Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Fiona. My name is, Patt O’Neil, and I write under the name, P.A. O’Neil. I am a newly-minted “Seasoned Citizen”, who has been writing professionally for almost three years now.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Originally, I’m from the Los Angeles area, but for over forty years, I have lived in-and-near the vicinity of Olympia, Washington.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
I am a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, majoring in Legal Studies. I am married with two grown children who live close by. After years of having a career in an office setting, I work part-time as a cashier for a national liquor store. The people there are wonderful, management through customers, and I have been inspired to write a few stories from working there. I’d probably be retired by now, but I need the job to pay for my editing fees.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
A couple of months ago, I was offered a book deal for a collection of my own short stories by Clarendon House Publications. I don’t have a timeline available yet, but I would think it might be near Christmas before a publication is released.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always been interested in writing in one form or another. My favourite thing to write is scripts, but life pushed all that aside for almost forty years. In August of 2016, when I found myself unemployed for the second time in a year, I sat down and wrote a novel in two-and-half weeks. It is called “Finding Jane”. Not knowing what next to do with it, I joined a few Facebook writing groups for instruction. It was there I became interested in writing short stories, and since October of 2017, I have had over twenty stories published either in anthologies or online publications.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I admitted to someone other than myself that I had written a novel and I would be seeking publication of my work. The novel is still a long way from being published, but I am having too much fun with the short stories, so I’m not losing any sleep over it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
“Finding Jane” was inspired by a vivid dream. When the dream was over, I not only had to write it down, I needed to complete her story, I had to learn what was to become of her quest.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
That was easy, as it is a story about a divorcee who, having had a shot-gun marriage, returns to university to find the woman she was meant to be, that is—other than someone’s wife or mother.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I do not read Romance genre, and all that mushy stuff is hard for me to put to paper. My preference is for Speculative or Literary genre. With short stories, you can write them as if they are a chapter from a larger story, and if you leave the reader wanting to turn the page to learn more, then you have written it correctly.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My stories are equally based off dreams, current and historical events, or influenced by my own or the known experiences of others.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No, I do most all my research online, but I have written about places that I have experienced first-hand.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
As I have not published my own book yet, I haven’t an answer for this, but I will probably use the work of a Clarendon House Publishing artist.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, the obvious is that if you allow yourself the opportunity, you can do and be anything your want. The not so obvious is, you have real control of who you love.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Yes, Steve Carr, David Bowmore, and Gary Bonn, are my short story writers. I have only discovered their work through the FB writing groups. My favourite novelists of modern times are David Stuart Davies, Kathryn Lynn Davis, and Thomas Sewell. Classic authors which have captured my heart are Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, and L. Frank Baum. I’m sure it is the same with any good writer, but all of those listed above have managed to carry me away with their words, be that 19th century London or 10th century Scotland.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Kari Bodnar, I’ve known her for almost ten years now. When I tell her, I have a new story being published, her eyes light up and she is genuinely interested.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Oh yes, I don’t think I will ever stop writing professionally. Will I be able to make it profitable career—now that is a different thing all together.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
As “Finding Jane” is in the hands of a beta reader now, I really have no answer for that now. It’s much easier to go back and change things with short stories. I had one that was written as a radio play, then I changed it to a short story, then I kept most of the story but changed the characters and some dialogue. Both versions of the short stories have been published, but it would be grand if the original radio play could be produced.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Because I did it backwards, I have learned ever so much more writing my short stories, than I ever did while writing, “Finding Jane”.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Maybe Jennifer Garner, but she’s too tall. I think I would like Blake Ritson to play the male lead, but by the time it ever came to production, he might be too old.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Yes, two things. The first is—don’t wait, if you want to write, whether it be for pleasure or profit (?), just do it. If you wait for the proper time to come to do it in earnest, it will never happen. The second thing is—if you do choose to submit your work for publication, invest in an editor. You might have wonder stories, but if they are not presented properly, and correctly, you’re just wasting your time and the submission editor’s.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Yes, please, I love feedback on my stories. Did you like it? Did it make you laugh? Did it make you cry? Am I now your favourite author? (Well, that last may be a little extreme.)
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“How to Stories Really Work: Exploring the Physics of Fiction” by Grant P. Hudson. Between reading to improve my craft, or the work of my fellow writers, I haven’t much time for personal “pleasure” reading. I must have a stack of books in every room, each calling out, “pick me, pick me!”
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I’m sure it was something by the Little Golden Library collection of children’s books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’m a big softy, a child in danger or need, will make me cry. Conversely, anything silly will make me laugh.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My hero has always been President George Washington, but not because he was the “Father of Our Nation”. He was a farmer, a gentleman, a man who married a widow and raised her children as his own. Yes, he owned slaves, who owning land in Virginia in those days didn’t, but how did he really feel about it, especially after leading men into battle for their freedom?
