Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Author Interview- Paula Stokes

1) How did you get the idea for The Art of Lainey?

So awkward, but I got blown off by this guy that I was obsessed with. It was one of those things that dragged on for years without getting serious because no other guy made me feel like he did (and I tried getting over him, believe me!) Anyway, I cried for like a week straight when our on again-off again thing turned into a completely-off thing. And then, like Lainey, I went looking for advice on how to win him back. But instead of game-playing, I decided to write a book. The Art of Lainey healed my heart. It's a miracle that something spawned from so much pain turned out to be so happy and hopeful. I love my little book.

2) You've written the historical Venom novels under the name Fiona Paul, and now have contemporary titles coming out under your own name (Art of Lainey- a contemporary romance and Liars Inc- a dark mystery). Is it fun to go back and forth between different genres? Do you prefer any one over the other?

I am so done with historical stuff. Maybe I'll set a book in the 1990s someday, but that's as far back as I'm going. When I took the contract to write the Venom novels, it seemed like this awesome and exciting challenge. It was, but historical is really far from my comfort zone and I spent more time trying to cull the anachronisms from the novels and get the accuracy right than I spent writing. Historical writing just feels like going back to school, whereas contemporary books still require research, but it's about topics more fun and interesting to me.

3) You're also a registered nurse. How did you get started with that, and does any of that knowledge and experience affect your writing?

I fell into nursing when I finished the prerequisites for veterinary school and realized if I became a vet I would probably be in debt until I was fifty years old. I didn't know what to do--it was a really dark time in my life. My mom was like "Go to nursing school." So I did. I landed in hematology/oncology after my first job was a really bad fit and now I can't imagine working with anything other than cancer patients. They are so inspiring. Medical stuff creeps its way into all my stories. Both The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. have little scenes in emergency rooms and some of my other projects involve main characters with physical or psychiatric illnesses. I also have a medical thriller I want to write someday.

4) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don't like those, a favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?

Jelly Belly! So fancy :) I eat like a ridiculous amount of cinnamon fire jolly ranchers when I write. I probably consume at least a bag a week, two bags if I'm revising.

5) Can you tell us anything about Liars Inc., your next book? What else are you currently working on?

Liars, Inc is the story of three kids who form a business selling lies and alibis to their classmates. Which is totally as awesome as it sounds, until one of the three asks for his own alibi and then disappears. MC Max has to figure out what happened to his friend because there's only one suspect in the disappearance--Max.

I had so much fun writing from the POV of a teen boy. My crit partners were like "Are you a boy trapped in a girl's body?" Nah--I just spent six years as "one of the guys" in a restaurant kitchen. Liars, Inc. is dark, shocking, and unpredictable, as different from Lainey as Lainey is from Venom. I'm working on like a zillion other things, including a novella in the Art of Lainey world called Infinite Repeat and three other books.

6) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

So many people have said all this better than me, but my advice is to write the book you want to read. Not what you know, not what you think will sell. Write the book you're able to read thirty times and still love. Write the book you love so much that you're not afraid to shout from the rooftops that it's yours, no matter what kind of sales figures or reviews it gets. I want my books to succeed. I want my books to be loved. But at the end of the day, I will love The Art of Lainey no matter what, because I believe it does what I set out to make it to--spread hope and happiness (and hot boys :D) throughout the bookish universe.

7) What are you currently reading, or are about to start?

I am reading REBEL by Amy Tintera. REBOOT was one of my favorite reads from 2013 and I have been clamoring for this sequel!


  1. I always forget that Paula also wrote the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series! It's been on my TBR for the longest time, and so has Lainey. And I love, love, love her advice for question #6! As an aspiring author, it's always great to hear from people who are in the profession. :)

  2. I didn't realise this was the author of Venom, I really wanted to read that book and never got around to getting it so thanks for putting it in my mind again.

  3. Always love reading an author interview. Great questions and the author had some great answers! :)

  4. Excellent interview, James! Enjoyed really Paula's answers so much!

  5. Interesting author background

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com