What is casual racism? And how did a non-fiction writer end up writing a mystery series? Author Patricia Raybon talks with Amy Julia Becker about faith and “casual racism,” Black history month, and the beauty and truth that emerge from creative storytelling.
Giveaway: Share this episode on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter by February 26th and tag me when you share. You’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of Patricia’s latest book, Double the Lies.
“A writer of faith by day and mystery by night, Patricia Raybon is an award-winning Colorado author, essayist, and novelist who writes daring and exciting books and novels at the intersection of faith and race. After a notable career in newspaper journalism and journalism education, Patricia turned to fiction with release of a 1920s mystery series about a prim, poor but clever Black female theologian—a fan of Sherlock Holmes—who solves murder and crime in Colorado’s dangerous Klan era.”
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For full show notes, transcript, and more, go to: amyjuliabecker.com/patricia-raybon/
Season 6 of the Love Is Stronger Than Fear podcast connects to themes in my latest book, To Be Made Well, which you can order here! Learn more about my writing and speaking at amyjuliabecker.com.
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Amy Julia (5s):
What is the significance and the importance of understanding the, the real story, the full story of, you know, let's just take the 1920s and what was happening with the Klan. We have this myth of, oh, that's just a southern thing that happened a long time ago, but Right. There's more to it than that.
Well, what people are saying, and I concur, is that black history is American history. It's our origin story. Yeah. And, and the idea that it's just this, if we look at it at all, is just for one month of the year, overlooks step of how it's embedded in what we are as a nation and who we are.
Amy Julia (45s):
Hi Friends. I'm Amy Julia Becker, and This is Love is Stronger Than Fear A podcast about pursuing hope and healing in the midst of personal pain and social division. I'm here today with my friend Patricia RayBan, author of multiple award-winning books, all of which sit at the intersection of faith and race. And today's conversation is a little unusual compared to other podcast conversations because Pat has most recently written a Mystery novel. We'll talk all about that. But I wanna let you know that if you Share this episode on Instagram Facebook, or Twitter by February 26th and tag me in the comments, you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of that Mystery Patricia's latest book, Double the Lies.
Amy Julia (1m 30s):
That's the name of it. So today's conversation is a series of, yeah, reflections on faith and race, Black history month, how Patricia ended up writing a Mystery series, and also about the beauty and the truth that emerges from creative storytelling. I really loved this conversation, and I hope you will too. Tricia, thank you so much for being here with us today.
Patricia (1m 56s):
I'm delighted. Always great to see you. Amy Julia. Thank you.
Amy Julia (2m 0s):
All right. So I'm here with my Guest and friend, Patricia RayBan, who was one of the first guests ever on The Love is Stronger Than Fear Podcast. I went back and looked, and I think it was episode three of when I started actually podcasting in a way where I was having conversations with people and not just talking, because there I did a series of podcasts where all I did was talk, and then I started having conversations and you were guest number three. And the reason I invited you this now is like three years ago, is because of the way in which you served as a mentor to me when I was writing White Picket Fences in particular. And at that point, I would've said, you know, Patricia Raban is a Christian non-fiction writer writing about race and justice and faith.
Amy Julia (2m 45s):
And here I am interviewing you because you've just come out with a Mystery novel called Double the Lies. So there's been a pivot in your writing career, although I think there's some through lines as well. And I thought before we talk about Double, the Lies, this actual book that just came out, could you talk a little bit about this move from nonfiction to fiction, from, you know, kind of memoir narrative to Mystery? I'm just curious how you got from there to here.
Patricia (3m 17s):
Well, while you were talking about that, I wanted to say blame the pandemic. That's really what happened. We were in isolation. We were, you know, isolated, vaccinated, all those things. And, and in the world we were going through one of the worst dangerous pandemics in history. And so I said to my husband, there is nothing that could be worse than what's going on out in the world. So I'm just gonna try to write something I've always wanted to write. Hmm.
