Today we sit down for a chat with YA Mystery, Middle-Grade Fantasy, and adult fiction author Carol L. Paur. Learn more about he and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Indie for my first three books; traditionally published for my recent two books.
Where do you write?
In my office with a window overlooking the back of our house. Birds fly in and out of our gutters. In the summer a flowering basket hangs on a nail, and I get to watch the butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds fly around or in it.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Silence is good sometimes. Music is useful when I’m trying to set a scene, especially for my picture books.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I’m a bit of a sponge. I take experiences of my life as well as others to make the writing more real. On my office door is a sign which reads: Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel.
Describe your process for naming your character?
This is probably the most difficult process for me. Sometimes I make up silly names. Other times I try to find names of people I don’t know. That’s difficult. I use the Social Security website. There are also name generators I’ve tried but sometimes those are ridiculous.
Real settings or fictional towns?
So far, I’ve used fictional settings, though the cozy-mystery series I’m working on will take place in my hometown, unless the publisher has other ideas.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Helene Denny in Early Summer is a fanatic when it comes to studying serial killers.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
Pretending I’m a guest on a talk show discussing my books.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It transcends generations to relay an important message of kindness.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I wish I had taken my writing seriously at a younger age.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Writing snobbery, though sometimes I catch myself doing it. What is it? It’s looking down at others if they’re not at the same level that you’re at. I was at an online class when someone said something about those who independently publish their works. It was not a complement.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Food, water, a good mystery book.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Selling shoes. Try jamming a “D” width foot into an “A” narrow shoe and getting yelled at because you can’t do it.
Who’s your all-time favorite literary character (any genre)? Why?
Constance in The Mysterious Benedict Society middle-grade series by Trenton Lee Stewart. She is only two in the first book. She’s cranky and naughty. The other characters don’t know her age but are uncomfortable around her because of her antics. I’m in the third book now. Constance is four. She writes angsty poems. She also has a sixth sense and knows when people are about to show up or say something.
Ocean or mountains?
Really? I have to choose? Majorca, Spain, where I can overlook the Mediterranean from the Serra de Tramuntana Mountain Range.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Nerdy in-between. I don’t live in the country, but I live in a small city surrounded by rural areas.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I’m working on a few projects – a cozy mystery series called Tales of an Ex Wedding Planner. A woman is fired from her job as a wedding planner because someone always died at a weddings she planned. I’m also working on an early middle-grade mystery series called Rowley Peters Mysteries. A nine-year-old girl, who thinks there are ghosts everywhere, solves mysteries. Think Scooby Doo meets Nancy Drew. I’m also seeking an agent/publisher for Pigeon Car, a YA about a girl who seeks popularity in all the wrong places. When her crush dies by suicide, however, she realizes there’s more to life than being the center of attention. There are also picture books I’m seeking publication.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I host a podcast called Talking to Myself and blog. This year I’m focusing on writing. I am very concerned with mental health issues and am a NAMI advocate and have a certificate in Mental Health First Aid. I’m a Rotary member and in the fall we’ll be hosting an Artisan Festival and inviting authors, artists, and artisans.
Will her obsession with serial killers lead to a tragic demise?
Helene Denny worries about everything, even the prospect of leaving home to attend college. It doesn’t help that she’s fascinated with serial killers.
In her final semester of high school there’s a string of missing girls. Helene immediately thinks a serial killer is loose. When Fred Thompkins arrives in town to become mayor, he becomes her primary suspect.
No one takes her seriously. Unfortunately, her sister disappears. Is Fred guilty? How could Helene cope with the loss of her only sibling?