Find a Christian store

Interview With Kathleen Paul

Meet Kathleen Paul
Interview by Sandra Moore

Tell us a little about yourself -- age, married/single, children, how many books authored, etc.

I'm fifty and have been a single mom for 14 years. My kids are all grown up. My son is still living in the basement. We refer to him as the ogre from the dungeon. (He's actually quite nice, but big and perpetually wrinkled.) My 86 year old mom lives with me too. My daughter and husband are having a baby in October.

I will have three novels and three novellas published by the end of the year. I have one more novella under contract. All Barbour and Heartsong Presents. I've had one short story published and the girls who attend my summer writing club are having four books published as ebooks.

How did you become interested in writing?

I suppose as most writers, I could say I started writing as a child. I wrote stories and read them to my friends at the weekend slumber party. But as an adult, I was more interested in writing children's books and took the Institute of Children's Literature course.

When my daughter was thirteen, she announced she wanted to read a grown-up love story. ACK!!!!!! There was no way I was going to let her read one of those bodice rippers. She and her brother went away for ten days to the Christian Youth in Action camp to train for summer ministry. When she returned I handed her my first complete novel which had been written in her absence. During the next six weeks while they went on five day mission trips, I wrote the second. That is the one that sold and was published the year she got married.

What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

I'd say lack of knowledge. I read as many how-to books as I could get my hands on and joined on-line writing groups. I then went to conferences. When I read a book I didn't like I analyzed it. I tried to analyze books I liked but got caught up in the story and turned the left side of my brain off.

What has been the highest moment of your writing career?

The arrival of the first books. I took the box back to my mother's room and put them on her bed. I sat in the rocker next to her and opened the box. I literally scooped some up in my arms and rocked them.

Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write?


He gives me characters in a situation and then I have to figure out how they should react in order to demonstrate their faith or grow in understanding of our wonderful Lord.

Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer, or do you plot extensively before your fingers hit the keyboard?

Definitely seat of the pants. I "see" the scenes in my mind and just write them down. Then I go back and do the technical stuff. I have a general idea what will be accomplished by the end of the story, but there are no details on neat 3x5 file cards. No story board. No notebooks. No character sheets. If I die just before the climax of my next book, everyone is out of luck. No ending!

What's the nicest thing anyone ever said about your writing?

People have been very generous with their encouragement. But the one that tickled me most -- my daughter's mother-in-law was going to save my last two books to read on an airplane trip. She just started one to see what it would be about and finished it. So she was going to save the other one. Well, she decided to read the first page...

She had to go find something else to read on the plane.

Who is your favorite character in your books, and how did you come up with that character?

In RETURNING AMANDA, Amanda is a precocious child. I teach three year olds in Sunday School. I have two groups the younger threes (about 16) an the older threes (about 14). I am the story lady. I come in and sit in a rocker and tell the Bible story and sing songs, etc. Well, those little guys are wonderful and Amanda is the composite of some sharp little girls with a touch of Shirley Temple stirred in.

How do you balance a writing career and being a mother?

You know that old saying, "Don't quit your day job?" In a manner of speaking, my day job quit me.

I became disabled in '96 but didn't give in to not working outside the home for a couple of years. Writing became a career because I was stuck at home -- and a typeA personality stuck in a D body. In order not to go crazy I started writing again, something I've always wanted to do. I think this is just where God wants me. I kind of wished I'd listened earlier to the gentle nudgings.

If you could tell a beginner one thing, what would it be?

1.) Read. Read. Read.

Read the genre that you intend to write. Read the books on how-to. Read books you like and try to figure out why. Read books you hate and try to figure out why.

2.) Get in a productive critique group.

Don't pick one where everyone says "Oh that was just wonderful!" Don't pick one where there is one person who "knows it all" and has the kind of forceful personalitythat dominates the group. Find one with writers who honestly seek to better themselves and want to help each other. If you can't figure out that passive verb thing, everybody looks it up and everybody tackles it. But don't get so hung up on rules that everyone's writing sounds the same. It isn't necessary to have a published author, just people who are willing to dig in and research and learn and share.

Would you like to share a MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT you have experienced in your writing career?

Do I have to confess this? In RETURNING AMANDA there is the most horrid geographical error. The funny thing is I wanted the little girl to be from Kansas City, KansasI'd say that her parents were visiting in New York City, New York. In one of my unexplainable mind blitzes, I put her in St. Louis, Missouri right across the river from St. Louis, Kansas. That's a neat trick because a St. Louisian has to teleport across the whole state to accomplish it. If there were a St. Louis, KS, that is.


You can find more information on books by Kathleen Paul here.

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.