Patricia Raybon is an author and essayist who writes daring and exciting novels at the intersection of faith, grace, and race. She is a regular contributor to Our Daily Bread. She is also the author of the Annalee Spain Mysteries, a “history mystery” series featuring a young Black theologian who solves crime during Colorado’s dangerous 1920s Klan years. Patricia has won both the Christy Award and the Christianity Today Book of the Year award for her fiction.

A former newspaper journalist and journalism faculty member at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Patricia and her husband, Dan, a retired educator, have two grown daughters.


If someone asked you to describe yourself with one word, what word would that be?

Listener. When I listen to others I learn. Listening has been a hard-earned trait for me. But when I listen to God and to other people, I always gain new insight and knowledge. Help me, Lord, to hear what others are saying.

What books have your read lately that inspired you?

I loved Geraldine Brooks’s tour de force, Horse. Truly, I was stunned by the depth of her narrative power. I found that same creative prowess in Sophfronia Scott’s latest novel, Wild, Beautiful, and Free. I love stories with characters of color who are fully dimensional, not just add-ons. Both books filled that bill. So did a detective novel I recently gobbled up, A Disappearance in Fiji by Nilima Rao. It’s captivating. Finally, three history books recently brought me to my knees—King: A Life by Jonathan Eig, Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy B. Tyson, and American Nations by Colin Woodard.

Let’s talk about your new book, Truth Be Told (Tyndale, June 2024). Please tell us about it.

With a garden murder, this third installment explores the seeds we plant in life, whether truth or lies, and what kind of harvests they yield. When our heart’s ground is plowed with fear, revenge, bigotry, suspicion, and pride, what’s the impact on our lives—not to mention the impact on our families, nation, and the world? In a compromised world, indeed, what does Annalee discover? That pursuing truth is always worth the risk, especially when pursuing the truth about yourself. That may seem like a heavy challenge for a humble detective like Annalee Spain, but she confronts the test head-on—taking on truths, lies, and tensions still throbbing today.

Annalee dives with passion into unraveling this next case—the murder of a pretty, young stranger found dead in a rich man’s garden. Making appearances as sidekicks are Annalee’s ensemble of intrepid church pals along with her orphaned buddy Eddie and her heartthrob pastor boyfriend, the Rev. Jack Blake. With a murder in a garden, Annalee also looks to a real-life surprise visitor to Denver—the renowned agricultural scientist, George Washington Carver—who shows up to help her understand a curious prairie plant that may sit at the center of the murder case.

Let’s talk about writing….

Do you have a writing hero or mentor?

I have many — from Howard Thurman (spiritual mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) to craftsmen James Scott Bell and Sol Stein, and novelists Rhys Bowen and Sophfronia Scott. They each inspire.

What has kept you on your writing journey when life tries to get in the way?

Purpose. I write at the intersection of faith, grace, and race — inviting readers to explore history and mystery with truth and courage. That never gets old for me. I’m honored by the assignment, and it keeps me on the writing path. Humbly, indeed!

Truth Be Told is the third book in the series. What’s next for you?

I’m thrilled to be planning my next novel with Tyndale Fiction, a World War II historical stand-alone about a young female teacher at an upper-crust Black finishing school in North Carolina tobacco country. Nearby is a sprawling US Army base where she’s drawn into intrigue involving an Italian POW imprisoned there and a young Black Army officer stationed there. I love the story and characters, and I’m humbled and excited to attempt this project — my first stand-alone. I hope readers enjoy it, too. Writing prayers solicited!

Thanks, Patricia! It’s great to have you back at Divine Detour.

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For more information about Patricia, visit her website and follow her on Facebook, X, and Instagram.

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