Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Regina Puckett author of ‘I Will Breathe’ and many other novels and short stories.
Hi Regina, Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
What were you like at school?
I’ve always been an observer and still like sitting on the sidelines watching people.
Were you good at English?
Yes, but I enjoyed literature more than grammar, and it shows with my editing skills. I need an editor following me around at all time, cleaning up my mistakes.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’m not ready to take over the world, but I like knowing that my books are being read by someone who isn’t my mother.
Which writers inspire you?
All of them. I’ve always wanted to be an author so how could I not love everyone who has already made that dream come true for themselves? I know that writing is hard work, and it takes a lot of willpower not to give up. It’s an easy enough career to walk away from, and no one would ever be the wiser for our failure.
So, what have you written?
I’ve written a little of everything, romance, horror, poetry, children’s picture books and steampunk. Steampunk is my newest love. It has offered me a chance to create a totally new world out of nothing.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
My favorite character is ‘If Boy’. I created him for my first steampunk book, ‘I Will Breathe’, as a child-like robot who’s afraid of dying. He is the only character who appears in all of my steampunk books, but Finding Liberty. The only reason he wasn’t in that story was that it was written in a period before he had been created.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m writing a horror short story, ‘Sparkling in Sunlight’.
What’s it about?
It’s my version of what I think it would be like to be a vampire in today’s society. It’s a little tongue in cheek, but I guess everything I write tends to be that way.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
I’ve written three books with my daughter, Charity Parkerson.Bedroom Games, Pure Hell and Hell Bound.
Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?
An acquisition editor for an erotic romance publisher approached me about writing a horror/erotic book. I’ve written horror but never erotic so wasn’t certain I could write such a book. Since my daughter, Charity Parkerson, had written several erotic books, I asked her if she would like to try writing together.
Neither of us had ever been interested in co-writing, since what we love about writing is that it’s totally ours to do with as we please. I have to admit that it was just as hard to do as I feared and if it had been with anyone else but my daughter I would have thrown in the towel and walked away without ever finishing the first book. There was a lot of give and take in the process, but we both survived and lived to tell the tale.
Why do you write?
I love writing. It keeps me sane. Everything else is out of my control except for the stories I create.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I have a full-time job at a local university, so I write in my spare time.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
There’s no rhyme or reason to when and if I write. It’s something I do when I can’t get a story out of my head. When the characters talk to each other without ceasing, the only thing I can do is write. My day job gets in the way during those times, but somehow I find the time to put what they’re saying onto paper.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I don’t make myself write if I don’t have anything to say. Writing would then turn into drudgery. Why would I want to do that to something I love so much?
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
It wouldn’t do at all for me to write anything down in longhand because my handwriting is awful I would never figure out what I had written, and it would be lost forever. I write on my laptop. I love spellcheck. It doesn’t love me back, though, because I can’t spell. Sometimes I confuse it so much I can actually see it throwing up its little spellcheck arms in defeat. In those times I call one of my daughters and ask them if they can give me a hint – something – anything to help me and poor spellcheck out.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Stories come out of the blue for the strangest reasons. Concealed in My Heart was born from a dream. Will Work for Food was born from seeing some panhandlers while I was out shopping. Every book has its own story for how it was born.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
When I first started writing, I tried outlining, but it didn’t work out. I never stick to outlines because my characters grow out of them. Something is said or done that changes everything, so I now start out with a rough outline in my head and start writing. I let the story evolve naturally and don’t stress out if it doesn’t turn out like I thought it would. They never do.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Not giving up when it feels like I’m the only person in the world who cares if I write again.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
All the time.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I can’t tell you how many times I stopped and started on A Man Called Rat. A 20,000-word book took me over six months to complete. It got where it was embarrassing whenever my mom asked what I was writing and every time I would have to tell her, A Man Called Rat. I know she must have thought it was going to be the longest book ever written. I hated to tell her that I kept getting stuck. The only thing I could do was open the document every day and read what I had written. Reading what I had written helped to lead me where I needed to go. I finally figured out what was holding me up, and I’m happy to say I finally finished it. Now whenever Mom asks me what I’m writing, I say, Sparkling in Sunlight. Hopefully, I won’t have to tell her that for the next six months.
If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
I’m writing several short horror tales to go into my third horror book.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I love writing series. You already have the background and the characters. I think they make any writing richer, and it gives your readers something to look forward to from you.
Below are excerpts from ‘A Man Called Rat’ and the award winning ‘I Will Breathe’.
A Man Called Rat
When a storm sends Rat’s airship off course, he lands smack dab in the middle of a group of dimwitted kidnappers. With the help of his two best friends, a nine-hundred-year-old robot and a droid who always believes they’re on the verge of dying, Rat escapes the kidnappers’ clutches before rescuing the women being held against their will.
While the rescue should have been the end of the story, Rat soon discovers the women are hiding something from him. When he uncovers their secret, it turns his life upside down and sets the entire world on a different course.
I Will Breathe
‘I Will Breathe’ is a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Award Bronze Medal Winner – Science Fiction.
2016 New Young Adult Science Fiction Winner The year is 2836. It has been eight hundred years since The Great War. There are small groups of people scattered in isolated pockets around the world, but most are too suspicious of each other for any intimacy. If they don’t stop hiding and learn to help each other, there won’t be anyone left on earth. Liberty has grown up in this post-apocalyptic world. Her home is an airship built by her adopted father. Since his death, each day is just another day trying to survive in a hostile environment. That is until her father’s dying friend asks if she’ll take custody of a small, child-like robot. The last thing Liberty needs is another responsibility. Surprisingly, once the endearing robot is aboard Airus, she discovers there is more to life than just living, and loving someone can be as easy as breathing.