Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Mystery Novelist Patricia Stoltey.

You can also find her blogging at

Welcome, Patricia!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Patricia Stoltey

 Mystery Author Patricia Stoltey


Thanks so much for the invitation to share my workspace story, Nutschell. It’s a lot of fun to see the range of writing areas you’ve featured here. I have a friend who does his writing on a desk attached to his treadmill. I haven’t tried that, fearing I or my laptop would crash to the floor if I got distracted.

I’m an older writer, one who didn’t get serious about churning out novels until after I retired from real world work. My biggest jobs over the years were in accounting departments of large companies (two grocery chains and an office supply corporation) and involved a lot of hours and a lot of stress. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t get nervous or upset about deadlines, rejections, and reviews.

When my husband and I retired, we moved to Colorado and have been here since 1998. I can’t imagine living anywhere else now. I like it better than Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and even the South of France (although I must say the French Riviera is a very, very close second).

Most of my novels, published and unpublished, are some form of crime fiction, but I read in almost every fiction genre plus a lot of nonfiction, especially U.S. history. In my spare time (or the time I steal from writing time) I like to garden, crochet, entertain Katie Cat, and watch a little television. My newest favorite is Elementary. My secret talent is procrastination. Nobody does it better.


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

The house we bought in Northern Colorado has four bedrooms, which means my husband and I get to have our own office space. For some unknown reason, his office is way bigger than mine, but I can honestly say mine is cleaner. I did have to tidy up a bit before taking these photos, though.


Patricia’s Workspace — can you  find Katie Cat in this photo?


2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

 Almost everything in my office comes from Office Depot. I worked for that company and loved it, so I’m a loyal customer. My furniture arrangement is based on my need to see who’s lurking outside my office door and my need to avoid staring out the window so my neighbors don’t think I’m spying on them.



3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Hmmm. The basket I persuade my cat to sleep in so she doesn’t curl up in my lap is on my desk. On my computer table, I must have my red pens, my calendar, my special computer glasses since my trifocals drive me nuts, and my To Do List. And clutter. I’m fond of clutter.



4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

 I love having a room of my own, even though it’s hot in summer and cold in winter. All I need to work is a computer, something to drink, and total silence. For some reason, even though I love music, I can’t work with the radio on. Maybe that’s because I tend to sing along or even jump up from my chair and do a little boot-scooting boogie. That does tend to interrupt the creative process.


5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I prefer coffee in the morning (full strength, robust, dark roast). Winter afternoons I switch to hot herbal teas and in summer I drink iced sun tea made with a combination of green and herbal teas.


 “Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.”

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I’m a book junkie who goes into withdrawal when I’m not squeezing in enough reading time. That makes it pretty hard to pick favorite authors or decide who has influenced my writing. I do know, however, that it was Susan Wittig Albert who first inspired me to write. I attended one of the early Magna cum Murder mystery fan conventions in Muncie, Indiana and sat down by her at the lunch table. When I finished talking to her, I thought maybe I could do this. Thanks, Susan.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

My typical writing days involve a lot more blogging and social media than actual writing. I tend to take summers off and jump back into serious writing when I attend the member writers’ retreat sponsored by Northern Colorado Writers in the fall. That was the last weekend in October this year, and I added almost 14,000 words to my novel in progress. It was a great way to warm up for NaNoWriMo which I’m doing for the second time this year.

No rituals, no quirks.


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I don’t write every day. I’m also easily distracted. And as I mentioned previously, I’m a first-rate procrastinator. I classify myself as a binge writer. I don’t worry about that too much, since it seems to work out for me in the long run.


4. Why do you write?

Is it fair to say I don’t really know? Maybe it’s because I read so much and love being lost in a make-believe world. Or possibly it’s the challenge of plotting and character development. It’s good for the aging brain (and I hate crossword puzzles with a passion). I’m never bored when I’m writing. And when I write crime fiction, I get to kill people I don’t like, something society frowns on in real life.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

My best advice is to believe in yourself and trust your instincts. Listen to all constructive feedback, critique comments, and writing instructors, but don’t feel you have to do everything everyone tells you to do (unless, of course, it’s an agent or editor holding one end of your signed contract).  And don’t be afraid. Just write your heart out.

Og Mandino said, “To be always intending to make a new and better life but never to find time to set about it is as to put off eating and drinking and sleeping from one day to the next until you’re dead.”



Thanks, Patricia, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.





