Today I’m asking author Greta Burroughs nine questions! Welcome Greta, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.
I first fell in love with books when I was a teenager and read “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. I can still remember where I was while reading the mesmerizing story and the affect it had on me. Since then I have read all different genres, concentrating mostly on science fiction and fantasy.
My imagination was sparked through those stories but I never attempted to write anything on my own until 2005 when I created a series of children’s stories entitled “Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat”. I had just been diagnosed with an autoimmune blood disorder called ITP and could not work so I started writing the silly short stories to fill in my long boring days sitting at home. The stories were not too bad but my attempts at finding a publisher proved fruitless, so Patchy and Calico were packed away in a drawer not to see the light of day until a few years later.
I started writing for a local newspaper and that’s where I learned what all is entailed in being a writer. I found out there was more to it than putting words on paper and discovered that writing was my new passion. That led me to take the plunge and to try writing a full length book. It took several years to complete but when “Gerald and the Wee People” was published, I was on cloud nine.
During that time, dealing with my ITP was a big challenge. The relapses and treatments were tough to deal with and trying to understand this relatively unknown disease brought about my second book, “Heartaches and Miracles”. I wanted others who suffer with ITP to have the information and encouragement to fight and not give up, and to inform the general public about this little known blood disorder. Writing this book also helped me to accept my limitations and live a normal life in spite of ITP.
Patchy and Calico had lived in my desk drawer for a couple of years and I finally retrieved them. I’m glad the stories were not published earlier because they needed a lot of work. After editing and getting illustrations, “Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat” was released. Since then, two more Patchy and Calico books have joined the series and a sequel to Wee People was published entitled “House on Bo-Kay Lane”.
I will never be in the ranks of great authors but hopefully my fantasy novels will encourage readers to let their imagination roam free and enter another world such as Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings and Isaac Asimov did for me. Hopefully, my children’s books will teach youngsters about sharing, caring, friendship and responsibility while entertaining them with the funny antics of a silly dog and cat.
My to-do list includes writing more novels and some more adventures for Patchy and Calico. My love of reading will never diminish, nor will my love of writing. I just hope my work gives as much happiness to readers as I have received from my favorite authors.
Tell us about your writing process?
I’m a seat of the pants writer, no notes or outlines, just my imagination as I type. I usually have a general idea of how the story begins but the rest is a mystery until it is written. That can lead to problems, as in ‘how am I supposed to get him out of that mess?’ but if I just let the story write itself, everything works out. I enjoy being surprised when reading my work and have the ‘wow, where did that come from?’ experience.
I’m a pantser as well and there is nothing wrong with that! Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
I have written non-fiction, children’s books and MG/YA so that gives me a bit of variety but I’d like to try a little sci-fi since that is one of the genres I love to read.
I love Sci-Fi too! What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?
“To Kill a Mockingbird” inspired my love of reading. Next, just about everything written by Anne McCaffrey. Her “Riders of Pern” series was the first set of books I read where I actually imagined myself as being there as part of the story. My husband, Robert DeBurgh, wrote his first novel, “Riders of the Wind” in 2002 and he was my initial inspiration to try writing something myself. I have read and loved so many books, it is difficult to single out any others.
If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?
I hate to admit this, but I am not familiar with today’s big stars, especially any teenaged actors who could play the roles of Gerald and Vernon in the “Wee People’ books. I would love to see Patchy and Calico as cartoon characters. Patchy is not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree and would have a voice like Sid the Sloth in the movie “Ice Age”. Calico is the smart one and would sound like Queen Latifah’s character, Ellie in the same movie.
What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
Probably faint… after I come back to my senses, I would make copies of the list and send it to everyone I know and paste to every site I could on the web. No one would ever forget – probably get tired of me – but would never forget my accomplishment.
Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?
I have to have a glass of iced tea within reach when I’m writing and I confess, when I get really stuck on something, a cigarette helps me to relax and think.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I waste a lot of time on Facebook and other social sites. When I can drag my sorry self away from the computer, I like to be outside – walking, yard work, playing with our dogs and taking leisurely rides with my husband on our motorcycle.
Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.
Spike was a dog… or was he?
He looked like a dog, acted like a dog and barked like a dog. When he was a puppy, Spikey chewed rugs, tore up books and pooped inside the house. He displayed all the cute/annoying traits associated with dogs, but there was something different about him.
Spike was smart. Well, smarter than the average dog. He watched everything we did and listened to everything we said. It was almost like he was studying us. Then he would disappear into the woods for hours…Why?
Spike was not an ordinary dog. He was actually a cleverly disguised alien from the planet Zoomba. He was sent to Earth to study the life forms that inhabited the third plant from the sun in the XXXX solar system. Of course, we did not know it at the time but now I wonder…what kind of information did he send back to his home world?
Great excerpt Greta! Thank you! Now let’s take a quick look into Greta’s latest release Patchy and Calico Collection…
The “Patchy and Calico Collection” contains stories taken from the Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat book series for you and your child to read and enjoy. This sampler book introduces the readers to Patchy and Calico and gives you a chance to share some of the adventures they have together.
The stories teach children valuable lessons while entertaining the youngsters with the silly antics of the title characters. It is a fun way for parents and teachers to talk with kids about friendship, thinking before doing, sharing, caring and giving.
If you enjoy the adventures in the “Patchy and Calico Collection”, more stories can be found in these books:
“Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat”
“Patchy and Calico’s Summer Vacation”
“Christmas with Patchy and Calico”
Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon!