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Area author sets fictional mystery in real Lemont for novel

Pat Camalliere with her nearly published book The Mystery of Sag Bridge at the Lemont Library.
Pat Camalliere with her nearly published book The Mystery of Sag Bridge at the Lemont Library.

LEMONT – Since retiring, Patricia Camalliere continues to be active with the Lemont Public Library and Lemont Area Historical Society.

Now, she also is a published author.

Her first book, “The Mystery at Sag Bridge,” is a supernatural mystery set in Lemont.

Camalliere feels the timing of the book’s release is good because the theme of motherhood makes it an appropriate Mother’s Day gift.

The book is available on Amazon as a paperback and e-book, as well as at Smokey Row Antiques, 112 Stephen St.

Camalliere talked with Suburban Life reporter Dan Farnham about the process of writing the book.

Dan Farnham: How did the book get started?

Camalliere: I think I always wanted to write since I was a child … I especially love mysteries. My career and my life was very busy … After I retired, I said, “You know, I don’t really have a lot of time left. If I’m going to do this, I got to do it now.” So, what do I want to write about? Well, I want to write about Lemont because it’s a very special place … My situation was, we have a retired woman. What if she notices little odd things that happen – they’ve happened to her her whole life – and she always tosses them off as unimportant … What if there was a presence behind that? … Then, because I’m very interested in history and was working here at the historical society, I wanted to also have historical background.

Farnham: How much Lemont would a reader recognize in this book?

Camalliere: The book is written in two time periods. The book is written as if it’s today, and it goes back to the time period of 1898 … So, as she’s driving down [Archer Avenue], she’s describing what she’s seeing now and what she would have seen in 1898 because it would have looked very different at that time. Someone living in Lemont would know that. There would be some surprises because they may or may not know that there’s a network of tunnels under Lemont … I was hoping to put some things that would surprise people, so even if you live here, you would say, ‘Oh, but I didn’t know about that.’

Farnham: Did you try to be as accurate as possible?

Camalliere: Nothing is being made up about the geographic features. Wherever something was made up, I would have changed the character’s name … I think you can basically say that the town is represented appropriately. Many of the happenings are described accurately. Some of them are not. There is an afterword in the book that tells you which is which.

Farnham: Is this a book for people who live in Lemont or people who don’t know much about Lemont?

Camalliere: Both of those things, but maybe to me even more important than that, is that Lemont is such a special place that the world should know about it. I wanted to write something that was hopefully captivating enough so that somebody in California could pick up this and say, ‘Wow, that sounds like a great place, Lemont. I want to go and visit there.’

Farnham: How do you feel now that you’ve published the book?

Camalliere: I don’t know if it’s really sunk in. It’s such a long process. It’s so much work … You find a publisher, but anybody, unless you’re Stephen King, you market your own books now … So, basically, I love it, but it’s a lot of work. I feel fulfilled. I feel satisfied. I feel like something I’ve always wanted to do came out well.

Farnham: What would you see as being successful for this book?

Camalliere: I’m happy to have done it. I would like it to go somewhere. I would be silly if I didn’t. But, I think if I got a letter from somebody that I didn’t know, and it just said to me, ‘I got so much out of reading your book, and I just loved it.’ Even if it was only one, that would make it feel worthwhile to me because it touched somebody.

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