Author name: Chris Patchell
Please tell us about your publications/work.
I started writing again after a long hiatus. Work. Kids. Life. You know. And when I picked up the proverbial pen once again, I started thinking about what kind of stories I wanted to write. Way back when, I used to write romances, but twenty years later, I realized that I liked to read suspense thrillers. I love the high-stakes, fast-paced stories that keep you up way past bedtime because you just need to know what happens next. So that’s what I write. Suspense stories that run the gamut from psychological suspense to smalltown crime thrillers. Most of my stories are set in the Pacific Northwest, where I currently live.
How did you become involved with bundles? (For Bundle Authors)
It was Fiona Quinn who first involved me in the wonderful world of author bundles. I had met Fiona back in 2015 when both of us had books published through Amazon’s Kindle Scout Program. Fiona introduced me to another one of her author friends, Judith Lucci, and through the two of them, I made other author connections that have seen my work published in a variety of bundles. It’s been a fabulous way to both grow my author network and meet some amazing readers.
What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?
Don’t worry about the progress you’re making or not making toward whatever your goals are. Just keep going. Keep writing. Focus on bettering your craft. Don’t spend time worrying about what you can’t control.
How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?
It depends on the book. I’ve attended three citizen police academies in different cities and have learned interesting things from each. I’ve done a lot of reading and research into various topics. I’ve had fun conversations with police officers, firemen, and folks who own gun shops, but probably the most fun I’ve ever had was talking with a man in Portland who runs his own company that does opposition research for political campaigns. It’s amazing the information his firm has uncovered through the course of the campaigns they’ve supported. Fascinating (and at times hair-raising) stuff.
The most interesting bit of research I did though, was for my book, Dark Harvest. This research involved the application of stem cell research in treating degenerative brain diseases. I had done some research on my own, but then I met a friend of a friend who is a genetic counsellor, and she was able to help me did a little deeper into this captivating and complex topic.
What is your writing space like?
I have an office on the ground floor of my house, which has a lovely set of windows. As you can imagine, it has several bookcases, which are mostly filled with books I’ve used while researching my novels. My desk is always more cluttered than it should be. While I try to keep it clean, notebooks and uncategorized stacks of mail litter the edges, while at least one coffee mug, a glass of water, and a gently use tea bag can be frequently found there.
The one thing that I love the most in my office, is my white board, which is where I keep track of my marketing activities, as well as outline plots. When I get stuck, whiteboarding is one of the ways in which I can work through the log jam of ideas and get my storyline back on track. I blame my career as a project manager in the technology sector for falling in love with whiteboards. 😊
Tell us about your latest piece?
The Perfect Brother, which was released in the fall of 2022, is a novel (suspense meets amateur sleuth) in which a brilliant software developer sets out to prove her brother’s innocence when he is charged with killing his secret girlfriend. Set in Vancouver, BC, what I love about this story is the strength of family ties and how the family’s culture sets expectations that result in a series of lies that eventually get exposed. Indira Saraf, the software developer in question, adapts her Artificial Intelligence technology to uncover other suspects in the killing in the hopes of proving her brother innocent. It’s an intricate and engrossing story.
What’s your next writing adventure?
Right now, I’m working on a story where a disgraced cop teams up with an FBI Agent whose career is on the rise, to track down a serial killer. It’s set in Portland, Oregon, and I’m calling it Speak No Evil.
What are your views on authors commenting on reviews?
Personally, good or bad, I don’t comment on reviews. Reviews should embody what the reader thinks of your story, not what you think of what they think about your story. I know that sounds a little convoluted, but there it is. As a writer, all you can do is write the best story you can, send it out in the world, and hope that people like it. If they do, great. If they don’t, then it probably wasn’t the story for them.
How do you deal with bad reviews?
I used to read them in the hopes that I could learn something from them that would make me a better writer, but what I really learned was that most 1 and 2 star reviews aren’t very constructive. They’re usually indicative of what I’ve said above—that for whatever reason, your story wasn’t the right story for them. Even New York Times bestselling novels have bad reviews. The downside of reading bad reviews is that sometimes the mean things that some people say get stuck in your mind, so instead, I’ll have my husband scan bad reviews and let me know if there’s anything constructive there to be learned. That way, if there’s good information, I still get to hear it, but avoid unconstructive comments from lodging themselves in my brain.
Sort these into order of importance:
- Good plot
- Great characters
- Awesome world-building
- Technically perfect
Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline?
As a reader, I love eBooks because they’ve made buying books super simple, an impulse purchase, like bubble gum beside the cash register. I can finish one story at 10 pm and download the next. It’s awesome. I do also love browsing bookstores. I love looking at book covers and reading the descriptions and maybe a few excerpts. As a reader and a writer, I hope we live in the world where both can continue to thrive.
What is your greatest success?
OMG. I can still remember the day when my book was on the Amazon Bestsellers chart beside Stephen King. His book was #12 and mine was #13. I still have screenshots of that event. It felt surreal. Just seeing my book ranked beside some truly amazing and popular authors has been a thrill. But it’s also a thrill to have readers contact me and share how much they’ve enjoyed my stories. Forging that kind of personal connection is special and something I have appreciated throughout this journey of becoming a writer. While writing the Lacey James series, I was touched by the story of a woman who was reading my books out loud to her ninety-two-year-old mother. It’s readers like that who keeps me going when my motivation wanes.
Tell us a silly fact about yourself.
Donald Duck was my favourite Disney character growing up because he was so foul-tempered.
What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
I wanted to be an animator for Disney, but I wasn’t gifted with my father’s artistic abilities, so I became a writer instead. 😊
Links to The Perfect Brother: https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Brother-Chris-Patchell-ebook/dp/B0B2CN9M51
Chris Patchell is an award-winning USA Today Bestselling Author who started writing to curb the homicidal tendencies she experienced during her daily Seattle commute. She writes gripping suspense thrillers with romantic elements set in the Pacific Northwest and believes good fiction combines a magical mix of complex characters, compelling plots, and well-crafted stories.