Thank you Paullette for agreeing to be my first author interview! Ya’ll readers are in for a treat. Please check out the second novel in her series which released today, The Duke and the Enchantress! Let’s all wish the novel success! Happy reading as you get to know Paullette a little better! My personal favorite question and answer is number eleven!
1.) First, please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been writing for as far back as I can remember and always dreamed of being a writer. I chose a career as a college professor and decided to write on the side, only I was always caught up with work and never seemed to find time to write. As much as I wanted to devote time to the craft, it didn’t seem like a priority. I kept telling myself I’d get to it one day. Well, I had a close brush with death, and that awakened me to the realization that later may never come, that “one day” may be today or never. And so, I sat down and started writing. With newfound dedication, I found a little time every day to write, even if it was only a short bit of dialogue. It’s amazing what you can accomplish and the dreams you can realize with only a few moments of each day devoted to the task.
2.) What are your top favorite five books?
It’s much too difficult to narrow down to five since I enjoy so many different genres. How does one compare Austen to Nietzsche?
3.) How did you start writing?
I’ve been writing since I was quite young. I can’t recall now what inspired me at the time to start, only that I’ve always been scribbling something on paper. I didn’t begin seriously writing until 2017 when I realized it was time to stop procrastinating and time to start living my dreams. I focused my attention on writing a little every day, mostly sketching bits of dialogue, brief and unconnected scenes, descriptions, and the like, all until a story began to form.
4.) How did you chose the time period for the novels?
I fully expected, in all honesty, to write the first novel during the Regency period since that’s the most popular time period of readers in this genre. The more the story formed, the more I realized how important it was to focus on the Enlightenment. I studied what was happening at the time, the philosophies being bandied about, the prominent works of literature, etc., and 1790 stood out as the perfect moment. Some events had yet to happen and others just had, making it perfect for some of the dialogue I’d already sketched. This particular series, The Enchantresses, will stretch across quite a few years with the first four novels happening in succession and the final two being prequels that are three decades in the past. The Sirens series, which I hope to launch at the end of 2019, though that might be an ambitious hope, will take place just before the turn of the century in late 1790 rather than early 1790 as this current series does. Again, this is more to do with what was happening at the time and how that might have influenced the characters’ thoughts, philosophies, and actions. Choosing a date is not so arbitrary as closing the eyes and pointing. A lot went into the date choice, as I imagine it will for all novels.
5.) What advice can you give aspiring authors about the publication process?
Study the publication possibilities and the processes carefully to see what is right for you. Too often, I see aspiring authors tossing their work at publishers and agents without really studying the field, not to mention authors either giving up their dreams after a few rejections or wasting years trying to find a publisher. In the age of self-publishing, there’s no reason not to realize your dreams. It just takes a bit of research to see what’s best. Check the publishers first to decide if self-publishing is right for you. Who is publishing in your genre? What are their latest releases? Do you like what they’re releasing and would want to be part of that? What’s their track record for accepting unpublished authors? What is their marketing plan, royalties, rights sharing, etc? If you decide to self-publish, prepare your manuscript and marketing scheme to be as professional as possible. Self-publishing is not about uploading your Word document and slapping a cover on it. A lot goes into the process, so study it carefully to know how best to proceed for the most professional of manuscripts. Never give up on your dreams. With the right research and motivation, you will get published.
6.). What inspired you to write this series? The Earl and the Enchantress and the Duke and the Enchantress?
I never set out to write a series. It happened when I was exploring the secondary characters. I don’t want any character to be one-dimensional, so even if they only have a single scene, I want to know their motivation and backstory so I know what they’d say and how they’d act. As I fleshed out characters and discovered their history, I realized their stories needed to be shared, or they hijacked my laptop to tell their own story (as was the case with The Duke and The Enchantress). The original inspiration for The Earl and The Enchantress was from the characters. I didn’t have a story or plot, just two characters. I saw the characters clearly, but I didn’t know their backstory or how they’d end up together. As I wrote scenes and dialogues and descriptions, the story formed around them. With The Duke and The Enchantress, the characters also inspired the story and plot, but in a slightly different way. They already had their roles in the previous book, but all I knew of them was their basic character bio. It wasn’t until I sat down to figure out what made them tick that their story unfolded. The characters always come first, and from there, the story.
7.) Do you mind telling my readers how long it took from the completion of the book to publication of both your novels?
I’ll give two answers for this one. The first answer is that once completing a book and deciding you want to publish it to the moment of publication doesn’t take all that long. If you’re really driven, you could even set the unfinished book on pre-order and be writing during the 3 month pre-order delay. That said, it took me a year from the completion of the book to publication because I wanted to let the books sit for awhile before editing. When you write a book, the first few drafts are rubbish. Sure, it sounds great to you in the moment, but it’s really rubbish. You have to let it sit and get out of your head. Move on to another book or two. Get the book completely out of your head so that when you look back to re-read it, you can read as a reader not a writer. Seeing it as a reader, you then realize all of the plot holes, unnecessary description, missing description, etc., and the editing process can begin. And so, I waited a year and change after writing the books before editing and then publishing them.
