Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Patricia Rockwell ~ Interview

An Interview with Patricia Rockwell

Patricia, this is your first book. What made you want to write a mystery?

Lori, I spent my entire career as a teacher--the last thirteen of those years as a Communication professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Part of my responsibilities (part of all college faculty members’ responsibilities, actually) included conducting research in my area of expertise. My particular specialty was vocal behavior--sound, if you will--and one of the primary ways I examined human voices was with acoustic technology. Human voices are quite unique--much like human finger prints--and acoustic equipment is often used by police and crime labs to identify various individuals when officials have a voice sample but no actual suspect. I’ve always felt that a heroine who uses such technology would make for a really interesting detective series and I resolved that when I retired I would try to create such a heroine and such a series.

Are there any similarities between college teaching and writing mysteries?

Well, writing is a very solitary activity and teaching is a very social activity (except for grading papers, of course). But there are similarities. In my career I did a lot of writing. When I conducted my research, I would be expected to report on my results, usually in a very dry academic article that I was expected to get published in an equally dry academic journal. I managed to produce quite a few such papers--and even a book. I also spent about eight years as an editor of a regional academic journal, so I have experience both writing, editing, and publishing.

Why a mystery?

Mysteries, particularly cozy mysteries, have always been my favorite light reading. I always seem to be able to “get away from it all” when I’m reading a mystery. But, with a mystery, I love the element of suspense and trying to figure things out. I prefer “cozy” mysteries to regular mysteries because they seem to have a more gentle quality--less blood and gore. That’s something I don’t like in mysteries I read, so it’s something I left out of Sounds of Murder and will leave out of any subsequent Pamela Barnes’ acoustic mysteries.

You say “subsequent mysteries.” Do you have a second Pamela Barnes’ book planned?

Lori, it’s not only planned, it’s finished. It will probably be out next summer. I’m still agonizing over a title. The working title is Radio Murder, but I’m considering Murder on the Radio or Murder on Air. I’d like to maintain the use of the word murder in all of my Pamela Barnes’ books. This second book is about a radio disk jockey who is killed while on the air but he’s alone at the station and no one seems the killer. The police ask Pamela to assist in the investigation by examining the audio tape of the disk jockey’s final program and she if she can learn anything about the killer from the sounds on the recording. I also have a third book planned, tentatively entitled Voice Mail Murder. This one is really in the early stages.

I see your book is published by Cozy Cat Press.

Yes, Cozy Cat Press is the brain child of me and my colleague Diane Morlan, also a cozy mystery writer. We are focusing on cozy mysteries only--starting with our own, but hoping to branch out to other cozy mystery authors when we find them. If any of your readers write cozies, please contact us at: You can find purchase information about our books at our website too.

Sounds of Murder

Patricia Rockwell’s new cozy mystery Sounds of Murder tells a tale of academic intrigue and death. At Grace University, a small southern college, no one in the Psychology Department likes Charlotte Clark, so no one is particularly upset when she is found murdered in the department’s million-dollar computer lab. But because she discovered the body, Associate Professor Pamela Barnes feels obligated to find Charlotte’s killer, and when she discovers a recording of the murder that was accidentally produced during Charlotte’s struggle with the killer, she begins her own investigation. Along the way, Pamela agonizes with her own conscience, fights her growing fear, attempts to understand her mysterious Department Chair, keeps her curious colleagues informed, placates her protective husband, and avoids antagonizing a local rube detective who belittles her efforts--all while she struggles to make sense of the sounds on the recording. As she gets deeper and deeper into her analysis—trying to connect what she hears in the recording with sounds from people (and potential killers) around her--she gets closer and closer to the killer, who unbeknownst to her, is observing Pamela’s efforts to find the killer, and resolving to prevent her. When Pamela finally identifies the one sound on the tape that positively identifies the killer, she works with the detective to trick the killer into a confession.

Visit Pamela at Cozy Cat Press
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Check out her blogs ~ Subjective Soup & Communication Exchange