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74 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Stoltey”

  1. Pat – How nice to learn a little more about you and your writing. I love that special basket for Katie, too. I’m not surprised that you were inspired by Susan Wittig Albert. She’s very talented and her work is diverse. I really like her China Bayles character. And thanks for the reminder to trust yourself as you write. I think doing that makes a writer’s work more genuine and gives the writer’s voice a chance to come out.

  2. Julie Luek says:

    Love seeing your work space. It looks cozy and organized–just my style too. I also love music but need silence when I write and spend way too much time on social media. No Kitty on my desk though, just a 70 lb weimaraner who meanders in for lovies every now and again.

  3. Good morning, Nutschell! The post looks great, Thanks so much for featuring my work space today. I’ll be back to spread the word as soon as I’ve had a little coffee. 😀

  4. I love this series! It was fun to get to know a bit about Patricia and her writing space and habits.

  5. Thanks, Nutschell for hosting Pat. She was one of my early “encouragers” and I enjoy following her post and her travels to faraway blogs like yours.

  6. Karen Duvall says:

    You have a very cozy workspace, Pat! Love your kitty in her little basket. Adorable! I really enjoyed getting to know a little more about you, too. Great post!

    • Thanks for coming over, Karen. I was gone for a whole week and just got back Monday night. Miss Katie Kitty has been “dogging” my steps ever since. If she’s not in my lap, she’s following me or sitting close by so she can keep an eye on me. Good thing I’m getting very good at typing with only my right hand.

  7. Looks like a decent-sized space for writing. Hi cat! I like the advice to trust your instincts.

  8. Nice to meet you, Theresa. It is a nice-sized space. And there’s also a closet where I can temporarily shove clutter while I take photos. 😀

  9. April Moore says:

    So now we know where the writing magic happens, Pat! And it’s nice to see Katie Cat looking so harmless since she’s usually giving us the stink-eye when you host writer’s group! Great post!

  10. I am still trying to find Katie Cat in the photo of Patricia’s workspace… Such a cute kitty. ; ) Very nice to meet Patricia and learn more about her writing space and writing habits.

  11. It took me a minute, but I found Katie cat 😀 I would love to have my own room instead of a cubby. Thanks for the reminder to believe in myself. I need to hear that more often.

  12. Laura Eno says:

    I finally spotted Katie! They blend in so well when they want to. :)
    Thanks for sharing, Patricia and Nutschell!

  13. Julie says:

    I also would be too nervous to write on the computer while walking on the treadmill! Great writing space, and your cat fits in perfectly. It was nice getting to know you Patricia. Thanks Nutschell!

  14. Shelly says:

    I love the kitty basket and her relaxed attitude toward writing.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  15. Hi Julie — I’m a little…actually a lot clumsy so I’m sure writing at the treadmill wouldn’t go well. I have enough trouble reading an e-book while using a stationary bike. 😀

  16. Tyrean says:

    Nutschell -wonderful interview as always!
    Patricia – I’m with you on the need for clutter. I can’t write if things are “too” neat. I love the basket for your cat, and I think I might share your special talent . . . :)

    • Cats come in very handy for teaching us new skills, Tyrean. I’m turning the tables on her today, though. To keep her off my lap for a while, I put a jingle toy inside a small box and left it downstairs. I can hear her working at it now, trying to figure out how to get it open.

  17. Mary Pax says:

    I saw Katie behind the box. :) I had to make room for my cats, too. Although one of them seems to want to take over my desk.

  18. Nice neat writing space. Mine doesn’t stay that way long after I get it cleaned up. I have to keep on top of it constantly or it becomes chaos quickly. The space looks comfy and full of love and talent. Karen Lin

    • Oops, how did I miss your comment, Karen. Maybe too Karens in a row did it. Anyway, yes, clutter has a way of sneaking right back in as soon as I clean up. My husband laughed when he saw the photos in the post and then looked at the floor next to my computer table. I have to admit, it doesn’t look the same today.

  19. Karen Lange says:

    It’s great to see Patricia here, and fun to learn more about her. :) Fun interview, thanks, ladies!

  20. Love your work space, Patricia! Your cat is puuuurrrdy! :)

    *waves to Nutschell*

  21. Awesome quote from Mandino!
    Katie-Kitty is really spoiled, isn’t she?

  22. Southpaw says:

    Patricia, you have a really nice work space – or does it belong to Katie and she just let’s you do some stuff in there.