8.) I’ve really enjoyed the series so far, tell me, what’s next? How many books do you anticipate in the series?
The plan is to have 6 books in the series. There are other characters who demand books, but I’d rather do them as standalone books later down the line than make it part of the series. This series is all about the family, so I want it family only. In The Duke and The Enchantress, we meet Winston, for instance. He’s not part of the family, and his story doesn’t really fit in the series, but he does have a fabulous story that I can’t wait to tell. He’ll be a standalone later down the line. The books in this series are The Earl and The Enchantress with Sebastian and Lizbeth, The Duke and The Enchantress with Charlotte and Drake, The Baron and The Enchantress with Lilith and Walter, The Colonel and The Enchantress with Mary and Duncan, The Gentleman and The Enchantress with Hazel and Harold, and finally The Heir and The Enchantress with Cuthbert and Elizabeth. The final two novels, as you can see from the mention of Hazel and Cuthbert, will be prequels. I’d dearly love to write the stories of Catherine (Drake’s mother) and Tobias (Sebastian’s father) but those would very much be gothic stories. I’ll save those for a few years in the future should I choose to do a gothic line alongside the historical romance line.
9.) The Duke and the Duchess released today, March 1, 2019, how did you decide to tell Charlotte’s story second?
I had originally planned to write Lilith and Walter’s story second. Charlotte wasn’t even going to get a story! Poor dear. I had to dig deeply into both Drake and Charlotte to figure out what made them tick so they wouldn’t be one-dimensional characters. When I figured out what made them tick, I couldn’t resist! I had to tell their story. Because Charlotte’s story runs simultaneous to Lizbeth’s, and because Lilith’s story takes place a year later, it made sense time-wise to do Charlotte second. If I had waited to do her story, we would have moved forward in time by a year only to move back by a year. I, also, think it’s important to see Charlotte and Drake next since they’re both still fresh on our minds from the first book.
10.) Your covers are beautiful! Who does them?
Wow! Thank you! Fiona Jayde of http://fionajaydemedia.com/ does the covers. She’s fantastic. Before diving into the cover design, we spent a good deal of time talking about different cover types in the genre and talking about the mood and themes of the book. She is wonderfully skilled and talented, and I know I’m lucky to have her on my team.
11.) Writers often have hidden little references in their works that are personal jokes or allusions to personal events, places, etc.. For example, a familiar in my work in progress is named after a real life rabbit. Is there anything in your novel that’s a private joke or reference you mind sharing?
There are tons of references! Some of my friends and family have spotted a few of them because they were there for the moment. Most of the references are lines that have been said in life or even description of places we’ve been to. There’s one I’ll share, but you’ll have to wonder about the rest! When my mother and I first visited Scotland, there was a fellow who carried on about hairy cows and how much we needed to see the hairy cows. We were in tears of laughter because this man was simply obsessed with us seeing the hairy cows. Every time we bumped into him, he’d ask us if we’d seen them yet. I couldn’t help but have the coachman on Hazel and Lizbeth’s journey north in The Earl and The Enchantress remark on the hairy cows. It was a subtle nod to that fellow from our first trip.
12.) Writers often fantasize about their books being made into movies, who would be your dream actress and actor to play Charlotte and Drake?
Tough question! I could easily see Richard Madden rocking the role. Florence Pugh could pull off Charlotte well, I think.
13.) One thing I personally love about your stories is the road to Happily Ever After is paved with more obstacles and real situations than the standard romance novel. What led you to that decision?
A few factors feed this. The first is the internal conflict that only we can resolve for ourselves. No one can “fix” our problems, scare away our demons, or make everything magically fine. We have to face our own demons and work out our conflicts for ourselves. The second is that love cannot and will not fix the problems. It can, however, provide us with the motivation and strength to face the demons. When there’s something worth fighting for, we’re more inclined to brave our fears. The third is that marriage or love confessions aren’t the HEA moment. The HEA moment is when we realize that no matter what obstacles we face, we can get through them together. People can confess love all day long, but will they be able to survive a disagreement, financial strain, family interference, mental or physical illness, etc? There’s more to a successful relationship than love and a marriage contract. I want to show in my novels real challenges and real bonds. I want us to reach the end and be able to say, “This couple is going to make it through thick and thin.” That’s an HEA. There will be disagreements and issues, but knowing they’ll face them together and overcome all obstacles is the HEA.
14.) When can we expect the next novel?
The plan is late summer/early autumn, say around late July or early August. Only time will tell if that comes to fruition! That is, however, the current plan. The next book is The Baron and The Enchantress which stars Lilith and Walter. There will be a few cameos from the previous books since Lilith stays with Sebastian and Lizbeth for the first quarter of the book.
15.) Is there anyone you want to give a shout out to as a thank you?
My readers! I am so thankful there are readers who enjoy my stories. Though it’s been said, if the book you want to read isn’t out there, write it, I didn’t honestly know if there would be other readers who wanted to read the same books as I wanted to read. It is so exciting to know there are readers–like you!–who enjoy my stories. I feel, in this way, we’re kindred spirits, bonding together over stories.