AFB: Writing Whims

Trails in the Sand P.C. ZickWelcome to April’s Featured Blog, something I’ll be posting here on Lit and Scribbles most of the month to introduce all of you to perhaps some new future friends and get to know a little more about your blogging community.

Today we talk with P.C. (Patricia) Zick, writer of the blogs Writing Whims and Living Lightly, and published author of several books, the most recent being Trails in the Sand. P.C. and I trade comments back and forth and I’ve really appreciated getting to know her better. It’s always good to get advice from those who’ve already trod down the writing and publishing paths. Tell us about yourself, P.C.:

PC: My career as a writer began in 1998 with the publication of her first column in a local paper. By day, I was a high school English teacher, but at night and on vacations, I began writing novels and working as a freelance journalist. In 2001, I left teaching and began pursuing a full-time gig as a writer. I describe myself as a “storyteller” no matter the genre.

Currently, I write two blogs. Trails in the Sand is my fifth novel and the second one I self-published. I published Live from the Road in May 2012.

My blog and novels contain the elements most dear to my heart, ranging from love to the environment. I believe in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion. My husband Robert and I live in Pennsylvania.

J: When did you first start blogging and what is your blog about?

PC: I began Living Lightly in March 2012. The blog covers topics from gardening and recipes to the environment and climate change. I starting Writing Whims on April 20, 2012, which I just realized is the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the threads running through my new novel, Trails in the Sand. I really didn’t know that until right now.

J: Which of your posts was the most fun to write and why?

PC: I wrote a post recently for Living Lightly about my husband smuggling tomato seeds into my luggage for a trip to Florida. I love writing humor that also imparts knowledge.

J: What type of stories do you write?

PC: I write contemporary novels with environmental themes used to parallel messed up families.

J: Protagonist excluded, which of your characters is your favorite?

PC: In Trails in the Sand my favorite character is the mother, Gladys or Gladdy. She’s a true southern belle who was abused as a child. She’s almost a caricature until the veneer of her persona is cracked.

J: Who are your favorite authors?

PC: I have so many, but the first ones that come to mind are Barbara Kingsolver, John Irving, Pat Conroy, and Isabella Islande.

J: What are the last three books you read, and would you recommend them?

PC: I’m going to go with two. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. I recommend this book for its ability to weave real events and people into a novel. The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. I couldn’t finish the book even though it’s set in Florida (the setting for most of my novels) and it’s about plants. I became bored with all the background on orchids.

J: Do you listen to music while you write?

PC: I listen to classical or new age without lyrics. I find hearing words while I’m writing them, confuses me.

J: Aside from writing, what are your favorite things to do?

PC: I read. During the summer and on trips to Florida, we kayak or boat, play golf, or hike in natural areas. We garden so much of my summer and fall is spent in the kitchen preserving food. I love doing it because it’s honest work that plays out in our kitchen all through the winter months.

J: If you could be granted one superpower, which would it be?

PC: I would like the ability to be transported to any place or time that my heart desired. I’d also like to take a few folks along with me.

J: Where’s the farthest away from home you’ve traveled?

PC: It might be Morocco or Chile. I went to Morocco in 2004 and traveled around the country by myself. It was quite an experience, traveling as a white female who only spoke English in a post 9/11 world. I traveled to Chile in 2009 when my husband had to go there for business. I loved the people in Santiago.

Hmmm…I could use a little Morocco visit. Picture via Wikipedia

J: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known about writing earlier?

PC: I wish I’d known how difficult it was to sell and/or market the book and the soul to make any money. Of course, I doubt the knowledge would have thwarted me on this path.

J: What advice would you give to new writers getting started on their first story?

PC: Write and write and write. And always remember, no one else has to read what you write until you’re ready to let someone read it. When that time comes, accept what others have to say and make the decision on your own what needs to be changed or edited.


I can’t listen to music with lyrics either when I’m writing. I get too distracted. And I really appreciate that you mentioned how difficult it is to market your book. I think a lot of us in the beginning are naive and think we just have to write a story and money magically rains down on us. 😉

All right people! Questions for P.C.? Do you have further insight in publishing? Do you share favorite authors? Do you write what your passionate about? Let P.C. know below.

And be sure to stop by P.C.’s blog and check out Trails in the Sand available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can also connect with P.C via Facebook and Twitter or visiting her official site,

Want to know more about Trails in the Sand? Check out P.C.’s Next Big Thing blog post.


10 thoughts on “AFB: Writing Whims

  1. Great interview! I totally agree with not knowing how difficult it can be to market a book. I think people who aren’t trying to make a living writing don’t understand that there is so much you have to do besides writing to get there. It’s something I’m only starting to learn myself. 😉

    • So true. I remember when I finished my first novel. I was so self-satisfied and I sat waiting. My husband finally said, “Now what?” and that woke me up. I was published by a small publisher which I thought meant I’d “made it.” Then the publisher wrote me and said, “What is your marketing plan?” My marketing plan? I wrote the book and you published it, my job is done here, I thought. So funny to think back on those days. I ended up selling 500 copies of that book by selling my soul one autograph and one handshake at a time. Online marketing is somewhat easier but there is so much to know and learn and nothing is static which wasn’t the case with traditional publishing for decades.

  2. Good to see someone else who can’t listen to lyrics whilst they write. Just like Jae, I so distracted (I guess it’s a common writer predicament)!
    Your books sound very interesting. I’d love to write themes of environmental care, but I don’t think I’d be very good at the style.

    • I’ve heard from some authors who are distracted by the words in songs, but we three are not among them. Even if you don’t write environmentally themed books, it’s still possible to put a little “green” in stories by having characters recycle or drive hybrids or use cloth grocery bags – just little subtle things. Thanks for your comments.

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