Author Interview: Trilogy by Prudence MacGregor

Welcome to Author Prudence MacGregor

Prudence MacGregor has been a lifelong fan of exploring the realm of what could be. Or, as she puts it, “finding the extraordinary within the ordinary.”  She hails from the isle of Manhattan and among her passions are writing, travel and reading, especially about that which is in the realm of the impossible.

Interview
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

I would probably want to meet Princess Diana. I really was fascinated by her before, during and after the whole royal wedding extravaganza. Whatever one may think about her and despite the problems she had, she knew how to captivate the public by just being, if you know what I mean. She had a rare charisma that I think can’t be cultivated, but is just natural.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

Of course! I have ideas germinating in my head right now. I am thinking along the lines of a short novel, centered on three or four main characters. I still am not sure though what genre it will be, or the plot. I am toying with doing it in the first person. Lots of ideas. But I will get there eventually.


 What inspired you to want to become a writer?

You know, I can’t answer that concretely. I don’t think that there was any one direct inspiration. I can say that when I was a kid, perhaps in second or third grade, I really liked writing short stories. I loved to use my imagination to create characters and scenarios, and see where they would go. I would really delight in having these stories come to life as it were. Also, I loved, and still love, the use of language so that also influenced me.


What is your dream cast for your book?

Oh, my. What a question. There are so many people that I would like to cast. Let’s see … a dream cast. Well, for Parallelograms, since the character has striking red hair and has a strong personality, I would say Alicia Witt, or a lovely actress who has been on General Hospital named Erin Chambers. Both are really versatile. For Random, Jennifer Lawrence immediately comes to mind because like the main character Ulyssa, she seems like the type of girl who isn’t afraid to take chances. Now for Up There, I know he isn’t an actor but the musician Moby comes to mind. I don’t know. Something about his and the main character’s physicality seems in sync, along with their kind of mysterious personas. How’s that for a cast? Different, yes?


What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

I know this sounds really cliché, but don’t give up your dream, ever.  Keep writing, and explore all avenues to publish your work, be they everything from magazines, journals, and online blogs to self-publishing. I found writing courses to be very helpful as well, as your teacher and classmates can constructively critique your work, as well as the classroom being a great place to hone your writer’s voice.


If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?

Anywhere in the world … wow. Okay, I’ve narrowed it to two places. One would be Edinburgh, Scotland, as I’ve visited the city several times and it is just magical. Plus, I have a fair amount of Scottish heritage and  I would love to delve more deeply into it. Living in that country for an extended period of time would be a great way to do it. The second place would be somewhere in the middle Atlantic or southern United States, near the water, not too far away from a city but with enough space and peace to write unencumbered. Now regarding a movie about my life, well, everyone always says I look like the actress Lucie Arnaz, who I happen to think is really talented and could pull it off! She could play me in adulthood.


Who are your favorite authors of all time?

If I could narrow it down, I’d say Fyodor Dostoevsky, Margaret Atwood. There are many more but I figured I’d narrow it to two to keep it simple.


Can you see yourself in any of your characters? 

I can see myself in all of them, particularly Ulyssa from Random.. Tying a note to a balloon, letting it go and seeing where it lands is fascinating to me, and something I secretly always wanted to do but was a bit intimidated by, as you don’t know where it could end up or in whose hands.


You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?

I can say with confidence, a plane ticket to a beautiful yet interesting destination. Or more accurately, destinations!


What’s your favorite season/weather?

I am a summer girl. I love looking at the ocean on a warm, cloudless day, the sun in the sky. There are more activities to do and enjoy in the summer, too. Great time for travel. Now, I also like early Fall, where it cools off a little but you still have that hint of summer in the air.


Favorite places to travel?

Now this is a topic close to my heart. Travel has always been a lovely luxury and I am aching to travel to places I haven’t yet been. I am from New York City, so perhaps it doesn’t count as travel for me but there’s always something happening there so even when I go there I am amazed by how much it offers, it really is buzzing. I love Paris, London, and of course all of Scotland due to my Scots heritage. In the U.S., believe it or not Florida — Palm Beach and Disneyworld in particular — are great destinations, as is Williamsburg, Virginia due to the fact that I am a history buff, and there’s loads of it to be found there. Plus which its surroundings are so lovely. I also love the Caribbean, particularly the British Virgin Islands. Bermuda’s wonderful, too. I am longing to visit New Zealand and the Shetland Islands of Scotland, plus more of France, which is vast!


How long do you generally let a story idea ‘marinate’ in your brain before you start the book?

For Trilogy, the overall theme of the stories came to me pretty quickly. I’ve always been attracted to the unknown and the mysterious, so I knew the book would encompass those facets. The actual stories and characters came to me over a period of months, after I made some changes here and there.


