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Author Interview – Pauline Holyoak

February 26, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

pauline

What inspired your latest novel? – I have written a trilogy and two children’s books. My trilogy, Merryweather Lodge, was inspired by my own experiences in a remote and mysterious little cottage near Stonehenge. This cottage was called Scotland Lodge and belonged to my aunt and uncle. We would spend our summer holidays there when I was a child. It was my fairy tale kingdom but it had a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland and was led to concocting this story and writing this trilogy. This wonderland and my childhood fantasies were the catalyst for my writing career and the inspiration for my trilogy. My published children’s book, Melanie Gets A Nanny, comes from my experiences as a professional Nanny. My soon-to-be published, children’s book, Carly’s Incredible Dream, comes from my childhood fantasies.                                                                        

How did you come up with the title? The real name of the cottage in my trilogy was Scotland Lodge. I didn’t want to use that name so I changed it to Merryweather Lodge. I thought it sounded cozy and quaint and a tad mysterious.   

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Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? My protagonist, Emily Fletcher, has a message. She is an attractive, strong-willed young woman, who struggles with her self-image, volatile temper and bad habits. She’s a vegetarian and a progressive thinker. Like me, she likes her own space and often wanders into the country to ponder and seek solace from Mother Nature. She has always dreamt of living a simple life, in her aunts enchanting little cottage, with her gorgeous prince charming. Slowly, she learns how to conquer her fears, get in touch with her intuition, overcome her struggles, tame her temper and enhance her self-esteem.

How much of the book is realistic? My books are fiction, with an element of truth.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? My characters are bits and pieces of the personalities and characteristics of myself, friends, relatives, acquaintances, the woman behind the counter, etc. And yes, they are based on events in my own life.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog? I do not have a blog anymore. Here is my website paulineholyoak.com You will find links to my social media sites on there.

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Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a standalone? I am working on a standalone, paranormal, suspense novel. And, I have a middle grade book, Carly’s Incredible Dream, due to be released this spring.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? My reader’s favorite Merryweather Lodge character was my protagonist’s aunt, Auntie Em. She was, not only in her appearance but in her personality and idiosyncrasies, a mixture of my mother and grandmother. All their good parts blended into one.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one? Actually, I write in a lot of different genres. My short stories range from, political lit to romance. My trilogy is paranormal suspense. I am now in the process of writing a paranormal romance. My children’s books cover a wide range of genres.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer? Seat of the pants, for sure.

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What is your best marketing tip? Keep a consistent online presence. And, hand out as many bookmarks, promo cards etc. as you can afford.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? I think the internet, is the most powerful tool an author has. There are literally hundreds of sites that will promote ones book, some are free and some are very costly.  I blog, tweet, do online interviews, reviews, facebook and try to keep a consistent online presence. It can be extremely time consuming but I know it’s an important element in establishing my writing career.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 

What age did you start writing stories/poems? As far back as I can remember the pen and paper have been my faithful companions and story telling my forte. As a child I was shy and reclusive. I lived in my inner world of fantasy and make-believe, preferring the company of Mother Nature and my imaginary friend, than that of other children. Often, I would sneak away from the mundane adult world, find a private retreat (usually behind the garden shed) and imagine. There in my own little sanctuary with tools in hand, I’d conjure up all kinds of intriguing tales and colorful characters, then I’d read them to my imaginary friend. She was always ‘so’ attentive. LOL

Has your genre changed or stayed the same? I have always like to cover a wide range of genres.

What genre are you currently reading? Suspense.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both? Pleasure.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? My muse.

Where is your favorite writing space? My office. It is my private domain, my retreat, with my favorite quotes, family pics and art work, created by my granddaughters, on the walls. No one is allowed in there but me! LOL

melanie

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one? No, but I’m thinking of starting one.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why? Probably Steven King. I love his books and he always has such great advice. There are so many…

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be? I would love to live part of the year in England. I was born and grew up there. I adore the English countryside. It is a smorgasbord for the artistically inclined.. I would have moved back there years ago, if it weren’t for my children and now, grandchildren.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food? Oh yes. Dark chocolate and red wine. Yummy!!!

