I am delighted to welcome Patricia Dusenbury to Me, My Books and I today.
Patricia Dusenbury was one of those children who read under the covers when her parents thought she was asleep. (She still reads into the wee hours but now uses a Kindle.) Despite sleep deprivation, she managed to get through college and a career as an economist/strategic planner. Now retired, she hopes to atone for all her dry economic analyses and reports by writing books that people read for pleasure and not because their job requires it.
Her first book, A Perfect Victim, won the 2015 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) award for best mystery. It is now available in hard copy (with a new cover) as well as the original digital format. Her second book, Secrets, Lies & Homicide, is a finalist for the 2016 EPIC award and was a top ten finisher in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll. It, too, is available in hard copy with a new cover. Her third, A House of Her Own, was released in October 2015 as an e-book and in November in hard copy.
Each book is a standalone mystery; together, they trace a young widow’s recovery from emotional devastation. If the trilogy had a name, it would be A Path Through the Ashes, which was the working title of the first book.
Find out more:
Where did the idea for A House of Her Own come from?
Several years ago, I was called for jury duty but not chosen. Leaving the courthouse, I saw people gathered on the steps and wandered over to see what was going on. Lenders were auctioning off the homes of people who’d defaulted on their mortgages. Although I didn’t buy a house, much less one reputed to be haunted, this experience inspired the plot of A House of Her Own.
Also, because A House of Her Own is the third book in a trilogy, it resolves relationships begun in the first two books, A Perfect Victim and Secrets, Lies & Homicide.
Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?
The e-book cover was designed by my publisher, and I’m not crazy about it. When I decided to publish my books in paperback, I worked with Saille Tales Graphic Design for Books http://www.sailletaales.com to make a cover. I chose stairs for A House of Her Own because stairs play an important role in the story, and I think the stairs going up lead the reader into the book.
Who was your favourite character to write and why?
I enjoy writing all my characters, but if I have to choose, I’d say Tony. I’ve always had respect for survivors and a weakness for the bad boys. If I can pick one more, it would be Tishanna’s grandmother. Although she is a minor character, Margaret Tenier is a woman of courage and dignity.
If you had to write it all over again, would you change anything?
Oh yes. I can’t read a page I’ve written without wanting to revise something. The biggest change I’d make in A House of Her Own is the ending. I wouldn’t have things go in another direction, but I’d take more time convincing the reader that this is what has to happen.
Who are your favourite authors and do you think they have influenced your writing in any way?
Laura Lippman, Donna Leon, and Louise Penny all write fabulous mystery series. Although they are quite different, each one combines a puzzling mystery with very human characters. This inspires me to try to do the same. My non-mystery favorite writers are Ann Patchett and Kate Atkinson, who does write mysteries but it’s her other books I enjoy most—again because the characters come alive. My all-time favorite book is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, which has some very strange characters. Truth is, I love to read.
What are you working on now?
I’m about halfway through a mystery with the working title Two Weeks in Geary. The main character is a woman who walked away from an unhappy family situation, and eleven years later, sees the son she left behind on the news. He is a fugitive and a murder suspect. This is where the book begins.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met?
I used to work with elected officials and have met some well-known people, but the most interesting person I’ve ever met is a friend who inspired one of the characters in Two Weeks in Geary. This is the first time I’ve deliberately modeled a character on a person, and I asked permission first. The character is Agnes Dolan, a beautiful, blonde lesbian who lives in New York City. Agnes is a criminal defense attorney noted for her opposition to the death penalty. My friend is a heterosexual male with dark hair who does not live in New York. He is smart and well-educated and could make a lot of money in his profession. Instead, he works for a non-profit and pursues what he believes in. That is the core of his personality, what makes him so interesting, and what he shares with Agnes.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I wander around San Francisco—I moved here a little over a year ago and fell in love with the city—hang out with the grandkids, go hiking, read, and to my shame, play games on my iphone.
Paperback or e-book?
Dogs or cats?
Again, both. Claire Marshall, the main character in my trilogy, has a cat named Dorian Gray: I have a dog, an Alaskan Malamute named Babe.
Any last words for your readers?
Thank you. Few things make me happier than people reading my books. I hope you enjoy them.
Thank you so much for answering my questions Patricia, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about your favourite authors!
Now check out the book:
Publisher: Uncial Press
Publication Date: 16 October 2015
“If something seems to good to be true ….
That house in that neighborhood for that price? Claire Marshall thought she’d hit the jackpot. Her company would restore the old house to its previous glory and sell it at a huge profit. She hadn’t counted on the runaway girl hiding in the upstairs bedroom, the brutal gang chasing her, or the angry ghost who may or may not be keeping the gang at bay.
Claire’s business partner says they won’t be able to give this house away. He wants to write off the investment, her workers don’t want to go inside, but Claire doesn’t believe in ghosts or in giving up without a fight. And she could use a distraction. Tony, her lover, is back on the Grand Prix circuit, driving in a racing season marred by fatal accidents, and, according the media, finding comfort in the arms of another woman. Just when Claire thinks that things can’t get worse, they do.”