Tag Archives: freelance writer

Author Interview – Richard Paolinelli


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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both at times, as strange as that may sound. When the words are flowing I seem to gain energy as I go along. But there are times, usually when I am pushing to make a hard deadline, when I feel like I’m dragging about five tons of brick around on my shoulders and it is difficult to write the next sentence.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The Internet. It is just too easy to hop on to check my email “really quick” and get distracted by something and three hours later suddenly remember I was supposed to be writing. The house hound also tries his best to distract, usually when I am really on a roll.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Briefly. But I was writing for newspapers for so long that it just seemed natural to continue to do so when I transitioned to fiction writing. Plus, I really dislike posting in online forums under fake screen names as I feel that leads to bad behavior by folks who feel they can get away with anything without any accountability. So I have always made it a point to put my real name behind everything I write, online or off.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I know so many of them that if I tried to list them all here we’d break the internet. Not to mention I’d probably forget some of them and then have to spend the rest of the year apologizing. But in their own ways they have all helped me become a better writer. Sometimes it is from just reading their work and seeing how they develop a character or lay out a scene. Sometimes it comes from the way they market their books or deal with unfair criticism.

 

 

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Almost all of them are stand alone, although I have readers asking me when the sequel to Escaping Infinity is coming out. I do have one trilogy though, the Jack Del Rio political thriller series. Writing in so many different genres as I do I very much doubt there a way for me ever to be able to connect them. All I really hope for is that they are all enjoyable stories that readers continue to want to read.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The $20 that I spent on three Himekami CDs many years ago (pre-MP3 era). Listening to the beautifully enchanting synthesized music produced by this group from Japan seems to put me into the perfect state of mind to write.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I sat down one day at the age of 4 and heard a man say that he hoped for a world where his children would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. It took a few more years for me to fully understand the concept, but those words made perfect sense to 4-year-old me. It wasn’t what a person looked like that mattered, it is what they said and did that was all that counted. I’ve always strived to keep that lesson in my heart in the half-century that has passed since I first heard them and am reminded of that day every time I read those words again.

 

 

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Time Traveller’s Never Die by Jack McDevitt. I loved the way Jack (I get to call him that because we’ve worked together on a Sherlock Holmes anthology and corresponded a few times since) dealt with the paradox of time travelling and it was this book, and discovering Jack’s path to becoming a writer at a later age, that inspired me to try to give fiction writing another try at the age of 46. 

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Polar Bear. Because they are patiently relentless in their pursuit of their goal. For them it is their next meal but for me it is getting the current novel finished so I can begin working on the next one.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

About 30 in various states of started but not finished to just outline-only.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

When I have finished a book and it is available to be purchased on Amazon or in a bookstore. That means another story of mine – another world or universe of my creation – is available to be read and, hopefully, enjoyed.

 

 

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

With my two non-fiction books I spent years going through newspaper microfilms, online searching and interviews before I sat down and started writing them. It probably worked out to two years each from starting research to writing completed and the book released.

With my fiction works I’d say I research for about a week before I start writing. Even then I find I will pause writing at points to do additional research when something does not sound right or if I make a change in the original outline along the way.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

At least 30 hours a week and sometimes as many as 60 depending on other things going on in my life.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

I have a couple of ways. Usually the names seem to come to me and I go with them if they “feel” right. But I discovered a website that generates first and last names based on several factors of race, ethnicity, gender and genre. I’ll scroll through a few randomly generated names until I find a combination I like.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

In Reservations which was the first Jack Del Rio novel. I had decided to kill off one of the major characters and when I got to the chapter when the death was to occur I found it harder to write with each passing word. I kept going back and forth on whether or not to kill the character or not. It took me 14 hours to write that chapter and I recall finishing it, saving it and then walking away from my desk in tears when I finished writing the death scene that ended the chapter. It felt like I had murdered a loved one. But the response I have received from readers has convinced me that I made the correct decision.

