This week’s Author Spotlight is set on one of the first writers I began networking with over a year ago when I began my writing journey. Paulina Woods excels at blending her brand of fantasy with romance. Her Witches Amulet series focuses on main character Milcah, who finds out more than she expected about herself through a fanciful journey within the realm of Woods’ expansive imagination. Plus, purple anything turns me on!
Read along to get a peek at Paulina’s witty personality and to find out how the author persevered through a learning disability to create the world of Beacon…
Hi, thanks for agreeing to this interview. In a few sentences, tell us a little about yourself.
You know how you have that one friend who is the life of the party but you have no idea when the last time they hung out was? I am that friend. I love being alone with my thoughts, video games and writing. If I am forced to go out and be with people I quickly become the life of the party. I think it has to do with my learning disability and my inability to get thoughts out in certain situations. I’m ok with it as long as my family, close friends and boyfriend of five years can put up with me.
How long have you been writing?
I like to say I have been writing all my life or at least I’ve been telling stories. I can remember trying to get my siblings to act out the things in my head. I think I was eight when my mom finally bought me a small notebook and told me to start keeping my ideas there. It helped but also gave me a place to perfect my plays and poems. My siblings still had to act them out.
Why did you decide to become a writer?
I have too much going on in my head not to write. I am that person you see running around mumbling to themselves and think they are crazy. I promise I’m not, but the voices are demanding and I don’t want to disappoint them. Before I became a published author, I filled up notebook after notebook with ideas. I became a published author because I had two friends who believed in what I wrote and pushed me to get my work out there.
Tell us about your latest project.
I just received the email saying Stone Guardian is up for sale on audio. I guess it’s time for promotion! I am also working on an anthology coming out in September, which is a stand alone for now.
Who is your ideal reader?
Adults who love fantasy with a little romance are going to love my books. I write about monsters and the women/men who love them. In Witches Amulet, my gargoyles retain their forms like the gargoyles from that old cartoon Gargoyles. In my Beauty and the Beast remake, the beast stays a beast. So yes, there is romance and sexy scenes but there is also heavy fantasy.
How do you create your characters and build your worlds? Are you a planner or a pantser?
I wish I could say I sit down and write down every character and their traits but I don’t. I even had an editor try to get me to do an outline and series bible. I guess my brain is not wired that way, so I lost my creativity for a while. The best thing for me to do is to allow the characters to show up when they want and introduce themselves. I remember talking to my boyfriend about my first book and looking at him in surprise when I told him witches had shown up. I didn’t expect them but they quickly became the villains.
As for world building, I struggle with it daily – not because I don’t know what I’m doing, but because I have a hard time translating what’s in my head to paper. My boyfriend has become my soundboard when I’m in the beginning stages or if there is something I think sounds stupid. He has helped a lot.
Who do you consider your literary influences?
I cannot honestly say when I started reading so I can’t name just one influence. Before I started to read on my own, my mom use to gather my three siblings and me together each night and read two chapters of a chosen book. When I was finally able to read on my own, I devoured everything from The Boxcar Children to Tom Clancy – all before I made it out of the sixth grade. If I can become half the writer Tom Clancy is, I will be one happy person.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Writing may be a passion for me but I have trouble keeping my mind on track. My learning disability makes it impossible for me to keep my mind on one thing for too long and so I find myself starting stories and letting them fall by the side as another story pushes to the front.
I have found a way around this by writing at work between guests. I know it sounds counterproductive but it works to keep my mind fresh.
Name three of your best writing tips.
- Always make time to write daily.
- Fact check – even when writing fantasy.
- Don’t rely on family telling you the truth; they don’t want to hurt your feelings.
What are you working on now?
I have so much going on right now. By the end of this year, I am hoping to have six books out with three on audio. Four will be from my Witches Amulet series and the other two will be standalones. So, in no particular order, I’m working on:
Stone Guardian (Witches Amulet 1) – published
Captive Guardian (Witches Amulet 2) – published
Duel Guardian (Witches Amulet 3)
Blood Guardian (Witches Amulet 4)
Beauty Saves Her Beast (Newsletter exclusive)
Follow Me (a working novella title)
What are you currently reading?
I bought the new book out by Christine Feehan but, before I was halfway done, I had to go back and read the other stories in the series. So in the last two days, I have actually skimmed four books. I’m hoping to finally get to the new one. If you ever get a chance to read her Sea Haven novels, do it.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Don’t let anything get in the way of writing and don’t listen when people try to step on your dream. If you are horrible at grammar or spelling there’s editors and spell check. I haven’t let my learning disability stop me and I hope to encourage others with my story.
Thanks for joining us today. Readers, feel free to stalk this sexy author at the following links:
Website & Blog: http://www.paulinawoods.com