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PJ MCILVAINE

Q: Tell us about yourself. What got you into writing?
PM: I’ve been writing since I was a young kid. Short stories, poems, song lyrics, you name it. I just love to write, period. It’s in my blood.


Q: Tell us about the premise of BOOK TITLE.
PM: VIOLET YORKE, GILDED GIRL: GHOSTS IN THE CLOSET is about a poor little rich girl who sees ghosts in 1912 Manhattan and gets into all kinds of mischief and misadventure.


Q: What inspired you to write it?
PM: It’s a mash-up of all the things I loved as an avid reader as a child (and now, to be honest). History, mystery, murder, ghosts, secrets, haunted houses, a rebellious main character, and a cast of quirky supporting characters.


Q: Did you do any research for your book? If you did, what did it consist of?
PM: The research is the best part! I devoured books on the Gilded Age, Titanic, the people, culture, manners, and dress of that time period.


Q: Do you agree with the statement write what you know? Why or why not?
PM: Only to a certain extent. I’ve written about some pretty unsavory characters in my adult work; that’s where my imagination takes over. But have I done the awful, evil things that
some of my characters have done on the page? Nope!


Q: Do you think creative writing classes are beneficial? Why or why not?
PM: Anyone can write; stringing sentences together isn’t that difficult. But you need more; a certain spark, talent, passion, whatever, to stand out, to elevate yourself. Creative writing
classes can nurture the spark, but if you don’t have that talent and drive, to begin with, I don’t think any amount of classes will help.


Q: Do you enjoy editing?
PM: It’s a necessary evil. You need that awful first draft to get to the good stuff. I edit as I go along, so my first draft is probably equal to someone else’s fifth or sixth draft. And even then, I still go through it until my eyes are bleeding.


Q: How do you juggle your writing and life?
PM: Discipline. I write every day without fail even if it’s only a sentence or to jot down an idea.


Q: Do you write in other genres? Have you ever written in different mediums?
PM: Oh my, for many years I wrote nothing but screenplays. It’s a very different skill set from prose writing. In screenplays, dialogue is key. As much as I loved writing screenplays, it’s a tough racket, and in my heart, I knew one day I’d return to writing fiction.


Q: If you could invite a fictional character for lunch (from your own book(s) or another writer’s), who would you invite and why?
PM: That’s a tough question. From my Violet Yorke, I’d love to sit down with Hugo Hewitt. He’s got so much going on under the surface. He puts on a stiff upper lip, but he’s really a tragic figure.


Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
PM: I’ve said this many times: writing is a marathon, not a sprint. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Show me an overnight success and I’ll show you years of hard work and dedication.


Q: What are your future plans as an author? Are you working on another project?
PM: I’m always working on something. Currently, I’m juggling multiple projects in the MG, YA, and Adult world. I’ve learned to write to my passion and not to the marketplace.

 
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She sees ghosts…but are they malevolent or friendly?


Poor little rich girl Violet Yorke has seen ghosts for as long as she can remember, but no one believes her. Not stodgy Grandmother, who took charge of the heiress after her parents were killed in a failed robbery. Nor kind-hearted Aunt Nanette, or Uncle Bertie, a charming rogue. Not even the patient
Hugo Hewitt, Violet’s godfather and trustee of her vast fortune. Everyone dismissed the child’s insistence about ghosts as a harmless eccentricity—until the night her bedroom caught fire. Violet was promptly sent overseas, fueling her anger and resentment.


Two years later, a rebellious twelve-year-old Violet is on her way back to Manhattan on the doomed Titanic.


As the ship sinks into the deep Atlantic Ocean, she’s put in a lifeboat by an
apparition who rescued her from the clutches of a jewel thief. Presumed lost at sea, Violet shocks everyone by crashing her own funeral. Following Violet’s recovery, Grandmother has grand high society designs for the girl, but Violet has other ideas. She’s determined to uncover the secret of what really happened to her parents. Then there’s the mystery of the moon-faced boy at gloomy Dunham Hall and his connection to the ghost on Titanic. Also hot on Violet’s trail is the jewel thief, the specter of her murdered governess, and a vengeful ghost lurking in Violet’s childhood home. Being a poor little rich girl in 1912 Gotham isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in this delightfully dark and droll supernatural historical fantasy.

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