Thursday, October 20, 2011

P.A. (Paul) Baines Interview

The following is part of a marketing co-op for a writing group I am a member of. I will be posting several interviews during the month of October in return for my interview being posted by each of the people interviewed. My review for Paul’s book, Alpha Redemption, appears here. I did not supply the questions for these interviews.

For my next interview, please welcome Paul Baines, who will be posting my interview at

Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I used to mess around with short fiction at school, but I only started writing seriously about fourteen years ago.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
A: I usually start with thinking about an interesting situation or scene. Occasionally, one will stick and I then start thinking about events surrounding the scene. If end up with enough material to work with, it may end up on my list of potential stories. At this point, I write the opening chapter. This is usually enough to tell me whether or not it can work as a novel.

Q: Was it hard to develop a writing style?
A: For me, yes. It took most of the past fourteen years for me to find my voice. My first attempt at a novel was described as “solid but not slick enough”. Since then I have worked diligently to find my own voice. I’m not sure how “slick” my writing is now, but at least it is mine.

Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: Stephen King

Q: Have you dealt with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
A: I get a mild version of writer’s block fairly regularly. Sometimes the words just flow. Other times I can spend days in a staring contest with my monitor. I get over these blocks by reading. I find that the act of reading will often be enough to jump-start my own creativity.

Q: Do you find a part of your personality sneaking into any of your characters?
A: I once read that you should write what you know. I am pretty certain that, in the act of creating a character, we all draw on our own experiences. So, yes, definitely.

Q: Do you use outlines or let the story develop on its own?
A: I like to have a very broad outline. I liken it to remembering an old film I’ve seen years before, in which I can remember the mood of the film, and the general plot, but not the details. That way, I can let the story grow, but without getting lost on the way.

Q: Can you share any upcoming projects with us?
A: Hmm. Well I have two finished stories with my publisher at the moment. Plus a long humorous poem for kids, written in the style of Dr Seuss. At the moment I’m busy writing a sequel to my debut novel Alpha Redemption. And I have another story waiting to be written, plus an old story that I want to rewrite and another that I am thinking about.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your temperament, etc.?
A: I love to watch a good film, or listen to some music. When I’m not relaxing I am usually exercising, or watching sport. I used to be a fitness instructor so cannot imagine not being fit. I’m not a fitness fanatic, but I do like to train.

Q: With a full schedule, how do you find time to write?
A: I commute six miles to work and back on my bicycle every day, which means I have about an hour-and-a-half with nothing to do other than watch the world roll by. What I started doing a few years ago was to write my novel on the way to work. I would run through plots and narrative and dialogue in my head, and then write them down as soon as I got to a computer. It is quite effective.

Q: When creating a character, where do you begin? Do you give them a background even if it may never be mentioned in the storyline?
A: I tend to concentrate on the main characters. I don’t do an outline, but I imagine what they are like, and how they fit into the story. Then I let them grow organically with the story, adjusting and tweaking as I go. Sometimes this means rewriting a part of the novel, but that is just a part of writing so I don’t mind.

Q: What is your writing routine? Do you need peace and quiet, soft music, or does it matter?
A: I actually do most of my writing during my lunch break at work. My office can get quite noisy, so I usually listen to music through my headphones. I like Rachmaninoff, or a movie soundtrack if I need some inspiration.

Q: Where can readers find your books and contact information?
A: My personal site:, Splashdown Books, and Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Stephen King is Paul's favorite author. Sooo did not see that one coming...