 

 

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

My early books were sports non-fiction, which were easy to do coming off 20 years as a sportswriter, and then my initial fiction works were political mystery-thrillers. But my first love as a young reader was science fiction and that is the genre I will be doing most of my writing in for the foreseeable future.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Since 1983 when I started as a freelance writer. Aside from being the lead writer for two issues of a comic book series in 1986, I started as a full-time novelist in 2011 after I retired as a newspaper writer/editor in 2010.

  1. What inspires you? 

 My family. I want to leave a legacy in my writings that my children and grandchildren and their grandchildren can be proud of long after I am gone.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I am fortunate in that this is my full-time job so I have a nice routine that allows me to write on a regular schedule. Having worked for 20 years in newspapers where I was expected to write 2-3,000 words a day has made it something of a habit now, one that seems as natural to me as breathing.

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  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

Many. I am helping finish the final book written by my friend Gibson Michaels, who passed away last year before he could finish it. It would have been his fourth book and we want to make sure his readers get to read it. I am co-writing a western novel with Jim Christina, with whom I co-host an online show about writers and the craft of writing – The Writer’s Block on LA Talk Radio. I’m editing one of the 11 books in the Planetary Anthology series (and have stories in several of the others) and I am helping start up a new organization for professional creators in science fiction and fantasy, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild ( www.sffcguild.com)  .

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I have three science-fiction/fantasy projects lined up I want to finish by the end of 2018 – When the Gods Fell, Cursed Firstborn and Seadragon.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

https://scifiscribe.com/

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing:

Due to a dreadful constant cough my energy has been at a low ebb so writing has taken a back seat as I try to get better. It is the worse possible timing over the festive season. Hopefully as I gradually get better my writing Muse will return.

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Books:  The men are in Spain and the war is affecting them, as it would. Back home things have changed but stayed the same. Relationships are strained and letters are infrequent. Beautiful writing and character development.

Dreamland

Christmas books have been added to my pile – 300 writing prompts and Sleeping Beauties. Now to consider which King book to read first as I still have 11/22/63 to start. I admit Beauties is calling me.

What books did you get for Christmas?

Writing Tips:

Holiday’s tend to reek havoc on our writing schedule but there are ways of grabbing writing time.

Keep track of the number of words you write instead of how long you wrote.

Relax your normal rigorous writing timetable – take time to chill and observe.

Make the most of “un-scheduled” time – waiting for a flight, children’s rehearsals, a break for coffee during shopping.

Wake up earlier (or stay up later) than usual to ensure that you spend some time writing.

How do you find time to writing during the holidays?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

On Saturday I attended the last of my publishers events for the year. It was a packed venue, with numerous vendors and their fare. There were Christmas themed items of course and a plethora of gift buying possibilities. Although the day (a longer one than usual 9 am – 5 pm) was not too busy we did sell books and I even managed to write an additional 550 words on my YA novella while at this event.

agora craft Saturday 16Dec

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It got me thinking about the ‘odd’ places I have written, including soccer games and practice, gymnastic classes, in hotel rooms on road trips, coffee shops and even on a plane.

Where is the most unusual place you have ,managed to write?

Books:

The war has started in this narrative and two of the characters are now stationed in England – parts of which are very familiar to me as I used to live near them. It gives me a greater sense of place I feel.

Dreamland

Writing Tips:

Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won’t be able to stop.

If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.

(My tip set the auto save on your word document – it saves heartache. Believe me.)

Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


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I have searched the adverts and events pages and alas have found no events locally for me to share. I attended one event last Saturday, which was my publishers last event of this year. (I will be reporting on Wednesday on this event).

So please if you do have an event you would like to share please do.

In the meantime a Merry Christmas to all my followers and a spectacular writing year in 2018!

Merry Christmas

I will post my 2018 schedule at the end of December but a gentle reminder that I am looking for authors and writers to interview, promote and link to during the year. So if you have a book launch, a signing/event, would like to be interviewed then please contact me through the form via the Media Kit page on this blog.

I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your writing in 2018.

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Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Apart from the freelance project, I did have time to write a Xmas themed short story for my writing group’s Xmas party, which was held yesterday.