  23. Southpaw, the whole house belongs to Katie and she allows us to share her space. I used to keep the guest room off limits, but it is now Katie’s room. She doesn’t like it when I go in there. You’d think she was a human teenager instead of a cat.

  24. Jemi Fraser says:

    It took me a while to find Katie! :) Glad to see she’s doing well.
    I think I’m finally learning to listen to my instincts – and you’re right – it’s a very good idea! Thanks for sharing Pat – nice to see your space!

    • Jemi, thanks for coming by. Considering Katie’s early medical problems, it’s a wonder she’s here at all.

      Blindly changing our work to suit others never works out well. We lose our voice that way.

  25. Nice to “meet” you, Patricia and I can’t believe that clutter is so important to your writing world, too:)

  26. That’s a great idea about the kitty basket. Not that I have a cat. But if I did, that’s the perfect solution. On the other hand, it might not be necessary. My office is in my bedroom and it faces the south. The bed gets warm in the sunlight streaming through the window, which is perfect for kitties. 😀

  27. mooderino says:

    Ha ha, that cat’s sneaky.

    And cool to be inspired by a writer in person.


  28. The opportunity to meet well-published authors is one of the reasons I love conferences and conventions. I’ll be at Left Coast Crime in Colorado Springs later this month. There should be enough inspiration there to last a lifetime.

  29. Great post!

    It was nice to get a look at your workspace and find out more about how you write. :)

  30. Fantastic interview! Fun to see you here, Patricia. I love the basket for you cat :)

  31. Hi Carol — thanks for the kind words. Nutschell does a great job with this feature.

  32. Great interview and wise advice. I love peeking at other people’s work spaces!

  33. Brinda says:

    I can’t find Katie Cat in that first picture. :(

  34. Lovely glimpse into another writer’s world. Space. Cat. Way of Thinking. Thanks.

  35. Love your cozy workspace. I had to chuckle at your reason for writing crime fiction, :)

    • Melissa, I once heard mystery writer Diane Mott Davidson tell the story of the rude clerk who triggered the “you are so dead” reaction. Unpleasant people often make their way into novels…as victims.

  36. Great advice! I also find it helpful that you’re a binge writer and serial procrastinator, as I am, too, yet I can get a ton of words down on paper when I make the time to do it. Working on making more of that time.

    I’ve lived several places, too, and Colorado is my favorite. (I live in Colorado Springs).

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

    • Hi Shannon. It’s always nice to run into another Coloradoan. I’ve tried to change my ways and write every day, even for an hour, but it never works out. The best thing I can do is pick a whole day, or weekend, and focus on the current project. Those are the days I have to stay completely off the internet. 😀

  37. Nutschell, thanks so much for having me here for your Wednesday Writer’s Workspace series. I’ve had a great time.

  38. LD Masterson says:

    Hmm, we have more in common than I realized following your blog. We both write mysteries, started writing seriously after retirement, are easily distracted, and are first rate procrastinators. But for me it’s a dog in a bed under the desk instead of a cat in a basket on top of it. Very nice interview.

  39. Thanks, LD — It’s surprising how many of us started writing seriously after retiring from real world jobs. I must say, this is a lot more fun that watching TV and crocheting afghans….or some such “leisure” pastime.

  40. Rekha says:

    I wish I had a cosy workspace like yours. Katie seems to be enjoying the lullaby of your keyboard strokes. I loved your advice and the quote – truer words were never spoken. I can’t write to music but enjoy my music breaks as I sing along..

  41. Cherie Reich says:

    Lovely writing space! And it’s complete with a cat. 😀

  42. Pam says:

    It was great fun to get a view of your workspace. Wish I had a room I could only devote to writing, Oh and entertaining my cats. The basket is a good idea. Might help the path that is being worn down around my computer. They do sidestep the keys. Give Katie a pet for me!.

    • Hi Pam. How nice of you to drop by. Lately Katie has been disappearing into the bedroom where it’s warmer for her afternoon nap. She sneaks in between the pillows and gets under the covers. Only the lump in the bed gives her location away.

  43. Lydia K says:

    Great interview! Thanks Patricia. I love peeking into writer’s nooks.

  44. Hi, Nutschell,

    It’s know to know more about Patricia. Her comment about clutter made me chuckle. The state of my work area makes me think I must like clutter too.

  45. Lydia and J.L. — Thanks so much for stopping by. And speaking of clutter, I’m taking two boxes full of paper to be shredded this weekend. I need to stop printing so much stuff.

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