Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit the clubhouse is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today I chatting with P.A.O’Neil about her writing and her books. Welcome to the clubhouse tearoom. My first question to you is what would you like to drink?
Thank you for inviting me. A lattes please, gingerbread preferred, but I’ll take hazelnut.
Now we have our drinks let me start by asking you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I didn’t choose the Literary style, it chose me. It is the common thread throughout all of my stories, the setting might be the Old West or 17th Century Europe, but that just happens to be a matter of fact. My interpretation of Literary is when unusual things happen to usual people, and it’s how they handle the situation that makes the story interesting.
What writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
I have been praised for my dialogue and have worked hard to improve my style with each new story. I wish I could improve on my keeping within the same tense throughout the work, but I think my editor would say it has gotten better over the years.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
I just received back from the editor a personal reflection about an event from my childhood. I plan on shopping it around as non-fiction. When the editor asked if the events truly happened as written, I knew I had achieved my goal for presentation of the plot.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
Probably half a dozen partially written stories, with notes for another twenty or so. My novel is sitting there, waiting for me to return for a first revision, but unfortunately Finding Jane will have to wait a little longer.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? If you only write short stories, do you plan your story, or let the characters lead you.
If I know I will not have the time to begin the story, I will write detailed notes, sometimes with titles included. I do not start a story unless I know how it begins and ends though. The first part has to interest me enough to want to continue, yet oftentimes, the characters and events will have their own opinion and want to lead the plot in a different direction. This is why it is important to know how the story will end—and when to end it.
When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?
No, not daily, but I often will read a story which was published a couple of years ago and think, “Oh, I should’ve done this…”. My writing skills have improved over the years to where my stories are sharper, my dialogue cleaner, and the feeling the reader has after reading it is more awe inspiring (or so I’ve been told).
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
Oh, yes, many of them, some I know, some I don’t. For the people I know, I try to keep them within character, and if they are living, I ask them to review what I have written. If I do not have a personal relationship, I try to be as respectful as possible toward them and their endeavors.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
I wrote a how-to book for people wanting to sew a quilt for competition at the fair. It was only published for a few friends.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Actually, P.A. O’Neil is a sort of pseudonym as it is my own initials, but I do not go by this name in my daily life. I decided to use a pen name in case my career became successful for a sense of privacy. If my career tanked, it would allow privacy as well.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene was in fact, the entire flash fiction story, “Letters from Jenni”. I needed to write it in a way so there might possibly be misdirection for the reader, but as the story progressed (with her letters) the true subject was revealed. Besides getting the plot right, it was based on true events and it had to be handled delicately. It was an emotional story to write, but it needed to be told in a way that would honor her and others like her.
Thank you for joining me today. If you’re interested in learning more about P.A. Neil’s writing check out her links.
FB author page for: P.A. O’Neil, Storyteller: https://www.facebook.com/p.a.oneil.storyteller/
FB scrapbook page for: Witness Testimony and Other Tales: https://www.facebook.com/groups/172393760799790/
It you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.