[Interview] P. J. Hawkinson

P. J. Hawkinson lives in Kansas in the United States.

She is the author of Half Bitten (Trafford Publishing, 2010).

Working with Karen Wodke and writing as Wodke Hawkinson, P. J Hawkinson is also the co-author of books that include Catch Her in the Rye: Selected Short Stories Vol. I (CreateSpace, 2011) and Blue: Selected Short Stories Vol. II (Smashwords, 2011).

In this interview, P. J. Hawkinson talks about her concerns as a writer:

How would you describe the writing you are doing?

Karen describes our writing as "a fictional smorgasbord." I agree with her and would like to add that readers can sample our variety of genres in both Catch Her in the Rye and Blue.

Who is your target audience?

Betrayed will be for mature audiences while our short story books and Tangerine would make good reading for readers from young adult to senior readers.

The audience we write for is the one we ourselves fit into. However, in the near future, we plan to write some short stories for older children and possibly even put out a most unusual novel.

In the writing you are doing, which authors influenced you most?

I like to think that the influence comes from within; from personal experiences and observations. Then, of course, Karen and I take these and twist them beyond recognition. But, after reading too many authors to record here, I will admit that many ways of writing twine together to become my way.

No matter what a person reads, experiences, or sees, something stays behind to become a part of you. It may not be something you would ever believe, but everything we do and say was learned from someone or something.

How have your personal experiences influenced your writing?

Actual events from my own life rarely enter my writing.

I did, however, take a house that Karen, I, and another friend of ours had the opportunity to explore as teenagers and slip it into Half-Bitten. It went through quite a metamorphosis but it began from my memory.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

We are working hard to build an audience, a following, but even if it never comes, I can’t imagine not writing.

Do you write everyday?

Rarely does a day go by that I don’t write something. When not actually writing, I am observing. I have a recorder that I make notes on so as not to forget ideas that might formulate themselves into a masterpiece.

My sessions can begin at any time and any place. I work on a laptop, usually at the dining room table, where I can gaze out the patio doors and watch the birds at my hand-painted bird houses, the rabbits frolicking in the yard or being chased by the big yellow cat from next door, and even an occasional hummingbird.

How the session proceeds really depends on what project needs attention. It never ends; things simply get put on hold until I can step back into the time and place I left earlier.

How many books have you written so far?

In Half Bitten (Trafford Publishing, 2010), teenager Trudy Purdy, a self-described 'plain Jane', is attacked by the boy she considers her boyfriend and three of his buddies. They leave her for dead on a deserted beach where she is found by a roving band of vampires. Trudy begins to feel a new power growing within and decides to use this power to exact revenge on Tray and his friends. She wields her newfound strength, gained by drinking the blood of others, to plot the 'accidental' deaths of the boys who had brutalized her. As she systematically destroys her attackers, she realizes she is changing and seeks answers to the unsettling questions surrounding her new powers and how it will transformation the rest of her life.

And, writing as Wodke Hawkinson, I co-authored Catch Her in the Rye, Selected Short Stories Vol. I (CreateSpace, 2011) and Blue: Selected Short Stories Vol. II (Smashwords, 2011).

When did you start writing?

I never really wrote anything, other than helping Karen with silly stories while in high-school, until I wrote Half Bitten in 2010.

After reading the True Blood and Twilight series, I had the idea to write a different type of vampire book and found writing easier than I would have imagined.

I contacted Trafford Publishing and they published Half Bitten for me.

What advantages or disadvantages did your choice of publishers present?

I received 40 soft covers and 40 hard covers along with a number of bookmarks, business cards, and postcards. I was provided no list as to who to send the postcards to and found the prices of their promotion packages to be beyond my means.

After beginning to write with Karen we tried to get traditional publishers but met rejection after rejection, usually due to the fact that we had no agent.

Karen discovered self-publishing options that met our needs and we went live with Catch Her in the Rye a few months ago.

Promotion remains a problem, but Karen is the perfect co-author and plugs our book in as many places as possible and as often as possible. Working full time, I can’t contribute as much time as I’d wish, but I try to do my share.

We decided to initially publish with CreateSpace and first released Catch Her in the Rye as both a soft cover and a Kindle version. Karen next discovered SmashWords which will format e-books for many e-readers and we released Blue on SmashWords and then also on CreateSpace for the soft cover version.

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