I love puns, and so does my fictional character, Missy Barrett. In fact, she's infamous for her puns, especially those that involve bears.
One day, I was thinking about Hallowe'en and how bats and cats are always part of any Hallowe'en decor, and I thought it would be funny to have a character named Batson Katz. The minute that name came to mind, I knew he would be a character in a Missy Barrett story although I wasn't sure what the story would be about when I came up with the name.
I jotted the character's name down in my idea book, added a few notes about Hallowe'en, and weeks later, I revisited my idea book and started writing Bats'n'Cats.
Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
Sir Batson Katz's annual Candy Corn Bash is held every year on Hallowe'en at his estate on English Mountain. Famous supermodel and actress Twiggy Branch, Shakespeare's Wayward Sisters, Count Dracula, and other other-worldly celebrities will be there, along with real people who have received a hand-written invitation.
What made you decide to do a Halloween themed book?
Missy Barrett's tagline is: Come for the fun and stay for the excitement.
It made sense to have a book about Hallowe'en that Missy -- and real children like her -- might not only attend but look forward to attending.
Missy has already had so many adventures that most authors shy away from writing. My fictional character has talked about difficult situations in a positive way, whether it was talking with one of her brothers about living with a rare, incurable disease to flying in a vintage 1927 WACO straight wing bi-plane or dealing with everyday situations that aren't very nice to deal with such as bullying.
Hallowe'en can be an entertaining positive celebration if you make it fun and not quite so scary), so I wrote Bats'n'Cats.
Hallowe'en has always been a fun time for me. Because I have a son on the autism spectrum who didn't deal well with Hallowe'en when he was very young, we didn't do anything for Hallowe'en for a number of years. But now that he's older, I've been able to enjoy decorating the house in not-as-scary-as-you-would-think decorations that tie in with Hallowe'en.
The book launch for "Bats'n'Cats" is on Sunday, October 28 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at All Season Suites in Pigeon Forge (TN). Everyone is encouraged to dress up in a spooky costume, and we have some Missy Barrett style special guests coming in to entertain everyone at this all ages, family friendly event.
Leading up to that date, everyone is having boatloads of fun on the Bats'n'Cats Event Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/477260712755184/
I'm already working on the next Missy Barrett story, Dollars and Sense, as well as researching a Missy Barrett non-fiction book that my fictional character hopes will encourage NASA to re-planet Pluto. You may not be aware of this, but Missy feels when NASA took away Pluto's planet designation, their thinking was faulty.
I also have two books slated for release in 2019 under a pen name, as well as various short stories.
Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?
Missy Barrett is always encouraging people to do good deeds to help others. Whether it's listening to someone who needs to talk or pitching in and creating a fundraiser for a worthy cause, she's all about doing what she can to help.
Both the City of Sevierville and the County have proclaimed August 30 -- which just happens to be Missy Barrett's birthday -- to be International Missy Barrett Day. This is a day to not only do good deeds, but to encourage everyone you know -- especially on social media -- to do good deeds in their community, and to encourage others they know to do good deeds.
What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned that you’d like to share?
Write from your heart. Always.
What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
I believe everything happens in its own time at the right time so I don't wish I had learned anything any sooner, or any later, than I did.
Any last words or tips?
Remember when you write, you write for yourself. When your reader reads, your readers read for himself or herself. If you remember that, you won't worry about what anyone else thinks about your characters. You'll be confident knowing people love your fictional characters -- and you -- for all the right reasons.