Patricia (3m 57s):
Mystery. And if it doesn't work out, it doesn't matter. I tried and we'll see what happens. Wow. And so here we are with this second book in three years,
Amy Julia (4m 10s):
Right? And the third one coming.
Patricia (4m 13s):
Right. So that's a, that's the over, that's the umbrella overarching answer to how this happened. But the other thing is I has to do with my love for the genre. I, I love clergy mysteries. I love mysteries in general because they, well, Walter mostly says mysteries invite us to take a uncomfortable look at the world that we're living in. And then James Scott Bell, who also writes thrillers and writes about writing, says that the business of the novelist is trouble.
Patricia (4m 58s):
Hmm. So we were in this big trouble.
Amy Julia (5m 1s):
Patricia (5m 2s):
So there was, and there there's a certain amount of courage that's required to even think about the fiction format. That's what I've discovered. And so all of that collided and found me sitting here at my keyboard working on a little history Mystery.
Amy Julia (5m 26s):
And I wanna get back to both of those things, the history and the Mystery part. But before we even do that, will you talk a little more about the courage to write fiction? I'm really curious to hear a little bit more of what you mean by that.
Patricia (5m 38s):
Well, what I didn't understand at all is that what works best in fiction is SAS and Audacity. And readers want to read about a protagonist who has all that operating, especially in a Mystery and will beyond common sense. And, you know, good thinking launch out to nab a bad guy or a bad girl
Amy Julia (6m 18s):
Patricia (6m 18s):
Have the guts to do it. And so for me, you know, soft spoken, introverted, I had to tap into deep into something that's not naturally me to make it work. Yeah. Especially in the first book, which was, you know, just, I was really the newbie novice, and, and I still am actually. But I was saying to my granddaughter, who loves my high school granddaughter, who loves writing too, the surprise that giving my protagonist bravery and courage would translate into my own life.
Patricia (7m 8s):
And so I would say to myself, well, she can do that. Then I can go on Zoom and talk to Amy Julia, or, that is so
Amy Julia (7m 18s):
Patricia (7m 19s):
It was very, it, it reme it continues to be a very surprising discovery for me almost every day as I write and as I promote this series.
Amy Julia (7m 34s):
Right. And I should back up for a minute, because Double the Lies, we've kind of mentioned this, but it is the second of a what will be a series or surrounding a main character who's a really wonderful character named AnnaLeigh Spain. And I wanna talk about her in a minute. The first book is All that is Secret, just for
Patricia (7m 53s):
Amy Julia (7m 55s):
If they're looking for it
Patricia (7m 56s):
All that is Secret. And the publisher, 10 Down House bought quickly, bought that first book, but then they came back immediately and said, would you turn this? Or can you turn this into a series? So it went from these not even knowing if anybody would be interested in one book to having to write three. Yeah. So that's
Amy Julia (8m 21s):
Exciting. Yeah. And, and yeah. And I wanna, I wanna talk more about the, well, before we get into Anna Lee and the history and the Mystery of it all, which I do wanna talk about, I'm curious whether the process of writing these books is significantly different for you than the process of writing your non-fiction books. Were, you know, have been in the past
Patricia (8m 43s):
Hugely different in the craft way. Fiction writing is immersive in a way that even the best nonfiction, and I'm thinking of your book, white Picket Fences, which is wonderful, but fiction is a immersive and a, a deeper grander, excuse me way, Robert McKee the film doctor, are you familiar? You're with
Amy Julia (9m 15s):
Patricia (9m 16s):
Doorstopper of a book called Story.
Amy Julia (9m 18s):
Patricia (9m 19s):
And, and so he says that we come to story not to escape life, but to find it. So that requires office, this ability to generate this immersion in the writing so that the reader is from the beginning into the drama of the story. And you know, I, that does not describe my nonfiction writing at all. Yeah. It's, I, I think of myself as a, an honest writer.