WFSC Xmas Party

Letting my imagination take control and spin a story is always fun. I had thought the story would go in one direction but it veered off into another, again giving me a welcome surprise. I find this aspect of writing to be the most delightful and rewarding, as the characters or plot take control.

This was my story:

Joy’s Joy

The heavy snow slowly slid from the porch roof, Joy watched its gradual cascade and delighted at the thump it made on the frozen ground. Her thoughts turned to childhood memories of building snowmen and snowballs fights with her brother and sisters. As the youngest she was often the brunt of the jokes and teasing but no matter what she loved them but of course there were plenty of times when she was cuddled and coddled by her older siblings.

Now many decades later they were spread out across the country. The older they became the more infrequent were the visits even on special holidays. Joy was sad that this Christmas there would be no family to celebrate with. Again she felt she should have married again after Arthur, she had been young enough to have started a new family but her heart had been broken and as the years past, she became accustomed to her solitary life. But now she realized, she always looked forward to those special days each year with Frank, Gail and Bobbie-Jo, they were her hope for next month or next year, it kept her grounded and forward thinking. She would plan for months ahead of time – planning excursions, cooking cakes and biscuits and making gifts. With no visitors this year the house felt as despondent as Joy.

A knock on the door brought her out of her musings. A dark figure loomed on the other side of the frosted glass door. Joy made sure the security chain was in place before she opened the door cautiously.

                  “Hello, I have a delivery for Miss. Dashing.”

                  “Well that would be me.”

                  “Can you please sign here, the box is rather heavy so do you want me to carry it into the hallway?”

                  “That would be very kind, thank you.”

                  Joy unlatched the chain and the man picked up a large box from the porch floor. He set it down beside the entry table and then turned away, while arching his back.

                  “Thank you so much, you should take care of your back. Have a merry Christmas.”

                  “My pleasure, yes it’s not easy work. Have a good Christmas.”

                  Once the front door closed and the cold evening air shut out, Joy looked at the box. A label showed her name and address and the return address was one she was familiar with. It was from Frank. Excited to see what was inside she went to the kitchen to find a pair of scissors. With the packing tape cut, Joy pulled at the box to open it. Inside was a lot of packing and Christmas wrap. Her heart leapt – he sent me several gifts for Christmas!

                  The sight of the gifts made Joy happy. She was determined that now she would decorate so they could be placed under a Christmas tree. Two hours later the front room looked festive and Frank’s gifts were in pride of place under the small artificial tree, placed in the bay window. She ate a late light supper and went to bed. Her dreams were of frosty mornings and the four of them opening their gifts on Christmas morning, she smiled in her sleep.

                  In the morning she read her brother and sister’s letters again asking not to send gifts to them this year as they were spending time with their children and grandchildren and would be away from home. Joy had been disappointed as she had spent several months creating their gifts. ‘We will get together in the New Year and exchange gifts then’ – was the footnote on all three letters. Joy wrapped the gifts with extra care and placed them in a basket on top of her crafting shelf. Another knock on the door brought her to open it to the same deliveryman, his grey beard frosted with icicles

                  “Well hello again.”

                  “You must be very popular with all these parcels. I have two for you today, just in time for the big day. Shall I carry them in?”

                  “Oh yes please, that is kind.”

                  As the man turned to leave, she stopped him.

                  “Wait one moment I have something for you.”

                  “I’m not supposed to take gifts, I’m afraid.”

                  “Really that is not a very festive outlook and it is only a day to Christmas. It is some of my special cookies; surely you can have a few?”

                  “Well, I wouldn’t say no, I will be delivering until late tonight. It is a busy time of year as you can imagine and I don’t usually get time to stop and eat anywhere.”

                  “That’s settled then one moment.”

                  Joy placed several different kinds of cookies and sweet treats in a small tin and gave it to the driver.

                  “I hope you enjoy them and drive safely, there is a weather front coming in. It’s a good thing you don’t need to drive out to me again, that track can be treacherous.”

