Pauline Jones interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Apr 13, 2017 11:10:01 PM
Pauline Jones interview with David Alan Binder
Bio from her website: Pauline Jones had a tough time with reality from the get-go. After “schooling” from four, yes FOUR brothers, she knew that some people needed love and others needed shooting. She figured she could handle both without going to jail.
Romantic suspense was the logical starting point, but there were more worlds to explore, more rules to break and minds to bend. She grabbed her pocket watch and time travel device and dove through the wormhole into the world of science fiction and Steampunk. Let’s face it, she’s been making up science her whole life. (Sorry science teacher!)
Doing it legal, doing it fictionally is also better than getting strip searched.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Pauline-Baird-Jones/e/B000APFS0M/
Pauline never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance.
1. How do you pronounce your name?
I wish I needed to answer this question, but sadly, my name is quite ordinary. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t sometimes get messed up, of course. I get called Paula sometimes, which isn’t actually my name. And I always chuckle when people ask me to spell my last name.
2. Where are you currently living?
I am living in beautiful Wyoming, not far from Yellowstone Park. :-)
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
I think what is important has changed as I’ve gone through the process from beginner to not a beginner. (Not sure what I am right now, other than “been at this a LONG time.”) Looking back, I think the key thing is to believe the people who know what they are talking about. In this business, everyone has advice and opinions, but what they believe doesn’t always work for *you* and your publishing goals. When I first went indie, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would choose to go with a publisher. While I am still very glad I am indie, I understand why some people don’t want to manage everything. It is a big job. Publishing is a lot of hard work and there are days when I wish I could hand over that part to someone else. (And then I remember why I will never do that again. lol)
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
Hmmm, I’m not sure what others would say, but I would guess that mine is my sense of humor. For instance, I had a story in an anthology called PETS IN SPACE (going off sale the end of April, 2017) and I chose a bearded dragon for my heroine’s pet. And the next thing I knew he was talking and typing. He showed up in my head that way, so yeah, I might be a bit quirky. (Unless it’s not me. Maybe it’s my characters.)
5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I have been in this business long enough that I started out with publishers. I had some nasty interactions with some, did okay with the small presses I worked with, but in the end I realized that none of them could, or would, care about my books as much as I do. Plus it really sucked that other people made more money on my books than I did. So when my rights reverted to me, I went full on indie about three years ago. I can’t envision a scenario where I would go back.
6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I try to have my books available in as many formats as I can manage, including audio. As mentioned above, not a fan of conventional publishing, though I do understand why some authors choose to try that path.
7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
There are no secrets in publishing. It’s all out there. Google “secrets of publishing.” LOL I think the one thing new authors don’t want to hear is that it is hard work. That it is a marathon, not a sprint. That there are ups and downs, even in the brave new world of indie publishing. Working in a creative field will always, IMHO, be a roller coaster ride.
8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I had two agents. Both were good people who tried hard to get my quirky books placed with publishers. I am so glad they failed, because now I control my rights. I will echo the wisdom that I didn’t always believe when I was a new author: a bad agent is worse than no agent. The good news is the dynamic between author and agent has changed a lot. Just keep in mind that they work for you. Don’t pay them up front. Don’t believe they will solve all your problems or that you can sit back and wait for a contract.
9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
I think the best advice I have for new authors, they probably won’t believe, or listen to. [wry grin here] I’ve been approached for feedback a few times by new authors. They honestly try to listen, but I’ve been there. I know that when you are new, you are listening for what you want to hear, not what is actually being said. Believe the people who know what they are talking about. (Note I didn’t say believe everything you hear. Figure how who knows what they are talking about.) It will save you time in the long run. It is so easy to find advice out there, but not all of it is good. And not all of it will be good for every situation. If something feels wrong for you, then it is probably wrong for you…but…if it’s something you don’t want to hear? Maybe take a step back and discover if it is something you really need to hear.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
I am always surprised by what happens inside my head, and eventually on the page, when I start writing. I don’t plot or plan. I write from my gut, into the mist, and from the seat of my pants. Every time I start a new project I’m sure this will be the time it doesn’t work. But so far, it has worked every time. I am happy, happy, happy. And then the editing starts. LOL
11. How many books have you written?
I have written 18 novels, I forget how many short stories and novellas. My first book was published in 1999, so you can do the math on how long I’ve been published. How long I’ve been writing? I think I started on the walls of caves…
12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
I think the most basic step of being a good writer is to have read books. I’m not saying you can’t write if you aren’t a big reader (but why aren’t you???), but I think it helps to imprint your brain with the type of stories that you hope to eventually write. I know I learned so much from the authors of my youth. People always say hire a good editor, but how does a new author know what that is? And when is the right time to bring one in? For me, in the time I first started writing, I had to get my manuscripts up to near publishable level to even be looked at by an editor or an agent, so began using SELF EDITING FOR FICTION AUTHORS [book], early in my career. I still use their checklists and suggestions when I’m working on a book. I also have beta readers (not as many as some authors, though), a content editor and a copy editor. Many authors believe they can’t see their books clearly enough to see what’s wrong with them. That’s true and not true (or there and not there like Schrodinger’s Cat — ha, ha). I believe you can learn to see—or at least feel —when something is off in your story. Sometimes you need help to figure that out, sometimes it just takes time and lots of mulling. But there are few (probably no) absolutes in this business except one: tell a good story.
13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
I like the Donald Maass method. Ask yourself what can go wrong, then how you can make it worse, then how you can make it worse than that. You keep going until it feels right. He has a workbook with lots of great tips for drilling down and finding the fresh. I will add, don’t go with your first idea, because that is probably the most common one. Keep pushing until you feel ridiculous, then dial back a little.
14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd? I think it is always about the author voice, about how an author tells stories and puts words together. Readers either have chemistry with an author or they don’t. If you look at the books that hit it big, it is because readers embraced the author’s words and story. Gimmicks will only take you so far, IMHO. (I recently read a book with a great “high concept” story idea, but really struggled to engage with the author’s style of telling that story. So a great concept will only take you so far.)
15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I have a blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I play with ads some, but since I wear all the hats in my business, sometimes my efforts are a bit spotty. I have recently been trying out Facebook Live. (Goodreads says I died in 1999, so I have been having fun with that on Facebook Live.)
16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I would have started independent publishing about four years sooner than I did.
17. What saying or mantra do you live by?
Life happens. A lot.
18. Anything else you would like to say?
Thank you so much for wanting to interview me. I enjoyed the questions and hope your visitors enjoy the answers. I look forward to you finishing your book and stopping by for a visit on my blog. :-) (Peri