How long have you been writing?
I first became interested in writing in the seventh grade so I have been writing for a very long time. I didn’t attempt to write a full-length novel until I was in my early twenties. My first four novels were real stinkers but everyone needs a little practice in the beginning.
Has writing always been something you wanted to do?
Writing is not necessarily something I want to do as much as something I have to do. I have so many stories in my head I need to get out. When the characters won’t stop talking I’m at the point where I have to write it all down.
I write a little bit of everything. My first love was romance and then I ventured off into horror, children’s picture books, inspirational and poetry.
My published works are: Concealed in My Heart, Songs that I Whisper, What the Heart Knows, Love’s Great Plan, Love is a Promise Kept, Mine, Crying through Plastic Eyes, Paying the Hitchhiker, Inheritance, Will Work for Food, Ours, Pieces, If Love was Enough, Balloon Wishes, Borrowed Wings, Caterpillar wants to be a Cow and Regina Puckett’s Short Tales of Horror.
Can you tell us a little about your books? What are they about?
My sweet romances are usually set in my hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The last five novels have been focused on the same family. I never planned to write a series, but with each story I would find another couple I thought needed to be together.
My horror stories came about because of my oldest daughter. She became interested in ghost hunting. She would come back from those adventures and tell us the crazy things that happened. Those stories of her’s had me thinking about everything from a horror viewpoint. Before I knew it, my romances were turning into tales of the macabre, and now I love writing horror. Every time would I finish one story I would think I didn’t have another one horror tale in me, but then I would see something and that would set to me thinking what if…?
My children’s books were inspired by my grandchildren.
How did you get inspiration for the characters/books?
Each book is different for me. Some are born because of a dream or by driving by something that catches my attention. Anything and everything is capable of jumpstarting me into thinking about what might happen next. I’m a huge daydreamer anyway so I might as well do something with those stories floating around in my head.
Are the books based on personal experiences?
There are bits and pieces of me in every book but there aren’t huge chunks of my life in any of my books.
Is there any advice you have been given that you could give to a young up-and-coming writer?
I strongly believe you shouldn’t give up just because you’re not selling a million books. If you’re writing to make it into the millionaire’s club then you’re probably going to be really disappointed.
Can you talk a little about the benefits of getting your work professionally edited?
Paying someone to look at your work from an unemotional viewpoint is priceless. We owe it to our readers to put out the best work possible. If you’re asking them to spend their good, hard-earned money on your books, they deserve the best you can offer them. The most important thing to remember is they won’t be willing to give you a second chance if you disappoint them the first time.
It’s a royal pain to get anyone at a traditional publishing house to read what you have written. Everyone wants a query letter these days and most won’t even accept those any longer. So many publishing houses will only go through agents and they don’t want you unless you already have a proven track record. It’s like a dog chasing its own tail. A lot of energy is spent with nothing to show for it in the end.
How did you find time to write your books?
I have a full-time job so it’s not always easy finding the time to write. Once I do, it’s even harder to actually sit down and write instead of taking the nap I really want to take.
I write whenever I can. It’s easier when the story is going well. I will lock myself in my office and stay in there until my husband sends out the hound dogs and search party to see if I’m still alive.
Do you think writing has any benefits, and if so what would they be?
Writing fills a place in me nothing else does. It’s a great stress reliever. If I’m angry at someone all I have to do to feel better is kill them off in some really creative way. There’s no blood to clean up, prison time or ugly prison garb to wear. I don’t think my round body would look very good in diagonal stripes.
Several of my guests have often said writing is therapeutic and relaxes them. Can you talk a little about how writing relaxes you? Any specific examples you can share?
When I’m writing it takes me to a place I have created. The people say exactly what I tell them to say. If anyone gets out of line I kill them off. I don’t have to guess what other people are thinking because I’m in charge. No one in the real world has ever let me be in charge. I can create total pandemonium out of the simplest tasks.
Can you also talk a little about how writing your book was therapeutic? What do you mean?
Everyone should write even if it’s just in a journal. There are too many restrictions in the real world. Everyone seems to be waiting to criticize what we say and do. It’s like they’re just waiting for you to make a mistake so they can point out the fact that you’re not as smart as you would like to think you are. When I’m writing it’s just me and my thoughts. I don’t have to worry about what other people think of me. Of course saying all of that when you publish something there’s plenty of people out there waiting to tell you everything you did wrong. Never mind. I take it all back. Writing isn’t therapeutic.
Has writing made you a better person?
I guess everything I do influences me in some way or the other, but I’ve never considered if writing has made me a better person or not. It often forces me out of my comfort zone so I guess it will make me take chances I wouldn’t have taken otherwise.
Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite genres and why?
I love all the genres. There’s nothing better than a good mystery or romance. If you can find both in the same book, that’s even better.
Can you talk about how important reviews are to writers?
Reviews are extremely important. They let other readers know if the book is worth spending money on and it lets writers know if they need to improve in some area. Your family and friends seldom tell what you need to hear, but a stranger is freer to be a tad more candid.
Have you ever received a bad review? If so how did it make you feel?
People love to hate my short story The Beauty in the Beast. It wasn’t easy reading what they had to say about it, but I can see it from their point of view. It’s never easy to have poured your heart and soul into something and then have people not like it for one reason or the other. I always try to step back and see the review as a way to fix something if it needs to be fixed. I never claimed to be perfect and sometimes I get too close to a story. When that happens, I can’t stay objective enough to see its flaws.
Regina Puckett was born, raised and still lives in Tennessee with her childhood sweetheart and husband. She has two grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is the author of sweet romance novels, short tales of horror, inspirational short stories and children’s picture books.
If you want to know about the author and her books please stop by her blog.