Behind the Scenes Glimpse of the Writing of Gone Without a Trace by Patricia Bradley

“Shh.” I glanced from side to side. “It’s a little known secret that authors think their characters are–uh, hum, there’s no less absurd way to say this than just to flat out admit it–real. They think they’re real!”

Case in point: I invited Patricia Bradley to interview her character for today’s blog, and…  PT Bradley (1)

This is the scenario I walked in on:

“You busy?” Pat said to the hero of her latest novel, Gone Without a Trace.

She looked from his computer to the doorway. Alex Jennings leaned against it, a frown on his face. “A little. Do you have a problem?”

“No. I just want to hang out.”

I could tell this bugged her. She’s confided in me more than once that she hates it when characters won’t tell her what’s wrong, when she has to drag it out of them. She closed the top on her Macbook. “Spit it out.”

“Spit what out?” He stepped into the room and moved a research book from the Queen Anne chair beside her desk (a very nice chair I might add) and then sat down. Of course, his 6’2” frame looked ridiculous in it.

“Hold on a sec,” she said, and exchanged places with him. “Now, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” He crossed his arms and stared out the window.

She waited. Although I noticed her toe impatiently tapping.

After two minutes of staring, he turned to her. “What am I doing in Logan Point, Mississippi? I’m a Texan, all the way back to the Alamo, and Texans belong in Texas.”

“You don’t like Logan Point?”

“I didn’t say that.” He smiled. “Actually, it’s a great little town. And I love Kate’s B&B. Did you know that woman can do some cooking?”

“Hmm. I think I knew that. So, what’s the problem?”

Alex pressed his lips together. “It’s that detective you paired me with. Livy Reynolds. She’s driving me crazy.”

From the slight curve in Pat’s lips, I could tell that warmed her heart, but she managed to restrain a full blown smile. “Exactly how does she do that?”

“She’s going to organize me to death. Have you seen her lists? That woman makes a list for everything. And that’s not all. She.Is.A.Control.Freak.”

“And you’re not?”


She doodled with her pencil. “Do you like anything about her?”

A gleam lit his eyes. “Have you seen her with Abby? That little girl has Livy hogtied.” He tilted his head. “And she has courage. She’s pretty, too.”

“So it’s not all bad?”

His eyes widened. “Uh, uh. You’re not going to—” He jumped up and palmed his hands up . “No. Don’t you dare try to get us together. Not happening. Not in a million years. She’s too bossy. And she hates flying.”

“If you say so.” She took her chair back and shooed him out of her office. Gone without A Trace

I slipped out of my hiding place behind the curtain to find Pat madly typing. “What’s up?” I asked.

She laughed sinisterly. “I just figured out another way to torture the both of them!”

Wasn’t that fun? (Okay, I might’ve made up her sinister laugh. Pat is really quite sweet even if she does love to torture people, ur, characters.)

Patricia, thanks so much for giving us a behind-the-scene glimpse of your character development!

Blog readers, if you love romantic suspense, you’ll enjoy this book. I was ridiculously pleased to have figured out whodunit before the end, but…Pat still managed to make me think I might’ve gotten it all wrong in those tense last chapters.

Pat hails from Mississippi, where I’ve never been, but I’ve enjoyed vicariously visiting the Deep South through her novels. I had the privilege of rooming with Patricia at last year’s Writer’s Police Academy and have to say that honoring God through her writing is her number one priority. Gone Without a Trace is the fourth book in her Logan Point Series from Revell, and…

I’m giving away a copy of Gone Without a Trace.

Answer one of these three questions in the comments to enter:

1) Where would you rather live Texas or Mississippi?

2) Do you make lists? How much do you put on them–as detailed as eat breakfast & brush your teeth or just the big projects?

3) How long do you think a couple should date (or know each other) before they talk marriage?

Thanks so much for visiting today! I hope you enjoyed meeting Pat and Alex. You can learn more about Pat at her website: or connect on Facebook.

And…for first time visitors to my site, check out Deadly Devotion, book one in my Port Aster Secrets series, also from Revell Publishing. It’s currently free in Ebook format at online retailers!



