Last night, my book club met and discussed a first novel with it’s author. Patricia Galiotos is writing her first mystery novel and allowed our book club to read it and give her feedback before she starts the process of sending out letters to get a book agent. It was a fun and interesting meeting.
Patricia’s book, Bitter Pills, is a story about a psychologist, Eva, who works in an alternative high school in New York City. Her colleague is murdered in the school and Eva gets involved, unofficially, in trying to solve the murder, especially since it seems related to things going on in the high school with her students. In the meantime, she’s also working with her students who present some interesting story lines as well.
Patricia has been working on her novel for 2.5 years. She has two little kids and spends her evenings when they finally go to sleep to work on her book. In “real life” she is a psychologist, so she writes from her own experiences.
I was fortunate to be able to read two versions of her book. While I really enjoyed her first draft, she really improved it with some major revisions over the last couple of months. As she was researching how to get published, she realized that as a first time author with a mystery novel, she needed to shorten her book. The process of cutting it down really helped her improve the book.
While I may not be totally objective since Patricia is an old friend, my peers at the book club were. They seemed to like Patricia’s novel, too. We discussed how everyone really liked Patricia’s characters. Someone commented that Patricia let the reader see the main character’s thought processes which really added to the book. It was also agreed that Patricia did a great job describing Eva’s life in New York City. We could really picture the city. Patricia admitted that writing about the City was a fun part of writing the novel.
As for the mystery, there definitely was one. Of the nine of us who read the book, only one guessed the murderer before it was revealed. However, even the one who guessed said she wasn’t totally sure until the end, of course. I know I enjoyed the mystery part and was relieved that the conclusion was not obvious nor so far-fetched that it was ridiculous. It actually made sense.
Overall, it’s been fun being part of the “process” with an author (and very good friend). I wish the best for her and know she’ll be successful. You should all keep your eyes out in the future for Bitter Pillsby Patricia Galiotos.