Author Spotlight with Pauline Baird Jones
Thank you so much for spotlighting me today!
Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?
My dad used to tell about a neighbor who got married when he was fourteen. He’d say, “I’ve been married as long as I can recollect.”
While I haven’t been writing quite that long, it often feels like I’ve been writing longer than I can recollect (at least some days).
But you asked about me. Let’s see, the most interesting thing about me (IMHO) is that I was born the same year as Godzilla. He doesn’t find that as cool as I do, but still, only all the other people born that year can say the same thing. But no one else.
“Officially” I tell people that I’ve published eighteen (or possibly nineteen – I’m not great with numbers) novels.
I like to wander among the genres, but they all have:
3. A sense of humor (at least MY sense of humor)
What inspired you to write your first book?
Okay, this is a bit embarrassing. I was watching the FIRST Gulf War, way back in the early 90’s when we were all still impressed by smart bombs and the novelty of watching our first, televised war. It’s hard to explain what it was like back then. That’s all anyone talked about, and we were all armchair generals with our favorite “SCUD stud,” (go on, Google that).
And I went, “What if… and wow, wouldn’t it be interesting if…”
And Pig in a Park (now called The Spy Who Kissed Me), exploded inside my head. I wrote feverishly for two months and at the end, has this monster manuscript that not only made agents and editors both want—and reject it because it was written in the forbidden first person.
I was told it would never get published, but it did, in 1998. It won some fun kudos, despite its “sins,” including a Dorothy Parker Award. And I still get fan mail (and requests for sequel).
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration, like lightning, strikes when and where it will. When it hits, ideas explode inside my head, but they are…shy. They have to be lured into becoming a full-fledged novel. So I don’t make eye contact with them until they start kicking me in the mental shins.
Idea lightning has struck me in my dreams, while watching movies, reading books, from news stories, while trying not to have ideas (such as when I’m writing another book), pretty much anytime, anywhere.
What I find interesting is that I can be watching a show or movie, and I’ll get struck with an idea that has no relation at all to what I’m watching. I think…it’s an emotion that triggers it, maybe. But I don’t really know. It’s pretty messy inside my head.
Where/When do you do the most of your writing?
I do my writing *thinking* everywhere (which can sometimes be embarrassing when I lose touch with the real world), but I do the bulk of putting words on paper at my desk. I have tried writing in coffee shops and such, and I will when needs must, but I prefer the quiet of my office. Yes, I am hermit.
What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?
I am most proud of my wonderful children. That they have grown up to be such amazing adults, makes me beam with pride. And I’m thrilled to be a grandma! If you stop by my blog, you’ll find out that my #GrandmaProject takes almost as much time as being an author. Lol
As an author, I’m most proud of taking control of my publishing myself. And the fact that I haven’t given up. LOL
What series/book did you write that has the biggest following?
I actually have two series that are neck-and-neck for most sales. Lonesome Lawmen is a romantic suspense series that I wrote after I finished Pig in a Park. And my science fiction romance Project Enterprise series, well, I wrote that against the advice of one of my two agents. Books in both series won me some cool awards, but it does make it hard to figure out which direction to focus. haha
Who has influenced your writing the most?
There are several authors I discovered as I was growing up, but probably the one who influenced me the most was Mary Stewart. From her I learned about creating great characters and how to ramp up the action to a big finish. I still love her books and reread them when I need a comfort read.
Do you have a favorite author?
I could never pick just one! So I will say, in addition to Mary Stewart, an early favorite was Elizabeth Cadell (her estate is finally in process of releasing her books into digital!) and a new favorite (besides the amazing S.E. Smith – that goes without saying, right?) is Veronica Scott. She writes the kind of high octane adventure romance I like to read.
Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Starting. Getting through the middle. Finishing. Finding readers…other than that, writing is easy.
Are the experiences of your characters based on any of your own or people that you know?
In Pig in a Park aka The Spy Who Kissed Me, there is a spit rainbow kiss that comes from someone’s experience, but I promised I’d never tell. lol
Do you have any advice for other authors?
Oh dear, I always have advice, but I never know if it’s good advice. I had such a quirky publishing adventure, more off-road than on, so I always tell authors to dream big, and never let anyone tell you how to navigate this crazy business IF it feels wrong to you. Follow your heart, follow your gut, follow your dreams.
Is there a particular niche or direction you would like to expand your writing portfolio into?
I would like to be amazingly famous. LOL Seriously, because I am independently published, I am free to follow my muse in weird and wonderful directions.
Describe your latest WIP
I did mention that I’m torn in two directions right? So I’m currently working on two books, one a romantic mystery in my Big Uneasy series and the other a science fiction romance that is a reboot of my Project Enterprise series. Both of them are baby ideas, but I will say, I’m loving finding out what is happening in both of them (and getting a twitch in one eye because of them).
Pauline, you recently joined with me and seven other authors to release the Pets in Space anthology. This was such a fun project and I couldn’t not ask you a couple of questions about pets and space travel.
Describe your relationship with your pets? Who is the boss? Is there a pet you wished you had but didn’t?
Basically, my relationship with my pets has always been: they are in charge. I’ve spent most of my life beneath the cat’s paw. But…for my submission, I have received great snuggles and much comfort during hard times.
I will admit I never thought I’d be tempted by anything but a cat/kitten, but I fear to make eye contact with puppies and…when I did the research for the bearded dragon in Pets in Space…I wish I’d had one when we lived in bug-infested New Orleans. LOL
If you were to go into space which pet (past/future) would you take with you?
I would definitely take the bearded dragon with me into space. None of the cats that ever owned me would GO into space with me. And if they did, they would make me pay for it. Oh, the power of the annoyed pet Look.
You can download Pets in Space here:
How can readers reach you?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Pauline-Baird-Jones/e/B000APFS0M/
Thanks again for spotlighting me. I had a lot of fun answering the questions.