Patricia (10m 1s):
Transparent writer. And I also love quick writing. And in fact, my Mystery novels are described as fast paced, I'm sorry to be clearing my throat, but the, the fiction format requires this immersion into the narrative. Not just describing things, but describing what they mean and how they feel and how and all, you know, all this sensory stuff Yeah. And how they look it smell. And, and so, because re readers of fiction want that experience, they want to be, they're not afraid of an 800 word, no 800 page novel.
Patricia (10m 53s):
Mine are not that long. They'll read that. Yeah.
Amy Julia (10m 57s):
Patricia (10m 58s):
I love the immersion and then finish and say when, when's the next one?
Amy Julia (11m 2s):
It is so interesting. I love that distinction between escaping into a story and finding yourself or the world Right. In a story. And the thought that, and perhaps on some level both are true with the best stories, where there is a feeling of like escape in the, in the best sense of that word. And of finding, of finding something that is true and real. And it's so interesting to think about, in your case, this, you know, fictional character from a hundred years ago who, you know, perhaps has some parallels to your own life, perhaps not, I don't know yet. But that, that could be a way of, for any of us who read historical fiction in particular, a way of finding ourselves in the past.
Amy Julia (11m 44s):
And I wanna talk a little bit about that, because I do think that your book gives a way into some of the topics around race and faith and the power of story and relationships that I've seen in your nonfiction work that show up in this book in a really different way. But before we do that, I thought it might be helpful for listeners to get a little bit of an introduction to this woman AnnaLeigh Spain and her story. So could you give us, you know, without giving anything away, give us a little bit of the basics that we need to know in order to talk about this book.
Patricia (12m 18s):
Sure. Well, well first, regarding the books, it, as I, it said, it is a history of Mystery set in Colorado in 1923 when the Klan ruled the state. And so my little protagonist, Emily Spain, is a theologian who comes home to Colorado to solve the murder of her estranged father. That's book one in book two, which just came out Double the Lies. She is racing the clock to solve a different Mystery before the clan frames her for the crime. Her backstory is typically fiction esque in its trope.
Patricia (13m 9s):
And that is that she's a young black, she's a young woman who was abandoned at birth. I mean, now that's just, that's so that's, that is, that's so trope ish that I'm almost embarrassed to confess it. And it really reflects my novice status as a, as a novelist. you know, I went with a trope that I knew, or I felt that I could use and, and my, and be debut fiction that wouldn't frighten me or be so challenging that I would get lost or wouldn't know what to do.
Patricia (14m 0s):
So I went with that trope. People understand abandonment.
Amy Julia (14m 3s):
Patricia (14m 4s):
And so, and that's her, that's her background story that she was found in a, in the dirt, in a mine shaft on the first day of her life. Hmm. And so the, the man who found era unreliable, kind of half drunk minor in Colorado takes her and raises her. And so his unreliability challenges her in countless ways, but she finds a, a little place for herself in, and in that time in the world of the, the Black church.
Patricia (14m 49s):
Hmm. She's black. The, the, the man who's raising her is, is black and, and they live by default in an all black neighborhood. It's a real neighborhood in Denver called Five Points. And so the ladies on, on their, in their neighborhood sort of help raise her, you know, giving her a piece of cornbread on the way, on her way to school, cuz they know she probably hasn't had anything decent to eat and wash her clothes. And so that's it, that's who she is. but it manages to rise above that anyway. Yeah. And so there's something in that, that, and she loves Sherlock Holmes and so with, you know, what she knows about Sherlock Holmes in her heart and what she knows about being black in her world, she takes on this task of trying to solve a murder when she's knows nothing about being a detective, but she's willing to try.
Amy Julia (15m 59s):
Yeah. Well she is a really appealing character. That's true throughout both books. I've read and enjoyed both of them. But I wanted to hone in on the historical part of it because as you mentioned, we're in Denver nearly a hundred years ago, the Klan is a big influence. The black church is a big influence, especially well in both books, I guess. And I'm curious about that decision to write a historical history Mystery like, but why did you decide that? But also what did you need to do in order to immerse yourself in the history of this time and place so that it could be as, you know, well rendered and compelling as it is?
