Meet the Author: P.A. O’Neil

Two Old Souls was inspired by the birth of a very special little girl, the first child of family friends. I hadn’t intended on writing a story on her behalf, because like most of my stories, inspiration was a spur-of-the-moment event. The method of which it was written is something that I have been experimenting with, so far with a success ratio of 2:1.

I have used “real” personalities in my stories before, especially those based off events from the news. I’ve written about a man who died spreading his wife’s ashes on a mountain trail, never knew the man so I didn’t write his version of the story. What I did was write it from the view of the friends he left behind. It was from a friend of his that I learned of the double loss.

I have also been moved to write about the untimely death of a child, from the child’s perspective. I didn’t know the family, but when I saw what was to be deemed the last photograph of her before her death, I felt “haunted” by her expression so much, I was moved to tell “her” story.

Most of my stories just flow, as if the characters are telling it themselves, Two Old Souls was one of these. I just sat back and watched as the words practically typed themselves. I could imagine the characters as if they were performing a play. Once done, my job was to make sure the grammar and punctuation were reasonably correct enough to send it off for a Beta read before a professional edit.

When a story comes back from editing, I immediately send a copy to my sister. She has become the official archivist for the family and has become my strongest supporter.  Occasionally, I will bounce stories ideas off her, but usually I get a rather flat opinion back. I guess I’m a better story writer than a storyteller. We have discussed several of my currently unfinished projects and potential storylines. In the end, she always is pleased with the final work.

Two Old Souls is the first original story I have had published in a few months. I have been writing for a collection of short stories, and have missed out on several submission opportunities, but when I wrote this story and the call from Escaped Ink came shortly after, I knew I couldn’t hold back from submission. If I had saved it for my collection, who knows, that sweet baby might be an adult before it ever saw publication.

‘Two Old Souls’ by P.A. O’Neil features in Tall Tales & Short Stories Volume One.

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