Crossley, Patricia

Novelspot: How would you sum up your writing up to this point? Do you feel like you're moving in any particular direction?

Patricia: My romance novels all have the theme of someone falling in love when they least expect it and have plans for their lives that do not include a possible partner. In A Suitable Father, Maggie is planning on accepting a new husband when Kurt comes back into her life. In Dancing with the Devil, Jazz is on a whirlwind trip to settle her father's estate and return to her career. In Beloved Stranger, Sarah has withdrawn form the 'rat race' of city life to start her own business when love and danger both strike. In Journey's End, Kari is ready to leave for the developing world when she is whisked out of her time. I seem to be embracing more of the paranormal, the 'what if?' scenario. I also find that I bring in history in my later books. Kari finds herself in sixteenth century England, Sarah has to solve an ancient murder.

Novelspot: What would you consider your biggest inspiration? And hast his changed over time?

Patricia: That's hard to answer. I have absorbed so much over the years. Maybe my own happy marriage inspires me to tell stories that encourage hope. Hope in the possibility of enduring love. I also love to travel so I write about some of the places I have lived and worked. I hope my readers like the background I create even if they cannot go there themselves.

Novelspot: You like writing stories with a twist--what kind of twists?

Patricia: I've already mentioned that I have only one truly contemporary traditional romance which is A Suitable Father. In the others nothing is what it seems and what the heroine believes to be true melts away, throwing her on her own resources and showing her the need for a supportive companion. Dancing with the Devil begins in Africa, where I work part of the year, and finishes in my home town of Victoria, British Columbia. This is a romantic suspense, when someone from Jazz's past draws her back into his web. Kari of Journey's End is out walking her dog when a maverick time traveler from the future shoots her back in time. How can she return to her own place and how can she stay with someone so far removed from her in space and time? In Beloved Stranger I based the background story on the area in Quebec that I know well and set it at the time of the little known uprising in the first half of the eighteenth century. Strange forces bring Sarah and Pierre together. So, you see, you never get quite the same thing twice. Always a romance. Always a happy ending, but the path is always different and scattered with new challenges.

Novelspot: How are characters like Steve and Maggie and Kurtf or a contemporary like A Suitable Father different from atime travel like Journey's End? How do you handle moving from sub-genre to sub genre?

Patricia: For Journey's End I let my heroine do what I used to dream about as a child: actually stepping back in time. But doing it is far more scary than just dreaming about it. Maggie and Kurt have normal problems of contemporary life that they must solve to achieve their happiness. Kari and Aidan have forces pitted against them over which they have little or no control.I love the little shiver of apprehension, the puzzle of what to do to stay alive and to stay in love. The latter is much more of a problem in a paranormal book than in a straight contemporary.I haven't consciously thought about the problems of moving from one sub genre to another, so I guess that means I didn't have too many (problems, I mean)

Novelspot: What about your latest book?

Patricia: Beloved Stranger will come out from Cerridwen Press (www.cerridwenpress.com) on August 8 2006 as an ebook. You can read the first chapter at my web site (www.patriciacrossley.com) As I said, I set this book in a part of country that I know well and whose history I find fascinating.

Novelspot: And if you have any new books in the works...?

Patricia: I have plans to write a book set in Africa, with maybe one or more black protagonists. I haven't yet decided if it will be a mainstream romance or if I will write it for the romantica line

Novelspot: I've been trying to focus on your books, but since I managedto catch you while you were in Canada between Africa trips, I have to ask, how did your Africa trips get started?

Patricia: I went to Kenya in 2001 for six months as the field agent for an NGO that gives scholarships to bright, needy girls to go to High School, which is fee paying. We were asked to return and have been back every year for six to nine months since then. I work with teachers and head teachers in schools. My husband runs a computer school and we also install wells in rural villages with Rotary and private funding. As you mention, all my newsletters and many pictures are on my web site. Just enter and go to 'Africa' 'There is a link on the opening page to a report on the water projects we did during our last months there. We plan to return at the end of September and we have funding for more wells. These benefit the whole community of course, but especially women. There is also a link to the jewelry Is ell as a fund raiser for our work.

Novelspot: Do you ever plan on writing romance that reflects some of yourAfrican travel or experiences, or even publish your Africa storiesor newsletters you have on your website. You come across a lotof fascinating cultural differences--is there anything offhand thatstrikes you the most?

Patricia: I have toyed with the idea of publishing my newsletters, but to be honest have not really had the time to work it out. Anyone who has ideas for doing it would be most welcome! As I mentioned, I do plan to set a book in Africa, drawing on some of my experiences over the last five years.

I have written and published an article on African marriage customs which are really quite fascinating (ghost wives, marriage between women, to mention just two). I have done the same with an article on Female Genital Mutilation, which is a horrible topic but still a serious problem in the majority of African communities.

I should maybe offer these for download when I next update my website. I have a newsletter at yahoo groups and if I do put the articles on my website, it will be announced there. The newsletter gives you news of my books and of my monthly contest. You can sign up on my website.