                  “I’ll be careful and thank you so much for these they smell incredible. I only have one run left and can go home, it is a favour to my old boss. He was short handed so I volunteered.”

                  “At least you have sustenance now. Take care.”

                  Joy excitedly opened the two boxes to find more gifts and took them to the tree. It would be nice to open them on Christmas morning but she really wanted to have her siblings with her even more. With the house locked and the Christmas lights twinkling she sat to watch a movie. As the clock struck midnight she yawned and rose to go to bed. A tapping sound stopped her steps on the stairs. What is that? She looked around the front room, the kitchen and the hallway but the tapping had stopped. Joy shook her head and went to bed. She could hear the blizzard thundering outside, lashing the roof and trees. As she drifted off to sleep a nagging feeling gripped her but she knew she was alone on the side of the mountain, her house surrounded by fir trees and knew the track would now be under a lot of snow. She told herself to stop being silly and snuggled under the covers.

                  A loud bang brought her from her slumber. Oh my goodness is that a tree fallen on the house? Wrapping her toweling robe around her and putting her soft plush slippers on, she walked to the window. There was a sheet of snow obscuring everything. One after the other she went into each room fearing a damaged window or wall but there was none. What banged so hard then? As she crossed the hallway to go back upstairs she heard a thud on the front door. Oh no is it my lovely porch that is damaged? Joy unlocked the door fearing the worse. What she saw was a huddled dark figure covered in snow and crystals of ice on eyelashes and beard, and a pair of pleading eyes.

                  The man crawled into the hallway his breathing laboured and his whole body shaking.

                  “Goodness, where have you come from? Can you walk come into the front room I’ll light the fire again it will still have hot embers hopefully.

                  The man tried to speak but his lips were blue and his teeth chattered. He stumbled to the front room and collapsed on the sofa.

                  “Cold, so cold. Crashed on the track. Crawled back on the track, it took hours.”

                  “You poor man. Let me get some blankets.”

                  With several blankets heaped on top of the man, Joy stoked the fire. There I will make a hot drink and then call for an ambulance.”

                  After giving the man a mug of steaming coffee with plenty of sugar, Joy picked up the telephone but there was no dial tone. Oh no the line has most certainly come down in the storm, what do I do now?

                  “I’m afraid the telephone line is down I can’t call anyone.”

                  “I don’t have a cell signal up here either otherwise I would have called someone. I need to get warm and then maybe walk back to the highway.”

                  “You shall do no such thing! The storm is in full force out there and you will certainly lose your way. No you must stay here, once you are missed they will come to find you. Your route is on a schedule I assume?”

                  “Yes, my routine is tracked. I feel so bad imposing on you like this but your place was the nearest.”

                  “Quite understandable and I am glad you made it here, you could have frozen to death out there. I am going to run a hot bath for you and dry those clothes.”

                  “Thank you, I am so grateful. I am feeling a little warmer now.”

                  Joy ran the bath and guided the man to the bathroom. He slipped his damp clothes through the door for her to put into the drier then sunk into the warm water with a sigh. He could feel his flesh warm.

                  After putting the clothes into the drier, Joy made herself a drink and yawned. It was the early hours of the morning, in fact Christmas morning. She went to her craft room and unwrapped two gifts she had made for Frank, then put them outside the bathroom door.

                  “Your clothes will take some time to dry so I have put a dressing gown, pyjamas and slippers outside the door. I hope they fit.”

                  She heard the man thank her and returned to the living room to build up the fire again. After few moments later the man came down the stairs looking flushed but happy.

                  “I feel much more human now not an iceberg. These fit perfectly – thank you, are they your husbands?”

                  “Actually no I made them for my brother as Christmas gifts but as we will not see each other until the New Year I thought your need was greater. I can always make more. Come and sit the fire is roaring. Can I get you some food now?”

                  “I think I have imposed more than enough.”

                  “If I can’t offer a stranger a hot meal on Christmas Day when can I?”

                  “Oh my I forgot it is Christmas Day isn’t it. Well then I accept your kind offer but please don’t go to much trouble.”

