by Patricia Stoltey, mystery writer and guest columnist
Thanks so much for letting me visit your website, Mark. You’ve given me a chance to tell your readers about a bittersweet experience I had while writing Dead Wrong.
When I recruited Fat Ass Sammy Grick to be the bad guy in my first standalone suspense novel, I had no idea I was going to become so attached I’d have a hard time letting him go.
Many women, of course, are drawn to bad boys. But we think of devilish risk-taking characters–handsome guys with bedroom eyes, a little dangerous but not bad enough to do us harm, except perhaps to our hearts.
Sammy? Sammy wasn’t handsome. He had an ugly glare and a temper that flared at whoever was handy when he made one of his frequent stupid mistakes. To tell the truth, he was a nasty good-for-very-little thug. And I loved him from the very beginning.
I decided to write a multiple point of view novel and give Sammy a voice. He seemed a worthy adversary for Lynnette, a woman already on the run. She had no idea she was about to tangle with such a despicable lowlife.
And I had no idea I was going to get so attached to Sammy. He was like my inner creep who needed to get out and flex his muscles. When I wrote Sammy’s chapters, I became one with Sammy.
Sammy cussed. He cussed a lot. I began to mumble his dialogue as I typed. It felt good.
Some of Sammy’s actions caused Lynnette to react in unpredictable ways. I liked seeing her handle those twists and turns, so I gave Sammy free rein.
When Sammy’s gangster boss interrupted the action and sent Sammy into a tailspin, I watched and marveled as the big lug figured out what to do next.
As the story progressed, I began asking, “What would Sammy do?”
Wait! Sammy was not supposed to be the main character of Dead Wrong.
The story was about Lynnette. I should have been asking, “What would Lynnette do?”
I finally came to my senses. I had fallen in love with the antagonist. It was time to break it off before I ended up with a manuscript worthy only of cross-cut shredding.
I wanted to let Sammy down easy, but with a temper like his, I had to be careful. I tiptoed around and hinted a little, then finally cut the ties. It was as hard on me as it was on him.
I’m well into a new manuscript now, and so far I’ve managed to control myself and my characters a little better. I hope this means less revising when the first draft is finished. I’d hate to go through another breakup like the one with Sammy. I still miss him. I miss him a lot.
Patricia Stoltey is the author of two amateur sleuth mysteries from Five Star/Cengage, The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders, now available as ebooks. Dead Wrong (www.amazon.com/Dead-Wrong-Patricia-Stoltey/dp/1432829866/) was released by Five Star Nov. 19, 2014.
To learn more about Patricia and her novels, visit her website (http://patriciastoltey.com) and blog (http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.com/). She can also be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/patricia.stoltey), Twitter (https://twitter.com/PStoltey), Google+ (https://plus.google.com/u/0/115494264819086899639/posts), and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1105939.Patricia_Stoltey).
After that great post, how could I resist reading the book. Congratulations!
Thanks, Carole! The post was fun to write, and I thank Mark for letting me get this confession off my chest at his site instead of my own….
Come on April, you have to spill the beans on Fat Ass Sammy and Patricia! You’ve got the dirt. I know it. And I know Pat’s a tough cookie to crack, so this is as much as she’ll ever let on. Great post Pat and I will be deep into “Dead Wrong” soon.
Dean, thanks so much! I do hope you enjoy the book.I’ll probably find another guy like Sammy, real life or fictional. But that may be a good thing.
And thanks extra bunches for linking to this post from your blog. You’re awesome!
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My pleasure, Pat. Congrats on “Dead Wrong.”
Sorry, Dean. You’ll just have to read the book to get all the juicy Fat Ass details. I guarantee you’ll fall for you him too.
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Reblogged this on Dean K Miller and commented:
A great guest by author Patricia Stoltey at Death in Nostalgia City hosted by Mark S. Bacon. Who couldn’t love someone named “Fat Ass Sammy Grick”. . . even if he is a bad guy.
This is fantastic, Pat. Lucky enough to be in the same critique group with you, I got to witness the torrid love affair first hand. I’ll admit, I was a little jealous ;-) Congrats on the book!
Thanks, April! It’s true, Sammy is probably one of the great loves of my life. :D