  • I loved the character interview! I really need to see how Pat tortures these two and gets them together 🙂

    Lists- I make them constantly. They help me feel like I’m in control, even when I’m not. There’s something so satisfying about crossing things off!

  • I’m a huge fan of lists! I even add things I’ve already done just so I scratch them off. Great post! I can’t wait to get to know these characters even more.

  • Loved the behind the scenes look! Can’t wait to read the book now to see how you torture them! I am a total list maker. All the time. In my phone. On my notebooks. Post its to boot!

  • Can I answer all three? I’m going to, ’cause I want to win!
    1) Don’t know enough about either state. Where is the weather better?
    2) No, sadly. It’s why I am so disorganized.
    3) I think people can (and probably do) TALK about marriage very quickly. Seriously consider marriage? Hmm. I actually think folks wait longer nowadays than they used to. Statistics and all–it’s become so scary. I’m not sure that’s a good thing…

  • I make lists. I call it Official List of Stuff. It’s the only way I can stay on track. Regarding marriage… I think couples should talk marriage just as soon as they understand what it takes to be married. For me, that was nearly 30 years, so maybe I’m not good one to ask.

  • Lists. I love them! They make me feel so competent and well-organized. If I cannot finish everything on them, I put the un-done stuff over onto the next day until it IS done. That way I feel I am keeping on top of my life. And yes, I do put down the little things, like shower, dress, breakfast, quiet time, work on chapter 14, call so-and-so, and even “rest”. It just feels so good to scratch that item off my list. By supper time I am through with my lists. It’s time for a glass of wine and making supper. I’m off duty after that, and I do not want to be organized any more! So if I am a control freak, it doesn’t last! :)>!

  • Pat, this was an absolutely delightful character interview. After reading it, I have to read their story! To be honest, I fell in love with Alex. Yep.
    My choice would be Texas all the way–and while I was there, I’d make list upon list. Always do! I live my life by my lists.

    • I do like some parts of Texas, but there are other parts that are just too hot and dry. Guess I’m just a Mississippi girl. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Lynette.

  • I love finding so many kindred spirits in the group–the list makers. Sadly lately my “carry over” lists (undone tasks) seem to be accumulating. I want to apologize for taking so long to moderate comments from new visitors, My internet connection has been painfully slow today. I think I’m caught up now and heading back to the big thing on my to-do list: finishing the year end bookkeeping for my hubby’s business. It will be EXTREMELY satisfying when I can cross that off my list. 🙂

  • I’m definitely a list person. Use them ALL the time! Also, I think you can talk marriage anytime! 🙂 My husband and I moved in together 2wks after we met and eloped shortly after.

  • I use lists at times, and I do think I I would like to live in Texas – Galveston sounds like a very good place…:)

    • It’s been my pleasure, Pat! I’ve enjoyed finding so many kindred spirits in the list making department!

  • Hi Sandra. I enjoyed this post. I would rather live in Texas where I live. Patricia, Ms. might be cooler, but of I was picking a place for that, it would be Jackson Hole, Wy. No A/C needed in your home or car there in the summers. Yes I do make many list. Sometimes for daily goings on as I don’t get hungry so have to make myself eat. Also times when I take meds. Would sure love to win this book.

  • My character Betsy in my debut novel makes a list of desires for her life. A famous author suggested it when she critiqued it at an ACFW conference. Betsy says, “Lists are my bane.” Unlike Betsy whose lists are detailed, mine are usually one word clues to help me remember. Then I look and wonder why did I write that? What does it refer to?

  • Congratulations to Maxie! You’re our winner of Pat’s book. Watch your inbox for an email from me to get your mailing address. Thank you so much to everyone who participated, both here and on my FB page. It was fun reading all your comments!

  • I would like to live in Texas initially, then move on to Mississippi. Both places have very colorful characters that come alive. I’ve visited both states numerous times as I rode along with my son in his big semi. Some of my best writing occurs when I’m riding with him, gazing out of the window, or talking with a waitress (in one of those states).

Great to "see" you here today! I look forward to reading your comment.