Today in The Page to Page Promo’s Author Interview Series we are interviewing Paula Hrbacek! Here’s Paula’s interview:
A Little on the Personal Side:
- If you weren’t an author, what would you be? I’ve always wanted to write, but I enjoy working with youth, too. Being a leader for Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts were some of the best times I’ve had. After my kids outgrew those programs, I went back to college and earned certification for teaching art. I did that for two years, and then the school closed. Now, I’ve combined those two loves, and I write a newspaper column about children’s arts and crafts that has art lesson plans, crafts for youth groups such as scouts, and other programs like summer camp and after school care. I’ve even published the plans I wrote for Cub Scout Summer Day Camp, in a book called “Day Camp in Hawaii”. I know how much time it takes for leaders and teachers to find good plans, so while I can’t do it myself anymore, I hope my books and articles will make their jobs a little easier.
- What types of books do you read? I like sweet, mild or clean books. I usually read romance, mystery and suspense. I also read self-help books and psychology. My romance novels have psychology in them, as I hope it will make the characters more real and the solutions more plausible.
- What do you love most about writing? What do you not like? Writing a book is a lot like getting married. It starts out being the best idea you’ve ever had, and you just know you can do it. You’re excited, in love with the idea, and can’t see any faults with your choice. Then, you get it outlined, and the basic plot going, but things happen to the characters that you didn’t plan on. You row with the flow, hope, pray, and do your best with it. But when the book is half done, you come up with a problem that you can’t solve. At this point, you have a choice, just like with marriage. You can quit, you can separate for a while and come back to it later, or you can talk it out and come to a compromise. I have several half-finished manuscripts that I divorced. All authors do. They’re like old boyfriends that just didn’t work out. But the ones you finish are quite satisfying. It’s worth the effort to work it out.
- Do you have a favorite place to write? Alone and at home. When I’m on vacation, I’m on vacation. I’ve tried taking a lap top with me, but authors need a vacation, too. I need to focus on what I’m doing.
A Little on the Professional Side:
- Where do you draw your inspiration from? I used to get a lot of inspiration from Dear Abby. I disagreed with her advice all the time. So, I’d take the problem and give it my own solution in a story. “On Higher Ground” started off that way. A woman wrote to Dear Abby complaining that she was on welfare, and when she went on a job interview and told that to the interviewer, they would always turn her down.
I have other stories that are based on a problem a friend was going through. “Stars Shine After Dark” is based on someone I know who was going through a divorce. I couldn’t give her a happy ending in real life, so I poured my feelings out on paper, and gave her a happy ending in a fictional setting instead. Caring about people and relating to their problems is one way to find inspiration. The need to keep your big fat mouth shut and mind your own business is another.
- Of all of the characters you have written, which has been your favorite? Why? Least favorite? Why? “On Higher Ground” has two angels working a sub plot. The book went through several stages; first as a short story, then a novella, then just a straight romance, and now romantic fantasy. When it was just a straight romance, I had the characters get answers to their prayers the way people really do—a stroke of good luck, a chance meeting, a sudden inspiration, etc. I sent it to an editor, and she rejected it because it wasn’t believable. No one has that much good luck. The solutions were too easy and there wasn’t enough conflict. So, in the next version, I pulled the angels out of the background and made them into characters. That’s when the book became fun to write. They’re named after my grandchildren, so it was sort of like playing with my grandkids when they weren’t really here.
- Has there been a character that has “written itself”? Who? When I was writing “Stars Shine After Dark” I got to that problem that was too big to solve. I was stuck for an answer. I just kept thinking and writing, until finally, I put myself in his father’s shoes in my mind. I asked myself what a good father would say to his son. When I looked at what I wrote, I thought “what a great idea. I wonder why I didn’t think of that.” Because his answer to his problem was also the solution I needed to solve one of my own problems with my father. It was an inspired moment.
- How do you connect with your readers? (book clubs, online chats, etc) I’m on Twitter as @PHrbacek, Pinterest, G+, Linked In and Facebook. I have a Facebook fan page, but I’m trying to keep my personal page for people I actually know. People can follow my public posts by pushing a follow button.
- What is your thought on eBooks being the new way to read? I have a Kindle and love it. It also makes it a lot easier for an author to send out review copies. Since I write a newspaper column about book reviews, I use my Kindle for that. I’m glad that other reviewers are doing the same thing. It’s easier and faster and cheaper. I can see why someone who reads 300 books a year would prefer the lower cost of ebooks. If they can afford to buy more books, that works well for everyone.
A Little Quick Fire:
*When it comes to books*
Good Guys or Bad Guys? Mostly good, but there always has to be one bad guy just to create a problem.
Fiction or Non-Fiction? I write both; romance and crafts.
Handwritten or PC typed? PC. When I try to write by hand I forget what I was going to say, I get blisters and cramps. When I type all I get is a sore wrist.
Cozy Nook or Outdoors Oasis? Where the story takes place? A little of both. You have to get out and about a little bit, just for variety.
Happily Ever After or Nail-biter? Happy.
Writing or Reading? Both. Sometimes writing about reading or reading about writing.
*When it comes to you*
Ice Cream or Cake? Ice cream.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, but not gourmet chocolate. If it costs too much, I feel guilty eating more than one. If it’s too cheap, it doesn’t taste as good. So, a good quality name brand of milk chocolate is what I like best.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee, black but sometimes with creamer.
Dress Up or Dress Down? Dress down. If I look too nice I won’t let myself get dirty doing crafts, gardening or other stuff.
Barefoot or Shoes? Barefoot
Cook or Order Out? Order out—no wait, make that GO out.
Book review RSS feed: http://www.examiner.com/user/3698131/articles
Arts and crafts RSS feed: http://www.examiner.com/user/3698131/6546706/feed
Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/phrbacek/
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