This time, I've asked Paul some questions, and here are his answers:
1) How did you come to writing?
Nickie, I’ve always loved writing, and had this idea that some day I’d write a mystery series much like the books I loved growing up. I used to devour John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series, Agatha Christie, PD James, Rex Stout, and so many more. But my father died in 1997 and it really threw me for a loop, because I’d just lost seven other people in my life – family and friends alike. So I needed “something,” and writing provided a nice therapy. I never expected I would have finished twenty-one books by now!
2) Did you complete a full novel at your first try?
I got about halfway through writing Double Forté when I just stopped and gave up for a while. Then my mom—who’d been reading along with me as I wrote each chapter-- called and said she really wanted to know what was going to happen to Gus LeGarde. I picked up the book again and started writing in earnest in 2001. When it was done, I wrote another five books in the series within the next year or two – I couldn’t stop!
3) How do you get along, when planning and writing a book?
I usually start with a general idea of setting, plot, and characters. Once I put fingers to keyboard, much changes, and it’s almost as if the characters take over! Many times my plots get twisted up and change significantly once I actually start writing. It’s a strange process, but it works for me!
4) How many publishers did you contact before your first novel was published?
Wow – it was such a long time ago I hardly remember that long ago, LOL. I did have two agents at one point, who failed to place my book(s). My first publisher for Double Forté and Upstaged was sort of a self-publishing company. I didn’t have to pay a penny to get the book out, but it wasn’t considered a “real” publishing company by many. I eventually landed a great gig with Twilight Times Books, and all my mysteries and writing books are now with them.
5) How important are your readers to you?
I love my readers! They make it all worthwhile. They are incredibly important. The best part of being a
writer is connecting with my readers. ;o) I always answer their emails personally, and feel honored when
they take the time to write to me about my books!
6) What is your favorite genre in books?
7) Some say men can’t write romance. You do. Care to share your insights on this topic?
Heh, I wasn’t sure if I could, either. But I wanted to write a love story, more than a romance. So I started out with that in mind, and I guess it seems to have worked. I don’t think you have to be a woman to know what is romantic, what is love, how hard it is to win love or keep love alive… you just need to have lived life! My love married me 32 years ago and is still by my side, so I have good experience with that!
8) How much of your personality and your personal life in weaved into your stories?
A great deal. My environment is almost always in the books (whether it’s the Genesee Valley, Cape Cod, Europe, Maine, or the Adirondacks). I base my characters on many qualities I’ve seen and loved in others. And also make up a fair amount. In my LeGarde Mysteries I based several people on grandparents I’d loved and lost, and that was actually quite comforting to me. It was like I had little “visits” with them when I wrote about them!
9) You have won many awards already. How does that feel?
Nickie, it feels validating, it really does. Because no matter how many awards you win, many writers are still craving validation. Strange, huh? I still wonder sometimes if I’m a “real” writer. ;o)
10) What do you like to read privately?
I love Alan Bradley’s Flavia DeLuce mysteries, Stephanie Osborne’s Displaced Detective series, and all of the books by Dick Francis. My all time favorite writer is John D. MacDonald.
Thanks for having me here today, Nicky! It was a great pleasure. ;o) If folks want to check out my books, they are all at http://www.lazarbooks.com.