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Author Interview,  Giveaway,  Hope-filled Fiction

Jessica R. Patch: Scooby Doo, Clue, Kentucky, a Giveaway & More

Please help me welcome Jessica R. Patch to the blog this week! I hope you enjoy reading about her latest Romantic Suspense release, A Cry in the Dark. As a giveaway, Jessica is offering a paperback or ebook to a US winner or an ebook to an international winner. Comment below by March 7 for a chance to win!

Welcome, Jessica! I’m excited to learn more about you and your writing. Tell us what genre you write and what inspired you to write that particular genre.

I write romantic suspense and psychological thrillers with a heavy police procedural element. I think I was first inspired by Scooby Doo. I loved solving those mysteries. I loved playing detective and the board game Clue, and then when I was older, I read all of my mom’s mystery books. It only made sense to write what I love reading.

Oh, Scooby Doo and Clue were favorites of mine, too! Is your new release, A Cry in the Dark, inspired by true events or personal history? 

Yes and no. My character’s backstory is inspired by the way a personal friend was born into the world, only she was adopted by a loving family. She worked through some tough issues from that way to be born and I wanted to explore that with Violet Rainwater. Show hope in a dark and grim circumstance.

I always love when books include hope in hard situations. What is the setting of your novel? Is it a real location or fictional? Tell us about it. 

I set A Cry in the Dark in a fictional holler in east Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains. I used real places to give it a very real feeling, though. The holler itself could be a character. It has a distinct, dark vibe and plays a prominent role in the story.

I just love the word “holler” for your location. That alone makes me want to read it. How did you select the names for your characters? 

Characters mostly tell me their names, and I often look up what they mean and find it fits. I call that the Lord’s leading. I’m not passive about choosing character names—at least not main characters. I don’t care if a witness is named Sally or Joe or Molly. But there has to be meaning, literal or ironic to my hero and heroine. 

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book? 

I can write a Love Inspired Suspense in 30 days or less and a trade in about 3 months. First drafts. Revisions take a week or two for mass market and three or four weeks for trades.

Oh, if only I could revise a first draft in three-four weeks. LOL Good for you! What is the premise of A Cry in the Dark? 

A troubled FBI agent takes a violent case in the hills of Kentucky only to collide with the roots of her past and hopefully answers to questions she’s had since childhood.

Intriguing. What do you hope your readers take away from A Cry in the Dark? 

I hope they recognize that God reaches into the darkest of places to rescue those who cry out for Him. And that we don’t always get what we want from God, but we do always get what we need.

Love that! Which character in A Cry in the Dark was easiest for you to write and why? Which presented the biggest challenge?

I think Ruby Boyd was the easiest to write, though her life is hard and brutal and tough. She’s a mom and kind and hoping for new life. Her story came easily to me. Maybe because I’m a mom and would be willing to risk everything to keep my children safe. 

Which character presented the biggest challenge? Easy. Violet—the main character. Violet is cold, abrasive and aloof. That doesn’t really make for a likable character. But she’s a story of redemption and she’s all those things for a reason. I had to make her likable to keep readers engaged with her, but not so likable it wasn’t true to her character. That was tricky. She may not be super likable (at first or even through the book) but I think she can be understood and sympathized with.

I’m glad to hear you say your main character isn’t necessarily likeable, but can be understood. That gives me hope for the female protagonist in my novel! As we say in the South … bless her heart. 

Thanks so much for sharing about your book with my readers, Jessica. I look forward to seeing how your publishing journey continues in the future!

Comment on this author interview with @jessicarpatch by March 7 for a chance to win her latest #RomanticSuspense, A Cry in the Dark. #amreading #giveaway


Join the conversation. Are you a suspense fan? Did you watch Scooby Doo and/or play Clue as a child? What are your favorite elements in suspense novels?

Comment below by March 7 for a chance to win Jessica’s book! (Paperback or e-book for US winner. E-book for international winner)

A Cry in the Dark by Jessica R. Patch

Click the book cover for purchase link

Deep in the Kentucky hills, three women have been found brutalized and murdered.

But the folks in Night Holler have their own ways and their own laws.

And they’re not talking…

Led to an isolated Appalachian Mountain town by a trail of disturbing murders, FBI special agent Violet Rainwater’s determined to catch a serial killer with a twisted agenda. With locals refusing to reveal their secrets, Violet’s only ally is Detective John Orlando. But even John has an ulterior motive—he’s convinced this case is connected to his wife’s murder. 

As they dig deeper, Violet uncovers a link to her own unresolved past. For years she’s worked the cold case of her mother’s abduction, which had led to her birth. The need to look into the eyes of the sinful man who fathered her consumes Violet. Until she can, she’ll never have peace. Because she’s terrified she might be exactly like him.

In this chilling novel, when the present collides with Violet’s mysterious past and John’s tragic loss, they must unravel the warped, sinuous connections before the killer strikes again. But solving the case might not be nearly as terrifying as the possibility that Violet’s finally found her roots…

Publishers Weekly Bestselling Author, Jessica R. Patch is known for her dry wit and signature twists whether she’s penned a romantic suspense, a cold case thriller, or a small-town romance. When she’s not getting into fictional mischief with her characters, you can find her cozy on the couch in her mid-south home reading books by some of her favorite authors, watching movies with her family, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Sign up for her newsletter “Patched In” at Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

Connect with Jessica: Website/Newsletter / Facebook / BookBub

Jessica R. Patch headshot

Please share Jessica’s interview on social media to help spread the word about her new release!

