Part time Parkite publishes Andorran mystery
March 2, 2012
Patricia W. Grey lives with her husband in Andorra, a small country located in the eastern Pyrenees Mountains, bordered by France and Spain. For years, before moving to Europe, they ran a pearl farm in Australia.
For the past 20 years, they have wintered in Park City, because they love to ski.
"My husband skis every day, and I ski every other day," Grey said during an interview with The Park Record. "When he’s safely out of the way, I write."
Grey, a member of the Andorran Writers Circle, is a mystery writer and her first volume, "Death Has A Thousand Doors," was released last month and is available through http://www.amazon.com and her own website http://www.patriciawgrey.com
The book, published by Proverse Publishing, is about an Australian accountant, Jane Burns, who travels to Andorra to visit her half-sister Pearl. When Burns arrives, she is informed that Pearl is missing and recruits her father Charles for help. During their investigation, the two unwind a web of deceit, kidnapping, smuggling and a numbers’ racket.
Grey said "Death Has a Thousand Doors" is a combination of a mystery and a travel memoir, two of her favorite book genres.
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"When I was growing up in Australia, my brothers, who were quite a bit older than me, got addicted to Agatha Christie, and I read them as well," she said. "That drew me to mysteries, but I also like books such as Frances Mayes’ ‘Under a Tuscan Sun,’ so, with my own book, I thought I could combine those elements and create a mystery that explored the history of Andorra."
As Grey began writing, she had a strong sense of what she wanted to accomplish.
"I knew where I wanted to start, and I knew where I wanted to end, but I’m not an author that plans every chapter," she said. "So, getting from A to Zed was a journey for me as well."
Because she and her husband had just moved to Andorra, she was inspired by the new surroundings.
"I was experiencing a new life in a new country and trying to learn a new language," she said. "I was fascinated because Andorra is such an idiosyncratic country with a very peculiar past, so I was quite keen to incorporate that into my book."
Inserting historical references not only added color and moved the plot, but also helped Grey emulate her favorite writers, such as Christie and Mayes, who always add elements of education in their prose.
"When I finish reading a book, I like to feel like I have learned more about a certain topic than I knew when I started," she said.
It took Grey five years to write "Death Has a Thousand Doors," she was embarrassed to say.
"The research took a long time, and I was learning Spanish at the same time," she said with a laugh. "Since it was my first book, I had to teach myself how to write it, as well."
Also, it was a constant struggle to get the pacing right.
"It’s something you have to work on quite a bit," she said. "You have to look back at what you’ve written and do some revising, because something could slow down the story," she said. "While most people have to peel the onion down to the core in their writings, I work the opposite way. I put down very sparse writings, and have to amplify them by adding more descriptions.
"Then I go back and see I’ve put too much in and have to take things out again," she said with a laugh. "It’s a very interesting process, and if you’re one of those individuals who don’t mind not having many people around, writing is the perfect thing."
Still, Grey enjoyed the process.
"I would get ideas in the strangest places, for example the gym," she said with another laugh. "I would work out and my mind would be free floating and all of a sudden, I’d think of something that would advance the plot.
"It’s hard to describe, but I would suddenly think of a pony tail or some insignificant thing and find a way to disguise it and put it in the book," she said.
Unfortunately for her husband, Grey was in writer’s mode for most of those years.
"Yes, unfortunately for him, I was often not giving him the attention he deserved," she said.
For more information about Patricia W. Grey or "Death Has a Thousand Doors," visit http://www.patriciawgrey.com.