PC Feather, whose jobs ranged from Actor to Zookeeper, now writes Romantic Mysteries
Here’s some background on PC Feather
I was born and raised in western Pennsylvania, and I currently live in New Jersey. I’m blessed to have moved around and traveled throughout the US. I’ve lived from Maine to California.
I’ve also have had jobs ranging from Actor to Zookeeper.
I’m married. I have two children, both in college. Being an empty-nester is bitter-sweet. I’m very proud of my kids, but they go to school on the opposite side of the country.
I love my dogs and horses. Besides writing, I also have a small equine massage therapy business, Feather Touch Equine Massage, and I show horses in dressage.
Do you have a “real” job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life? Have any of your jobs outside of writing influenced your writing?
Currently, I run a small business, Feather Touch Equine Massage. Working for myself was never one of my life goals. Then again, neither was writing. That’s correct. I never thought I could be a writer. Over the years, many associates urged me to write the humorous stories I told. I tried, but my stories fell flat when I wrote them out on paper. So, I quit trying.
I’ve had many types of jobs throughout my life (performer, waitress, dance teacher, cashier, dog walker – the list goes on). Every single one of them plays an integral part in who and what I am today. And I wouldn’t be able to write if I didn’t have those experiences.
As a teen, I danced ballet. I performed with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and a small local company. I consider it my first job as I would dance up to thirty-eight hours a week, and the experience had an enormous impact on my life. I went to college and worked in theaters as a performer (actor-dancer-singer), stage manager, and costumier for many years. I was a card-carrying member of the Actors Equity Association.
Living in San Francisco, CA, I was rehearsing a play and chatting with the director when I mentioned that I’d love to work with baby animals in a zoo. She suggested volunteering at San Francisco Zoo. I did. They don’t have baby animals, but they do have animals for educational programs. I continued acting and volunteering and a whole new door opened in my life.
Fast forward several years, a cross-country move, and two human babies later, I again volunteered at a zoo. This time it was Staten Island Zoo. My volunteer position became paid when I began teaching science/zoology/environmental education programs to school classes on field trips.
As my children grew and both became interested in horseback riding, my job eventually transitioned into caring for sport horses at Tracy Wagner Training. This job again opened a new door for me. I learned more than I could ever have imagined. It also prompted me to become a certified equine massage therapist.
All of those experiences, and more, go into my writing. I approach my charter building as an actor would approach a role. I build my storytelling the same way a director directs a play. As I write, I see lighting effects and hear the underscoring of music. These elements may not make their way directly into my written words, but I hope you feel the ambiance as you read my stories.
As for the animals? Well, read one of my stories, and you’ll find them.
What compelled you to write your first book?
As I mentioned, friends and colleagues told me to write for years. I never felt I had something important to say or something other people would be interested in reading.
One morning, as I sent my children off to school, I heard an old song on the radio. It was a song I had loved, and it transported me back to my anxiety-filled high school years. I started wondering if I could have done anything differently to make that unpleasant time better.
The next thing I knew, my mind started spinning the tale of Ruth Willows, and it went on for weeks. It was like an unstoppable movie in my head. I could rewind it, change it, observe the new outcome, but I couldn’t shut it off. I knew I had to write it down.
I started with one chapter, hoping the images behind my eyes would stop. They did not, so I continued until Tall Willows’ first, and very rough, draft was completed.
Tell us a little bit about your book. What is the title?
Tall Willows is the first in a series of six books. The series is the coming of age story of Ruth Willows, an intelligent, beautiful, and somewhat self-conscious young woman. Throughout the six books, we follow Ruth as she learns to navigate life, love, and the all too common dead body.
In Tall Willows, Ruth Willows meets Ken Silver, a drop-dead sexy cowboy at a local barn, and they soon fall madly in love. Not only has Ken has been keeping secrets from her, but it mortifies Ruth when Ken learns the secret she is keeping from him. Just when Ruth thinks her life couldn’t get any worse, she finds the local school’s accountant shot dead in the school’s darkroom. But even that pales when, by accident, Ruth picks up a file the accountant left on a desk just before his untimely death. The file contains proof that someone is embezzling from the school. Could the embezzler be the murderer?
Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?
Book two of the Ruth Willows Mystery/Romance series Deep Pines will, hopefully, be released this year, 2022. I’ve also begun work on book three, Slippery Elm.
What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?
I am married to a very wonderful and supportive husband of twenty-eight years. (Yes, I got married when I was ten.) We have two children, both in college. So life has been an adjustment lately.
I have a sister who is a retired police detective, a brother-in-law who is also a retired police officer, and a brother-in-law who is a civil engineer. Plus, my husband and I have a large extended family of cousins, etc.
When I began writing, I told NO ONE. After all, I was only writing one chapter. No one had to know what I was trying to do. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid of negativity and judgment. When I finally told family and friends about my book, their support overwhelmed me.
So many friends and family have told me they love my story and characters and can’t wait till the next book in the series is published. My sister has become an ardent supporter of pcfeather.com tallwillows.com and my go-to expert for police procedures.
What one thing are you the proudest of in your life?
I am overwhelmingly proud of my children.
My daughter is in college at CU Boulder, studying international affairs and Italian. Not only is she very intelligent, and beautiful, and adventurous, and a talented artist, but she is one of those people that can do anything. She has a natural ability to do whatever she puts her mind to. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!
My son equally handsome, creative, and bright as his sister and attends Cal Berkeley as a biology major. He’s a wonderful equestrian and took a pony to the American Eventing Championships. He’s overcome personal challenges and got accepted to one of the top universities in the country. He swore he’d never live in a city, but now he’s loving city life and has a bright future ahead of himself.
