Interview with Paula Reed!

Today’s guest is the fascinating Paula Reed…
Paula’s book, Into His Arms was the very first Zebra Debut book!

ihasmall.gifPlease tell us about your books.
I have three published novels released by Zebra Romance in 2004 and 2005.  The stories are all related and all set in the Caribbean in the seventeenth century.   

The first, Into His Arms, is about a Puritan woman (Faith Cooper) who falls in love with a privateer and atheist (Geoffrey Hampton).  It really centers on a quote from the Reverend Francis David in the 1500’s: “We need not think alike to love alike.”   

fhl_small2.jpgThe second, For Her Love, is the story Geoffrey’s quartermaster (Giles Courtney) and the mixed-race daughter of a sugar plantation owner (Grace Welbourne).   

nssmall.jpgFinally, Nobody’s Saint follows Geoffrey Hampton’s nemesis, the very honorable Diego Montoya.  Diego finds himself in love with Irishwoman Mary Katherine O’Reilly, who is anything but honorable. 

Which of your characters would you like to switch places with? For how long?  What would you do?
This is a tough one.  When I write, I really delve into my characters, so in some ways, I have already been all three of these women.  I would be best friends with Faith, and I would admire Grace for her strength, but I think Mary Kate would be the most fun to switch places with for a year or so (provided I could bring a few modern razors and plenty of toilet paper).  What would I do?  Well, when last I left Mary Kate and Diego, they were merchant sailors in the Caribbean.  I could be quite happy doing that for while. 

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Least favorite?
I love the research and the immersion into other times and places.  I am currently working on a more literary piece, but it is still historical because I just don’t have anywhere near as much fun writing contemporary.  While I was working on the second two books in the Caribbean trilogy, I was on leave of absence and I wrote for hours and hours every day.  Now, I’m back to teaching full time, so the thing I don’t like is trying to find time to squeeze writing in between being a mom and grading essays. 

How has real life influenced your writing?
I am a Unitarian, so the ways that people differ in their religious views and their blindness to how similar our core beliefs are when you dig past the dogma inspired Into His Arms.  I have also had to deal with PTSD, and so I wrote that into Grace’s character in For Her Love.  In many ways, it helped me deal with my own. 

Is there anything you would like to write, but haven’t? For example, any other genre you’d like to try?
I’m very much the sort of person who does anything she really wants to do, so as I mentioned, I am trying my hand at a more literary historical work right now.  My agent is excited about it, but I have learned that selling is real crapshoot, so I am trying to stay focused on the joy of creation, whether it sells or not. 

Who has inspired you as a writer?
It’s almost impossible to include everyone here.  I am an English teacher, so I love the classic authors, especially American, like Hawthorne (my current project is a spin on The Scarlet Letter), Fitzgerald, Hemingway.  I have been a big romance reader since high school, so I loved Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, all the great early romance writers.  I truly loved the character driven stories by LaVyrle Spencer, and I would say that my own stories are more character driven than plot. 

What would you like to tell aspiring writers?
Nike is right.  Just do it!  If you have a story you’re dying to tell, tell it.  If you’re serious about selling, I would suggest going to a few writing conferences and taking basic classes on the craft to polish it up and make it more marketable, but ultimately, just the process of writing is richly rewarding.  Do not let fears that it won’t be “good enough” stop you from telling your story. 

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Passionate, loving, dynamic 

If you could save one book from destruction, what would it be?
Holy Smokes!  I could never pick one.  I’d say The Scarlet Letter to whomever was stoking the flames, but then I’d sneak off with dozens more under my shirt, in my purse, wherever I could jam them.  Now, I’ve named that one because I do love it and think it’s an icon of early American literature, but my favorite book of all time is Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One, which is a fabulous book with a message I think everyone should hear—that one person can make a difference, even in the face of great injustice, and that we need never give into the lure of hate, no matter justified it may seem. 

Is there anything you’d like to ask readers?
Well, our agents and editors and booksellers are constantly telling us authors “what’s selling.”  It seems like we’re always chasing the latest hot fad.  I’m wondering what gets a reader to divert from her latest “thing.”  What makes her pick up a book she wouldn’t otherwise buy?  Is it the cover?  Reviews? Word of mouth?  I also always find it fun to hear readers’ pet peeves in romance novels. 

Thank you Paula for that great interview!  I really appreciate you taking the time to be a part of this! 

Readers, you can learn more about Paula and her books at her website: 

Check back tomorrow for more about Paula’s past releases… 
In the meantime, how about answering her questions for readers… 

Remember, every comment left this month is an entry in the giveaway…details here!


24 Responses to Interview with Paula Reed!

  1. Helen says:

    Loved the interview Paula and Jennifer
    I read historical romance and have done for over 30 years and I never tire of them I recently won a Nalini Singh book Slave To Sensation and it is not something I would normally buy myself but I read it and loved it I have bought the second book in the series and am reading it now and loving it so after 30 years of just reading historical I am venturing into paranormal which I never thought I would do. I also listen to recomendations and I read a lot of blogs like this one wich is making my TBR pile grow and my have to buy list get bigger and bigger. Historical will always be my favourite but I have added your books to my must get list. Thanks again Ladies.
    Have Fun

  2. Jane says:

    Hi Paula and Jennifer,
    If I like an author, I will usually pick up their book even it’s not their usual genre. I’m normally swayed by reviews posted on Amazon and word of mouth on blogs. Will your current project feature a heroine like Hester?

