A Conversation with: Patricia Gligor
October 27, 2013
Author, Reader, and Outstanding Author Supporter[i]
Today, I’m visiting with Patricia Gligor. Like with so many authors, I first “met” Patricia electronically during a blog tour. I immediately liked the “electronic Patricia.” Since then, she has become one of my favorite authors, and I sure hope to actually meet Patricia one day down the road.
One of the outstanding items I’ve noticed about you, Patricia, is the encouragement and promotional opportunities you give other authors. Bravo—makes you “aces” in my book! And thank you so much for taking the time to visit and have a conversation with me. I know you’re a busy author—one of the reasons I so wanted to talk to you. I’m always interested in the “how, why, and when” for other authors—especially the “how” so many authors do so much. Indeed, a big part of having these “conversations” is my selfish goal to inspire and energize myself.
Madeline, thank you for inviting me to be here today. Like you, I truly hope we can meet in person one day. I absolutely love your books. I’ve read “Counsel of Ravens” and “Reticence of Ravens” and I can’t say enough good things about them – or about you.
Okay, Patricia, I’m blushing. Thanks for your kind words. But back to YOU, during the blog tour where we “met,” you mentioned the beginning of your writing career. The losing your job part sounded awful—even though it led to where you are now. I think you said that was in 2009? So, starting off, could you go over your fascinating writing-launch story again?
Yes, definitely. At the end of January 2009, my full-time position as store administrative assistant for a large sporting goods company was eliminated company-wide. At first, I was devastated, terrified really. I felt lost! Not at all sure where to go from there. I’d worked for the company for eleven years and planned to stay until I reached full retirement age. But it wasn’t meant to be.
For more years than I care to say, I had been working on the first novel for my Malone mystery series but job, family, etc. always seemed to take priority, leaving me little writing time. So, when I lost my job, I came to realize that I could either wallow in self-pity and be miserable or I could use the time productively. I immersed myself in writing, editing and submitting “Mixed Messages” and went on to write the sequel, “Unfinished Business.” Both books were published in 2012 by Post Mortem Press. My life-long dream come true and proof to me that “everything happens for a reason.”
I love the part about your life-long dream coming true! You mention on your website about your past lives including the “…administrative assistant, the sole proprietor of a resume writing service and the manager of a sporting goods department…” job, and you’ve just explained how that experience got you here. And I know your passion now is writing, but the sporting goods department part of your life is still grabbing my interest–even though it ended so abruptly. What was that job like—I mean the items you sold, the stories you heard—and did any of that experience find its way into your writing?
I’ve found that, eventually, almost everything I’ve experienced in life makes its way into my writing – in one form or another.
Although my passion has always been writing, I loved working in and managing the sporting goods department for one of the stores in a local retail chain. (I was the first woman sporting goods manager in the company.) My department sold everything from footballs to fishing lures.
I had a great group of guys working with me. I say “with” because, as a manager, I was a firm believer in never asking anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do. The exception, of course, was lifting things I physically couldn’t lift. The guys had the muscles! I enjoyed most aspects of the job, including maintaining ATF firearms records and selling guns, but what I enjoyed the most was dealing with the customers. I have a story or two about them.
For example, I had one customer, a man probably in his fifties, (I was in my thirties at the time), who came in a couple of times a week. He never smiled and every time I saw him he was “nasty.” This went on for awhile and one day I decided that enough is enough. I looked at him and said, “Are you always in a bad mood or is it just when you come in here?” He got this perplexed expression on his face and said, “What do you mean? Am I crabby?” I laughed and told him, “Yes. Every time I see you.” He shrugged his shoulders, “I didn’t realize.” Amazingly, from that day on, he was one of the sweetest customers I had and he always came in with a smile on his face. (Of course, it could’ve gone another way; he could’ve reported me to the store manager. But, I’ve never let a little thing like getting in trouble stop me from doing what I think is right and I try to always trust my gut.)
One more story; this one is funny and I actually used an adaptation of it in “Unfinished Business.”
I was working in my department one day (located at the back of the store) and I could hear a woman yelling from several aisles away. “You can’t ever get any help around here! Where are the workers? All I want is for someone to make me a damn key!” She was making her way toward me but, before she got to me, she found Peggy, one of the clerks who worked in the Hardware department where the key machine was located. I could hear and see them from where I stood. “Well,” the woman huffed, hands on her hips, “finally someone who works here! Can you make me a key?” Without missing a beat, Peggy flung out her hands and said, “Poof! You’re a key!” I thought my sides would burst! (I know Peggy got reported for that one!) Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Oh, do I love Peggy’s presence-of-mind. What a great story! Switching topics–one of the things that has grabbed me in your promotional efforts, is your involvement and handling of “social media” to promote yourself and other authors. I was so honored you included me on your Shelfari list. I haven’t done much there—yet. Could you share with us the “places” you go, and your assessment of the benefits and drawbacks of your efforts?
