Author Spotlight: P.C. Zick @PCZick

Author-Spotlight

P.C. Zick

About the Author:

Patricia Zick P.C. Zick’s career as a writer began in 1998 with the publication of her first column in a local paper. By day, she was a high school English teacher, but at night and on vacations, she began writing novels and working as a freelance journalist. By 2001, she left teaching and began pursuing a full-time gig as a writer. She describes herself as a “storyteller” no matter the genre.

She writes three blogs. She’s working on her sixth novel, Native Lands. Live from the Road was her first venture into self-publishing in 2012. Trails in the Sand followed in January 2013. She’s also re-issued two novels previously traditionally published.

She also writes nonfiction. From Seed to Table is a collection of blog posts about gardening and preserving produce. She’s also published her great grandfather’s Civil War journal, Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier.
Her blog and her novels contain 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.

She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband Robert.

Connect with P.C.:
Writing Whims | Living Lightly blog | P.C. Zick Travels blog | Facebook | Facebook: Florida Environmental Novels | Facebook: Civil War Journals | Twitter: @PCZick | Amazon Author Central

Interview:

MF: You write in many genres, but your most recent release is a personal account of the Civil War based on the journal of your great grandfather. Tell us about the book and why you decided to share your ancestor’s thoughts with the world.
PZ: His journal sat on my office shelf beckoning me for years. It was typed but never done electronically. I began thinking about it more, and one day I pulled it off the shelf and out fell a yellowed obituary for my great grandfather dated March 23, 1906. The date I discovered the news clipping was March 23, 2013. I took it as a sign to start typing, and I did that very day.

MF: You invented the environmental love story genre because there wasn’t a category for your novel Trails in the Sand. Educate us on what an environmental love story is.
PZ: I started calling my novels that as a joke at first, and then I realized that’s exactly what I was writing. They aren’t romances; they aren’t environmental treatises. I write stories about people and love. Interspersed in the details of the characters lives are environmental themes about energy, wildlife, and conservation. My characters are usually involved in some type of struggle involving the environment; they are conscious consumers who are neither preachy or self-sacrificing. They’re just everyday folks with a conscience who want to conserve our precious resources.

MF: You’ve also written women’s fiction and psychological thrillers, but there’s a common thread in all your fiction, environmental concerns. What are some of the ways you’ve weaved these issues into your stories?
PZ: My characters drive fuel efficient vehicles. They fight for environmental causes. They are thoughtful folks living lightly upon the Earth. And the good guys are almost kind and generous.

MF: You’ve won numerous awards for your newspaper and magazine articles and you’ve written two non-fiction books. Do you find it easy to switch between non-fiction and fiction?
PZ: I follow a basic rule. Everything I write involves the art of storytelling. At the most basic level of writing, I start out with an idea and a focus. I identify my audience. I adjust what I write accordingly. I certainly have more freedom in fiction with the “truth,” but I still need to research facts. For instance, I’m fictionalizing a hurricane season in Florida in my current work. While I can make up the names and strengths and time elements of the storm, I need to be sure what I write is possible and know what things such as sustained winds of 105 mph can do and what category of hurricane that would be. It’s all storytelling with different methods to the means.

MF: Your stories contain elements that range from political intrigue to environmentalism. What are your research habits? Are there resources you turn to more than others?
PZ: Internet has been a big boost to authors, but I’m careful about my sources there. I usually buy books, go to the places of my settings, and talk to people. Some things I’ve experienced firsthand. For instance, in Trails in the Sand I write about the sea turtle nest relocation project that took place during BP’s oil spill in 2010. I worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife folks as a media relations director and was appointed to head up the media team for national and state wildlife agencies during the relocation project.

MF: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
PZ: I have two novels in various stages and one that is simply a blimp on my brain at this point. I keep a notebook for thoughts on that but haven’t started writing anything yet.

MF: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a writer? What has been the best compliment?
PZ: The toughest thing for me is when I know friends and family have read one of my books, and they never say anything. I always assume they hated the book. But then recently, one of my brothers told me he’d read Live from the Road awhile back, but forgot to tell me how much he loved the book and hated when it ended. So I learned never to assume anything. Non writers don’t understand how fragile we writer types are! The best compliment comes when a reader tells me they learned something or felt completely connected to the story and the characters. That’s the best.

MF: Aside from polished and engaging writing, what three things do you think every new writer must do in order to succeed in this highly competitive and ever-changing industry?
PZ: That’s easy. Use beta readers and their comments to continue on to the next draft stage. Re and reread the book catching all the silly little proofing errors. Hire an editor to do the final content editing. And there’s a fourth: Reread the book once again; let someone else do a final proof. I have a theme in my advice. And on top of the careful scrutiny before publishing, all writers–old and new alike–must be flexible in this every changing publishing environment.

MF: If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which would it be?
PZ: Right now in some sunny climate with my hubby and a good book at my side.


Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier Harmon Camburn signed up for duty as a Union soldier two weeks after the first shots were fired in the Civil War. He served for the next three years, fighting in both Battles of Bull Run and other skirmishes of the War Between the States. His tour of duty ended with a shot through his lung and capture by Confederate soldiers. Fortunately, he survived his wounds and wrote about his time in the Union army. His great granddaughter, Patricia Camburn (P.C.) Zick, presents this journal along with additional annotations about the war in general. The journal weaves a tragic and compelling tapestry of war from the view at its center. Mr. Camburn’s sardonic and realistic view of war is worth remembering.

From the day of his enlistment in the Army in April 1861 in Adrian, Michigan, to his final days in the service of the army near Knoxville, Tennessee, the journal provides insight into the minutiae of a soldier’s life, from what they ate to the somewhat unorthodox method of obtaining food. It shows the horror of the battlefield to the joys of simply having the sun shine after days of rain.

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