Favorite place you’ve been and/or would like to go

Okay, this is a tough one. I’d have to say Edinburgh, Scotland is the favorite, and New Zealand is where I would love to go.


Which of your characters is a portrayal of you? 

Again, I do think Ulyssa is the one most like me, though I wouldn’t go as far as to say she is a portrayal of me.  If I had to further develop her character, many facets of her would be markedly different than me.


What is your favorite scene in the book? Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why?

If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the scene where Ulyssa lets the balloon go and awaits the many possibilities that might happen after it lands.  The most difficult characters probably were Justine and Kenny, as she is a complicated character and he may or may not be real. I also wanted to make the interplay between them tense as befitting their particular situation, and that took a bit of fleshing out before I was satisfied with the dialog.


Do you like the spotlight or lurking in the shadows?

I really am more of a lurking in the shadows person, although it is tempting to be in the spotlight at times!


How do you come up with the characters names/personalities?

Well, the three main characters all have back stories behind their names and personalities. I have always loved the name Justine. If I ever had a daughter, that would have been her name so I chose it for my character in Parallelograms. I have always been intrigued by red hair, so I made her a red head with a very strong personality, which is what I can say is one of my traits.  Ulyssa from Random is more of a free spirit but with a cynical touch, which I thought made for an interesting blend. I always thought the name was a lovely, unique, feminine take on the male name Ulysses, plus which the character is from a theatrical family which also lent her name a dramatic edge. Gregory is another name I have always liked, so I used it for the main character from Up There. It also has an air of formality to it, and the character does have a formal way about him so I think it suited him.


Top 3 things on your bucket list?

1. Travel to the aforementioned places that I said I’d like to visit, plus many more after that and hopefully gain inspiration for my writing from these travels. Related to this, I would like to hone my travel writing as well.

2. Write another book, this time a short novel. I don’t know in what genre yet, though.

3. Meet my favorite writers for coffee at a secluded cafe in a Parisian village and just shoot the breeze! I don’t know if that’s possible, but one can always wish!


What makes your novel standout from the crowd?

Well, they are short stories that don’t have concrete endings. I leave it up to readers to decide what is real and what is not, and what lessons or morals the stories offer, if any.


What is your view on self publishing?

I think it’s a great way for new writers to get their work out for the public to enjoy. Getting a traditional publishing deal is very difficult, what with all the competition and the established writers out there. The self-publishing world, along with ebooks, has really taken off and I think each makes for wonderful opportunities for writers to market their work.


Do your friends or enemies ever find themselves in your books?

Let’s just say in a word, yes. How about more accurately, the characters in my book are amalgams of those folks.


If you were not a writer, what would you like to do?

Well, this isn’t too far from being a writer but be a creator of a successful soap opera. I love the soap genre as it always was a mainstay of daytime television while I was growing up, and the soaps really told great stories as well.  I am glad that they have survived after all these years, though regrettably there are not as many as there once were.


What drives you insane about the writing process?

I would say developing plot more than characters. It’s so important to me to get it right in my mind, though I inherently know that there is no “right” and “wrong” there. I just want to make my plots interesting and thought provoking, something that readers can really connect with. I guess it’s subjective because everybody has different tastes, so I go by what would captivate me and hope it resonates with others.


What made you decide to write in this genre?

Again, the unknown and the mysterious have always held an attraction for me, so the decision was an easy one. I also found that the paranormal genre offered so many possibilities for characters and plots, as in that genre there are no concrete answers to things. Harder though for me was deciding the type of stories to write, as there were so many choices I had.

Trilogy
Trilogy is comprised of three stories, all of which have an otherworldly, paranormal theme to them. Each of the main characters in these stories wrestles with extraordinary circumstances in an otherwise ostensibly ordinary world. Journey with the stories’ main characters as they navigate the unplumbed depths of the unknown.
The first story, Parallelograms, centers on protagonist Justine, a determined yet troubled young woman who, quite by accident, discovers that she has a double and thus finds herself facing unexpected and ultimately terrifying consequences. Her previously tightly controlled world spins out of control, causing her to question her very existence.
The second story in the trilogy, Random, concerns Ulyssa, a young woman who is intrigued by the possibility of releasing a balloon with a note and seeing where it lands. This seemingly innocent activity will take her down a dark path, the circumstances of which may or may not be resolved. This will conflict with the outwardly picture perfect world that she thought she inhabited.
The final title, Up There, focuses on Gregory, an unassuming office worker who is fascinated by the airplanes he sees in the sky. Quite by accident he meets Sherry, a beautiful motivational speaker who just may have a connection to one of the planes he has seen. An activity he previously saw as harmless and a bit innocuous – watching planes fly overhead and guessing their destinations – turns questionable and ultimately forces him to take a look at his world: is it real or has it always been an illusion?