I am very excited today to welcome fellow Darkstroke author and crime writer, Paula Williams, to my blog today to talk very entertainingly about her writing motivations.
Thank you so much, Jo, for inviting me to your blog – and for giving me a good reason to sit down and have a long hard think about why I write. And I found to my surprise that answering this was actually a lot harder than I anticipated because writing is just something that I do. And I’ve never really thought about why I do it.
Certainly it’s not for the money! Nor, even the honour and glory. Which is just as well because all three of these have been conspicuous by their absence during my writing career, particularly since I gave up writing for women’s magazines to concentrate on my crime novels.
I grew up on a farm which was, as so many are, in the middle of nowhere. There were always plenty of other children on the farm and I used to write pageants and plays which we would perform – in the case of most of the ‘actors’ very unwillingly.
My very first production was a pageant to celebrate St George’s Day. I was about 8 years old at the time and had what every bossy little girl needs, three younger brothers. I had been ‘persuaded’ by my mother to give my youngest brothers (three year old twins) parts in the pageant, in exchange for being allowed to use the lawn as the stage and her washing line as the backdrop.
I decided the twins could be angels, one on each side of the stage. And I got over the fact that, at three years old, they’d be too small to be seen by standing them on upended oil drums, with a couple of mum’s old sheets draped around their necks and down over the oil drums. The idea was that they were supposed to stretch out their arms, under the sheets, which would, I reckoned, look like wings. I was wrong on both counts. They did not look at all like wings. And neither twin stretched his arms out for more than 10 seconds.
After about two minutes, one twin fell off his oil drum and started crying. The other jumped off and escaped into the raspberry canes, trailing his sheet behind him and followed closely by the family dog who thought it was a great new game. As the whole thing descended into chaos, I carried on singing “For all the saints who from their labours rest” but I doubt any of the audience (and yes, there was an audience) heard me.
My brothers still claim to be traumatised by the event and many years later when I was learning to write short stories for women’s magazines I wrote an only slightly fictionalised account of the whole proceedings and called it “Angels on Oil Drums”.
To my delight, it was bought almost immediately by Woman’s Weekly (my first ever sale) and I celebrated that fact by buying each of my brothers a bottle of champagne and a copy of Woman’s Weekly. (And there’s a copy of Angels on Oil Drums somewhere on my website if you’d like to read the whole story.)
I love to make people laugh through my writing – although in the case of my St George’s Day pageant, that wasn’t the planned outcome. But more recently I’ve been writing pantomimes for my village theatre group. And the thrill of hearing people laugh at my words, delivered by some very talented actors who, unlike my brothers, actually wanted to be in ‘the play what I wrote’ is something I never tire of.
About the Author:
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 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, quite often, 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’.
Social media links
facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author.
Amazon author page