FATAL WITNESS with Patricia Bradley
FATAL WITNESS with Patricia Bradley
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The Big Thrill Discusses FATAL WITNESS with Author

Book Cover: FATAL WITNESSAs a child, artist and potter Dani Bennett witnessed the brutal murder of her parents. With no memory of the incident or her true identity, she was forced to take on a new name and a new life, hidden away in Montana for the past 25 years.

Mae Richmond has spent the same stretch of time searching for her granddaughter, who went missing the night her daughter and son-in-law were murdered. Convinced the woman she saw in a pottery magazine feature is the woman she’s been searching for, she enlists the help of K-9 officer Mark Lassiter of Pearl Springs, Tennessee, who tracks Dani down.

Skeptical but curious, Dani sets out on a journey to uncover the secrets of her past and reclaim her true identity. But someone close to her is determined to keep the truth of what happened all those years ago hidden.

Author Photo: Patricia Bradley

Patricia Bradley

Patricia Bradley recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest romantic suspense, FATAL WITNESS.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

My books are character driven. While I was desperately trying to meet my deadline on Counter Attack, the first book in the Pearl River Series, a character popped into my head, wanting to know who she was. It wasn’t me who wanted to know, it was the character.

A character popping into your mind when you’re on deadline for another book can be quite annoying. I tried to brush her off, but she refused to go quietly. Finally, I took an hour to delve into the character, and Dani and the story were born. Since she was so annoying, I decided to keep her in the dark about her identity.

When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?

Did I see an empty space in crime lit that I wanted to fill? My brain doesn’t work that way. Most of the time I start with a character who has a problem. In this case, it was Dani who couldn’t remember her childhood. I had to know why she couldn’t remember it, and as I thought about it, a movie started running in my head and I wrote it down. Sounds easy-peasy, right? Don’t be fooled. Writing is the hardest work I’ve ever done.

A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?

I knew Dani wouldn’t go away until I told her story. Sometimes people think I’m crazy when I say my characters refuse to do thus and such or they quit talking to me. “You’re the author,” they say. “You can do whatever you want with the character.” Some authors can do that, but I’m not one of them. I have to let my characters have free rein. And once I get an idea, I have to see it through to completion.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

I hope that like Dani, they’ll realize forgiveness is a choice. It isn’t for the person who wronged us, but for the one doing the forgiving. When a person hangs on to unforgiveness, like the antagonist in the story did, it will eat your soul.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?

Since I can’t carry a tune, songs don’t stay with me so none were knocking around in my head. Same way with movies—I rarely watch one—I’m too ADHD to sit still that long without at least my fingers moving. As for books, probably every romantic suspense book I’ve read in the past influenced the story.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

I am working on Deadly Revenge, the third book in the Pearl River Series. It’s about a sheriff’s deputy and a TBI agent teaming up to solve two murders in a small town north of Chattanooga, Tennessee. When the deputy becomes a target, is it the man out for revenge after his land was seized by the government? Or does it have to do with one of the deputy’s past cases in Chattanooga?


Patricia Bradley is the author of Counter Attack, as well as the Natchez Trace Park Rangers, Memphis Cold Case, and Logan Point series. Bradley is the winner of an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, a Selah Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award; she was a Carol Award finalist; and three of her books were included in anthologies that debuted on the USA Today bestseller list. Cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., Bradley is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. She makes her home in Mississippi.

To learn more about the author, please visit her website.