Patricia (16m 40s):
Well, winners write history, in fact, you know, we're having a big, we're seeing, witnessing a big debate about that in the state of Florida. Yeah. The governors wanting to erase, that's how it feels to erase black history. And so knowing that, and also growing up, you know, I've been black every day of my life in America, and so I know what the official history says, but I wanted to write a history through the eyes of a young woman of color who only has two assets. Her faith, which is on most, on many days, not fully formed and wavering and in her courage.
Patricia (17m 30s):
And, and I grew up in Colorado and so I was aware of the cleanse prominence in the state in the, during its second iteration in the early twenties. Yeah. A lot of people, I get so many notes from people Amy Julia that say, you know, I never knew the Klan was in Colorado. Yeah. And that the Klan Colorado had the second highest Klan membership per capita in the nation. Yeah. And the first, the largest Klan membership per capita was in Indiana.
Amy Julia (18m 7s):
Well, that's, you know, just as a little interjection when I was in high school, I wrote my, you know, junior US history paper, which was like a big deal at the time, 10 pages or something. But on the rise of the Klan in the Midwest in the 19 teens and twenties, you know, following Birth of a Nation, the film and, and around all of that. And, but even having done that, so I knew about the Midwestern aspect of the Klan, which was very surprising to me as a teenager. And I did not recognize the Colorado piece until honestly, much more recently. I think actually, what was the film? Black Gay
Patricia (18m 49s):
Spike Spike Lee.
Amy Julia (18m 50s):
Yeah. So, but, but then your book really obviously, you know, plays out, gives a lot more details because it is set in that historical perspective. And I am curious about Yeah. Just the, as you tie together, obviously you're writing the research that you've done your own experience and our contemporary moment, as you said, of really wrestling with whether or not to be honest about our history as a nation, particularly as it pertains to black Americans. But I think this is true in many, many ways. Rick, what is the significance and the importance of understanding the f the real story, the full story of, you know, let's just take the 1920s and what was happening with the Klan.
Amy Julia (19m 33s):
We have this myth of Oh, that's just a southern thing that happened a long time ago, but Right. There's more to it than that.
Patricia (19m 39s):
Well, what people are saying, and I concur, is that black history is American history. It's our origin story. Yeah. And, and the idea that it's just this, if we look at it at all, is just for one month of a year overlooks the, the, the what, the depth of how it's embedded in what we are as a nation and who we are. And so that was confirmed to me, Amy Julia when I started reading just some amazing resources.
Patricia (20m 19s):
First at the Denver Public Library, the digital collection at the library with oral histories. And all of that is, was just a phenomenal resource. The other thing is something called the Colorado historic newspapers.com, which allows every paper that's ever been published in Colorado to be read sort of like a, a microfiche resource, but online page by page. Wow. And so I could go into that resource and read the paper from those years and those times, yeah.
Patricia (21m 5s):
Rocky Mountain American, you know, the, the Klan newspaper, which published once a week, the Colorado Statesman, which was what we would call today, the black newspaper in Colorado. And so to read in real time, the, the, the Catholic Register, the, the Jewish Daily News, all of those papers were confirming, in addition to the books on the Klan in Colorado Colorado, what was happening on a day-to-day basis as people wrestled with this powerful influence, political influence in the state.
Patricia (21m 49s):
Leaders from the governor on down were dues paying members of a Klan, mayors, sheriffs, police chiefs, jury, jury commission, jury commissioners, every county in Colorado had a Klan clavern. And then, you know, the Denver Public Library has all these photos from that era that show photographically, yes, this what's happening and here are, here are these people, you know, in their robes and hoods by the thousands in Boulder in Boulder County, you know, which we think of today is, you know, very progressive area.
