In the 1950s, my interest was captured by Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew series. Each holiday, I would request the latest Nancy Drew title, and on receiving it, I would curl up in an oversized chair and begin reading the fast-paced adventure.
Whereby, I dabbled at creating my own mystery stories at an early age. My first effort detailed a long, frightening chase by a sinister man. A dark tunnel appeared, leading to (of course) a haunted mansion. The not-so-brilliant ending had me saved by the man of my life at the time — my father.
My parents and teachers would often tell me, “Patty, you are a dreamer. You have a vivid imagination. Put it to good use.” It was at that point, in lieu of playing with friends or watching the new small-box-wonder — TV — I sat at an old desk in the kitchen and wrote mystery stories. I also drew stick figures to illustrate the action in the stories. The discovery of boys replaced pen and paper. The telephone became my favorite instrument, and I lost interest in reading and writing until a formidable nun taught me English in high school. With her teaching skills and persistence, she developed writing skills in me that I never knew I had. I won a major writing contest at school that year, shining a bright light on the school, teacher, and myself.
With a revival of interest from my childhood, I picked up where I left off, writing saleable poetry and a variety of articles, essays, and short stories. Presently, I am penning novels to include mainstream stories and my favorite, mysteries.
Two favorite characters I have created for general entertainment are Gert Carver and Nina Westacott. Friends for many years, the two women pursue bottle mining and flea market quests. I was fortunate to have a close relationship with two aunts. The idea came to mind to express how their uniqueness affected me as a child. I wished to pass the essence of their warm and zany personalities on to others and I fictionalized them.
In writing mystery stories, I am determined to have justice served. My recent sojourn to the Rensselaer County Courthouse for jury selection impressed upon me that perpetrators have more rights than victims. It confirmed what I already knew: people are victimized once during the actual crime and once during the detailing of the sordid events leading to the crime at the trial. Can anyone blame a person who refuses to go through a debilitating trial? Hence, the perpetrator gets away with a plea bargain or less and walks away a free man. Often, he/she commits a similar crime. I would like to shadow dedicated professionals of the justice system and put into writing the need for more honesty and integrity.
Ideas for a writer’s fanfare are everywhere. Newspapers are a good source for material; just study the headlines. What if …?
Patricia Crandall has published eight books as well as numerous articles and short stories in various magazines and newspapers. In November 2022, she will publish Lacy O’Dunn, The Rookie, a crime/thriller involving drugs and car bashing senior citizens on icy winter roads. She is also working on a book of short story mysteries to be published in 2023. A member of Sisters in Crime (Mavens) and National Association of Independent Writer & Editors, she lives with her husband, Art, and a rescue cat, Bette, at Babcock Lake in the Grafton Mountains near Petersburgh, New York. She has two children and three grandchildren who live nearby.