Pat Cunningham

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Born in New Jersey, been living in Pennsylvania since the age of eight. Currently living in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, home of the movie "Witness." I never got to see Harrison Ford in person, to my everlasting regret. Discovered comic books at an early age and was never the same. Same thing goes for the original Star Trek. (Spock in a beard -- yum!)

I started writing and cartooning at an early age, with the idea of working in comics at some point. Somewhere down the line I switched to just writing. I've published about a dozen stories as "P. E. Cunningham" in the SF/fantasy genres. Recently I switched over to paranormal romance with the accent on humor because it lets me write stories that combine all my genre interests. Shapeshifters trade one-liners while falling in love. Who can beat that?

I've had the prerequisite dozen or so jobs most writers hold down while we're trying to make a living at this. Highlights include office worker, typesetter, proofreader, editor of a weekly paper and, most recently, Census taker. I've vowed to sell a novel by the end of the year or die in the attempt. If I don't...well, there's always next year.

Q. What got you into writing?
A. Reading. I've always loved reading. Then I started making up my own stories. Gradually it dawned on me that people get paid to do this, and that I could be one of them.
Q. Were you a romance fan growing up?
A. Of romance as part of the story, yes. Of romance novels, no. I grew up on a diet of science fiction, fantasy and Marvel Comics. My favorite books always focused on characters and their relationships, in particular Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders series and MZ Bradley's Darkover. In comics it was X-Men and the Avengers. I'd come back every month to see if the Vision and the Scarlet Witch had gotten together yet. I got into romance when the women stopped being wimpy and stupid and became forces to be reckoned with and guys had to be worthy of. Yes, I'm a Buffy fan.
Q. Describe your writing schedule
A. I like to write first drafts in longhand, in bed, in a spiral notebook and pen while drinking my morning tea. Second draft is the one I type on the computer. I try to keep a schedule but sometimes work, life, and grocery shopping intervene. I do make sure I write every day. I haven't missed a day in three years.
Q. Favorite forms of procrastination?
A. Cable TV and Freecell Solitaire. In a pinch I'll do housework.
Q. Pantser or plotter?
A. Definite pantser. I often dive right in with no idea of where the story's headed. That can lead to a lot of dead ends, but that's the chance you take. The suspense ("Oh geez, now what do I do?") keeps it fun. I've discovered ideas and inspirations hit faster and more often while I'm working, as opposed to waiting for the muse to strike.
Q. Education?
A. I majored in English. If I could do it again I'd take art and become a cartoonist. At the time I thought writing was easier. Little did I know.
Q. Favorite author?

A. Stephen King. No contest. Better make that "favorite storyteller." King's not always the world's greatest writer, but he keeps you turning the pages, and that's what it's all about.
Q. Vampires or werewolves?
A. Werewolves. I've got nothing against vampires. I'm just a dog person.
Q. Most unusual talent?
A. I know the words to more TV theme songs than is probably healthy.

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