My guest today on Espresso Tales is author Paula Williams, whose debut crime novel, Murder Served Cold, launches this week.
Paula Williams is living her dream. She has written all her life -
her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it is only in recent years when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women's magazines (mostly in the UK) 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.
Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, United Kingdom where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmation called Duke. She still writes for magazines but also now writes novels. A member of both the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Crime Writers' Association, her novels often feature a murder or two, and are always sprinkled with humour and spiced with a touch of romance.
She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers' magazine, Writers' Forum. She also has a blog at www.paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com. Her facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author. And she tweets @paulawilliams44. But, as with the best of dreams, she worried that one day she's going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading 'the play that she wrote'.
Megan: Paula, thank you for joining me. Can I get you a coffee?
Paula: An Americano, please.
Megan: Oh, excellent choice. Now, tell me about your book, Murder Served Cold, which is about to launch.
Paula: Murder Served Cold is my debut crime novel and features the small Somerset village of Much Winchmoor where nothing ever happens until...... The village is entirely a figment of my (some would say twisted) imagination, although many of the character are based very loosely on my friends and neighbours. (But not the murderer, obviously, as all my friends and neighbours are lovely people!) My main character, Kat, left Much Winchmoor at the age of 18 but, five years later, is forced to return home to live with her parents. She is one of what is described as the 'boomerang generation', young people who, having left home, are forced to return, usually for financial reasons.
Megan: Yes, Boomerang Generation - I think my parents can testify to that! What inspires the ideas behind your writing?
Paula: People! And places! I am always looking out for a good place to hide a body or two, something that gets my husband quite worried at times, particularly when we are walking along lonely clifftop paths. I am also a compulsive people watcher and listener in of other people's conversations. My family say I am being nosy. I say I am being writerly and remind them that an overheard conversation in my local pub resulted in an entire series of murder mysteries, the first of which is Murder Served Cold.
Megan: Do you think watching people inspired you to write or were there other motivating factors?
Paula: I can't remember a time when I didn't make up stories - although my mother used to call it 'telling lies'. As a child I wrote plays, pageants and poetry and one of those, a pageant, became the basis of the first story I ever sold to a magazine (as a grown up) and actually got paid for it! Since then, I've sold over 400, many of which have been inspired by my friends and family - only please don't tell them!
Megan: Your secret is safe with me. What are you currently working on?
Paula: I am currently working on the second in the Much Winchmoor series - and it is a delight to meet up with Kat and the rest of the people from Much Winchmoor, as well as meeting some new ones.
Megan: I'm looking forward to meeting the people in this Village. In terms of a series, I can imagine there is some planning involved. Are you naturally a planner or more of a pantser?
Paula: I'm a pantser who yearns to be a plotter. When writing my murder mysteries I often get part way through a book, happily pantsing away until I reach the point where I realise I really should have spent more time working out the plot! It happens every time. And every time I start a new story I always say I'm going to be disciplined and spend more time but at the beginning planning and making timelines and outlines. But then the characters start talking to me and off I go. Until that awful moment where I have that "Oh no, where do we go from here?" moment. I realise this makes me sound like a mad woman but I suppose the truth is I'm a mixture of both plotter and panster. Which, I suppose makes me a planster.
Megan: Planster! I love that. I think I'm going to borrow that term. Thank you so much for joining me, and all the very best with Murder Served Cold.
Paula: Thank you.
To learn more about Paula and her writing, visit her on: