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.
Currently, she writes two blogs. Trails in the Sand is her fifth novel
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.
Today, in the spotlight, is P.C. Zick. I’m thrilled to have her visit this blog on the launch date of her latest novel. Tell us a little about your book.
Trails in the Sand is about restoration and redemption in both nature and human relationships. It also asks the question: Can we make up for something we destroy? As the main character, Caroline struggles to save her family, she’s also reporting on efforts to save wildlife from the oil spill. Her reporting leads to writing about the efforts to save sea turtles nests as oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico. Her husband Simon is also grieving the death of his cousin and best friend Jason who was one of the miners killed in the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion in West Virginia weeks before the oil spill.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was embroiled in the real-life drama as a public relations director for Florida’s fish and wildlife agency. I handled the media from the sea turtle nest relocation project that took place during the summer of 2010. At the same time, I was beginning a new relationship with a lost love from thirty-five years ago and was in the process of moving to Pittsburgh. Two weeks prior to the oil spill, twenty-nine miners were killed in a coal mine explosion in West Virginia, just a few hours from where I was moving. It all fell into place to write about the oil spill and coal mine disaster and our quest for profit and fossil fuels at any cost and the obstacles facing reunited lovers under trying circumstances.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I would like readers to come away from reading Trails in the Sand knowing that it is never too late to restore peace or find love.
How much of the book is realistic?
The chapters on the oil spill and the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster are from actual news clips and press releases. The rest comes from my imagination, although my husband is an avid gardener as is Simon, Caroline’s husband in the book. In addition, I used my grandfather’s journal about his coming to America in 1900 in the description of Caroline’s grandfather making the same trip in 1920.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Absolutely. I also had two beta readers for the first draft and a copy editor who read the final draft before I published it. It is imperative to always have readers and editors.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I didn’t try the traditional route this time. I have three novels published with small, traditional publishers, and I have spent hours and hours querying agents and publishers in the past. I had an agent for a year or so, but it didn’t work out. It was backbreaking work to sell books through books talks and book signings. Two of my books sold approximately 500 copies each. However, those sales came from one handshake and autograph at a time and each time, I always felt as if I was selling a little bit of my soul as well.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I wanted to have control over my work, and I wanted to sell more books without the grueling process of scheduling public appearances, selling one book at a time. I published my first book, Live from the Road, on Amazon in May 2012 and already it has been downloaded by thousands of folks, either by paying customers or through the free days offered by KDP Select. I just sat at my computer doing the hard work by writing my blog, publicizing my book on websites, and interacting with readers and fellow authors on other blogs. I like it this way. I’ve had more success and made more money, too.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Trails in the Sand will be available on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, and Apple.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always been a writer and reader. I dabbled with writing during vacations from teaching. I always received praise for my writing from. As a high school English teacher, I became known as the “writing teacher” and taught creative writing and gave writing workshops to other teachers. When I burned out on teaching students to write, I began getting more serious about my own writing and one summer finished a novel that had been languishing in a file cabinet drawer for ten years. A small publisher picked it up after my tenth query letter. Then I began writing press releases for local groups. That led to an offer from the local paper to begin writing human-interest pieces. By the end of 2000, I realized while teaching full time, I still managed to earn $5,000 for my writing. I retired from teaching in June 2001 and began working as a journalist while writing novels in the evening and early morning hours. I’ve never looked back. It’s very exciting to be involved in the new revolution in writing and publishing today. I’m learning something every day that teaches me I still have much more to learn.
Have you published anything else?
Yes, both fiction and nonfiction.
A Victorian Justice (fiction, 2000)
A Lethal Legacy (fiction, 2003)
Old Timers Remember – Ichetucknee Springs (nonfiction, written for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 2004)
Tortoise Stew (fiction, 2006)
Two Moons in Africa (nonfiction, 2009)
Live from the Road (fiction, 2012)
TRAILS IN THE SAND
Buy at Amazon
Trails in the Sand follows environmental writer Caroline Carlisle as she reports on endangered sea turtles during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As she delves into the story, she uncovers secrets about the past that threaten to destroy her family unless she can heal the hurts from a lifetime of lies.
Her journey reveals the truth behind mysteries that have plagued her family for three generations.
Lost journals, a fake tablecloth, and nesting sea turtles lead her to discover why her uncle committed suicide, why her sister developed anorexia, and why her mother only wanted acceptance from those she loved.
Caroline and her husband Simon discover love lasts despite decades of separation when he was married to Caroline’s sister. Caroline’s niece Jodi, caught in the crossfire of family tensions and lies, struggles to find a way to forgive the past so she can move into the future.
Trails in the Sand explores the struggles to restore balance and peace, in nature and in a family, as both head to disaster. Through it all, the ancient sea turtle serves as a reminder that life moves forward despite the best efforts to destroy it.