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? Dark chocolate and red wine..LOL

Bio: 

About me – I grew in Southeast England, in a coal mining village lovingly nicknamed, “The place that time forgot.” Go to my website, click on ‘Articles’ and find out why.  I immigrated to Canada when I was 21 in search of adventure and a new life.  I currently live in Alberta with my adorable sheltie dog. I am the proud mother of two grown children and three adorable granddaughters’.

As far back as I can remember the pen and paper have been my faithful companions and story telling my forte. As a child I was shy and reclusive. I lived in my inner world of fantasy and make-believe, preferring the company of Mother Nature and my imaginary friend, than that of other children. Often, I would sneak away from the mundane adult world, find a private retreat (usually behind the garden shed) and imagine. There in my own little sanctuary with tools in hand, I’d conjure up all kinds of intriguing tales and colorful characters, then I’d read them to my imaginary friend. She was always ‘so’ attentive.  I remember writing a story in school; I must have been about 8 years old, at the time. It was about a rabbit and a hare, cousins I think, running away from home and getting into all kinds of mischief. I still remember my teacher’s reaction after she read it. She looked at me with a stern faced and asked, “Did you copy this?” “No, Miss Finn, I pleaded, “It just, came right out of my head.” “Hmmmm” she scoffed suspiciously. I was devastated but it never stopped me, I kept writing whatever, just, came out of my head. In my teen years my journal became my confident, revealing all my hidden secrets, private fantasies and wild, wild, notions within its pages. Later I started to write poems, articles and short stories, and pondered the thought of becoming a writer.

After I settled in Canada, I buried my dreams under layers of real life clutter. I chose a safe and practical career in child care, married and raised a family. But my creative spirit kept trying to dig its way out. I was asked to write articles and editorials for our local church. I taught a story time class at our local school, which lead me to writing a children’s book. I wrote an article about my husbands’ prestigious grandfather and sent it to our local newspaper. They printed it. I kept sending them articles, they kept printing them. I was surprised at the compliments I received from the editor and readers. It was evident to me then, that I had excavated my creative spirit.

I decided to take a comprehensive writing course to improve my technique. With help from a proficient and supportive tutor, who told me I had a gift, I began to cultivate my skill. My articles started to sell and I received an assignment from a major Canadian magazine. I have spent the past 25 years writing, articles, short stories and books. 

About my trilogy – Merryweather Lodge, was inspired by my own experiences in a remote and mysterious little cottage near Stonehenge. This cottage was called Scotland Lodge and belonged to my aunt and uncle. We would spend our summer holidays there when I was a child. It was my fairytale kingdom but it had a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland and was led to concocting this story and writing this trilogy. This wonderland and my childhood fantasies were the catalyst for my writing career and the inspiration for my trilogy.

The first book in my Merryweather Lodge trilogy Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge, was the Readers Favorite 2011 Silver Award Winner for paranormal fiction. Book two, Merryweather Lodge – Malevolent Spirit, was a Readers Favorite finalist. My first children’s book, Melanie Gets A Nanny, is about a strong willed young girl with a wild and wacky imagination. It is published by, Wee Creek Press.  I have just sighed a publishing contract for my second children’s book, Carly’s Incredible Dream.. Yay! Twenty five of my articles have been published.

