Cosmic Convocation, Starry Eyed Press’ first official space opera anthology features a story called The Prophet Moses Busbee, a tale of human and artificial human interaction.
We had a chance to sit down with its author Patricia “PA” O’Neil to get the scoop on what inspired her tale and to learn more about her in general.
Hi Pat, fill us in on the story of you.
After finding myself unemployed for the second time in a year, I decided to use my time between job hunting to write up a story that had come to me in a dream. It took two-and-half weeks, working from 8 am to 5 pm, but my novel Finding Jane was completed.
That was almost six years ago and the novel sits waiting for me to give it the love and attention is needs before it can be considered for publication. When I asked Facebook friends about what I needed to do next, I was advised to sharpen my skills with short stories. The additional challenge of submitting these stories for publication led me to a career that I consider to have been a fortunate one.
My first few stories were rejected, not because of the plots, but because of structure. So many people have given their time and advice to help improve my writing skills. I feel the need to show my gratitude by helping others follow as they start their careers.
Give us a short pitch about your story. Why do you think readers will love it?
“The Prophet Moses Busbee” was not written as a Science Fiction story, but as a literary story that happens to be set in space. Doesn’t matter the location or time, people will act like people; maybe even those who aren’t actually people.
What was the inspiration behind this story?
I love the concept of space series on television: Star Trek, Lost in Space, Doctor Who, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Time Tunnel. All of them have one thing in common beyond advanced technology; the element of the human condition and behavior.
Though Science Fiction is not necessarily my genre of choice to read, I couldn’t get enough of the authorized fan-fiction series of books for Star Trek and Star Wars. I would look for the next book to be released each month. This type of camaraderie of the crew and affinity for the mission is what I based “The Prophet Moses Busbee” on.
What sci-fi books have you recently been reading and which titles represent your long-time favorites?
I haven’t time for many books other than what is in my TBR pile, but when I do, I try and fit in a Doctor Who book. I enjoy the classic Star Trek series and have saved a couple of the paperbacks. My favorite actually is an authorized cross-over between Star Trek and the television show Here Comes the Bride. I used to read the authorized Star Wars books, but since the copyright owners changed the canon, they don’t interest me so much anymore.
What are your favorite genres to write in, and are they different from the ones you read? Do you have preferences when it comes to story length?
Literary has ended up my style of choice, yet by changing the time period and location, I have found my stories can be of any genre. They might not be the best representation of that genre, but they will be easily understood by all who read them.
The length of my stories can vary from drabble length to full-on novels but that is dependent upon how much needs to be shared with the reader before it either gets boring or poorly written with unnecessary stuffing and info dumps.
Tell us more about your writing process. (What are your writing habits, what working set up works best for you, can you recommend any writing resources and tools, would you say you’re a pantser or plotter, and do you do a lot of research for your writing?)
When I first started writing, I had the opportunity to write from 9 am-5 pm, because I did not have an outside job. Once I had a work schedule, I limited myself to afternoons only. No matter what, I chose not to write on weekends out of respect for my husband. Now that we are both retired, I’ll write any day of the week, but only in the mornings. Sometimes, I’ll squeak in an early afternoon, but mostly every day is a weekend day when you’re retired.
How do you promote your writing, what marketing strategies and tools have worked for you? Which platforms would you recommend to fellow authors? Where do you like to promote your writing and engage with readers?
I’m not all that tech-savvy, so I limit myself to Facebook for social media. I tried one of those book services once but thought it a waste of time and money.
Some have advised I set up a website/blog to attract readers, but if I don’t take the time to follow people on their blogs, I can’t begin to ask them to follow me on mine. My promotions have been a great deal of word-of-mouth and a blanket campaign of my business cards. I leave them in inconspicuous places and include them in my correspondence (even bill-paying). I have earned sales from this method. I’ve even caught wind of a secondary word-of-mouth sale.
Where can our readers find more of your works?
Ebook and illustrated paperback available here.