Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Interview with author Pat Dale

Today, my guest is romance author, Pat Dale.  Pat is here to discuss his book, A Girl's Best Friend.

Tell me a little about your book.
It’s sort of a ‘strangers in the night’ story; a glamorous young woman meets a sophisticated gentleman on an overseas flight and from that moment, their lives get tangled in the webs of deception each of them is working through.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
One of my daughters, a rather glamorous one, had recently gone through a series of flights to Switzerland for her company. While this is in no way a copy of her experiences, it did give me a ‘what if?’ jumping off point.

Are you a full time writer and how do you organize your time?
I write full time. My college English professors urged me to pursue a career in fiction writing, but I had a good start with my music and held off. Along the way, I decided that my writing would ring true if I first experienced a bit of life’s ups and downs. By the mid-nineties, I’d done that and was ready to create some novels that tell the story of life as I’ve witnessed it.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t remember. I’ve always liked writing stories and poems. For me, it is no different than the symphonies and other music I’ve written over the years. Writing a novel was a bit different. I waited until I felt I had more than enough to write about to tackle such a long form. I wish some others would do the same.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
First, I want them to be entertained; to enjoy the vicarious thrill of living someone else’s life for a few hours. Second, I usually have a theme in there somewhere. Most are variations on a good versus evil conflict. If my reader gets it, I’ve done what I needed to do as a writer. Third, I will consider myself a success if the reader takes that message and weighs its meaning in her own life; something that can be a bit more problematic.

Which genres do you write? Which do you prefer, and why?
I’ve written mainstream, romantic comedies, romantic suspense, psychological suspense, and mystery. While I enjoy making people laugh and tingle with emotion, my bent for dark gritty suspense and mystery is leading me more and more down that path.

What is the toughest part of being a writer and how do you get past it?
Writing isn’t the easiest activity, but I think the worst for me is when I seem to go dead in the water. Not exactly writers block, but after a very productive time when I seemingly have nothing more to say. Those times always, without exception, generate from my brain’s need to synthesize what I’ve put into the text. If I can divert to another activity for a short time, I’ll be able to pick it up and go again. I just have to remember to give it a rest.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Oh wow! This is a tough one. My characters are all based on real people; not just one but a composite of characteristics from several. Events are the same; not the real life thing of course, but something everybody experiences and has to get through. But if you mean, have I copied an event out of life, the answer is no. Still, my daughter’s experiences were in my mind when I penned this book, and some of them were bizarre to say the least.

How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
MY spy, Laz, shares some of my personality traits. And some of my attitudes. Beyond that, he’s his own character and does things in a totally different way than I’d have done in his shoes. I hate to admit it, but his way is better!

What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I chose what some call a double helix plot format for A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND. I do not recommend this to other writers. I began with two unrelated stories, his and hers, and followed them through a natural sequence to a closing point. Then I went back and wove the two together in such a way that could actually happen in life, with each struggling within their own sphere but with the plusses and minuses that each brings to the table. I also had to research Amsterdam by way of my computer because I didn’t have airfare to see it for myself. Again, my girl had been there many times and helped me describe that city. Other than that, a lot of work with roadmaps and googled scenery over our nation’s capital, and I had the rest in my cranium.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
He He. I have to admit, I enjoy writing violent scenes. Sometimes, what goes down makes me a little sick to my stomach, but I remind myself its only words. Likewise, a really steamy sex scene leaves me panting but its only words on a page. Right? I just sent off a family saga to my publisher that has a sad final scene that I can’t read without crying. And I’m a man, for crying out loud!

What about your book makes it special?
You’ll have to excuse me. I’m getting slap happy now. The fact I wrote it makes it very special. ROLF! Seriously, I meant this story to be an under the radar tip of my hat to all those men and women who’ve given their lives while serving our nation in a capacity that does not allow their sacrifice to be recognized. We hear stories about jerks who have dishonored our nation, but there are many, many more who died and were buried in unmarked graves far from home and family. Don’t want to get maudlin, but we need to always remember our undercover agents who die to keep us free.

What is your marketing plan?
I’ve already been interviewed for a newspaper article that ran on page one in our local paper. Had a booksigning at the local bookstore. Sent messages and promos world-wide. Will continue to do so. My wife, who is a Facebook addict, has friends in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Canada, as well as all over the USA that are reading A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND right now. If they like it, I ask them to tell others about it. If they don’t, I ask them to tell me.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
I have a website: In addition to this book at: I have three romantic comedies, FOR THE LOVE OF HATTIE, GOLDIE’S BEAR, and DON’T BET ON IT at: and will soon have another romantic suspense novel, THE PERFECT STRANGER at and will have a new midlife romance, SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY, at: in April 2011.

Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Just one. If it is a romance that has suspense elements, write the romance first. Emphasize the romance. On the other hand, if it is a suspense novel that contains romantic elements, write more as a mystery/suspense writer and weave in the romance as it happens. And don’t try the double helix!

Thanks, Pat for being my guest today and giving us a little insight into your writing life.

Here's a short synopsis of A Girl's Best Friend:

Glamour gal and slippery spy ratchet between ecstasy and despair as they unravel separate webs of deception in their lives.

Laura Margolin has been promoted to liaison between her Miami TV jewelry company and their new owner, Vermeer Inc., in Amsterdam , but it seems Heinrik Vermeer had ulterior motives when he promoted her.
Hayward Lazarus narrowly misses an assassin’s bullet on his way to his European covert mission. Then a colleague is garroted before they can meet and Laz is on the run. Add to that, his car blows up in the Miami airport lot, a bomb meant to take him with the car, and he’s in a world of hurt.

What better place to hide out than in a beautiful TV celebrity’s condo? Read A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND to see how that fateful decision turns their lives upside down; her career is blown to bits, he dies heroically—and they live happily ever after.

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