♦ How old are you? | Answer: “Age” is merely the number of years that have elapsed between a person’s birthdate and the present–a calculation. Aside from the legal voting and drinking ages, I can’t see why, or where, the calculation would come into play. It is not relevant. Okay, okay… you win! I am old enough to vote and drink.
♦ Are you a believer or a skeptic? | Answer: Both. I am a balanced researcher, meaning that I have no bias in either direction. I am open to many yet-to-be-resolved possibilities; however, I have an extremely high standard of proof. If you tell me it is 60 degrees, and show me a thermometer that says it is 60 degrees, I will require you to prove to me that you calibrated the thermometer correctly (for starters), and then prove about 20 other things. If you can prove all of that to my satisfaction, I will agree that it is/was 60 degrees (somewhere). Likewise, if you tell me there is a ghost in your house, I will want to see direct, solid, undisputable evidence before I will say a ghost is there. Until that happens, I will only consider it unexplainable activity, and nothing more.
♦ Who taught you how to write? | Answer: Nobody. I am self-taught; I let it flow from my heart. When you start dealing with such things as sentence structure, conjugation, rules of grammar, etc., you build a fence around your thoughts, emotions, and creativity, and your written work begins to read like everyone else’s–trite, dull, and cliché. No one ever did anything big, or special, by being a conformist.
♦ How much time do you spend writing each day? | Answer: I have no schedule. I do not feel it is good to force oneself to write merely for the sake of keeping a schedule. You must be in the mood, and your creative juices must be flowing. I have sometimes written for 14 hours a day, and other times I have gone 6 months without writing. This is because when I write, I want it to be my best and most creative work–not self-imposed, forced work.
♦ Who is your favorite writer? | Answer: Probably William Faulkner and John Grisham (tie). I also was a huge fan of the late William Gay, a fellow Tennessee author who, despite significant commercial success, never received the praise he deserved.
♦ With Bell Witch, you added “The Full Account” to the title. Why? | Answer: When most people hear the term, “Bell Witch,” they think of the haunting in Robertson County, Tennessee, between 1817 and 1821. That part is correct, but there also exists North Carolina and Mississippi versions of the legend, and people still report strange things happening, even today. My book covers North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi, and from 1817 until 2000. Hence, the “Full Account.”
♦ Have you visited all of the locations you discuss in Ghostly Cries From Dixie? | Answer: Yes.
♦ Can you review my manuscript and give me some pointers? | Answer: I’d love to, but I can’t. Critiquing a manuscript (correctly) takes hours. If I critique yours, I will have to critique everyone else’s–and I will have no time left to work on my own writing.
♦ Where do you live? | Answer: I have lived in middle Tennessee all of my life.
♦ Do you do personal appearances, such as lectures and book signings? | Answer: Yes. Watch Patfitzhugh.com and your local media for news of upcoming appearances.