If you missed my recent posts, check out these interview with Toni Shiloh, Sarah Sundin, and Heather Norman Smith.

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  • Sherry Moe

    I’m definitely adding this book to my TBR. I grew up in a holler in eastern KY. It’s a totally different lifestyle. Unless one has lived there there’s no understanding what it’s like. I enjoy reading books where I’m familiar with the setting.

    • Deena Adams

      That’s cool, Sherry. I’m sure growing up in a Kentucky holler was a different experience. I like reading books with settings I’m familiar with too.

  • Deena Adams

    Congratulatins to Brandi Govia! You’re the winner of Jessica’s book. Look for an email soon.

    Thanks to all who read the interview and joined the conversation. I hope you’ll continue to engage on the blog for more opportunities to win hope-filled fiction!

  • Lynn Moore

    Love that your setting takes place in a “Holler!”
    That along with your title/cover page draws me right in!
    Blessings as you write! ✍️

  • Cherie J

    I love a good suspense. I loved Scooby Doo as a child and will watch reruns even today. I also loved reading the Nancy Drew stories growing up. Enjoyed the interview.

  • Cindy Davis

    I did like and watch Scooby Doo. I also loved/love the game Clue! We even got the updated/extended version either last year or the year before, LOL! I love suspense novels but have not had a chance to read Jessica’s books yet. Have a great weekend!

  • Jeannie Holderfield

    Suspense is my favorite genre! I haven’t read Jessica Patch but I am definitely always open to finding a new-to-me author to love!

  • Elizabeth "Eli" Olmedo

    As a kid The Boxcar Children were my favorite books, Scooby Doo my favorite TV show, and Clue my favorite board game. I was bound to grow up to be a mystery reader and writer. LOL

  • Tammy O.

    That was a fun interview! I liked Scooby Doo, Clue, Nancy Drew, Charlie’s Angels, Trixie Belden, etc growing up. It definitely influenced my reading because suspense has been my favourite for years. Although historical fiction and contemporary are right up there also.

    The first book was so great and I’m excited to read this one. I’m Canadian and grateful to be able to enter this drawing. I’ve bought a few of her older books as well but I haven’t bought this one yet. I’ve been a little crazy with purchasing lately…..

  • renee mirsky

    Wow, what a cool interview! I’m intrigued and would love to win a copy of this book! I loved Scooby-Doo growing up also and then was very pleased when I was able to watch reruns of it later on as a grownup and got super nostalgic about it!

    • Doolittle

      I grew up in western Kentucky but have always loved eastern KY. I’ve read a lot of books set there.
      I did watch Scooby Do, read Sherlock Holmes and a lot of Agatha Christie. My introduction to suspense was probably Victoria Holt unless you count Jane Eyre.

  • Perrianne Askew

    I recall watching Scooby Doo some as a kid. I probably watched more when my kids were younger brcause they loved it. I don’t think I’ve played Clue that much, maybe I never had the game. I was very much of a Nancy Drew fan growing up. I love romantic suspense or even straight up suspense! It sounds like Jessica has lots of plot twists and I’m intrigued by the fact that a detective on the case is convinced that this case has a connection to his wife’s murder. I’ve been meaning to read one of her novels because I do find them very appealing to me.

  • Sherry Brown

    Hi Jessica!
    I love questions and answers with authors! Your book cover looks amazing and sounds very good!
    Yes, I love suspense books and watched Scooby Do and played clue all the time. I wish I still had our game from back then.
    I love suspense books cause they keep you guessing with all the twist and turns! Thank you for your giveaway and have a great day!🥰

  • Laura W

    I really like the sound of this book. I have always loved mysteries growing up I watched Scooby-Doo and played Clue. I also grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children!

  • Brandi Govia

    Hi! I love suspense!! I did watch Scobby Doo and play Clue as a kid. I also watched Matlock and other similar shows as a child…I think I’ve been trying to solve these fictional crimes all my life, LOL. What do Iike about Suspense….I like the chase, the research, the characters…Really theres not much I dont like.

    • Deena Adams

      I watched all the suspense shows, too, Brandi. And I agree with you, what’s not to love about a good mystery/suspense book or show?!

  • Cindy Hogan

    I’m so excited to read this new book. I have family from KY and I live here now.

    • Kiera Kirchner

      I love suspense books! They always keep me guessing and I love a good plot twist. Scooby Doo was one of my favorite cartoons growing up. I even have Scooby pj pants now as an adult 🤣. Clue was also a favorite board game. I enjoy the movie with Tim Curry as well.

    • Deena Adams

      Kentucky is a beautiful state, Cindy. Have you read Jessica’s book, Her Darkest Secret? I listened to it on audio last week and it was great. I’m looking forward to reading this new one too.

  • Dana McReynolds

    I love the Scooby Doo and Clue influence. And I always love books set in Kentucky, my home state!

    • Deena Adams

      Hi Dana. It’s always fun to read books set in places we’ve lived or are familiar with, right? Kentucky is beautiful. My daugher lived in Louisville years ago and we enjoyed our visits there.