Check out this sneak peek of the upcoming interview with Best Selling Author Paula Weston in the next books magazine:
What made you want to become an author?
I’ve always been an avid reader and I’d been writing stories since I was in primary school, but it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I wrote my first manuscript. I loved the process of discovering characters and brainstorming plot ideas, and I became totally addicted to imagining and writing my own stories.
(It took five more manuscripts, two plays, a short-listed short story and a pile of rejections before I was finally a published author 16 years later. More on that below.)
What is your favourite thing about being an author?
There are two things I love equally: the creative process when everything is flowing, and opportunities to interact with readers.
There’s nothing like the feeling of being lost in a story as a reader, and it’s an even deeper experience as a writer. Especially when you can see everything taking shape, or you go back and read over a scene/chapter and it doesn’t make you want to poke your eyes out.
Having said that, there are plenty of times along the way when it all feels like it’s falling apart and it’s never going to work. I saw this summary on Twitter a few weeks ago and I laughed out loud because I can totally relate:
The creative process
- This is awesome
- This is tricky
- This is shit
- I am shit
- This might be okay
- This is awesome.
(Not sure if Sally El Hosaini the author of this pearler, but the tweet came via her account: @sallyelhosaini.)
I also really enjoy interacting with readers. Not just readers of my books (which is a bonus), but readers in general. I love talking about books and stories, and getting – and giving – reading recommendations. Meeting and hanging out with other authors at festivals is also a huge amount of fun.
Where did the idea for The Rephaim come from?
The first book, Shadows, started as a scene in my head that I couldn’t stop thinking about. It involved a girl and guy who were attracted to each other, but who had a complicated history that only he remembered. I knew there were supernatural elements in how she’d lost her memory and that the two of them were part of a wider conflict and had ended up on different sides.
When I started researching world-building options to work out their story, I came across the Book of Enoch. It’s a two-thousand-year-old text that talks about angels being kicked out of heaven for getting a little too friendly with human women (a book not considered doctrine by mainstream churches). I started thinking about what would happen if those angels got free again and fathered children. And then what the consequences would be for those half-angels, and how that could relate to my two characters. From there, the world of the Rephaim was born and Gaby and Rafa’s story came together.
But, to backtrack…it was actually a rejection that prompted me to start exploring that idea. I’d been signed by an excellent literary agent back in 2008 (who is still my agent today) on the strength of a fantasy series I was working on. We got very close to a deal in 2010 with that series, and when it fell through, I was totally gutted.
I’d had that idea about the girl and guy for ages, so instead of moping about, I started writing about them…for fun. The characters (who would become Gaby and Rafa) came easily and the story kind of poured out, even when I didn’t really know what it was all about. I showed my agent some early chapters and she loved them, so I kept writing.
By that point, I’d figured out the world, the conflicts and the character dynamics and I knew it would take four books to tell the story the way I wanted to, layer by layer.
Check out the next issue of TAT Books to read the rest of the interview.