As a book reviewer I have made contact with authors from all across the globe and feel immensely privileged to be able to share some amazing work. However, there is always something rather special when a book comes to my attention which has been written by an author in my part of the North of England. So with this in mind I have great pleasure in featuring some of those authors who are literally close to my home. Over the next few Saturdays, and hopefully beyond, I will be sharing the work of a very talented bunch of Northern authors and discovering just what being a Northerner means to them both in terms of inspiration and also in their writing.
Please welcome North West Writer
Tell us a little about yourself and what got you started as an author?
Before becoming an author I was a self-employed physiotherapist, but I was miserable at work and my friend suggested I should try writing something. She thought I’d be good at it. She told me to read Stephen King’s book On Writing, which I did, and unexpectedly I found once I started to write I couldn’t stop.
Your books are based in North West England – how do the people and its landscape shape your stories?
My first four books are set in the Lake District. I write psychological thrillers and the sometimes bleak but beautiful landscape of the Lakes really lends itself to this kind of fiction. As for the characters, elements of the people I know, people I see everyday, creep into each character. This is what makes them real to me and hopefully to the reader too.
In your research for your books, do you visit any of the places you write about and which have made a lasting impression?
I know the places I write about. I wouldn’t write about an area I wasn’t familiar with because I couldn’t make it come to life. But I’m always on the lookout for unusual settings. Something that can make an ordinary scene more interesting. In The Mistake I Made I had a lot of fun writing scenes that took place on the Windermere car ferry. Hopefully the reader enjoyed the fact that they’d not read something like it before.
As a writer based in the North West, does this present any problems in terms of marketing and promoting your books and if so, how do you overcome them?
I’m very lucky to be with Penguin Random House, because a large commercial publisher like this will cover the costs of sending an author out to promote their books.
If you were pitching the North West as an ideal place to live, work and write – how would you sell it and what makes it so special?
Hmm, if I was to pitch the North West as an ideal place to live everyone would want to come and live here. So here’s my pitch: the weather’s terrible and the people are very unfriendly, nobody smiles and it’s an awful place for a writer to live and work. Totally uninspiring.
Writing is a solitary business - how do you interact with other authors?
I don’t feel a great need to interact with other writers so much as to connect with other people in general. So I get out the house, walk the dog, chat to friends etc. I just do what any normal person does to connect to the wider world.
How supportive are local communities to your writing, and are there ever any opportunities for book shops, local reading groups, or libraries to be involved in promoting your work?
Cumbria libraries have been very supportive of my work and have arranged numerous events at which I’ve spoken about books and writing and chatted to readers. We don’t have many independent bookshops left but Bookends in Keswick and Carlisle go out of their way to promote my books and I’m very grateful to them.
And finally, if someone is new to your work, which book do you think they should start with?
Start with whichever piques their interest. The books follow a loose kind of order, so ideally, start with Just What Kind of Mother Are You? But really, it doesn’t matter. They can be read in any order.
Paula's latest novel The Trophy Child is out in hardcover on the 26th January
26 January 2017
A doting mother or a pushy parent?
Karen Bloom expects perfection. Her son, Ewan, has been something of a disappointment and she won’t be making the same mistake again with her beloved, talented child, Bronte.
Bronte’s every waking hour will be spent at music lessons and dance classes, doing extra schoolwork and whatever it takes to excel.
But as Karen pushes Bronte to the brink, the rest of the family crumbles. Karen’s husband, Noel, is losing himself in work, and his teenage daughter from his first marriage, Verity, is becoming ever more volatile. The family is dangerously near breaking point.
Karen would know when to stop . . . wouldn’t she?
You can pre-order The Trophy Child here
You can find out more about Paula by visiting her Facebook page by clicking here
Huge thanks to Paula for sharing her books and her love of the North West with us today.
Coming next week : Cath Staincliffe