. Please? I’m old enough to have a fairly mature viewpoint on many of the things that are life or death to a youngster. I’m young enough in spirit to remember how brightly burned the fires of youth in my breast. I’d like to think I’ve put enough of both into my writing to make reading it an enjoyable experience.
Pat, thank you for being here today and telling us a bit about yourself. You have quite a few writing projects to keep you busy – it’s great to have a plan!