Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

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My love affair with Fat Ass Sammy Grick


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.

Patricia Stoltey

Patricia Stoltey

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.

DeadWrongFront 264x408As 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 ( was released by Five Star Nov. 19, 2014.


To learn more about Patricia and her novels, visit her website ( and blog ( She can also be found on Facebook (, Twitter (, Google+   (, and Goodreads (

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