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  • Writer's pictureCheré Dastugue Coen

Southern Writer Spotlight: Patricia Bradley

Mississippi author takes readers on a trip down the Natchez Trace.

Name: Patricia Bradley

Book(s): “Deception,” Natchez Trace Park Rangers, Book 4

Hometown: Corinth, Mississippi

Gives us a brief description of your book(s).

“Deception” is the fourth book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series.

After being forced to kill an FBI agent gone rogue in self-defense while working in the violent crimes unit for the Investigative Services Branch, Park Ranger Madison Thorn is comfortable with her move to the fraud and cyber division. At least numbers don’t lie. So she’s less than thrilled when a white-collar crime investigation in Natchez, Mississippi, turns violent. She could also do without being forced to work with former-childhood-enemy-turned-infuriatingly-handsome Park Ranger Clayton Bradshaw. When a woman who looks just like Madison is attacked on the same night Madison’s grandfather is shot, it becomes clear that there is something much bigger going on here and that Madison herself is in danger. Madison and Clayton will have to work together—and suppress their growing feelings for one another—if they are to discover the truth before it’s too late.

Patricia Bradley
Patricia Bradley

What brought you to write these stories? For instance, was it a personal experience that inspired you, your “day job” or perhaps an overactive imagination?

I’ve always wanted to write a series set on the Natchez Trace. Four hundred and forty-four miles, the Trace stretches from Nashville to Natchez and has been traveled from the time deer and other animals used it to find water. Before the steam engine, travelers traipsed it when they were looking for a way from New Orleans to Nashville.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Ideas come from everywhere, including thin air.

Where does the story(stories) take place?

The stories take place in and around Natchez, Mississippi, much of it on the Natchez Trace.

How does setting play in the telling of the story?

Most of the time setting is almost a character and plays a huge part in the book.

What do you think makes a good story/book?

I think the most important part of any book is having a character the reader can identify with and root for. Readers must care about the main characters or they will put the book down.

natchez trace
Natchez Trace, Mississippi

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 35. I couldn’t sleep at night and one night a man appeared in my vision. He stood at a window with smoke stacks belching smoke into the air. He turned to me and said, “This wasn’t the way my life was supposed to turn out.”

I began to tell myself stories of what happened to change his life and was soon putting them on paper.

When did you write your first book? And how was that experience?

I worked on my first book for five years. It was an exciting time of taking classes on writing where I slowly learned how to tell a good story.

Is writing your primary job or do you have another career?

Writing became my primary job in 2008. Before that, I taught abstinence in the schools to teens and spoke to parents, singles and just about anyone who would listen.

What does your family think of your writing?

They are very proud of me. I have a grandson who is just starting out on his writing journey, and I’m reminded of how exciting those first years are after the writing bug bites.

What was the most surprising thing you learned writing your stories?

That publishing a book takes a long time.

Did writing your book(s) lead you to other things?

Writing my books led to speaking a conferences and teaching workshops on writing.

What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up, keep writing.

Learn the craft.

Don’t give up, keep writing.

Network with other writers.

Don’t give up, keep writing.

Develop a thick skin.

Don’t give up, keep writing.

I wrote for 25 years before my book was contracted. What if I had quit at year 24? Since 2013 I’ve had 14 books published by a traditional publisher. And I’ve indie published three novellas, two in anthologies that made the USA Today Best Seller list.

How can readers find and purchase your books?

Weird, Wacky & Wild South is written by travel journalist Cheré Dastugue Coen, who also writes novels under the pen name of Cherie Claire. You can learn more about her Southern-based mysteries and romance at

1 Comment

Bruce Coen
Bruce Coen
Aug 10, 2022

Very interesting interview.

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