I have been so blessed with people helping me – in life and in my writing career – and I believe that we were all put on this earth to try to help each other. I love promoting other authors! Featuring them on my blog is one way I do that.
As to sites. Gosh, I belong to so many. To name a few: Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Shelfari, She Writes, LinkedIn, Booktown and Book Blogs. Obviously, these days, social media is, as we said in the sixties, “where it’s at.” While it’s necessary and can be fun, it can also be a time drainer. It’s like video games; easy to get addicted. So, I try to limit the time I spend online. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t get any writing done. I wish I knew the secret as to what promotional efforts reap the most rewards but, unfortunately, I don’t. I still keep trying to figure it out though.
I keep hoping to hear about that “promotional silver bullet!” In line with my question on social media, I read on Goodreads about you, “…When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading mystery/suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses, traveling, and going to yard sales, estate sales and flea markets because you never know what treasures you’ll find – it’s a mystery!” WOW, I’ve connected with your other-than-writing interests on so many levels. I originally hail from Chicago where there are so many old, majestic, and intriguing buildings. And one of my early passions in life was photography, though eye issues have moved me past actually taking pictures, I still very much like photography and the emotions a good picture can convey. Your comment got me thinking about photography which led me to “word pictures” and my next question. Has photography and writing sometimes meshed for you? Such as, in how you see a scene in your writers-eye, or trying to describe a scene when you write?
Yes, the two do mesh. When I write a scene, I “see” it in my mind as if it were a photograph or a movie. Actually, I’ve taken numerous photos of the house that inspired the setting for my novels. When I wrote “Mixed Messages,” I posted a photo of the house, which was taken in Autumn, on the bulletin board above my computer. I did the same with a winter scene when I wrote “Unfinished Business.” “Desperate Deeds” takes place in the spring so, well, you get the idea. Also, the book trailer I put together for “Mixed Messages” is comprised of photos I took of a Halloween display and some of the houses in the neighborhood where the book takes place. Here’s the link:
Do you have some pictures you’d like to share?
Yes, I do. In the true spirit of Halloween, here are a few photos of me taken over the past several years. (Try not to laugh too hard at me dressed as a nun considering I’m told I have the mouth of a sailor.)
Love these pictures! Thank you for sharing.
If you can visit a little longer, I still have a couple more questions. First, I’d like to transition to one of my favorite topics–setting. How important is setting to your work? (having read your books, I know it is, but would love to hear your thoughts.) Your covers for Mixed Messages and Unfinished Business alone say a lot when it comes to setting.
You’re right. Setting is extremely important to me. That’s why I chose the west side of Cincinnati for my series. I grew up not far from where my books take place. It’s an older neighborhood and it’s always fascinated me. Old houses with lots of history – and mystery! An air of the unexpected, things lurking just below the surface, stories waiting to be told.
My fourth book will find my characters in South Carolina, one of my favorite vacation spots, visiting Ann Kern’s sister, Marnie. It promises to be an “exciting” vacation.
South Carolina, how interesting. Well, I certainly can’t let you leave without a question you just partly answered–what’s on the horizon for you? I’m guessing another book isn’t the whole story…?
I’ve written since I was a little girl and I don’t plan to stop writing anytime soon. Of course, “plan” is the operative word in that sentence. We never know what life has in store for us. My Dad was fond of the expression, “Man plans; God laughs.” I get that. We don’t know the big picture; only God does.
So, having said that, my plan is to continue to write my Malone mystery series because, seriously, my characters won’t let me stop. They have so much more to say and do. But, I would also love to write a standalone or two. I have some ideas along those lines. If only there were more writing hours in the day . . . but we all have other “life” obligations and responsibilities. In my series, Ann is learning to take things “one day at a time” and I’m trying to learn from her.
Patricia, I’ve enjoyed our conversation so much! I feel like I’ve actually “met” you now. Continued success, I’ve really enjoyed your books, and looking forward to your next one. All the best!
[i] Patricia Gligor is a Cincinnati native. She enjoys reading mystery/suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses and traveling. Mixed Messages and Unfinished Business, the first two novels in her Malone Mystery series, take place on the west side of Cincinnati. Both books are available at Amazon, B&N and other fine retailers. Look for the third book in her series, Desperate Deeds, in early 2014.
Link to Patricia’s blog: http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com
Link to read about and/or purchase her books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007VDDUPQ