Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Interview: Paula Weston, Author of Shadows

Today I have Paula Weston, author of Shadows, for an interview. Welcome Paula! 
You can check out my review for Shadows here. 

1. Who are some authors you look up to for inspiration?

I’m quite an eclectic reader, but writers whose work I have long admired include Markus Zusak, Melina Marchetta, Maggie Stiefvater, Vikki Wakefield and Peter Temple. I've only discovered Laini Taylor this year, and she’s now on that list too.

2. What motivated you to write Shadows?

Rejection! I’d been writing and submitting manuscripts to publishers for many years (and being rejected), and then in 2010 I came very close to being signed for a fantasy series. When that opportunity fell through, I was devastated. Once I picked myself up and dusted myself off, I decided to write something just for fun. I’d always loved urban fantasy and paranormal stories but had never thought to write in that genre myself – until then.

It was an idea I’d had in my head for months that I’d been ignoring because I was working on the other project. But then I sat down one weekend and played around with the scene in my head, which ended up being the scene where Gaby meets Rafa in Rick’s Bar. I wrote in first person/present tense for the first time. The characters swore. They were violent and a little bit sexy. And it flowed! Better yet, I was having a ball.

Long story, short, when I had a few chapters down and realised I was loving the characters and the story, I spent time working out the bigger picture and mythology – and that it would take four books to tell the story. Then I broke the news to my agent. She loved the idea and the chapters I sent her, and I spent the next year writing what would become Shadows. Within 12 months of finishing it, I had a contract with Text Publishing in Australia, followed by deals in the US and Canada, and the United Kingdom. I still shake my head at how it all came together – and remain incredibly grateful for the strange twists and turns that life throws our way.

3. Are any of your characters similar to you (personality-wise)?

Gaby’s voice is very much me as an older teen. These days, I aspire to be like Ez. In reality, I’m probably somewhere between the two.

4. Was becoming an author always the career you've always wanted?

Absolutely. I’ve always loved reading and writing, and have been writing stories since I was a child. I started submitting manuscripts to publishers back in 1995, so it was 16 years between my first rejection letter and my contract with Text Publishing. (By the way, I also still have a day job.)

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I know we all say it, but it’s true: read lots, write lots and don’t give up. The world will always need great stories and great storytellers, so if you love to write, keep writing.

6. Were there any challenges you had to encounter while writing Shadows (research, etc.)

My first challenge was getting the mythology and world building sorted. And then once I knew I was writing about angels, fallen angels and demons, it was figuring out how to handle the ‘religious’ question. I decided to take a middle ground approach: acknowledge the basis for the mythology (an apocryphal text written two thousand years ago), and then move on.

7. Favorite fictional characters?

So many! As far as classics go, I’d say Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien), Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen) and Flora Poste (Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons).

8. Is Rafa based on any person in real-life?

Ha! No.

9. Is Pan Beach based on a real place?

Yes, it’s a bit of an amalgam of three places on the east coast of Australia: Port Douglas (Far North Queensland), Noosa Heads (a quite famous location on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland) and Byron Bay (another well known town, in northern New South Wales).

10. Do you know or remember what started your love of the written word?

The first book I remember getting completely lost in was an Australian novel called Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park, which I read in primary school (elementary school). It’s the story of a girl transported back to the nineteenth century. I remember walking around afterwards, wondering if I would be transported to other times and places if I could just find the portal. I was always reading books as child, and usually they were stories about magic/strangeness in the real world.

Random trivia!

1. Favorite band/singers? Foo Fighters. (My music tastes range from Jack Johnson to The Black Keys and AC/DC, but the Fooeys are definitely my fave.)

2. Hardcover, paperback, or e-book? I love the feel of a hardcover, but a paperback is easier to handle when reading. Of course I do have a kindle for travelling…

3. Fantasy or contemporary? Depends on my mood. I enjoy both.

4. Hobbies other than writing? Reading, travelling, cooking, watching TV/movies, live theatre and walking my dog (a retired greyhound).

5. Favorite ice cream flavor? (this says a lot about a person) Too many to chose from! Okay, so my top three would be: chocolate and peanut butter; Turkish delight; burnt caramel. (So, what does that say about me? – aside from the fact I’m indecisive when it comes to ice cream…)

It says that you are a very multicultural person :D

6. Have you ever met any famous authors? I've met a lot of wonderful authors in the past few years. The most well-known would be Markus Zusak and Maggie Stiefvater.

Do you think you'll ever come to the US for a book signing? 

Love to. J I’ll be in North America in October for a quick two-week holiday to visit friends in the US and to meet my lovely publishing team at Tundra Books in Toronto. It’s not an ‘official’ visit, but I’m hoping to pop into a few bookstores while I’m in that part of the world.

A million thanks to Paula and Tundra books for adding me to this tour. 

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, Shadows looks awesome! I'll have to add it to my TBR list. Love this interview! :)