Monday, July 09, 2007

Author Interview with Paula Stiles

**The camera pans across the audience and back to the "blogger band" as they wrap up a lively medley. The audience applauds and the curtain raises. Carol Ann enters center stage.**

Good morning, blog studio audience! Thank you for coming out today. I see we have a full house! I'm glad to see so many faces here, since I have a very special guest today. Please put your hands together for a very multi-talented lady...Paula Stiles!

**Audience applauds loudly. Enter Paul Stiles from left stage.**

CAROL ANN: Paula, how nice to see you! I've been waiting a long time to meet you, and I'm thrilled that you are giving me the opportunity to talk to you so the audience can learn more about your books.

PAULA: Thank you! I'm so glad to be here with you all.

**Audience applauds**

CAROL ANN: Please tell me about the book you brought with you today. **Carol Ann holds up a book and the camera pans in.**

PAULA: It's a mystery SF thriller called "Fraterfamilias", out as an ebook and serial (and print book later this year) at Virtual Tales. I cowrote it with my friend Judith Doloughan under the pseudonym "Peter Ferrer". Though set in the present day, its backstory includes shamanism, the Russian Gulag, the Knights Templar, Ancient Rome and even prehistoric Europe. The title stems from the main moral question of the book: how far would you go to help someone you love?The story begins when Paul Farrell, a Parisian architect, kills four people in Paris then walks into a hail of police gunfire at JFK. His eccentric "cousin", palaeoanthropologist Alan Kedward, steals the body. The investigators now have a triple mystery: what was Farrell's motive for murder, why did he commit suicide-by-cop and why did Kedward steal the body? And could Farrell still be alive?

CAROL ANN: Wow. Sounds like a great mystery! I love the cover, too. Tell my, Paula, what was your first publication?

PAULA: **Looks at the audience and smiles** A little poem called "What Is Grey?" in the fourth grade for our school's annual anthology.

CAROL ANN: **Looks at the audience.** Do you think we should have her recite her poem for us?

PAULA: **laughs** Please, not today!

CAROL ANN: All right. I'll let you off the hook this time. What do you consider your biggest challenge as far as writing?

PAULA: Revision. It's my bugbear. But I'm getting better at it.

CAROL ANN: I hear you! I hate revisions. Especially when I'm going through my story for the fourth time and all I'm doing is changing words around, then the next time I change them back.

**Paula and Carol Ann laugh**

CAROL ANN: Name one person who has inspired you and tell me about her/him?

PAULA: My friend and cowriter Judith Doloughan. We first "met" in 2001 when she emailed me a response to a story I'd written. From then on, we talked daily on IM, the phone or in person, trading stories and critiques and eventually collaborating on Fraterfamilias, until her death on June 5, 2007. I miss her.

CAROL ANN: I'm really sorry for your loss. Fraterfamilias must be very close to your heart with having Judith's collaboration.

**Paula nods and wipes at a tear**

CAROL ANN: When you begin working on a story, which comes first: plot or characters?

PAULA: Characters. Without characters, there is no plot.

CAROL ANN: How do you decide on a title for your books?

PAULA: Prosaically. Which sounds funny, considering some of my titles, but there you go. I look at the main theme of the story and then I try to sum it up in one catchy word or phrase. The oddness of some of my titles comes entirely from my personal definition of "catchy".

CAROL ANN: What does the word "romance" mean to you?

PAULA: A love story. But it can also mean a grand adventure somewhere beautiful and far away, where the true love story is between the reader and the author's world. A good romance should, like Calgon, take you away.8

CAROL ANN: Do you have any advice to a new author on how to balance promotion with writing time?

PAULA: Schedule time for both. Too many authors carefully schedule time and make goals for writing, but none for submitting, let alone promotion once they’ve sold. Selling is great, but not if nobody reads your book. And to avoid burnout, schedule the balance your own way and promote in your own fashion. Every writer has a different balance and different comfort levels.

CAROL ANN: Good advice. On the personal side, do you collect anything? If so, tell me about your collection and how you got started.

PAULA: I'm a lifelong collector, especially of books and rocks. But my current collecting passion is West Coast Native art, which I've found a great source for writing ideas. I'm especially fascinated by the artists' use of metals, though my collection of wood and metal artifacts is, for reasons of money, much smaller than my collection of prints.

CAROL ANN: Very interesting. I love learning about the things others collect. Authors are definitely eclectic collectors. Oh, no! I can't believe they are giving me the sign to wrap up. Our time together this morning went so fast. I've so enjoyed talking with you. But I have one more question to squeeze in. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

PAULA: Yes. A sword can only benefit one person at a time. A pen can be used to help or destroy millions. Ghandi was a lawyer, Stalin a secretary. I doubt either man used a sword in his life; the pen was their weapon of choice. But no one would doubt their respective influences.

CAROL ANN: Thank you, again, Paula. It's been my pleasure to have you in the blog studio. **Carol Ann looks into the camera** Be sure to tune in on July 19th when I'll have Trevane and Casey in the studio. Also, here is where you can learn more about Paula and where you can purchase her book.

**Camera rolls**

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