The age-old question: When did you start writing?

I suspect that only one out of 100 writers will say anything other than, “I’ve been writing ever since I learned how to connect letters into words and words into thoughts.” That goes for me, too. In sorting some family historical papers, I ran across a letter I wrote in primitive cursive to my grandmother when I was about seven or eight. It read, “Dear Grandmother, How are you? We are fine. I have to go now. My brother’s about to get spanked, and I want to watch.” Doesn’t that final sentence tell a story in itself?

How do you select what to write?

My senses. I see or read something that plunges me into thoughtfulness. I hear something that piques my interest. I touch something or someone, and my fingers record that sensation along with the emotional response. I smell something and get the urge to investigate. I’m curious, so I’m willing to taste new things. Sometimes that leads to the “YUK” response and other times to a waistline problem. But I mentally record those sensations and responses. They resurface in my writing.

What prompted you to begin publishing your work?

I’d published numerous short stories in local writers journals where I knew most of the editors and competitors, but that’s not really “putting it out there.” I probably had stronger confidence issues than I realized in the beginning because I felt more comfortable allowing my dog to write my first published book. And here’s a tip: Bluffing goes a long way. It can get your foot in, and it will eventually convince you that you’re better than you thought—if it works.

Is there anything else in the pipeline?

The (now inactive) Dallas Writers Journal published five of my short stories in 2012. I published Dear Aunt Peggy, Emails from Petey Pup in 2013.  The (now inactive) Texas Writers Journal published four of my short stories in 2014, four in 2015, and three in 2016. Amelia’s Gift became a reality in 2015. I published Mom Pat’s Favorite Recipes in 2016, although that’s not as much a commercial offering as a gift for my family. In 2016 I also won a Texas Association of Authors Short Story Contest with “Dawn of the Angry Guns” (Texas Authors Books).

I am working on three new novels, an anthology, and another short story entry. The short story will be submitted in 2017, and I plan to release the anthology and one of those novels this year too.

In the pipeline:

Working title: Pat Haddock—an Anthology of Published Short Stories

This will contain sixteen or more short stories that have been previously published in journals. Few are available through public sources now, and I wish to share them with a wider audience. Planned for 2017.

Working title: Mystery at Muddy Puddle Farm

This one’s a real stretch for me. It has rape, murder, arson, and mass graves. That’s offset with buried Confederate gold, ghosts, and a little romance. Planned for 2017.

Working title: Will’s Legacy

A story based on my grandfather’s life. It includes his flight from Tennessee around the turn of the 20th century when he wins a knife fight and knows he’ll not get a fair trial. He lands in Texas where he becomes a share-cropper and builds a life through the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, two world wars, a tornado, and lives to see man walk on the moon. Aggressively planned for 2018.

Working title: Moreland Magic

Another stretch for me. A search for fossils on a central Texas ranch leads to the discovery of a skeleton. Sorting through romance, forensics, shattered lives and a little psychic phenomenon, this story leads two very different women through a friendship and discovery of who that skeleton had once been. Planned for 2018 or 2019.