                  “Nonsense the dawn should be breaking any moment, if we see it through that white out of course. An early, hearty breakfast coming right up, then I think we should both rest.”

                  Joy busied herself in the kitchen, smiling to herself as she thought how nice it was to have company on this of all days. With breakfast cooked and served, they both sat in front of the fire eating contently in silence.

                  “That was a most enjoyable meal, thank you once again for helping me and showing such kindness. It has been a long time since I has such a meal with good company.”

                  “Well it is my pleasure. May I ask why you have not enjoyed good food? If I am prying please forgive me.”

                  “I think you are owed more than an explanation for your hospitality. I am a widower and to be honest find myself eating TV dinners most of the time. Rachel was the cook that was my wife. She has been gone now fourteen years and I never remarried. You become accustomed to being alone but it is still lonely.”

“I feel exactly the same I’m up here alone in my parents old house and like you I lost someone fourteen years ago. I delayed making a decision on his marriage proposal maybe a little too long and then he was gone. Working across the country and we lost touch. There have been moments of regret of course but you just get on with life – right?”

                  “Yes I agree, I could not sit at home alone all day. That’s when my old boss suggested the part time shifts as it turned out those shifts gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

                  Joy stifled a yawn the heat from the fire and a good breakfast filled stomach made her tired. The man looked at her and smiled.

                  “I need to sleep too I am happy to sleep here on the couch.”

                  “Well maybe a couple of hours and then we can decide what to do about getting you home.”

                  Joy locked her bedroom door although she felt quite safe in the man’s company. It was odd but he had not offered his name and she had not asked, as she fell asleep she told herself to ask upon waking.

                  The smell of coffee and toast woke her, for a moment it disorientated her and then she remembered her visitor. She quickly dressed and went to the kitchen.

                  “Good morning, I hope you don’t mind I made coffee and toast. Let me pour you a cup.”

                  Joy sat at the kitchen table enjoying the attention.

                  “Thank you, you make good coffee. I forgot to ask your name all last night.”

                  “Oh that is funny yes I should have introduced myself properly, my name is Blyde, it means Joy. I’m always asked.”

                  “It is? Well what a coincidence my name is Joy.”

                  They laughed together and a chink in the clouds sent a ray of bright sunshine across the table.

                  “I think the storm has finally passed us by, I might be able to get a cell signal now.”

                  “Of course but please finish your coffee first, its nice to have company.”

                  “It is isn’t it? Yes there is no hurry. I’m sure the snow ploughs are busy clearing the main highway but I don’t suppose they come up here do they?”

                  “Actually my best friend’s husband drives a plough and he swings by after his shift so I can drive back and forth. He will be up later this afternoon I should think.”

                  “Well plenty of time to chat then.”

Epilogue:

A year later Joy and Blyde married, her brother and sisters attended the wedding and everyone joked about Joy’s Joy. To Joy she had met her joy in more ways than one. Blyde was kind, generous and loving and best of all was happy to live in her house rather than his small townhouse. Days were no longer empty, Blyde had been her very best Christmas gift.

Do your stories stay on track or do they morph into something else?

My hope is to finish my YA novella by mid January so I can send the manuscript to my illustrator with suggestions for the chapter header images. I will also submit it to my publisher for editing and review. This story is set on another planet with four friends discovering and battling an intruder. I’m not sure why this YA novella and my previous one, Clickety Click both have ‘aliens’ in them but that was where both stories took me. There are similarities but also totally different settings, one on earth and the other on another planet. Both narratives have a message to young people, which I hope will encourage them to accept and care for each other and their environments.

Books: I am enjoying this novel set in Edmonton and have come to know the characters easily in the first few chapters. I am looking forward to following their journeys.

Dreamland

Writing Tips:

Create a inspiration list and find images for your story’s setting and characters. Make up a board, either physical or digital that you can have in front of you as you write.

Don’t edit as you write – let the process flow. There is plenty of time to edit and revise later on. For now let your imagination take control and write without a filter.

Do you have a tip to share?