Patti Brooks – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

“Fame & Deceit” is a murder mystery set in New England’s Horse World. It’s all about the power of a dream. Can a young horse trainer obtain World Class fame with all the evil swirling around him? Struggle with Ike Cherny as he prepares his mare for the World Championships. Experience his hopes and agonize with him over the dark issues that attack his dream from all sides.

Tell us something about yourself.

I live on a 100 farm in Connecticut.

I am a competitive distance rider (on horses). I have 3,000 miles of competition under my belt.

I survived a single plane crash on a Halloween in the Adirondacks with my father and walked barefoot 10 miles out of the woods to safety.

I’m probably the only person you know who, while on my horse, jumped out of a horse-sized birthday cake.

I teach a creative writing class at a community college.

A stallion I bred and I have both been inducted into our breed’s Hall of Fame. Our horse breed is Morgan Horses. The only horse ever bred by the US govt. Morgan Horses were the favored mounts of generals on both sides of the Civil War.

What inspired you to write this book?

I feel good about writing mysteries and since my background is steeped in horses, it makes sense to set them in the horse world.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?

I knew I’d have to go with a small publisher because so many traditional houses feel anything set in the horse world belongs in a small niche market. I chose Aberdeen Bay which produced a good-looking product.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I sold my first article to a national magazine for $3.00 when I was 16. That hooked me for life. I have over 500 articles in trade (equine) magazines to my credit plus some general interest like “Good Housekeeping.”

My first novel came out in 2004. “Mountain Shadows” is set in prohibition era Adirondacks. I’m proud to say it has been chosen by a number of upstate New York high schools as required reading in their NY state history classes.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Editing and querying

How do you do research for your books?

“Mountain Shadows” took about 4 years of very dedicated research and I’ve been well rewarded with terrific reviews.

“Fame & Deceit” is contemporary and set in a world I know intimately. For the parts I wasn’t completely comfortable with I called upon experts in the field for their advice.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

Keep fluff out, regardless of how much you may think it’s great. When at all possible make all chapter endings cliff hangers.

What are you reading now?

“Half-Broke Horses” — It’s a true-life novel but with the atmosphere of a memoir. Of course the title caught me. It’s wonderfully done and has made me want to read J. Wall’s other book which is a memoir

“The Shack” — didn’t realize where it was going when I started, but I enjoyed mostly the wonderment of where the author was really going with it. As you probably know it was self-published and sold terrifically.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

Mysteries in its various categories except for cozies.

Even though I suspect in two hundred years no one will know James Patterson’s name, I do enjoy most of his books. Easy entertainment and difficult to put down — probably because of the extremely short chapters. Yes, I know he employs co-authors (but what a great way for a fledgling writer to get a start) but I wouldn’t mind selling a quarter of the books that he does.

I also enjoy Ken Follet.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Yes, I’m about a 1/4 way into the 2nd in the Ike Cherny series. I call it “GPS Illusions.” The girl Ike is about to marry disappears. Ike comes across her portable GPS and in an effort to find her, begins to drive to the 47 saved destinations on her GPS. Lots of side plots. Some destinations are funny, some scary, some spooky. Turns out his girl was whisked away to witness protection as she was an undercover agent (unknown to Ike) and became a witness to………..!!!

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Writing — keep at it. Take part of writers’ groups in person or on line. Give them your best and LISTEN to what they have to say.

Keep focused on one project at a time. Keep a file for possible new projects —- only after you have completed the one at hand.

While you wait for agents and editors to respond to queries, chose another project and get to it.

Go over your publishing contract CAREFULLY! Get advice on what is the norm of the industry.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

Since “Fame & Deceit” is set in the horse world, I traveled to dozens of horse shows and trade shows in New England and even to major events elsewhere in the US. I found at least one vendor at each event who was happy to carry my book. I supplied them with flyers and set up at least one booksigning. These events are often a week long. The first day I went to the event, I plastered the bulletin boards with posters saying where it could be purchased.

I contacted a number of stores and catalog stores that specialize in horse and rider things and now my book is part of their store/catalog/on-line store.

In the towns of the horse events I went to, I also contacted book stores and set up signings.

Recently I hooked up with a well-respected New England horse rescue and am donating a portion of every sale to it. These people gave me a big promotion on their site and visa/versa.

My husband and I are planning a cruise. I contacted the cruise line for permission to have my book carried in their gift shop. They also want to schedule a book signing on an “at sea” day.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?