We have recently had the privilege of publishing Paula's single author collection. Here's what she had to say.
Thank you for inviting me to your blog Gill to talk about my book, Days Pass like a Shadow a collection of thirteen dark tales which are all linked by the theme of Death and Loss. This collection features my most favourite stories that I have written so far. Though I’ve been busy writing almost every day since finishing working full-time nine years ago, it has only been in these last couple of years that my confidence has grown enough for me to feel I fully understand the process needed to create stories to a high enough standard that they are selected for publication.
Each of stories in Days Pass like a Shadow has its own story behind its creation. The first story in the collection The Meetings began life as a submission for the magazine, People’s Friend. I received some positive feedback from their editor but he didn’t like the ending and wanted me to rewrite the story. I did, but then he told me it had lost its sparkle in the rewrite. Shortly after its rejection I came across a writing competition and decided to change The Meetings back to its original story line and entered it. To my utter delight and amazement, it was overall winner in the competition. It proved to me; if your work suffers rejection in one place try somewhere else.
The idea behind On the Streets of Kabul came to me in a dream. It seemed so real and shocking it woke me. So not to wake my husband, I got out of bed, went to the kitchen and turned on the light so I could write down the dream while it was fresh in my mind. It seemed so real I could feel the heat, taste the dust and smell the fear. For Days Pass like a Shadow, I extended the story to give it a rounded ending.
Perfect Justice is another story that came about under extraordinary circumstances. When I was working full-time in an electronics factory, I would go in early so I could get a parking space. Before it was time to start work, I would either make notes of plot ideas or read books on how to write to be published. I did the same during my lunch breaks too. Of course, my work colleagues knew about my crazy dream to become a published writer.
One day I noticed a supervisor was always watching me. My job was to hand-build units. If I had shortages of parts, I had to make notes of what I needed, and then go and collect the parts from the storeroom. On three occasions my supervisor called me out for writing in company’s time. So Perfect Justice was born. As they say, don’t get mad, get even. The surname Perfect came about when my work colleague, Kathy told me about a girl she knew who had the same surname. She said, she wasn’t Perfect, but horrible.
What’s next for me? Now my focus is more on writing novels, though I won’t be giving up writing short stories, Gill. I’m busy constructing a new novel, which is a follow-up of my novella, The Funeral Birds. It’s the continuing story about a failing private detective agency, but it has a twist as there’s a four hundred year old witch in the story. I do have a couple of other projects I need to finish first before I can concentrate on it solely.
I had planned to do a garden party at my home to launch my book but unfortunately, the Covid-19 put a stop to that. My writing group was going to get involved with the local radio station. They were to come to the group to do an interview with us but again that was cancelled. I’m hoping by next year things will be a lot easier and the village WI will want speakers to come along again as I had put my name forward. I’m busy marketing online with thousands of other writers but I’m not sure whether it will reap the rewards we all hope for.
To buy a copy of Days Pass like a Shadow, you can purchase it from the publisher at Bridge House, from Amazon online or order it through your local bookshop.
What got me started was the need to prove to myself that I could. I left school poorly educated and it was a comment made by a Polish colleague who laughed at me when I said I didn’t understand the working of English grammar. She explained that they learnt English at school. I felt ashamed as English was my birth language yet I didn’t understand how it worked when written down. That’s when I decided to teach myself from the second-hand books bought off EBay by my husband as we couldn’t afford to pay for a writing course at the time.
Reading about English Grammar was like reading a foreign language, I had no idea want they were talking about, but I persevered and now I think I understand though I do have moments of doubts.
Do I have a routine? Yes, I suppose I do. I’m at my most productive in the morning. I have a small office at the top of the stairs where I work facing a wall of books. I sometimes have music on in the background, a mixture of classic and new age music, but mainly instrumentals. I find it helps me to stay focused. The winter months are the best for writing long pieces of work, as I don’t have to worry about the garden.
My husband has always been supportive of me, but was mainly friends to start with. Now the rest of my family are on board once my work became more widely published.
What am I most proud of with my writing? That I never gave up and kept the faith in my ability.