Come visit me at my website. Check out my articles, bio, videos and links. www.paulineholyoak.com

 

 

Pauline Holyoak Award Winning Author…

June 25, 2015
mandyevebarnett


PaulineWhat inspired you to write your first book? – Every summer, when I was a child, we would visit my aunt and uncle at their quaint little cottage on Salisbury Plain. It was called Scotland Lodge and was situated not far from the historical Stonehenge. My uncle worked as a farm hand for the local squire. My aunt tended the manor house. It was there as I roamed free, deep within the English countryside, that I experienced joy, enchantment and some very strange and frightening occurrences. It was like a fairytale kingdom with a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland (the old place still emanates a strange and eerie essence) and was led by some mysterious force into concocting this story and writing this trilogy. It is from my mystifying experiences at Scotland Lodge that this story has emerged.

MerryweatherLodge

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)? – Yes, Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge was my first book. I have four published books, my trilogy and one children’s book. I have just finished my second children’s book and hope to get it published by the end of the year.

Book2

How much of the book is realistic? – About 50%. Scary…! I know.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? – All of my characters are based on people I know, family members and friends. It’s up to them to figure out, who’s who…lol

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? – My protagonist’s aunt, Auntie Em. She is a little bit of my mom, a little bit of my grandmother. The good bits and the bad bits…

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? – Not one thing!

Ultimate Sacrifice

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to aspiring authors? – It’s not as hard as you think. A novel is a story about people; it’s as simple as that. It has a beginning, middle, an end, and a whole lot of conflict in between. The author creates the people, involves them in the conflict, and justifies their reason for being there. Writing a successful novel depends on four things –a little talent, lots of determination, a vivid imagination and skill. No one can teach you the first three but skill is something you ‘can’ learn. The average reader demands several things of a novel – a strong plot, action, well developed and colorful characters, believable character motivation, a well-defined back ground, a strong style that brings vivid images to mind, and good grammar. Readers want to be entertained and if you can put emotion, dreams, and desire on paper, you ‘can’ write a novel.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project? – The last page, of the last book, in my trilogy. I share my unearthly experiences at Merryweather Lodge, with my readers.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write? – Paranormal and horror but I also like writing children’s books.

What are you currently reading? – Excuses Be Gone! (for the second time) By, Dr. Wayne Dyer. I have read all his books. He inspires me!

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? – I could never write erotica. Every time I write a love scene, I hear my mother’s scolding voice in my head, “Be a good girl, our Pauline. “She had high moral standards for her girls..lol

Melanie gets a Nanny

Do you have any pets? Yes, I love animals. I have a ginger cat named Sam U.L. And an adorable Shetland Sheepdog, named Maggie Mae.

Do you see writing as a career? – It is my life..

What do you enjoy most about writing? – Working from home and the freedom to write whenever I please.

Do you have a favorite place to write? For convenience, I write in my office, at my desk. But my favorite place to write is outside, in a secluded spot, surrounded by Mother Nature. She inspires me..

Where do you see yourself in ten years? – On the Bestsellers list! You can’t blame a girl for dreaming.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? – The editing. I hate it!!!

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer? – I like to plan my stories but sometimes my protagonist gets her fingers on the key board and takes me where ‘she’ wants to go. I let her get on with it…

What age did you start writing stories/poems? – As soon as I could write and before that I wrote stories in my head and told them to my imaginary friend. She was always so attentive. lol

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be? – England. I grew up there and it will always be home to me. If it wasn’t for my children and their families living here in Canada, I’d move back to England, tomorrow.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? – My friends!!!

Have you ever hated something you wrote? – Not if it was published. Well, I wouldn’t admit to it…lol

What book do you wish you had written? – Harry Potter..! Who wouldn’t?

Do you spend much time marketing? – Oh yes, much more than I care to. Years ago one would write a book, get it published then sit back and collect the royalties. It’s not that way anymore. Most authors are not salesmen, public speakers or comfortable being in the limelight but we are expected to promote ourselves, as well as our books, even by the big publishing houses. I attend writer’s functions, book sales and hold speaking engagements, whenever I can. The internet of course, is the most powerful tool an author has. There are literally hundreds of sites that will promote your book, some are free and some are very costly. I blog, do online interviews, reviews and try to keep a consistent online presence. It can be extremely time consuming but it’s an important element in establishing ones writing career.

