Today, I'm so happy to welcome P.C. Zick and talk about her writing and her new Contemporary Fiction (family saga and women's literature) book, Trails in the Sand. Here's the details on her book.
When environmental writer Caroline Carlisle sets off to report on endangered sea turtles during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the last thing she expects is to uncover secrets - secrets that threaten to destroy her family, unless she can heal the hurts from a lifetime of lies. To make matters worse, Caroline's love for her late sister's husband, Simon, creates an uproar in a southern family already set on a collision course with its past.
Using real-life events as the backdrop, Trails in the Sand explores the fight to restore balance and peace, in nature and in a family, as both spiral toward disaster. Through it all, the ancient sea turtle serves a reminder that life moves forward despite the best efforts to destroy it. I would like readers to come away from reading Trails in the Sand knowing that it is never too late to restore peace or find love.
Thank you for interviewing me today, Chantel.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. We have the blurb, but give us the condensed version. Can you try to describing Trails in the Sand in one sentence?
Caroline Carlisle reports on endangered sea turtles during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but as she digs for the story, she also discovers secrets about her family that have been hidden for three generations.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always known I was a writer deep down, but I didn’t admit it until I decided to leave my career as a high school English teacher. I lost my passion for teaching and was scared I would become one of those old, mean teachers who hates her job. I thought about what else I did well, and I kept coming back to writing. I’d dabbled with a novel; I liked writing Letters to the Editor; my peers referred to me as the “writing teacher.” Probably the biggest motivator was the praise I always received when I wrote something and published it.
Praise is always nice. Who are your cheerleaders?
My husband, my daughter, and a handful of friends always support me. My husband is very proud of me. He’s an engineer,so the literary world was unfamiliar to him when we married. He’s proud of me, and he supports my quest to see what I can do as an author of fiction despite my lack of income at this point. My daughter Anna is an artist – she paints – and she was my earliest cheerleader for leaving teaching and pursuing what I love. She’s one of my trusted beta readers because she’s honest and interested in seeing that I put out my very best work. One of my friends is a voracious reader and strict grammarian, and I trust her to read my early drafts and give me feedback. Then I have several friends who love everything I write. I am very grateful for their support.
Sounds like you have a great support system. That is important in the lonely profession of writing. Do you have a day job?
For the first time since I was thirteen, I can answer that question with a resounding, “No.” I never thought I’d be able to make writing my full time job. I wrote for other people for a long time. When I married my husband in 2010, I had to relocate from Florida to Pennsylvania because of his job. We decided that this was my time to give my passion a chance to thrive. I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I work much longer hours for less pay, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Someday the monetary reward will follow.
Writing definitely is a passion you do because you love it, not for the money. I agree with you, some day it will pay off, but the writing part is so fun in the meantime. Could you describe to us your typical day?
That’s an interesting and timely question, Chantel. I went by the seat of my pants for the first nine months as I learned about the new world of writing and publishing. Then in January, the fog suddenly lifted. I realized that writing had been taking a backseat to marketing, so I’ve rearranged my day. I wake up around 6 a.m. and do a little bit of yoga. I drink a cup of coffee and a smoothie, while I work on my current projects. I typically write on those projects for four hours. Then I go to the gym and eat lunch when I return. I spend the afternoon marketing and putting together my blog posts. The structure helps tremendously. It takes a great amount of discipline to work on your own. You need to be a tough boss and a conscientious employee all at the same time.
That is certainly true! Where do you get your inspiration?
That’s the great thing about writing. Everything can be inspiration, if you keep your mind open to life and new experiences. The newspaper is a great inspiration. One time I read about a man who shot his pit bull because it was showing signs of homosexuality. While it’s a gross news item, it also makes a great bit of characterization - which I’m using in my current work - for an evil or crazy antagonist. I go to the food court at the mall occasionally. I sit at a table and pretend to read, but really, I’m eavesdropping. I usually pull out a small notebook - I carry several in my purse - and write little vignettes about the folks eating. It all inspires me.
Real life definitely is a great place to gain inspiration. What book is currently on your nightstand?
I’m trying to read The Orchid Thief but it’s slow going. The movie Adaptation is based on the book. Since I write about Florida and nature, I thought I should read this book. I hope that it will become more action-packed. I have a dozen books waiting a read on my Kindle. I’m determined to read Tom Wolf’s Bonfire of the Vanities sometime soon - it’s also on my bed stand. However, what I really want to start is Barbara Kingsolver’s newest novel Flight Behavior. I am a chronic reader.
It seems most authors are. My TBR list is tremendously long too! How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
Readers are the only reason I publish my books. I am grateful to everyone who reads my books and blogs. I respond to every message I receive. I recently read a “how to” book on eBook marketing. The author said she responded to every email and blog comment she received. I reviewed the book on my blog and on Amazon, giving it four stars. (I wasn’t crazy about her casual style of writing, but found the advice given invaluable and recommended it to other writers.). I sent her an email thanking her for writing the book; I posted a comment on her blog; I sent her a link to my blog post recommending the book. That was more than a month ago, and I’ve yet to receive a reply. I choose to do things differently. I recently received a lukewarm review on Amazon for my novel Live from the Road. The reviewer wrote me an email and explained her reasoning in the message. I sent her back a thank you note for reading my book and taking the time to write a review. Not everyone is going to like what I write, but if someone reads my book, a “thank you for your time” response is warranted.
I'm in total agreement with you there. All feedback is important and readers' time is valuable What are your thoughts on eBooks?
I love them. However, I preach the same thing repeatedly. Indie Authors must be professional and hire professional editors and cover artists. I’ve been an editor of magazines and newspapers, but I still need a professional editor to go over my books. Everyone needs an editor. If a writer also has experience with graphic art, then there’s nothing wrong with designing your own book cover as long as it looks professional. However, you must have an editor no matter your background. Thank you for letting me say that, and now I’ll step down off my soap box.
Unfortunately, not all books are created equal because many Indies skip the step of making sure their work is polished, so I'm glad you were able to get that off your chest. What does the future hold for you? Are you writing something else at the moment?
Yes, I am. I’m going over the first draft of a novel I wrote several years ago. I plan to publish it in October. I’m pulling together my blog posts on gardening and preserving food into an eBook that I will publish in May. I’m also putting together a series of essays I wrote as columns about my travels for the past ten years. I plan to publish that in June. Somewhere in there, I’m going to breathe as well.
You are definitely busy! Thanks for taking the time out to visit with us here. Good luck in all your future projects!
P.C. Zick began her writing career in 1998 as a journalist. She's won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction. She describes herself as a "storyteller" no matter the genre. She's published five works of fiction and one nonfiction book. Prior to 2010, she wrote under the name Patricia C. Behnke.
Her fiction contains the elements most dear to her heart, ranging from love to the environment. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion.
"This is one of the most exciting times to be an author," Ms. Zick says. "I'm honored to be a part of the revolution in writing and publishing."
Want to get in touch with P.C. Zick? You can find her here:
Living Lightly blog: http://www.pczick.wordpress.com
Writing Whims blog: www.pittsburghwriter.wordpress.com
Amazon Author Central (gives you access to all my books, both paperback and Ebook versions):
Smashwords (Trails in the Sand only): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/274754
Barnes and Noble (Trails in the Sand only): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trails-in-the-sand-p-c-zick/1114126788
Thanks for taking the time to find out a little bit more about this author today. Check out her books and have a great weekend. Happy reading!
~~ Chantel ~~