Home Author Interview Guest Blogger& Interview: Author of Blood Fest, Chasing Destiny Pepper O’Neal

Guest Blogger& Interview: Author of Blood Fest, Chasing Destiny Pepper O’Neal


Blood Fest Chasing Destiny Book Cover

Blood Fest, Chasing Destiny

Pepper O’Neal


Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m originally from the Pacific Northwest, but I’ve traveled pretty extensively. I’ve been to every state in the Union except Alaska—though I’ve always wanted to go there. I’ve just never gotten the chance. Yet. I’ve also been to Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. I’ve got a doctorate in education and was very fortunate, some years ago, to land a job with an educational resource company based out of Mexico City. So I got to spend about six years traveling around Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean on someone else’s dime, making documentaries and doing research on illiteracy in third world countries.


Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny is coming out on April 30, 2011 from Black Opal Books. It’s a paranormal/romantic suspense about a half-Vampire/half-Lycan, British hero and a half-human/half-weretiger American heroine. As to how it got started, God, I’m not sure I even remember. Usually, I get the idea for the characters first and the story just seems to come from them. Once I had the two main characters for this book in my head, I was intrigued by the cat vs. dog and the American vs. English interplay between the hero and heroine, and the plot sort of evolved from them.



How do you create your characters?

I take my characters from real life, or from my real life, anyway. I’ve met, and know, a lot of really fascinating people and animals, and I seriously doubt I could create a character strictly from my imagination that would be more interesting than the real life ones I know. For Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny, I had a lot of fun combining animals I’ve met with people I’ve worked with to come up with werepeople, also known as shifters.


What inspires you to write?


If I had to pick one thing that inspires me to write, it would be books. I’m a voracious reader, and I always have been. I’d rather read than watch TV. But basically, I write because I can’t not write. If I don’t actually sit down at the computer and write for at least a couple of hours every day, I start writing in my head, and then I walk into walls and stuff. So I guess you could say I write for my own protection.


What do you like to read?

As I said, I’m a voracious reader. I’ll read just about any genre, as long as the book holds my attention. Some of my favorite authors are Tom Clancy, Nora Roberts, Dick Francis, and Robert Aspirin. But I read a great many other authors, too. I hate wasting time, so I rarely go anywhere without a book to read in case I have to stand in line or wait for a doctor or dentist. Besides, you never know when you’ll get a chance to sneak in one more chapter.


What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?

Writers write. I know a lot of people who want to be writers, but they never make the time to actually write anything. If you go to a writer’s conference, you’ll meet a lot of these wannabe writers. I always think it’s sad that they never just sit down and do it. And I wonder how many great stories are never going to be written because of it. So, I guess my advice would be: if you really want to write, you need to sit your bum in a chair and write. We actually learn to write by writing. I read somewhere recently that it takes a writer about a million words before they really get good at their craft. A million is a bunch, and the longer it takes you to start, the longer it will take you to get good.



Anything else you’d like to share?

In addition to writing on a regular basis, writers need to enter contests and join critique groups. One thing I’ve learned as a writer is that I can’t see the flaws in my own writing like I can see them in someone else’s. By entering contests and belonging to critique groups where I’ve had people point out those flaws to me, I’ve been able to steadily improve. When I entered my first contest, the critiques from the judges were pretty severe. But I took their words to heart and revised and rewrote. So, eventually, when I finally entered this book, Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny, in a contest, I won second place in my category. But it took me a lot of work to get there. So don’t give up. I know critiques can sting, and not everyone who offers a critique knows what they’re talking about. Sometimes you can get really bad advice. You have to have some confidence in yourself, and if the criticism doesn’t make sense to you, or doesn’t work for your story, you thank the person giving the critique and just ignore their advice. But if everyone tells you the same thing, or if someone whose writing you admire makes a suggestion about not using so many ly words, or says your characters are too one-dimensional, you might want to listen.



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