John Paulits lives in New York City and spent many years there teaching. He has written fiction for over thirty years, novels for children as well as adults. The Sad Case of Brownie Terwilliger is his twelfth book for Wings ePress. To learn more about John’s books visit his website. (www.johnpaulits.com)
Sci-fi and other
Detective and Crime
Interview John Paulits
Richard Whitten Barnes
- John, congratulations on the launching of your new book. I believe this is your fifth one for Wings, but the first with cats, or any other animal, as main characters. What inspired you to write “A Cat Tale” this time?
Driving in a small seaside town, my daughter said, “Let’s go see that cat.” A scrawny black cat was prancing down the street and disappeared into a recycled pile of cardboard. We went to see and discovered her and her 4 kittens. We took them home and 2 sisters and a brother still own our house these fourteen years later. The others passed away eventually while still in our family.
From what I’ve read, you have all their little mannerisms nailed down. I assume you are a cat owner.
Your assumption is correct, and you may refer to the previous answer.
Having a cat as a main character evokes the cat sleuth series by Lillian Jackson Braun. Are you a fan?
I am a fan of mysteries, but I confess not to have dipped into Ms. Braun’s books.
What made you gravitate toward the Young Adult genre? I see you’ve also written one Science fiction book.
I have written all kinds of fiction. A mystery novel, THE HAMLET MURDER, will be out this coming March, 2013. I taught elementary school for 30 plus years so ideas for kids’ book pop up frequently in my mind.
We’re always interested in how and why authors get into writing. The stories are all unique. What’s yours?
It’s as simple as my always having been a reader. My baby brother once teased me way back when we were little that my eyes were puffy because I’d been reading all night. Allergies, really. But I’m a reader and my college degrees are in English Literature. It’s how my mind arranges the world.
Can you tell us about your work habits? Do you have set hours to write, or do you wait for the muse? How does your work routine allow you to work around life’s other obligations?
Fortunately retired, my other routines have to work around my morning time at the computer writing something new or editing something written. But before lunch is the time for me.
With five books out there, how much time do you have for writing, as opposed to promoting them?
I can assure you that writing books is, for me, infinitely easier than promoting them. But for promotion’s sake, check out: johnpaulits.com
Are the books you read mostly in the Young Adult Genre? If so, - or even if not – what writers inspire you?
I read fiction and non-fiction. A story will pop into my head and it will obviously be for kids or for adults. Then comes the fun of plotting it out, writing it, and then whipping it into shape. As for writers, Dickens and Trollope are my favorite. I’m only two books of short stories from finishing all the fiction Trollope wrote ( and it is a mountain full) and I’ve read through Dickens twice plus. An historical novel, THE MYSTERY OF CHARLES DICKENS, I’ve written about Dickens death (which I show was really a murder) is available on Amazon and the usual places.
Have you a new manuscript swimming around in your head, or perhaps have started on one, already?
Just wrapping up PHILIP AND THE FORTUNE TELLER, part of a series of children’s novels with Philip and his buddy Emery for another publisher.
Got some advice for one of your young readers who might be considering a writing career?
Don’t stop reading and read many different kinds of things.
Thanks for taking the time to let us glimpse into your work.
1) When did you start writing, and why?
I remember writing stories as a kid, but in this adult go round, I’ve been writing for over thirty years. I’ve always been a reader and always wanted to write. Eventually, writing became a necessity. The great fun of sitting down at the computer and working on a story always adds something nice to my day.
2) You’ve been successful with both short stories and novels. Which do you prefer to write?
Early on I stuck to short stories, but now I prefer working on novels. Novels are something you can live with for six plus months at a time. They become a valued companion you miss when you send them out into the world.
3) Planner or pantser, which are you?
A planner. I can’t conceive of being lucky enough to come up with the best way forward at the drop of a keyboard key. I at least have a general idea of what’s going to happen in that day’s episode before I sit down and have a go at it.
4) Do you pluck your characters from real life, or out of your head?
Both, but anything taken from actual memory is merely a starting point and gets dusted with a heavy sprinkling of imagination.
5)What attracts you to writing for young adults?
I taught elementary school for over thirty years and read aloud daily to the kids. It was the best part of my day. At a high point of the story their little eyes would widen, they’d stare eagerly, waiting for what came next. When that happened, I told the kids they got “The Look.” I try to induce that in them when I write. Plus, I can dip deeper into fantasy and twist reality to a greater degree in children fiction, and that’s always fun.
6) Is there a particular time of day when you feel yourself to be at your most creative?
I find I need to write on a schedule and writing falls in right after the morning newspaper. If I’m re-reading, editing, or correcting a story, I can go back to it at any time in a given day, but when I’m writing something new, I’m only good for an hour or two in the morning.
7) If you had just one piece of advice to give to aspiring novelists, what would it be?
Expect rejection and ignore rejection. If you get good advice about your writing or any bad writing habits you’ve acquired, don’t be stubborn. Take the advice. Re-read what you’ve written until you’re limp and ragged. And keep writing. You never know!
8)What effect/influence would you like your books to have on your readers?
I’d like them to keep turning the pages. Laugh at the humor; ponder the serious.
9) What work do you have in the pipeline after The Director?
At things fall out, I have three books coming out this summer; another children’s novel and an adult science fiction collection of three adventures of Lanyon, a 23rd century gun-for hire. I don’t actually write that quickly, but three publishers have appointed this summer as the time for the books to appear. Details can be found on my website: www.johnpaulits.com