Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on Horror author P.D. Cacek. (In case anyone is curious, P.D. tells me that her initials stand for Prematurely Decomposed!)
I asked her to please tell us briefly a little about herself and her writing. This is her story:
I knew I wanted to be a writer from the age of four. I was always scribbling “stories” in my Big Chief notebook and “read” them back (even though I couldn’t read yet). And decided, at age five, that the kinds of stories I wanted to write were scary stories…after accidently walking in on the movie FRANKENSTEIN just as Boris Karloff (aka Monster) turned around. That was six+ decades ago and I still like to unnerve my readers. What fun is life without a good scare (or at least a little shudder) now and then?
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)
Well, naturally at Annie’s first…but also on Amazon.com as well as Flame Tree Publishing for my newest book, SECOND LIVES, and it’s follow up (SECOND CHANCES, coming out in August).
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
Ah, there you have me. I unashamedly admit that I am a bit of a Luddite (Google it, folks) and tend to kick and scream and claw at the flooring every time someone tries to drag me into the 21st Century. I don’t have a website (as yet), but do have a general Facebook page (P.D. Cacek) and Facebook Author’s Page (Prematurely Decomposed). And I do, on occasion, Twitter. Luddites…right?
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Second Lives?
- When I was little I always wondered what happened after the prince and princess lived happily ever after or if the big, bad wolf ever came back. What can I say, I was a weird kid…and the weirdness hasn’t left. I’m still fascinated about what happens after a story ends, which is probably why I begin my newest novel, SECOND LIVES, with what would be an ending.
- Without giving away too much, let me ask: What would you do if the person you loved most in the world—parent, lover, child—died and then miraculously came back to life…but with the soul of a complete stranger?
- A natural ending becomes a whole new beginning.
What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
- Because I have four characters who come various historical time periods I had to do a lot of research, which I loved. I minored in cultural anthropology in college and find that I generally go back into that mind-set when I begin to flesh out a character. Because I picked times and places with some historical significance, even if it’s only a TV show, I had to be very careful to get not only the facts, but the “flavor” of the time correct.
- I have to admit there were many facts and flavors I wasn’t able to include. This is always the danger when doing research—you can’t cram every piece of information in, no matter how interesting it is. It becomes a balancing act, but that’s what first drafts are for. Put everything in and then take out everything that doesn’t move the plot forward.
- I probably have enough information about the time periods I used to write four more books.
- But I won’t.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out Second Lives? How did you overcome that challenge?
- I hate to admit this, but there was no challenge when I wrote SECOND LIVES. It’s massive and has, give or take, upwards of twenty characters, each with his or her own voice and problems.
- If I had actually thought about what would be involved in writing the book, I probably wouldn’t have started. But that was never the case. The novel was one of those that came to me fully formed, all I had to do was write it down.
- This has only happened to me a few times and it’s something I can’t explain. But when it does happen it’s one heck of a ride.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
- I didn’t hate any of my character (although Crissy could get on my nerves from time to time, teenaged girl that she is <g>), but think I felt closest to Nora, an elderly woman who becomes the sole caretaker for the child who now inhabits her husband’s body. While the other characters struggled with what had happened to them, Nora saw only her duty and did it without question. She was a rock…and I hope there really is a little bit of her in me.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
- Writing isn’t easy. It requires determination, thick skin, child-like optimism and an unrelenting belief in your dreams and in yourself, so the only advice I can give you is: Don’t give up.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
- SECOND CHANCES, the follow-up novel—NOT a sequel—to SECOND LIVES, is due to come out in August 2020 from Flame Tree Publishing and follows the live and death and reawakening of a girl named Jessie.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
- I belong to a group of costumed storytellers called the Patient Creatures East and play the part of Moria the Screaming Banshee. I’m not sure if I’d list this as a hobby or passion, but for those who’ve heard it, my scream is pretty loud.
- I also build sets for local community theaters, something I’ve been doing since high school, and have been known to even appear on stage…talk about scary!
What are some of your writing-related hobbies, crafts, addictions?
- I’m a regular contributor (real ghost encounters) to “What Are You Afraid Of?” [iTunes, Spotify, Libsy and YouTube] podcast, hosted by T. Fox Dunham.
What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?
- I’ve been trained in Wilderness Survival…and will NEVER appear on Naked and Afraid. First rule, people: if you’re ever in a wilderness situation and want to survive—DO NOT TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES!
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
- I can’t work in silence so there is always music playing in the background and always instrumentals. My tastes range from classical to movie soundtracks, with a healthy dose of Celtic tunes thrown into the mix.
- One of the things I do before I sit down to write a new novel, is buy a new CD (yes, CD…remember I’m a Luddite) that I feel is a good match to the plot. That CD will play nonstop throughout the writing of that novel, from first draft to final edit.
- I have a lot of CDs.
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
- I adopted two cats in January 2018, Pooka and Banshee, sisters, who must have been editors in a past life. If they aren’t stretched out across my desk, with head or paws draped down over the keyboard, one or both will walk back and forth in front of the screen.
- This wouldn’t be a problem if I hadn’t thought having a touch-screen monitor was a good idea. More than once the flick of a tail has minimized the screen when I was in the middle of a very intricate scene.
- Good thing they’re both so cute.
Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?
- Coffee! Coffee, coffee, coffee, COFFEE! Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee. COFFEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
- I’ve been known to go through an entire pot in a day while working.
- Sleep is so overrated.
Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions, Prematurely Decomposed!