Do you have any books in the works?
Currently I have three works in progress. My publisher, Saga Books, has already contracted for “Army Life and Deployment through the Eyes of a Mom.” I hope to finish this by Christmas 2013. Following the completion of that book, I plan to write the story of Little Bit’s life. He was a blind, black Labrador who had an amazing existence as a Therapy Dog and an Ambassador for Blind and Handicapped Animals. Little Bit had a profound impact on so many lives in his short 12 ½ years on earth and he continues to inspire to this day. There is also “The Pages of my Life,” a compilation of all my work, with just a short intro per story as to what was going on in my life at the time. This book will be a balance of humor and tragic events as well as thought provoking articles.
When you read, what is your favorite genre?
I enjoy murder/mystery mostly and books that deal with how our court system and laws work. Memoirs are another genre I love.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
Living on a farm there is not much free time, but I plant a garden every year, mostly vegetables and a few flowers. I have five pet goats that I adore spending time with or watching while they play. They are my source of a guaranteed laugh per day as are my two dogs, Holly and Bruno, otherwise known as Doodles and Bubble Butt. My life has always been enriched by pets and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have several. I enjoy Words with Friends on Facebook as my daily brain exercise and am a fan of Criminal Minds and Law and Order.
If you would have time travel abilities and could meet anyone from any time, who would you like to meet?
Most people would choose Mother Theresa, the Pope, or an equally famous person. I would prefer to meet the one person who rescued the most animals in their lifetime, simply to say “Thank you for your effort.”
When you have time for yourself, what do you like to read?
Stories of animal rescue hold a special place in my heart. I enjoy reading of how one person can make a difference.
What is your all time favorite movie?
Movies that make me laugh are my favorite so I love any of the National Lampoon series.
If there was one author you could meet with and learn from, who would that be?
Probably Bill O’Reilly as I admire his style and content.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write for yourself, not for the money. Write to touch others on some level and when you are finished writing, hire an editor and not your Aunt Bessie or next door neighbor. If you look at most negative reviews, they include comments on poor grammar and punctuation more than the actual story content.
Do you plan on being a full time writer, or do you have other career plans?
How long have you been writing?
Winning the lottery or being left an inheritance would instantly change my career to owning an animal rescue, which would take in every abandoned dog possible. Since I don’t play the lottery, nor come from money, my career is writing and editing. I write for self-fulfillment and I edit for income. In 1986 I began to write professionally and plan to continue.
Do you prefer Ebook, paperback, or hardcover?
E-Books are inexpensive and easily obtained, yet nothing will ever replace the feel of an actual book in your hands. When the Internet goes down or there is a power failure, I always want to be able to reach for a book.
Do you have any writing rituals like a particular treat, good luck charm, etc?
I don’t know why or when I started this silly ritual, but I vacuum my office and clean it before I start to write. I can’t seem to concentrate if the carpet has dog hair on it, which it does daily. Before I boot up the computer, I vacuum. I have tried to write without vacuuming, but simply can’t. I also need silence. Music inspires me prior to writing, but when I actually sit down to write I need complete silence. Therefore, I normally end up writing in the middle of the night.
Do you have a set writing schedule or do you write when the fancy hits you?
For me, writing can’t be forced. I don’t set a schedule per se, but I do some of my best work under deadline as far as shorts go. My books are another story – no pun intended, and I find myself at 3 am pounding the keys.
You have been such a fun guest, Arlene! Please share your bio and links where readers can connect with you and find your book:
“Writing is what lights me up,” states Arlene R. O’Neil. “Being a visual writer, I love seeing my work come to life: to take the reader with me on a journey word by word: to touch a reader whether through laughter or tears.” Her current book, “Broken Spokes,” refers to broken bones, broken bike, and broken spirit. It speaks to the reader of determination, of survival, of inspiration.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Mrs. O’Neil moved to South Carolina to work on her second novel, which will relate the roller coaster life of being the parent of a Soldier on active duty. O’Neil says, “My son, SGT Tanner O’Neil, is a member of the United States Army and the joy, pride, and love of my life. After five tours of duty to active war zones, I feel the need to share my experience with other parents in hope of lessening their fears.” SGT O’Neil recently returned from his 5th combat tour.
Currently Arlene lives with her two Labradors, Holly and Bruno, and her adorable pet goats, Paxton, JaeJay, Rupert, Patches, and Frosty. “These amazing characters have helped me through some incredibly difficult times and I love them dearly.”
Aside from writing, supporting her son while deployed, and caring for her animals, Arlene lives on 3 ½ acres of land that her and her beloved animals enjoy.
An author, editor and proofreader, Arlene R. O’Neil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org