Patricia (22m 33s):
Amy Julia (22m 34s):
Right. And it's not that long ago. And I think, again, reading Double the Lies, there's no sense of, I'm reading a book that is trying to teach me my history. There is a sense of the, that exactly what you just described that day-to-day. Whether it's the fear that Anna Lee experiences at various points of I might truly be in danger in terms of my actual life, right. Because of this clan influence, but also just the degradations and slights, and am I going to be allowed into a public space or not Only if essentially a white gatekeeper decides yes or no.
Amy Julia (23m 17s):
There's an example of a man who gets beaten after giving a white, a black man who gets beaten after giving a white woman a taxi ride, which she has insisted upon because she wants to demonstrate that she's fine riding in a car with a black man. And it's like, but that doesn't, he's,
Patricia (23m 32s):
Amy Julia (23m 33s):
He, he's not okay with that because it gets him beaten up. Right. I mean, and killed. And so there's, I think you do a, a great job of just weaving in what I can imagine from what you've just described, little snippets of that daily life that were reported on at the time.
Patricia (23m 48s):
Well, the nature of thanks for mentioning that, because the nature of racism in America is that it's very casual and very so it's day. So I get, I wrote it that way because that's been my experience. And, and so Emily can go from at one point talking with the president of one of the biggest banks in the city to being insulted at a ticket counter at a movie theater. Yeah. It's just what happens.
Patricia (24m 29s):
Every ha it's part of how the culture works with regard to bigotry. And so I, when people sometimes ask me, how much of AnnaLeigh is you? Hmm. I used to say that, you know, I worked hard for her to make her her own self. And then I read that Faulkner, I think it was AnnaLeigh, said that there's a piece of the author in every character of any book that they write. So I'm sure that's true. And certainly in her, for her, the piece of me that's in her story is that I, I tried anyway to deliver is that unders very intimate understanding of what bigotry feels like on a day-to-day basis.
Amy Julia (25m 24s):
I, I, I mean, don don't know if love is the right word, but I really appreciate the word. Yeah. I, I wrote this down the, when you just said it, racism in America is very casual, because I think that is one of the challenges in trying to talk about or undo the pernicious reality of racism. Obviously some of the challenges, just the historical and systemic aspects of it. But I think another challenge that I haven't put in these words before is that sense of this is casual, and so it can be, ugh, there was one ticket counter person who wouldn't let you have a ticket. Oh, well, right. Like that, that sense of it's so slight or, you know, around the corner.
Amy Julia (26m 10s):
And yet again, when you live with a character through her daily life and see how those are ever present in every moment, and she's not wallowing, she's not, she's just being smart and careful and doing what she needs to do. And yet there's such a sense of restriction in what she's allowed to do and who she's allowed to be and how she's allowed to go about her life. And so, and of course, this is what the best fiction does. Right. It puts you, I mean, I, as a white woman from Connecticut in, you know, 2023, still get a sense of what it feels like and how that casual racism is unbelievably oppressive and unjust.
Amy Julia (26m 54s):
Right. I mean, you still get a, a sense of the feeling of that because of walking through that day-to-day existence with Annalee. So I just, I appreciate the way you put that. I think that is something your book really does succeed in, in providing a reader, which is not even the center point of, of the novel it, but it is an experience you receive as a reader.
Patricia (27m 18s):
I guess what the point being that that daily insult that so describes the life of not being white in America isn't just iso it's not isolated. Right. And so it's hap it's happening to e everybody who's not white every day all the time. Right. And so that happens. But the other thing is, I, and I think about this all the time, Amy, Julia, is that the, the challenge of it stirs up in people the need to respond in any way that one can, in my case, in a creative way.
Patricia (28m 10s):
And I think in the, in the in oppressed communities, you do see a level of create energy and effort that maybe wouldn't be there if you didn't, if you weren't fighting it every day. So I have no idea of knowing if that had not been my experience, if I would still at my age still be doing this work. you know, my husband and I had an interesting discussion recently. I said, you know, am I supposed to just keep doing this? Right?
