P. McCarthy is an eclectic Author writing in many forms and genres running the genres from Poetry to novels. Her stories run the gamut from hilarious to surreal to terrifying, although her passion lies in horror.
Her stories are published all over the web in competitions, many winning First Place. She’s had the honor of being published in Breaking Rules Publishing Short Story Book Project books 1 & 2, as well as their new Horror Anthology, and has the honor of having a horror Drabble published in The Infernal Clocks’, DeadCades. She’s published in Breaking Rules Publishing’s The Scribe and Horror Magazines where you can find her recent short story series, Tripping with Jack, and she’s the author of a published humorous memoir, TheThingInTheChair and her newest paranormal novel, Grave.
Currently she’s working on two terrifying novels, a surreal horror novella, and a horror short story series, as well as a busy Editor with Breaking Rules Publishing.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
PM: I’ve been writing almost my entire lifetime. Terrible poetry to start, trying to find a place to purge emotions I didn’t understand or know how to deal with from the earliest of my memories. I’m a survivor of childhood incest and it took until midlife to finally find true healing from the betrayals. Realizing through tremendous amounts of counseling that my choices were stolen from me, and that I had the power to reclaim them and be anything I wanted. Writing was a natural fit for me, since I practically lived at my local Library as a child, but I found it difficult at first, attempting to write through walls of cinder blocks, always hiding deep emotion from my words in my stories until one day, I realized though it may be painful to open up on a deep level, those very emotions empowered my writing. Those deep emotions empower me.
2. How long does it take to write your book(s)?
PM: Typically, years. I have OCD on a grand scale and I fight with myself not to edit as I write, but that’s too difficult a beast to tame. It is what it is, and it takes the time it takes, but I finish writing my pulpy darlings eventually.
3. What is your work schedule like when writing a book?
PM: It’s not very unusual I suppose, from any other writer. I fit writing in any time of the day or night, as often as I can. Often I’m burning the 2:00am oil, but I don’t mind.
4. Where do you get your ideas or information for your book?
PM: Lightning strikes at the oddest of times; in the shower, on a dance floor, but usually my ideas come to me in the middle of the night during a nightmare. Most, if not all of my horror stories came directly from my nightmares.
5. When did you write your first book?
PM: A better question would be when did I start writing my first book? I began my humorous memoir 8 years before my marriage collapsed into the ashes, and it was twelve years before it was finished. It was a cathartic ordeal for me since it was based on my defunct 32 year marriage, and called TheThingInTheChair, and yes, you read that correctly, all one word. Basically, I was married to a recliner that farts! Oh, the emotions ran rampant from beginning to end while penning that novel! It’s bawdy, brash, profane, hysterical and eviscerating all at the same time.
I found a publisher brave enough to take it on and when he read it, he shared that he laughed until he cried, couldn’t read the words through his tears and couldn’t put it down until he read the words, ‘The End’. That book was published in August of 2017 with Breaking Rules Publishing, and though I can’t say now that I’m entirely proud of that work; I’ve grown immensely since its release, but I can say, I’m grateful that I purged it from my repertoire. Writing that book allowed me to move into my Big Girl Writer’s voice, and for that I’m grateful.
6. What do you do when you’re not writing?
PM: Is that a thing; not writing? Sadly I suppose it has to be, doesn’t it? I never want to find myself not writing, but there is reality to deal with. At this moment, I’ve taken on the duties of Editor with Breaking Rules Publishing and boy does that small press keep me hopping! I’m running three monthly magazines, The Scribe, Triangle Writers, and Horror Magazines as well as their bi-monthly Horror Anthology and usually you can find me fielding emails, dealing with submissions to all four publications, and reading for selections. I work from morning to night, take a break for a cuppa of my favorite tea and a little telly just to get some ‘me time,’ then I’m back at it until my work is either done for the day, or I’m brain dead; whichever comes first. Even though I may not be writing for me all day right now, I’m still very much in the thick of this crazy writing biz!
7. What does your family think of your writing?
PM: It depends on who you talk to. My close circle of family think it’s fantastic and they’re very supportive! Though, only a few have taken the time to read what I’ve written. The rest of my family? I’m not sure they know I exist, let alone know that I write anything!
8. What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?
PM: How incredibly difficult it is to write. Just keeping your tushy in a chair long enough to string a paragraph of words together is enough to pop a cork over and celebrate, but to keep that tushy in a chair day after day for as long as it takes to finish is truly something. Innate talent or not, this is one hard gig to perform, there’s so much to know and so much more to learn! It’s an ongoing relentless apprenticeship and I adore every moment of the journey. Truth is, the most surprising thing I’ve learned is how difficult it is to get anyone to pay attention, or want to read what you’ve written.
9. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
PM: I’ve written two novels: TheThingInTheChair (humorous memoir), and Grave, a sort of paranormal, sci-fi mishmash of a novel about a place, a realm where God doesn’t exist. The story focuses on Ian and Amy who navigate the realm of nothing in order to retrieve lost souls trapped in that dreadful place and lead them to heaven’s light. It’s a story of love, and loss, where their faith is everything walking through the dead miasma.
Grave is my favorite between the two.
I have tons of stories I’ve written out there in the internet ether or in print in magazines or Anthologies. The last 7 years, I’ve written a lot of short stories and right now, I have a series going in The Scribe Magazine at Breaking Rules Publishing, titled, ‘Tripping With Jack’. This story is about Sally who lost her husband at a young age and trips with her dog Jack from Chicago to the Pacific along Rt. 66 in her Plymouth Deluxe. It’s a heartwarming, loving tale and currently in its 5th episode.
I also have 3 novels in various phases of completion, and hoping to finish those for publication in the New Year!
10. Any tips/suggestions on getting started?
PM: Sure. Just begin. With a letter, a word, a tiny sentence and don’t let anyone or anything stop you! Not even yourself, because that dangerous monster we call self-doubt will find ways to try and thwart your best efforts at every turn. Be deaf to those negative voices and plow through. You can do it, you just have to want to.
11. What do you think makes a good story?
PM: Emotion. If I can make myself emotional, then I know I’ve got something worth putting out in the world!
12. As a child, What did you want to do when you grew up?
PM: Since writing has been with me my entire life, it was an easy choice, (in my mind, at least) to be a writer. Through my lifetime there were many things I thought to become; a Scientist, a Psychologist, a professional singer, which I actually did for a few years, but in this, writing, I can be all of those things if I want to and with enough research. It’s the best of all worlds. I believe everything happens for a reason, and all my paths led me to writing. I’m certain it’s who I was always meant to be, stolen choices be damned!