My Writing Life: Pauline Baird Jones
I fell in love with books first, of course, but I think it was Georgette Heyer’s books that caused me to pick up a pen (back in the olden days when that’s all I had to write with) and write what I now know was fan-fiction. Then it was just a case of: “I don’t want this book to end, so I’ll write more so it won’t end.”
Where do you get your story ideas?
My ideas seem to happen in this weird part of my brain. Sometimes it is a jungle I must pass through. Others a locked room with a combination I have to figure out. And always it is an adventure I pass through with my characters. I can see external triggers every now and again, but the story that results doesn’t usually seem related to the trigger. If I was good at math, I say that triggers send me off in tangents and I’d have an equation for it. But I’m not good at math. So I don’t. It’s the only explanation I can come up with for what happens in there when a story starts. It’s kind of a crazy place but it works for me.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a writer?
Reject rejection. Of course this was back in days when I submitted stuff. Now I’d rephrase it to: don’t let anyone else stop you from your dreams.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block?
Yes and no. I think it’s a general term that we apply to life events that shut us off from our words. Stress happens. Sometimes it can fuel writing and sometimes it steals them. There are also, in my world, simple plotting issues that can stall a book. If I’m trying to do something my characters don’t like, they block me. And they point in right direction until I notice.
If there was one writer (alive or deceased) that you would love to meet, who would it be?
I would like to meet J.R.R. Tolkien. I would also like to meet Georgette Heyer, but she seems to have been about as reclusive as I tend to be and probably wouldn’t want to meet me. Of course, Tolkien might not be that impressed either. Hmmm, I wonder who would want to meet me?
What’s your favourite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures?
Science fiction romance with romantic suspense a very close second. My guilty pleasures involve re-reading old favorites. I feel guilty not reducing the size of my TBR on my eReader. But sometimes I need a sit down with old book friends. Those visits remind me why I became a writer.
What made you decide to self-publish?
I’d been considering self-publishing for some time, but time was my issue. Life happened a lot and I needed to learn the ins and outs because if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it well. I decided to dip a toe in with Relatively Risky—which I did. I’d planned to gradually reclaim my back list while working on new books, but then life—or rather death—happened. One of my publishers passed away without a lot of warning and her business partner closed the company. Even with all her grief and shock, she worked to protect all their authors, for which I will be forever grateful. I was so thankful I’d already been learning about self-publishing. I had several offers from some other small presses, but I decided the time was right to take full control of my business. I have no regrets. None.
Are there any self-publishing tricks of the trade you’d like to share? What rules of craft or promotion do you live by?
All my tricks were learned from self-publishers ahead of me who have shared their knowledge. I’m so grateful to the generosity of the self-publishing community. I will say that of all of the advice and tips, the best two are: keep writing and learn from the people ahead of you.
My writing rules are to write the best book I can, to have fun while writing it, and only write books that I’d love to read. I started writing because I read so fast, I was running out of something to read. There is nothing that slows you down like having to write the book before you can read it.
What delights you the most about writing?
When a character comes to life in my head and we tell the story together. It’s pure magic. My characters are fictional, but they feel real to me. They are real. And when a reader feels that, too, then its magic squared. Or it might be pi. I did say I wasn’t good at math.
You can also find Pauline:
On her website: http://www.paulinebjones.com
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/paulinebjones
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPaulineBairdJones
On her blog: http://www.paulinebjones.com/BlogWP