Amy Julia (28m 45s):
Patricia (28m 47s):
I talked to an agent of, well, I'll tell you, it was Francine Rivers who's a Christian novelist. Yeah. Agent came up to me at, actually it was the Christie Awards because the book one one A Christie Award, and which really surprised me. But anyway, I had said during my acceptance speech, which I didn't know I was gonna have to make, that everybody there was so much younger than me. And so she came up to me afterwards and said, but this is the ti this is your time. You, you know, you have a few years under your belt and don't, basically, she said, don't stop.
Patricia (29m 30s):
you know, this is, there's whatever, you know, to say you can do that now because you don't have anything to prove.
Amy Julia (29m 41s):
Right. Right. I'm curious too about that sense of creativity and generativity that comes out of a place of
Patricia (29m 52s):
Amy Julia (29m 52s):
It's out of a place of oppression. Right. And the casual racism and the everyday sense of it. But I think there's also, don don't know if these things do link together the way, I'm wondering if they do. But as I think about whether it's Black history month or just black history more generally, of course there is the story that goes back to, you know, before our nation was even officially founded. Right. The story of oppression and enslavement that has continued in various forms to this day. There's also a story of triumph and creativity and celebration and beauty and wisdom and faith and artistic expression.
Amy Julia (30m 34s):
And I, I mean, just so much that is just so rich and beautiful that has come out of the black community, which I think also shows up in your book, especially when it comes to the role of the black church. AnnaLeigh shows her own sense of just creativity with words, creativity with her life. But I just wonder if you can speak to that a little bit, that they're don don't think they're opposing at all. I think they're very interrelated. That history of oppression and, you know, horror and a history of wisdom and celebration and beauty.
Amy Julia (31m 15s):
Yeah. I'm just curious if you can speak to that a little bit.
Patricia (31m 19s):
I think it says, well, for those of us who are believers, I, I think certainly we would say that it speaks to the presence of God and even the dis the lives of the disinherited. you know, if you know
Amy Julia (31m 40s):
Patricia (31m 41s):
That what should, should have killed UsAll in fact turned us to the only all who could lift us out of that with, and then let us in while we're doing that, start singing, you know, only God. Yeah. In the, in the black church we have, we, we often say, talk about something that's negative. And then the phrase is, but God And, we will start to quote those places in the Bible where, you know, with Joseph, for example, and his situation in Egypt, and then there's, there are those words, but God.
Patricia (32m 28s):
Right. And so we live, we are, but God people, but by God. Yeah. Is what I'm saying. None of those, none of what has come out of the community I don't think would've happened. And so it points people and a lot of the black and in our country, a lot of that creativity is associated with the church. Yeah. In terms of ritual of singing and preaching and, and all that. And so those creative expressions then o overtly and directly point people to a God who is inspiring that.
Patricia (33m 13s):
So that's, you know, a churchy thing, a churchy answer. Yeah. But there is something in that, that in the, in the oppressed, in the disinherited, there's some kind of a golden rescue that helps people find a way creatively to be creative as they're climbing outta it.
Amy Julia (33m 50s):
And I wonder too about that sense of just seems to me that in order to connect to that, which is the most true, good and beautiful, right? The, that sense of who God is and how God operates in and among humans, Some measure of vulnerability and dependence is necessary. And I don't mean by that, that we are letting go of kind of self of a sense of like self awareness or confidence or ability, but there's still a sense of we need each other, we need God.
