It’s a pleasantly chilly day here in the Willamette Valley, midway between Christmas sparkles and New Year’s Eve fireworks. But gray skies hang overhead like some kind of question waiting to be answered, a question I think I’ll put on hold for now.
Let’s see…my kitchen is cozy with fresh-baked goodies, the tea kettle is cheerily whistling and the coffee is ready to pour. Peacock blue cups and white linen napkins are at hand, and I’m just about ready to greet my guest, author, Patricia Hupschman. I hear Ari’s tags jingle as he jumps to his feet, the bell rings, and I open the door.
Me: Trish, welcome, how nice of you to drop by! Here, let me take your coat…now…may I offer you something hot to drink, tea or coffee, perhaps?
Trish: A cup of tea would be lovely.
Me: And where would you feel most comfortable: here at my kitchen table, or would you like a comfy chair in the livingroom?
Trish: The living room, please. I’m hearing impaired and I do better with conversation in that room.
Me: Okay, let’s sit on the sofa together…now, tell me a little about yourself, please. What part of the country do you live in?
Trish: New York, Long Island
Me: Have you been there long?
Trish: My whole life, 54 years
Me: And what do you like best and least about living there?
Trish: Its too fast paced. People are rude.
Me: Really? That’s too bad.
Trish: Yes, but there are a lot of trees and beaches which is nice
Me: And is your writing influenced in any way by where you live?
Trish: I always set my stories on Long Island
Me: And what about your writing process? For example, do you have a certain time of day you find most productive? Or a special place where you find inspiration?
Trish: I usually write between lunch and dinner. After dinner I read a book. I like to start out composing in my head first, which happens in Walmart and other places.
Me: That’s interesting. Have you always done that?
Trish: I was a shy kid, so I created stories and characters, I guess as friends. This was in 6th and 7th grade
Me: And I wonder, why do you write? I mean, if you could sum it up in a word or in a simple statement, you writing?
Trish: Because I love to. I need to
Me: And now a few more “creative” questions, if you don’t mind, so I can get a better glimpse of you as a person. What kind of fruit or vegetable would you say best expresses your personality? Why?
Trish: Hmmm I don’t know, maybe a strawberry, I’m soft and mushy.
Me: What do you like to do on a rainy day?
Trish: Sleep is my favorite hobby besides writing, but most of my time, rain or shine, is spent on my computer
Me: Would you rather vacation at the beach or in the mountains?
Trish: Oh, I love the Poconos
Me: What is your favorite punctuation mark?
Trish: I have fun with exclamation points
Me: What role have children played in your life? How about in your writing?
Trish: I don’t have any kids, and my characters usually don’t have siblings
Me: Oh, I know you need to get back to your busy life, but before you leave, tell me a little more about your writing, won’t you?
Trish: I just published a Tracy Gayle mystery, the first in a series, a romantic suspense. She’s a Long Island private eye, and my hero is a famous rock musician, Danny Tide. The book is called Stiff Competition Miss America.
Me: What inspired you to write the Tracy Gayle mystery series?
Trish: In 2014, a friend and I saw the rock band Styx at the beach. A few days later I heard that Styx’s tour bus burst into flames in Philadelphia. I tried to find out what happened but nothing solid arose, so I wove my own tale.
Me: That’s very creative. And how did rock musician Danny Tide get into the mix?
Trish: I already had the characters. I created Danny Tide in the late 1990s. He starred in 2 romance novels I wrote. Tracy Gayle came years later for her own set of mystery short stories. I never dreamed I’d bring them together. The idea fell into my lap and the rapport between them was wonderful. They were the best of friends for 3 years before Stiff Competition Miss America –when things really get hot between them
Me: So what brings them together?
Trish: In Stiff Competition Danny’s band Tidalwave is playing the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. All is going smoothly. The judges have picked the 10 semi-finalist, and then suddenly everything comes to a halt. Miss New Jersey is missing. That’s when Danny invites his Long Island private detective friend Tracy Gayle down to Atlantic City to help in finding what happened to the girl. There are 2 assaults and 2 murders in this one. It’s my favorite.
Me: And have you sketched out the rest of the series?
Trish: Oh, sure. The next book is called Ratings Game/Talk Show Queen. It’s about Danny’s second wife, who’s a popular talk show hostess. Somebody’s trying to kill her, by the way, it’s in attempt to boost the ratings of her show. I’m hoping to get this book to DLDBooks around May.
Over the Edge is after that. It’s about Danny’s first wife, who’s a rich socialite now.
I have ideas for future books in the series but this is where I’m at right now. David and Leonore from DLD did an absolutely fabulous job with Stiff Competition Miss America. The book is gorgeous and the price reasonable. The links for it can be found at DLDBooks.com
Me: Well, Trish, I wish you every success on your book, and on the series, as well. Thank you so much for dropping in to chat with me.
Trish: Thank you!
Ari circles around us as I hug my guest good-bye and close the door. With my meager eyesight, it’s hard to discern where the cloudy sky ends, and lengthening shadows begin, but no matter. Shabbot is coming.
The candlelighter comes readily to my hand and I reach toward the candles waiting on the mantle. The air itself seems to be holding its breath, as everything—the candles, the clouds, my own sense of reality—seems to be waiting, poised in questions.
What will the coming year hold for me, for the world? Will humanity find a clearer understanding of Compassion and Justice?
I breathe deeply, once, then again, and the flame ignites, catches on the wick. I draw the light toward myself, circle it round to embrace thoughts of family, friends, the world.
Blessed are You Beloved One, Source of All, Love Divine, Who enables me, and each of us, to kindle this light of Shabbot, of peace, of friendship and love.
And let us say: Amen.