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to watch television, but between writing and working, I can barely keep up with a couple of show a month. I love to do hand needlework, ribbon embroidery especially. I am also a quilt historian and judge, as well as a student of fashion and textiles.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I get bored with the crime dramas and the comedies. I like the genre bending ones that like Speculative literature, blend the strange with the norm.
Fiona: Favourite foods, colours, music?
Foods, it must be all that is not considered healthy: pizza, hamburgers, bacon, and anything Mexican. Colours doesn’t really matter, but for some reason, I always fall back to “Barbie” pink. Music, it’s more what I don’t like than what I do like. I always have music playing with the radio currently on the local Adult Alternative station. I must admit, music has provided emotional inspiration for some of my stories.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Watch television, sew, read, but most of all, I hope I would be able to volunteer somewhere, somehow.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family, and if they were not close, I would at least attempt to contact them all to say goodbye.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’ve not given it any thought. Decisions like that are for those left behind to see it.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I have a Facebook author page under the name of “P.A. O’Neil, Storyteller”: https://www.facebook.com/p.a.oneil.storyteller/
and an Amazon author page under the name “P.A. O’Neil”: https://amazon.com/author/p.a.oneil
Stories Accepted for Publication by P.A. O’Neil
“Sara Hemming – Psychic Redecorator”, Anthology Askew Vol. 4 – Communications, RhetAskew Publishing (Oct 2017)
“Witness Testimony”, Relationship Add Vice, Zombie Pirate Publishing (Dec 2017)
“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”, FLASHPOINT – The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Flash Fiction Anthology 2018, Clarendon House Publications (Mar 2018)
“Girl of His Dreams”, STORM – The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Fantasy Anthology, Clarendon House Publications (Apr 2018)
“KaDee Rose”, VORTEX – The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Literary Anthology, Clarendon House Publications (May 2018)
“Trixie Neumann, I Want to be a Princess”, WINDOW – The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Children’s Anthology, Clarendon House Publications (Jun 2018)
“Georgia, 1966”, Spillwords Press (3 July 2018) Voted Story of the Month by the readers of Spillwords.com.http://spillwords.com/georgia-1966/
“Pink and Gray Ash”, The Crow Literary Journal, Vol. 1 (Jul 2018)
“Miss Cluny Remembers”, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, (22 August 2018), https://writinginawomansvoice.blogspot.com/2018/08/misscluny-remembers-byp.html?spref=fb
“Airing the Dairy”, FIREBURST– The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Second Flash Fiction Anthology 2018, Clarendon House Publications (Aug 2018)
“The Submission Process for a Short Story or What I Wish Someone Had Taught Me”, an essay in four parts written under the name of Patt O’Neil, Writers Unite! Worldwide, https://writersuniteweb.wordpress.com/patt-oneil-the-submission-process-for-a-short-story-or-what-i-wish-someone-had-taught-me/
“The Obelisk”, Dastaan World Magazine: Chapter 5 – Evolution, (14 October 2018), https://view.joomag.com/dastaan-world-chapter-5/0438702001539548539
“Pardon Me”, RAPTURE – The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Romance Anthology 2018, Clarendon House Publications (Nov 2018)
“The Web Weaver’s Sacrifice”, Literary Yard, (16 November 2018), https://literaryyard.com/2018/11/16/the-web-weavers-sacrifice/
“A Positive Session”, Dastaan World Magazine: Chapter 7 – Gratitude, (22 November 2018),
“Her Sister’s Keeper”, ENIGMA – The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Crime/Mystery/Thriller Anthology 2018, Clarendon House Publications (Dec 2018)
“Big Puffy Coat”, MIRACLE -The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Christian Stories Anthology 2018, Clarendon House Publications (Dec 2018)
“The Pain of Responsibility”, Flash Fiction Addiction, Zombie Pirate Publishing (anticipated release 15 April of 2019)
“Bougie de Voyage”, Fae Thee Well, Dreampunk Publishing, (Jan 2019)
“Ashleen”, Blooming Dark, (anticipated video/recording release Spring 2019)
“The Matchmaker’s Reward”, Dastaan World Inaugural Anthology: Athena, Dastaan World, (anticipated release Spring 2019)
“Coconut Villas”, The Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine, Issue #2(15 March 2019)
“Death Imitating Art”, Academy of the Heart and Mind, (8 April 2019)https://academyoftheheartandmind.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/death-imitating-art/
“Miss Cluny Remembers”, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, (4 May 2019),
“A Story of Cinders and Hope”, Dastaan World Magazine, Chapter 13– Miracles(anticipated release 15 May 2019)
“A Quiet House”, Chachalaca Review Spring 2019, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, (25 April 2019)
“The Sending”, Chachalaca Review Spring 2019, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, (25 April 2019)