Amy Julia (34m 32s):
And all of this stuff on the surface that seems so important can disappear in a moment's notice. It is not guaranteed. And we've seen it go away, And, we've seen how much it does not actually satisfy. And there's a, there's a real, yeah. Again, I think creativity, beauty, true joy, a depth to that experience that seems to be part of why sometimes out of that experience of oppression and being just overlooked, you know, just because there's the, there's kind of the overt oppression, but then there's also the passive
Patricia (35m 11s):
Amy Julia (35m 12s):
Invisibility. Yes. And yet in both cases, when we can tap into that place inside, not just us individually, but us also as a community and as a people, that is true. And that is seen by God, and that is called forth by God. I think there's again, I mean, you look at whether it's music or literature or ideas or, you know, we can just keep that list going, whether it's the black church or kind of black history more broadly. I think we see a lot of that, that truth and beauty and goodness that really speaks from the soul to the soul. And that is not on the surface.
Patricia (35m 52s):
So if that's true for a people who, you know, were enslaved for hundreds of years, that truth then can be extended to everybody because nobody's li nobody's life is not without hurt some pain, I'm hurt something. Yeah. And so what the, the black experience in America says to everybody else is look for a way, anyway to redeem that And, and, you know, sit down at your keyboard or, you know, at your piano or what, whatever it is, and make your music and because the world needs it.
Patricia (36m 54s):
Yeah. That's the thing that's really surprised me. When, when people, well, a couple of things, Amy Julia people will say, oh, I can't wait. you know, I, I, I've enjoy, I enjoy this so much, I can't wait for the next story. But the other thing is I keep hearing people say, I'm rooting. I can't wait for the next story. I'm a routine for Anna Lee. They're, they've are invested Yeah.
Amy Julia (37m 26s):
Patricia (37m 27s):
A fictional world, in a fictional character. And they're saying, I want more because I wanna root for her. And I, you know, that does something for me to root for her.
Amy Julia (37m 40s):
I'm curious, just as we kind of turn towards the end of this conversation, I'm curious about the Mystery aspect of the work that you've been doing. Because, you know, you could have, and I know you've spoken a little bit to this, but you could have decided to just write a piece of historical fiction, right. That did not involve the kind of becoming a detective Mystery aspect of things. And is there anything particular to Mystery writing that either drew you in or that just felt like, this is the only way this story gets to be told?
Patricia (38m 18s):
It's the, my favorite genre because and always have been. I mean, I'm a Nancy Drew girl going that far back. Yeah. And, but now I think I always love the mysteries because they, because a problem gets resolved Hmm. And justice is done.
Amy Julia (38m 41s):
Patricia (38m 43s):
And that wasn't what, that wasn't my experience, even as a young child seeing how the world operated. Hmm. And so I'm pretty sure that's why I loved, and then the puzzle of it, you know, I just loved all that part of it. Right. The thing that amazes me now that I'm writing them is how something that will get written in chapter three or four or something will reveal why it matters, reveal itself to me while at now 20 chapters later. Right.
Patricia (39m 23s):
And so there's something, this is how I say it, ex explain it or speak to it, Amy Julia. I, I will say that the story was already written. God has already written every story that I'll say that. Yeah. That's, and my, and then the author's job is to sit down and take the dictation of it, because otherwise I'm not smart enough to know why these puzzles end up working the way they do in this, in the book Double the Lies. I can remember the moment when I realized how the, how the deed was done.
Patricia (40m 9s):
Hmm. And I thought, oh my gosh.
Amy Julia (40m 14s):
And were you already writing at that point?
Patricia (40m 17s):
Yes. So I wrote two books as a panther, and your audience probably knows what that means. And there are two buckets that fiction authors fall into the plotters. And those are those, those are authors who plot every minute of the mouth book. Okay. And the panthers write by the seat of their pants. So the first, and Stephen King's a panther. So everybody says, well, Stephen king's a panther then, but it is what it is, is writing to discover that's, well now I, I didn't know that. Right. So I, but it's harder, it's exciting, but it's harder. So for the third book, it was due pretty quickly.
Patricia (40m 60s):
So I, I sat down and wrote out the plot, but I still found it exciting. And there were still things I discovered including the, the, the how. And I ju I thought, oh my goodness. Of course. But I didn't see it at first.
