Victoria M. Patton - A Secret That Will Rip a Tight-Knit Community Apart
If Victoria M. Patton isn't using her Forensic Chemistry degree and her time in the Coast Guard to figure out where to bury the bodies and write about the murders, she is more than likely hanging with her husband, her two dogs, and two cats. Her teenagers want nothing to do with her. If she has any free time, she binge-watches Hulu and YouTubeTV, usually with a glass of whiskey. Check out her blog Whiskey and Writing where she tries to help new authors navigate the indie publishing world. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Innocence Taken.
Please give us a short introduction to what Innocence Taken is about.
Besides being a great forensic thriller about a serial killer in a small rural community, it takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions. Something I don't think is in a lot of thrillers. It also has some funny humor, and a cat named Coach that seems to be a huge fan favorite.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
I have a degree in Forensic Chemistry and spent time in the Coast Guard, so I used my Law Enforcement background and my degree to fill some time while I was a stay-at-home mom. I was also reading a lot due to knee surgery and thought I could write a book, so I did.
Tell us more about Lt. Damien Kaine. What makes him so special?
He is a right-or-die kind of guy. He does the right thing even though it may get him in trouble for not following procedure. He cares about the dead more than he should and is often driven to protect those around him at all costs. He thinks he knows best, even when he doesn't. But in the end, he does it all to help, never to hurt. He's also sexy as hell, and why not? I'm not sure where it has been written that you can't have sexy in thrillers.
Why did you decide to combine forensics and police work with humor and romance?
I spent a lot of time around cops/detectives/FBI and other law enforcement groups. And I saw some pretty gnarly things in the Coast Guard. Often, a way for law enforcement or military members to deal with the atrocities they see is to use humor. And often that sense of humor is warped and laced with sarcasm. It seems to fit these characters. But It also gives my reader a break. I take my characters to some pretty rough emotional places, so the humor helps keep the reader engaged and I hope, brings some reality to this series.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I have an ability to recall conversations verbatim from months, even years, ago. It really pisses people off. I can't recall why I walked into the kitchen, but a conversation from a year ago, no problem. I can also make myself invisible.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?
For me, the research. Sounds so boring. But I called my local medical examiner's office (where I did my internship) to ask a bunch of odd questions. Several times he asked me why I wanted to know this, and what I was doing. I'm pretty sure he thought I was going on a murder spree. I kept waiting for the FBI or police to show up at my door.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
All the time. It is very frustrating.
How much of your work experience has made it into your book?
I use a lot of my life and work experience in my books, with equal parts being my imagination. Which makes my family a little nervous at times.
Cool cover. Tell us more about how it came about.
I had a definite idea for a retro feel to the covers. Using the black and white photos makes them stand out a tad more in the sea of thriller books.
Innocence Taken forms part of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Each book is standalone because the murders / or cases are solved. However, the characters develop as you move through the series. So you get more of a feel for the characters by reading the books in order. With that said, I do give enough background in each book, so if someone picks up the book in the middle of the series, you will have a good understanding of how the characters got to where they are.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Plot out the killer and why he is killing. Then I figure out the victims. From there, I craft the story.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I listen to music while I write. If I don't have to drive, (so mostly at night), I will drink whiskey (sometimes wine) while I write. If I go to my favorite cafe, I drink way too much hot tea. I write a lot during the day. I start with coffee or tea. Get my social media done, or any advertising, then I sit and write. I don't answer calls or check email or anything else while I write. I turn my music up sort of loud, and I wear headphones to block out any distractions.
What are you working on right now?
Damien Kaine Book 6 and the 3rd book in my Derek Reed series. I am also outlining a horror-thriller series (think Constantine meets The Da Vinci Code) and another series with a bad-ass female protagonist. (Think Atomic Blonde meets the Equalizer.)
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website is the best place to start. https://www.whiskeyandwriting.com. Next, they can find me on Facebook @WhiskeyandWriting and on Twitter @VictoriaMPatton. I can be emailed at [email protected]. I answer all my emails. I have no assistants or robot responses. I love to hear from readers.