What genre is your next project? What is it about? – It’s a children’s fantasy.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book? – It’s called, Carly’s Incredible Dream. It’s about a young girl with huge imagination, who wakes up one day, in a land of dreams…

How do we find your books, blog, and bio? This is my website www.paulineholyoak.com all of my links are on here. Please pop over and visit me there. View my videos, read my articles and find out what makes me tick!

Connect with Pauline and her books:

Website:  www.paulineholyoak.com.

Facebook. HTTP://www.facebook.com/PaulineHolyoak.

My children’s book is available at. www.weecreekpress.com

My adult books are available at.www.whiskeycreekpress.com

My English Heritage…

May 13, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Cloister – definition: 1) monastery or convent; 2) a covered, usually arched passage along or around a court

Castles, mansions, and grand estates all made up a wonderful hobby for my friend, Deb and I when we lived in England. The historic houses and ancient sites we visited are far too many to name or list here. Suffice to say we travelled around a great deal of England to gazed in awe and learn about our history.

Some places are known globally, such as Stonehenge and Buckingham Palace but there are hundreds of other magnificent places that would inspire anyone. Painted ceilings, tapestries, carved furniture and wooden paneling not to mention thousands of paintings of Lords and Ladies from days gone by.

imagesCANOKFKJ Cambridge and Oxford have cloistered courtyards as do many other buildings of the time period when such buildings were made by skilled stone masons. With close inspection you will see how each section has been crafted to lock with the next. Workmanship  like this is sadly in short supply in today’s modern age but their are some who are trying to keep the craft alive.

It is possible that I can imagine where my travelling troubadour, Guillem Ruet resides so easily due to my years of visiting such glorious places.

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Memories…

February 12, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Latifundium – definition : a large country estate.

Today’s word had me remembering weekends galore that I spent in England, visiting numerous historical sites and magnificent estates. My friend Deb and I would spend our days off (we were nursing at the time) travelling all over the country. I have dozens of scrap books full of brochures and postcards of every place visited. These are wonderful reminders and very interesting to revisit. England has centuries of a rich and varied history, all evidenced by ancient sites; such as Stonehenge to vast estates purchased and maintained by the National Trust. These wonderful places are kept not only for prosperity but also as a living history.

English: Stonehenge, Wiltshire county, England...

English: Stonehenge, Wiltshire county, England Français : Stonehenge, comté de Wiltshire, Angleterre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many a time Deb and I would hang back from guided tours to really take in the atmosphere and touch objects that were not supposed to. Naughty I know but too tempting not to! My first scrap book has the  very first postcard I purchased on a infant (elementary) school trip to the New Forest– I was five years old. Some of the places have changed hands, been abandoned or become commercialized. It saddens me that Stonehenge is now fenced off from visitors. As a child I climbed on the stones playing king of the castle or hide and seek with my siblings. Some mansions have become private residencies or even hotels, which is good for the building as it will be maintained but maybe not in the way it should be for historical reasons.

Now that I live in Canada I miss the rich history of England as my new home is so young in comparison. When someone tells me now,  ‘Oh, its so old,” I have to bite my lip knowing that at the most it is less than one hundred years old. Compared to a 14th century church it is a newborn.

English: Court Barn near West Pennard, Somerse...

English: Court Barn near West Pennard, Somerset. This barn is in the care of the National Trust. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also my time as a member of an archaeology group was not only enjoyable but fascinating. Scraping away dried earth to reveal a piece of Roman pottery or a trinket is an awesome feeling. To touch history is so much more exciting than reading it – I know as an author that’s not the thing to say but history comes alive when you actually place your hand on it and make a connection to its owner. Walking along a Roman road or climbing a tor, somehow resonates with your ancient memory.

These experiences give me a wonderful resource for my stories and characters. They are cherished memories.

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