About Paty Jager:
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. She has a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award for her Action Adventure and received the EPPIE Award for Best Contemporary Romance. Her first mystery Double Duplicity is a finalist for the RONE award in the mystery category. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”
All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural SE Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve been writing most of my life. First making up plays for stuffed animals. Now, as an adult, the ability to put characters I make up in my head into situations and places I will never see or do is a way I can live vicariously through them. Early in our marriage my husband was a truck driver. He’d be gone for several days at a time. I worried, and my vivid imagination came up with all kinds of bad things that happened to him while he was on the road. After I started writing fiction stories, I stopped manufacturing scenarios of doom for my family when I wasn’t with them. It is my way to release the fears and imagination in my head.
As for the types of stories I write: Mystery books have always been my favorite book to read so it came naturally that I would write the genre I loved. Putting together the mystery in a book is like building a puzzle. I write the historical western romance because I live a western lifestyle and grew up in a small backwards community where I lived in some ways like the characters in my historical westerns. The action adventure books take me on the adventures I dream about.
Tell us about your writing process.
My process for conjuring up a book is what I call “stewing and brewing”. I can be thinking about two books I’ll be writing after I finish the current book. I like to think about the main characters, get to really know them in my head. I write down a paragraph or two or three about each main character when they are clear. Then I write a few sentences about secondary characters that are vital or part of the story. Once I have those figured out and I’ve done the research for either a historical or elements in the mystery that I don’t know, I start coming up with what if’s and scenarios that will work with the information I’ve gathered. Once I know the plot or theme of the book, the main characters, where the book will start, and what the end will be, I start writing.
For the mystery books, I also do a suspect chart where I name who is murdered and how. Then I list suspects, their motives and the red herrings that draw the reader to that person as the suspect. This chart helps me move through the story adding each red herring in a chapter.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters don’t really talk to me. When I’m writing or thinking about the book the characters just move through my mind and I type what I (the character) sees and hears. I try to write deep point of view and keep the reader in that character’s point of view if I can without writing first person. My books come to me like a movie playing in my head.
What advice would you give other writers?
The advice I would give other writers is know your genre and know your craft. The best way to sell more books and hook readers is to write a good book. I don’t mean a grammatically correct book, which you do need, but one that has such a great story it draws the reader in and hooks them until the last word.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I started with a small press publisher with my historical western romance books. It was a great opportunity to learn about the whole process of publishing a book. Once the self-publish craze hit, I had other writer friends pushing me to self-publish. I stuck my foot in the water and discovered I enjoy having more control over the finished product. And now all my books but two still at the small press are self-published. I enjoy the freedom I have to publish whatever genre I wish.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
My thoughts on the future of book publishing are: I believe there is a need for print books. Many people enjoy the feel of a book and the knowledge it is theirs until they decide to give it away. But there is also a large population who love the digital book. Indie or self publishing has given the reader new mixed genre stories to read and by the number of indie books selling, the publishers are starting to take notice of this need for more diverse genre books. There will always be a need for brick and mortar books stores, but the digital age makes books more accessible to people who can’t get to libraries and stores on a regular basis.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Murder mystery, historical western romance, Action Adventure
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.