Saturday, May 10, 2014

Author Interview: Rebecca Patrick-Howard: HAUNTED ESTILL COUNTY: WINDWOOD FARM

Rebecca Patrick-Howard grew up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. After working as a travel writer for years, she managed to find herself a husband while in Wales and considers him her best souvenir. They now live on a ridge in Kentucky with their two children, a couple of dogs, and a bunch of deer. She’s the author of 5 books, including the newly released paranormal mystery WINDWOOD FARM, about a woman who sees the past when she looks through her camera.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I grew up on the campus of an abandoned boarding school. My front yard consisted of empty buildings, including a gymnasium, auditorium, dormitories, and empty classrooms. I had all sorts of adventures.

About your education

I have a few different degrees. My first degree was in Music Business from Belmont University in Nashville. I went there to become a country music singer, but the whole music scene terrified me. I then returned to Kentucky and got a degree in Anthropology and another one in Appalachian Studies. My MA is in Religious Experience. I got it from the University of Wales in the UK. Some of my friends thought I was going to become an exorcist while others were sure I was going to be a preacher. It was very confusing. I mostly studied near death experiences.

What career did you plan during your education days

For the first 18 years of my life I didn’t want to be anything but a country music singer. When I started putting that in action, though, it overwhelmed me. At the time, the singers were all doing pop stuff and had these huge voices and I just can’t sing like that. I’d always written stories and during my college years I decided to become a writer. The Anthropology and Religious Experience degrees were to help me get inspiration for my future books. I didn’t plan on doing anything BUT writing.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

In writing it’s music and old houses. I look at old houses and imagine what went on in them, who lived in them, and what kind of pasts they have. Songs are like little short stories to me, almost like flash fiction. I always assign my characters theme songs when I write and I make soundtracks to my books. In life in general it’s my kids. They inspire everything because they’re awesome and I love them.

What hurts you most in this world

To see someone hurt a child or to see my child upset. Even when I was little, I wanted to visit an orphanage and take all the kids home. When I was 5, my mom told me we could adopt a child when I was 8. She thought I’d forget about it. I didn’t. On my 8th birthday I was like, “Okay, let’s go to the orphanage!”

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

In 2010 we lost our youngest son, Toby, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). He passed away in his sleep. There is no real trick to overcoming the death of your child. You just have to keep on keeping on.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

I’d love to be Elvis at Christmas. He loved Christmas so much and was so giving. That must have been a magical time for him. I’m an Elvis freak.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I started writing when I was around 5 years old. My first “book” that I remember writing was in the 3rd grade. It was a rip off of THE LITTLE MERMAID but my teacher loved it and made me read it aloud to the class. I wrote my first ghost story then, too. And as for purpose? No real purpose to my writing! I have a story in my head, I write it down, and then I hope it makes sense to everyone else!

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

I’ve had a few different books out so far. My two most popular books are HAUNTED ESTILL COUNTY and MORE TALES FROM HAUNTED ESTILL COUNTY. These are urban legends, ghost stories, and unsolved mysteries from the county I live in. I just released the first book in my new paranormal mystery series, too. It’s called WINDWOOD FARM.

What are your forthcoming writings?

My next book will be a sequel to WINDWOOD FARM. It’s called GRIFFITH TAVERN. I’m excited about it because it’s more murder, more mystery, and more ghosts but it’s a little bit different than the last book in that there’s an emotional twist you might not see coming. There are two more books planned in the Taryn’s Camera series and then a historical fiction book I’m working on called FURNACE MOUNTAIN.

What are your future plans?

I’d love to be able to buy a big old house and renovate it. And have horses, even though the rare brain condition I have (Chiari) says I’m not supposed to ride them anymore.

How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

A lot! And sometimes I’m not even aware of it.

Your dream destination on Earth?

I can’t even pick just one. I’d love to do the Orient Express or the TransSiberian Rail all the way. I also want to visit Macchu Picchu. Right now, my dream vacation is to take my family to a dude ranch out in Montana and spend a week riding horses and eating steak.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

“I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane.” It’s from a song by Waylon Jennings.

The last line of your autobiography would be…

That might not have been the way it happened, but it’s the way I like to remember it.

Twitter handle: @RphWrites
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