This week’s TOP AUTHOR, Paula Williams, is a friend of mine and a fellow Crooked Cat Books Author. Paula writes incredible novels that I highly recommend, as well as being a regular columnist for the very popular writing magazine, Writer’s Forum. I’ve absolutely loved seeing an insight into Paula’s writing life today with the photos she’s provided.
Paula Williams is living her dream. She’s written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her various plays and pageants. But it’s only in recent years, when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women’s magazines that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it and she has sold over 400 short stories and serials both in the UK and overseas.
Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke. She still writes for magazines but now writes novels as well. She is currently writing the Much Winchmoor series of murder mysteries, set in a village not unlike the one she lives in – although as far as she knows, none of her friends and neighbours have murderous tendencies.
A member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association, her novels often feature a murder or two, and are always spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.
She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers’ magazine, Writers’ Forum. And she blogs about her books, other people’s books and, sometimes, Dalmatians at paulawilliamswriter.com.
She gives talks on writing at writing festivals and to organised groups and has appeared several times of local radio. In fact, she’ll talk about writing to anyone who’ll stand still long enough to listen.
But, as with all dreams, she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading ‘the play what she wrote’.
Post a photo of you that we won’t have seen everywhere else.
This picture was taken at my youngest son’s wedding. I look as if I’m about to deliver the sermon but I was, in fact, doing a reading. My lovely daughter-in-law asked me to write something for the occasion. But when I asked her to give me an idea of the sort of thing she wanted me to say, she sent me some notes which she said for me to edit as I saw fit. But her words were so beautiful and sincere that I didn’t change a single word.
Where do you write?
This is where I write. My favourite room in the whole house, it overlooks the garden where I get hugely distracted by birds when they come down to use the bird bath. The whiteboard to the side of my desk contains pictures of some of the characters in my latest Much Winchmoor novel. The cup of tea is always there!
Use three photos or images to describe your personality.
I am an intensely shy person and love my own company – and yet I also love public speaking! I will quite happily stand up in a room full of people and talk about writing and my books. But ask me to talk about my non-writing self to someone I don’t know very well, or speak up at a meeting, my brain freezes and I am a stammering, stuttering wreck. As for speaking on the phone…..
I have written six pantomimes for our village theatre company and, I am told, they are very, very funny and completely off the wall. The one in the picture, Calamity Wayne, was a take on Calamity Jane, but the character playing Jane was a man, hence the name change. At one time we had a scene where a man was dressed as a woman who dressed as a man! You had to be there! The villain (also a man!) was Scary Mary from Castle Cary. I had such fun writing them and the cast (and audience) all seemed to enjoy them too.
This is one of my favourite places in the world. It’s a view of Wells Cathedral taken from the gardens of the Bishop’s Palace. My husband and I are regular visitors and this is one place I missed more than anywhere else during lockdown. There’s a wooden bench on the other side of the magnolia tree and I love to sit there on a Sunday morning and listen to the music from the cathedral. (I adore choral music and used to sing in the cathedral choral society.)
Share a photo of your favourite holiday destination.
My favourite holiday destination. In fact, not just holiday – any time as I live just over an hour away. This is West Bay in Dorset. I grew up not far from there and still have family in the area so we go back whenever we can. The picture, with the now famous Broadchurch cliffs in the background, was taken on a cold grey December day but it’s still lovely. And it contains two of my favourite people – my husband and our dog – a rescue Dalmatian called Duke. Sadly, though, no sign of David Tennant, another favourite of mine who appears quite often in my Much Winchmoor books!
Post a photo of something that you baked, learnt or made during lockdown.
When lockdown first started, it paralysed me. I received a letter very early on telling me I was on the ‘extremely clinically vulnerable list’ and it scared the life out of me and sent me into a spiral of fear and anxiety. I have never in my life considered myself vulnerable in any way (I have asthma but it is very well controlled) and yet my doctor and the NHS told me I was and gave me a quite terrifying list of dos and don’ts.
I couldn’t write for ages. Instead, I took up a totally different form of creativity. I have always liked the idea of bead weaving and, over the years, have acquired mountains of beads. But could never get the hang of it, mainly, I now realise, because I am left-handed and most of the books and tutorials on YouTube are for right-handed people. But this time I persevered and finally something clicked. And now, as you can see from the picture, I can’t stop! (Guess what everyone will be getting for Christmas this year?)
I love beading (and the beading community) so much, in fact, that I’m planning to start a beading blog which I think I’m going to call The Bookish Beader (or maybe Beaders and Readers?) to run alongside my writing blog. (At paulawilliamswriter.com ). I truly believe beading saved my sanity and I hope my blog may inspire others to have a go at this intensely satisfying and ancient craft.
Book link. Https://mybook.to/buryingbadnews
Social media links
Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author.
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