The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?
There’s a story that explains how actors should view their characters in relation to their play. Famed actress Uta Hagen was playing a minor role in a show. When the director asked the cast, “What is this scene about?” Uta said, “I thought it was about me.”
That’s how I feel about my characters as I write them. They all come from me, so they are all some part of me. Some of them might perform actions I would never dream of doing: stealing, raping, murdering, etc. Some of them might do things I want to do but never have had the opportunity. Some of them share things in common with me, like riding horses. Like an actor, I must become the character as I write him or her. I have to find a way to show their actions through my experiences, knowledge, research, and imagination. I must know what each character wants, why they want it, and how they plan to get it. As the writer, I get to experience the story from each character’s point of view.
You might have heard an actor say playing the villain is freeing. I get very involved with my characters when writing, and being the villain can be tremendous fun! I’ve also had characters do things in scenes I never expected to happen. As I wrote book two, I wrote myself into a proverbial corner. One character did something I hadn’t thought about until I wrote it. It took me several days of running various scenarios in my head before I could figure out what to do; how to proceed with the story. For me, this process is reminiscent of when I worked for an improv murder mystery group. In that group, we all knew what was going to happen. We just didn’t know how we would get there until the show ended.
Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
I wish I had a writing mentor. I had a wonderful experience with my editor of Tall Willows, and I hope to work with her again. She was very supportive and right on the money with all of her suggestions.
I don’t really want to emulate any particular writer. Writers I enjoy are Janet Evanovich, Tony Hillerman, Michael McGarrity, to name a few. Someone I am currently fan-girling over is Melissa Rosenberg.
I was introduced to her work on the Twilight Saga movies. Whether or not you like the Twilight stories, Ms. Rosenberg did an extraordinary job translating the books into screenplays. It’s a specific skill to bridge the two mediums, and I can’t gush enough over Ms. Rosenberg’s work. We’ve all seen a movie and thought, “Ugh, the book was so much better.” One reason is the screenwriter wasn’t able to adapt the book to the different medium of film. So big, giant kudos to Melissa Rosenberg. I love her work.
Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?
I love morbid!
World-famous author, PC Feather, has died at the age of 98. She passed away at her horse ranch surrounded by friends, family, and horses.
A spokesperson for Feather issued a statement: She’d just had the best ride of her life. She got off her horse and keeled over. She was dead but still holding onto the reins.
PC authored many books but is best known for her Ruth Willows Mystery/Romance series. She turned the movie franchise of the series into a multi-million dollar business and then built the premier equestrian facility, Equi-Feather.
We also know PC for her not-for-profit S.T.E.A.M.I.E. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, In, Education). She started the not-for-profit to support students and institutions who promoted S.T.E.A.M. programs in their schools. “I watched both of my children graduate from S.T.E.M. programs and realized something terrible was lacking.” PC said in an interview.“ The art, the creative outlets in their programs were nonexistent. Students can’t grow as whole people if the whole person isn’t nourished.” S.T.E.A.M.I.E. has given away over ten million dollars both to individuals and schools to further S.T.E.A.M. in their programs.
PC is survived by her children and grandchildren. Donations to S.T.E.A.M.I.E. can be made through the website.
(So, S.T.E.A.M.I.E. is an idea of mine I pray I can make come true someday!)
Where do you write? Set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting? Or do you write at a coffee shop or other location?
I only type on my laptop. When I write, I have so much going on in my head; I like to find a quiet, peaceful place—also, a large glass of ice water.
I occasionally write on a plane if I must fly somewhere. Physically, not the most comfortable locale, but I can usually get several uninterrupted hours of work done.
I mostly write at home, where I have several locations depending on the day and my mood. Where ever I am, I’ve got three large dogs (Dahlia, Shamus, and Gunther) who must be next to me at all times.
In the summer, I love sitting outside under our screened-in gazebo. It’s relatively quiet, with only the sounds of the birds and nature. The netting keeps the mosquitoes off of me, and the dogs can roam the yard or lie on the deck next to me.
If I want to be inside, sitting on the couch with my laptop would suit me just fine, but it doesn’t suit the dogs. Only one of them can join me on the couch, which leaves the other two helplessly staring at me. This usually turns into one of them, usually Dahlia, asking to go out. She actually wants to get one of her brothers off the couch so she can claim the spot before they return. This goes on and on and gets tiresome for me because I get very little work accomplished due to getting up every five minutes to let the dogs in or out.
On days like this, I go to bed. All three dogs can jump up and spread out on top of the bedspread. They leave me enough room to squish in with my laptop (and ice water) and write. The only sound I need to contend with is the snores of the three canines.
Now that you area published author, does it feel different than you had imagined?
Having never dreamed of being a writer, I feel like this is only the beginning. I feel like the floodgates have opened, and I have a lot more to say and a lot more stories to tell.
I wouldn’t even call myself an author when I first began this journey. I would only admit to being a storyteller. I knew genuine writers, and I never thought I would be on par with them.
Now that I can hold a physical book in my hand and read my name on the front cover, I’ve permitted myself to call myself an author. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I pray as I continue to write this series, people will read it and enjoy the ride the story takes you on.
Is there anything else you want your readers to know about you? Include information on where to find your books, any blogs you may have, or how a reader can learn more about you and your writing.
Thank you, Vanessa, for this opportunity to share my story with you.
I invite everyone to check out Tall Willows. It’s available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or where fine books are sold. Visit my websites, Tallwillows.com and PCFeather.com. I have extra content posted about some of your favorite characters. Also, look for book two, Deep Pines, later this year. Sign up for the mailing list and get all the info in your e-mail box.
And thank you, PC Feather, for an insight into your work and writing process,