My last featured author for January is Paula Vince. Paul won the CALEB 2011 Prize with her novel, Best Forgotten.
Please tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’m a homeschooling mother of three children aged between seven and seventeen. We live in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia which I’ve found is the perfect place to set novels. It’s beautiful all year round with four very distinctive seasons.
Ever since I was a young schoolgirl, writing fiction is all I ever wanted to do. I believe a story has its own awesome power to touch readers’ hearts in ways other genres don’t. I’ve had faith-inspired novels in the Australian market since 2000.
Your book, Best Forgotten, won the 2011 CALEB Award. Would you tell us about it and what inspired you to write it?
I’d been intrigued by the relationship between our thinking habits and what we make of our lives. Are our personalities a product of random events or the thoughts we choose to think about them? I’d wanted to tackle questions like that for a long time.
In Best Forgotten, I have a bewildered young hero with complete amnesia who develops an aversion to the person he used to be. He can’t understand the way he used to behave or the choices he made. His girlfriend is keeping him at arm’s length and he discovers that his best friend disappeared without a trace on the night of his own accident. The more he investigates, the more likely it appears that he was involved in something really sinister and shady. He is both hero and detective of his story and terrified that he may also turn out to be the villain. It’s a blend of mystery, suspense and romance.
Who is your favourite author and what is it about their work you like?
There are so many excellent fiction authors I admire, I’d honestly find it difficult to choose one or two. I would like to pay tribute to Janette Oke and Francine Rivers, though, because these ladies first made me aware that there is even such a thing as Christian fiction. Way back in the late eighties when I was still a schoolgirl, I sat up late turning the pages of their books, anxious to find out what was going to happen to their characters. These two authors are responsible for making me determined to try my hand at doing for Australia what they were doing for America.
What books did you read growing up?
I read a steady diet of the old classics. As a girl, I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” series and anything ever written by L. M. Montgomery. The formative book during my teens was Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I considered that book the prototype of everything a wonderful novel was supposed to include. I used to love studying its elements, pulling it apart and marveling at the perfect blend of characterization and plot, all enhanced by her wonderful descriptions of her local environment, the Yorkshire Moors. It still sits in a position of pride on my shelf.
What does a typical day look like for Paula?
I like to get up before others for some quiet time and a bit of writing. We have a relaxed homeschooling style based on reading books and following wherever the kids’ interests lead them. This results in a really interesting blend of studies and excursions, especially as their ages are so diverse. Fitting in a walk and a bit of reading is ideal, too, and there’s always housework. I’m definitely the stay-at-home type.
What advice would you give an aspiring Christian romance author?
If your personal daydreams about your characters and their potential storylines intrigue you, there is an excellent chance that they’ll capture other people’s imaginations too. Whenever the writing becomes more of a chore than a labour of love, perhaps you need to sit back and ponder how to re-ignite that spark.
Also, be prepared to revise and re-write a lot. Getting to enjoy the editing stage as much as the writing is an important part of the lifestyle.
What can readers expect in your next book?
Its working title is Along for the Ride. The heroine is a young woman who feels compelled to travel to the other side of the world to right a wrong she committed in her childhood that has never stopped eating her peace. The hero is a brilliant young man who faces the challenge of changing everything he ever believed was true. It also tackles the question of divine healing and whether God chooses to work independently of or in response to our faith. I always aim to draw tears and laughter from my readers. I hope this will be no exception.
Thanks for being part of my blog today, Paula.
To learn more about Paula and other books she has written, you can read her blog www.justoccurred.blogspot.com
Paula's books are available at Koorong, Christian Bookworld and independent bookstores.