Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Interview with Patricia Gulley

Patrica let's talk about the genres you write..

And that happens to be Mystery. In my case a traditional murder mystery.

Do you have a daily page count or word count that you adhere to and how long does it take you to write your books?

I'm a very seat-of-my-pants writer. Some days I sit down and writer for hours, and others I can barely give it ten minutes. However, I will say that I demand at least one-hundred words. Even if I delete them later.

How do you break down the plotting, setting and characters and how much pre-planning does it take before you start to type page one?

If an idea I like strikes me, I just start writing. If it gets to ten pages, I give the ending a go. I believe it 'aiming' for something, so then I write what those ten pages make me think will be the finale-the ending, or the reveal-the-killer chapter. If that looks good, I start plotting and making a few notes in the body of the work as 'rest stops' or places to aim for. The only thing I sit and carefully make notecards about are the characters. First, I want the people who will interact with my protagonist the most. Then I want the antagonist and the villain. I don't do anything for 'walk-ons' because when I need them, I walk them on and that's all I care about them.

Tell us about the research that goes into your books?

Actually, the only thing I consider research for my book and two others I'm working on, is calling friends I've worked with. My book is about the travel agency business. I spent almost 40 years in the industry. One of those is about working for an airline back in the 60s and early 70s (the real fun years---free passes galore). The next travel agency book will require additional research because I'm setting it around an investment club, so my broker is going to get badgered. The airline book, besides watch Mad Men to get in the mood, will also be about ghosts--but like vampires, I'm going with whatever I feel like there. No I won't go off into a la la land about it.

How many books have you written?

I've completed 4, and the fourth is published. I have 3 others in the works

If you were going to mentor another author what do's and don't would you tell him about the business of writing a book and about publicity when the book is finished?

Since I'm not published by a publisher that does much in the way of promoting or marketing, I'm doing it all myself. I would tell any author who wants to be make his writing a business to face the fact that it isn't just the writing anymore. You have to care enough about yourself as an author to not be reticent about promoting yourself. Writing the book is becoming the easy part. Study some marketing techniques, then keep up with the business and places to network. Realize from the get-go that a lot of it is going to be on your dime, but be a bargain hunter.

Do you have an agent and how long did it take you to get an agent?

NO agent. Doing this all myself.

Let's talk about titles and where your title came from?

I originally wanted the titles in my series to be simple. The Staff, became Downsized To Death. It is about an office of women, ages 45 to 59 3/4 that have seniority, 401Ks, retirement plans and loyal client lists. They are extremely well-traveled and view the world as their backyard. They feel the affects of the internet on their sales, and then downsizing starts.
The next book isn't named yet, but I'm keeping to the original plan and letting it flow under the title, The Investment Club.

Now for a little fun; What is your favorite desset, meal, place to vacation and list a couple of your favorite books?

My favorite dessert is Creme Brulee.
Meal-anything seafood or fish, but nothing raw.
Vacation????? Are you kidding! Well, my trip to Botswana was really exciting. I got to fly with bush pilots in a little 4 seater and fly over some wonderful country and animals. However, there was nothing camping trip about it, though we did sleep in two tents. Each equiped with a show, sink, and toilet brought along for our comfort. There was even artwork on the wall. I love going to NYC to see plays, but I love to cruise. We tried for one a year, but other things come up.
Favorite books: Persuasion, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Ice House, Mistress of the Art of Death, The Number One Ladies Detective Agency.

Give us a little backstory on how you became an author and about you, your family life and where you live.
I was born in Pennsylvania and couldn't leave fast enough for the big city of New York to work for an airline and fly everywhere. Met my husband at an airline and moved to Oregon for him to finish school. Had one daughter and became a travel agent to get even more traveling done. Separated from my husband after 28 years of marriage, moved onto a floating home, kept traveling and retired (forcibly and a bit to young) at the end of 2001. My huge travel agency company closed all their offices because the twin towers fell on their twin towers. I started writing after moving to Oregon. I did it mostly in spurts, until I retired and then I devoted myself to it full time. My floating home is on the slough side of an island in the Columbia River practically on the boarder of Washington and Oregon. My husband and I have never divorced, I call him my estranged, and we have two wonderful grandchildren

What are your future writing plans and are you currently working on a book project?

I want to do the Investment Club book because these clubs sometimes form by profession, and my travel agents do it. I also have the airline reservations department/ghost story in the works, and I'm mulling over a vampire murder mystery on Mars that may only be a novella. I started a Jane Austen sequel, but not doing to well with that one.

In closing leave us with a quote from either your character or you.

The quote is mine and on my website.
Everyone deserves a hundred years of good life before they start growing old.
It is based on a comment I once read that said that the human body could actually make it to 150. I expect us to start fiddling genetically sooner than that!!! I think I need that much time to get to all the places I want to go. Maybe by the time I'm 100, there'll be a Moon Tour.


  1. Great interview! Love the title Downsized to Death. What a range of experiences you have to draw on for inspiration, Patricia.

  2. I loved the writing advice and Pat certainly has the background to make this a wonderful series.

  3. Thanks for sharing your planning process and your 100-word rule. I'm going to give a copy of Downsized to Death for a relative who's been in the travel industry for 50+ years. I'm sure she'll enjoy reading it. As will I.

  4. Wow, Pat! You have enough material to draw from to write for several hundred years. I've always been fascinated by the idea of living on a houseboat. And a vampire murder mystery on Mars? Love it! Great interview.

  5. Hey Pat, I'm intrigued by your writing system! And your future books sound intriguing as well.


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