Amy Julia (41m 15s):
And I've heard that not only, I mean, don don't actually know many people who I've spoken with who are writing mysteries, but in terms of fiction in general, and even in terms of music, people who are like, no, this was given to me like it was my job to write it down or to sing it out or whatever. but it came from somewhere else In a kinda mysterious way. Right. Like, even for people who would not, you know, claim to have a relationship with God, I hear them talking about that sense of this came from outside of me, which I think is really, again, speaks back to that creative process as something that taps into something really deeply true about us as humans.
Amy Julia (41m 56s):
I have one last question for you. And I am wondering if you feel like there are things that Mystery or fiction can do that either non-fiction can't do, or that it's just a lot harder for non-fiction to do. Like what is it that Yeah. That a, that Mystery and fiction is able, and we've spoken to this a little bit, but is there anything else you would say about what it's able to do?
Patricia (42m 19s):
Well, a couple of things. It invites people who are willing to suspend disbelief. Hmm. And that's a huge invite. Yeah. And so for people who are, cuz I've met a lot of people in, in these past couple of years who say, you know, good job Pat, but you know, I really don't read fiction. you know, it's, you know, it's make believe or whatever reason there's certain can be a certain snobbery about it.
Amy Julia (42m 48s):
Patricia (42m 49s):
For those who are willing to lean into it. Hmm. That's one of the gifts that if you suspend a disbelief, you're going to learn something out of the journey that's far greater than just the story inside the, the cover of the, you know, these, these, the cover of this book.
Amy Julia (43m 10s):
Patricia (43m 11s):
And so that's there, you know, and there of course we learn things from non-fiction books too. You've, you, from every book you've written, I've learned some wonderful things. There's something for fiction though. There's something else that's happening that is, I, I don't know if faith people would use the word magical, but there's something in that that's available for people who are willing to take the journey.
Amy Julia (43m 44s):
Hmm. That's so beautiful. Thank you. And yeah, I really do. I'm just so glad I waited. As you may know, I wanted to read the book just to decide am I able to have a podcast conversation about a Mystery, a history Mystery? I knew I would like it cause I'd read the first one and I liked it, but I've never tried to actually talk with someone who's written fiction before. But I was pretty sure we could do it. And I'm really, really glad that I was able to just hear some of your process as well as all of these just really rich ideas, which I think again, indicates some of the things that fiction can do, that nonfiction might be a little too, I mean, I think about the, is it Emily Dickinson?
Amy Julia (44m 27s):
Like, tell the Truth, but Tell It Slant. Which, you know, nonfiction can do that too. But there is a sense of being invited into, on the one hand, a fun and playful story. I mean, there is a, a, any Mystery, there's some element of like, this is fun. We're solving a puzzle, we're figuring out a crime. And yet there's also something very serious and real that is able, as you said, to deal with so many of these historical themes and human themes and the menace that is very real in Anna Lee's life, but also in so many people's lives even today. And I'm grateful that we have had a chance to talk about that here.
Patricia (45m 5s):
I am too. Thank you so much. And thank you for those who hung around for the whole conversation. I hope they were blessed and inspired by it and bouncing joy in it.
Amy Julia (45m 17s):
Mm, me too. I'm sure they were. Thank you, Patricia.
Patricia (45m 21s):
Amy Julia (45m 24s):
Thanks as always for listening to this episode of Love is Stronger Than Fear. Again, if you share this episode on Instagram Facebook or Twitter by February 26th and tag me in the comments, you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Patricia's latest book, Double the Lies. And I'd love to hear from you, so please do feel free to reach out. My email is Amy Julia Becker firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments or suggestions for guests. I always and also want to thank Jake Hanson for editing this podcast. And thank Amber Beery my social media coordinator for doing all the other things to make sure this podcast gets out into the world.
Amy Julia (46m 7s):
And finally, as you go into your day today, I hope you will carry with you the peace that comes from believing that love is stronger than fear.