I have the honour to introduce to you the featured author of today … (drumroll)
Hello Pat! Thanks for stopping by. Can you tell us a bit about yourself before we get to the interview? Oh, you have a real bio? Can’t you just tell us stuff? You know, like as if you’re really talking to us? You will? Great!
Beeing born and raised in Tennessee i began to appreciate Southern folklore and ghost stories at an early age. As a child my favorite story was the legend of the so-called “Bell Witch.”
Later research of the mystery culminated in “The Bell Witch: The Full Account,” which introduced many new, previously unpublished facts about the case. He was featured in the motion picture DVD, “An American Haunting,” starring Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland, and has appeared on many radio interviews and television documentaries about the supernatural.
In 2009 I penned down “Ghostly Cries From Dixie,” a compilation of weird and ghostly tales from the American South. And I also was a contributing author for “Weird U.S.,” published by Barnes and Noble Press, and have written many newspaper and magazine articles, editorials, and short stories.
My current projects include “From Turkey Creek – A Memoir,” a personal account of growing up on Kentucky Lake in rural west Tennessee; the thirteenth anniversary edition and rewrite of “The Bell Witch: The Full Account,” due in October 2013; a sequel to “Ghostly Cries From Dixie;” and the foreword to “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge,” by historical fiction author Lori Crane. Also in the works “Tales of the Haunted Natchez Trace,” a collection of chilling stories about haunted locations along a primitive footpath between Mississippi and Tennessee.
And finally something to remember about me, “I write about ghosts, moonshine, and magnolias. My writing is an extension of every cup of moonshine sipped on a hot summer’s night, propped against life’s most inevitable and unfortunate truths.”
Pat, that is a wonderful saying. You have given your fan’s a quote they can use and remember you by. 😉
Now, where can your fans find you online?
Those are some pretty nice pages. 🙂 Now let’s get started with the interview.
Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?
“I’ll usually celebrate by going right into the next chapter or paragraph while the previous one is still fresh in my mind; it makes
transitions easier. Also, I like to keep my rhythm going. Once I finally reach a stopping point after completing a tricky chapter (and then some), I’ll go for dinner and drinks.”
Okay, sounds like you know how to party. But how do you work around those moments when the muse has gone and done a runner on you?
“I’ll go fishing or hiking, or just sit at home and read. If I’m really behind on a piece, I will start typing random, off the wall
stories and keep going until my creativity comes back. That’s how some of my best work has begun.”
I think that is a great piece of advice to anyone suffering from a creativity blockage. 🙂 But I want to know about your current work.
First, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?
“Ghostly Cries From Dixie”
That is my kind of cover! Great, eerie and alluring. Just based on the cover I would want to read it.
But did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
“I thought about it for a while. I was stuck between “Ghostly Tales” and “Ghost Stories,” from Dixie. Then one day I came to my
senses—both are trite, overused, and cliché. One of writing’s biggest rules is to be original, and not base your work on stale,
overused, everyday terms and expressions. I chose “Cries” because it conveys tension, negativity, sadness, fear, helplessness, and similar emotions—emotions that are present in nearly all ghost stories.”
I think you made the right decision.
If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?
“My guiding life principle has always been, ‘If the rules don’t make sense, then make and play by your own rules!’ Fortunately, however, I don’t have to worry about that because the book is already published and I don’t write in a particular genre. There is no genre for the books I write. I suppose I could create one and call it, ‘Journalistic Analyses of Well-Known Ghost Stories and Haunted Locations,’ but that would be quite long! I suppose ‘Historical Fiction’ comes close.”
I like your life principle! By the by, what’s wrong with a long named new genre? But is it fiction? Or do those ghost really haunt us?
To another topic. What don’t you like about writing.
“Tough question. I love everything about writing. If I had to pick something I don’t like (and I take it that’s the case here), I’d have
to say that I don’t like getting stuck on a sentence or paragraph and spending a week or more trying to find exactly the right words and put them in exactly the right places. I am my strongest critic; I am never satisfied with anything I write. Conversely, I usually love what everyone else writes.”
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
“Having written and published books since the early 1980’s, I’ve tried almost everything. Television and radio interviews work well, as do lectures and signings. If you analyze and execute it correctly, one such event will spawn another, then another, and so on. The more people I speak with directly, or come into contact with via face-to-face and personal handshakes, the more books I sell. Period. It all begins with a carefully-worded and timed press release. The internet (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) is okay, I suppose, but I’ve found social media better for building my personal author brand (and advertising my in-person events!) than for selling books.”
That’s exactly how I feel about it! I think you are a brave man, to go out into the world and actually speak in public! Eeps! Anyway, good to hear that those things work.
Tell me, when you’re on a roll, the muse is in the house and happily guiding your pen, what would seriously drive her/him away?
“Distractions will drive him/her away quickly. I can’t write unless I am in total silence; even the smallest distraction breaks my
concentration. It takes me a good 30 minutes for me to refocus.”
What does your muse look like and does he/she ever play tricks on you?
“Sometimes my muse is a temple; sometimes it’s a disco.”
Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?
“As an author of ghost stories, all of my characters are dead; I don’t do séances.”
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either books or life?
“Coffee. Black, no sugar. Seven in the morning, eleven at night, always coffee. If I’m not writing, I’ll do a Mountain Dew.”
Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!
I can’t remember a day when I didn’t write at least something, although it’s usually just my signature on 20-30 checks (the front side).
And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?
I’m not happy unless I am actively achieving or accomplishing something; I have to keep moving at all times, unless I am asleep.
Sitting behind the keyboard enables me accomplish something worthwhile—a book! It will be around for long after I’m dead and
gone; it’s a personal legacy item that I can be proud of (even if it sells only one copy)!
Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. Hehehe, I love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
“Ok. You asked for it! Lets’ see. I once ate 42 dozen oysters on the half-shell (my favorite food) in one setting. I didn’t get sick.
While playing tackle in high school, I sacked an opposing team’s quarterback on the first play of a game, and it took him out for the
entire season. Four years later, he won the Heisman Trophy. And finally, I once saw ‘Bigfoot’ while hunting on horseback in Victoria, British Columbia. Ok! Ok! So I lied, but two out of three ain’t bad.
Hahahaha, you didn’t only made me believe each and every one of them, but I laughed out loud too! Thank you very much Pat for this pleasant visit and the small peek you gave me and my readers into you and your life.
I hope you will want to come back in future when you have a new release.
The only thing I need to do now is tell the folks where to buy your work.
“The Bel Witch: The Full Account @ Amazon
“Ghostly Cries From Dixie” @ Amazon