Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations!
Please help me to welcome today's guest, author PJ Fiala!
Glad to have you with us today, PJ! In a few paragraphs, please describe who you are and what you do.
PJF: I am a 56 year old wife, mother and grandmother. My husband of 30 years, Gene, and I are also bikers. We ride as much as we can and wherever we can.
I have my Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources Management and an Associate's Degree in Paralegal. I work four days a week in a law office in Green Bay as a paralegal.
I began writing in 2013 after having wanted to my whole life. I was in a job that made me miserable and each morning I had to bolster myself up just to walk into the building. It was horrible.
I decided then, that if I let those jerks suck the life out of me, there would be nothing left at the end of the day. I was physically ill from the hostile work environment. I sat down one night after work and started writing my first book, Second Chances, which I published a year later. I have republished Second Chances with a publisher just this year in April, and retitled it Designing Samantha's Love, Book 1 of the Second Chances series.
Since then I have written three more books and have more rolling around in my brain waiting for me to sit down and put them on paper (or computer, I guess).
Q1: What was the happiest day of your life?
PJF: This is a tough one, because there isn't just one day. The day I married my husband I was incredibly happy and I still am, it was the best decision I ever made. But the kids came along and then I felt those were the best days, that is until the grand babies came along. So, now I have many, many best days and can sum it up as the best days are days with family, friends, food and drink.
Q2: To date, what is the most memorable moment in your life/career?
PJF: Again, it's hard to sum up a long life in one moment or so, but I was an adult education student. I started college at the age of 41. I earned my Associate's degree first and through the urging of an instructor I kept on going to get my Bachelor's degree. I remember sitting in the auditorium looking around at all the younger people graduating and thought that I wish I had done this long ago, but was so proud that I finally did it.
Q3: Have you ever dabbled in genealogy or tracing your family history? If so, what have you found?
PJF; I have a cousin who has studied our family deeply. She still lives in Burkesville, Kentucky where my grandparents came from. A large part of my family still lives there. My cousin went around and interviewed people in the area that knew our aunts and uncles and grandparents and great aunts and uncles and has written it down. I hope to write books about my ancestors one of these days.
Q4: Who is the most interesting member of your family and why?
PJF: I've said this many times. My Great Aunt Ed (Edith) is the person I would most love to write about. She was the most gentle, sweet, loving woman I have ever met and she was also the toughest. As a very young girl of eight years old, she had to quit school when her mama died to raise her four siblings. My great grandfather had to build a box for her to stand on to cook at the stove and wash dishes in the sink. She grew up, married and had seven children. Her husband, my Uncle David passed away and so did four of her children, of various illnesses.
Back in those days, medical care and vaccinations were not available and many people passed away due to lack of it. Someday, I will write her story. I already have the title, "My Aunt Ed", I know not overly original, and it may change.
Q5: SPECIAL BONUS QUESTION: Your family has a long history in the military; thank you for your service and support. What is the greatest lesson that you have learned from being part of a military family? What would you want people to know about the experience?
PJF: I appreciate your thanks and will pass it on. I grew up knowing my family served in the military and was honored to do so. When my brother enlisted, it was kind of a given. Of course, it wasn't war time at that moment, so it wasn't scary. He was going off to earn a degree and see the world. But, when my sons enlisted, I was scared.
My son Zach enlisted in the Marines and while we weren't at war, things were getting nasty. Five months after 911 Zach was deployed to Iraq. Our youngest son, Eric and his wife, Shaina both enlisted in the Army. Eric was deployed for nine months to Afghanistan, stationed in Kandahar. Those were scary times. I would sit up most of the night, watching the television and looking for news. Once when we were Skyping with Eric, the base was hit with a bomb and we saw his computer and the bunk he was in shaking. Horrible. Now that they are all home, I'm proud of them, but worry for all the men and women who are still serving in dangerous places.
Too many people lose loved ones who honorably serve our country. Too many of them come home maimed, and changed by PTSD, and other afflictions.
Q6: SPECIAL BONUS QUESTION: I am intrigued by the fact that you and your husband like to take motorcycle trips! What is the most interesting place you have visited so far, and where would you most like to go next?
PJF: One of the most interesting places was riding the Smoky Mountains. Gene and I took a whole week and rode around, up the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way from Tennessee to Virginia. So many beautiful little towns and gorgeous country. This year we are heading out West. It's the 75th Anniversary of the Sturgis Rally and even though we've been there before, we want to go again. So, eight of our friends and us are heading to Sturgis for three days and then on to Cody, WY for four days and then back home. There is nothing like traveling by motorcycle. Love it.
Q7: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?
PJF: I collect coffee cups and Harley shirts. Every where we go I get one of each.
What a fascinating life you have lived and are living! Thank you for inspiring us today.
You can learn more about PJ Fiala and her writing by visiting her at : www.pjfiala.com/blog
See you this Friday for our next Clockwork Conversation!