  3. Paula Reed says:

    Interesting to hear your input, ladies! Actually, Jane, my current heroine is exactly like Hester. 😉 I’ll be checking in later today, so don’t worry if it seems like I’m ignoring comments. Teaching doesn’t really allow me any time on the internet, but I’ll be back when I get home from school!

  4. Beth R says:

    If I have tried an author I will usually buy their next book.
    I don’t care for the trend of suspense, i don’t like when you really love an authors historicals and then they change to modern suspense. I also do not care for the story line of amnesia. I like to read reviews but honestly what makes me try something new is blog’s like this that interview and provide blurbs of their books

  5. Crystal B. says:

    Great interview. I have read some of your books and they are great.

  6. Glenna Day says:

    If I like the author then I will pick up other books of theirs that they write. The covers, titles and blurbs also have a lot to do with whether or not I will stray from my normal reads.

  7. Pam P says:

    Hi Paula, Nobody’s Saint was my favorite.

    To go outside my normal reading choices, it’s usually recommendations by friends, both at home and online. I might see a lot of positive buzz, or spot a cover that intrigues me, which will make me look further for blurbs/excerpts to make up my mind.

  8. Cindy says:

    Hey Paula and Jennifer!

    Recommendation from family and friends is usually what will get me to read a book that I normally wouldn’t try. 😀

  9. peggy says:

    i like to read reviews.if i find one that catches my eye.ill read it

  10. Virginia H. says:

    Great interview, I love historicals so I usually look at those first. Also the covers catch my eye. I sometime go by book reviews and word of mouth. Then again I have one author I love and alway buy her books. So I guess there is alot of things that make me buy a book.

  11. Eva S says:

    Thanks Paula and Jennifer, I’ll be looking out for the books. Caribbean, yes!

    Historicals are my favorites, I buy almost all they have in our bookstore, other books go by the cover or from reviews and recommendations in blogs..

  12. Paula Reed says:

    It’s great to hear so much praise for historicals! And thanks for the kind words from readers! Like the rest of you, I can be led to other genres by favorite authors and word of mouth. Nothing beats a friend’s say-so.

  13. fedora says:

    Paula, I’m sorry to say that I hadn’t heard of your books before this very fascinating interview–I’ll have to go get them. Your plots and characters sound so very interesting, and not at all the “typical” sort of thing. As for what makes me pick up something new or different, getting to “meet” the author and read an introduction (much like today!) or the say-so of a trusted friend or reading buddy will definitely affect what I buy/borrow/read.

  14. JSL says:

    Hi Paula & Jennifer,
    I like the focus you have on the characters – that’s what I like most about romances. What makes me venture out of what I normally read… well, sometimes when I “run out.” A few years ago, I’d read all the books out by the authors I liked (all historicals) – and I’d exhausted the collection of historicals at my library. I spent way too much time browsing the paperback and fiction titles, and finally got a book based on the back cover. However, now, generally I’ll venture into a different type sub genre if an author I like tries something new. Or they mention another author on their webpage. Or the books advertised before/after a book – that’s how I discovered a lot of authors. If I really like one book, I’m much more favorably disposed to any other book/author mentioned in it.
    Now, I rate almost every book I read on amazon, and they have recommendations – and I’ll pick books that way.

  15. ThatBrunette says:

    If I am just browsing in the store to choose a book, there are a few things I look for. Yes, the cover does draw me in but, most paperbacks are on the shelves with the spine out. Color of the spine might get me. Honestly, if the book is near an author I know, I might pick it out because of it’s title. Once chosen from the shelf, I read the blurb.

    Blogs and chats will get me to try a new author. I have had a great time discovering new authors and genres thanks to the blogs and chats.

  16. Amelia says:

    Great interview! If I read an author I like, I would pick up other books by that author. The cover, reviews, word of mouth, and genre sometimes have something to do with too. Since I’m still learning so many authors, I like to try a variety of books. I now have a long TBR list. 🙂

  17. Sue A. says:

    Paula I enjoyed the interview! It’s great to have a place to discover so many authors and their books.

    I find that I can be lead to look at books by an undiscovered (by me that is) author through word of mouth, reviews, or promos, but I find that, that isn’t enough to “sell” the book in itself. I need to get a taste of the author’s work through excerpts to be sure their writing style works for me.

  18. Maureen says:

    I enjoyed your interview and am impressed that you are a teacher, mother and writer. You must be terrifically organized to get it all done.

  19. bluecat says:

    I have authors that are automatic buys. If it’s someone I haven’t read or don’t know then I usually go by the cover, the blurb, the genre or the subject. I very rarely go by reviews. What I like in a book may not be the same to the reviewer.

  20. Danny says:

    Hi Paula,

    as I have to depend on the internet for my book buying decision, because we don’t have any Borders or B&N here in Germany. I check author’s websites, listen to recommendations from friends, visit blogs like Jennifer’s. I am a reviewer but I have to confess that I check out reviews about a book, but I like to make my own opinion about a book.

    When I am in the States I love to spend time in a “real” bookstore, to read blurbs and look for eye catching covers.

  21. Paula Reed says:

    Well, Maureen, it all keeps me out of trouble!

  22. Ruth Chesick says:

    I read all genres but naturally my favorite is historical.

    Covers don’t interest me much – if the blurb grabs my attention or if it is by one of my favorite authors I grab it.!!!!!!!

    I have read books that friends have said they enjoyed and most of the time I enjoyed them also. Of course, there were a few exceptions.

    I like to read excerpts on the computer sites – have found SO MANY that I want to buy (or I might be lucky enough to win them?).

    My TBR and TBB lists and piles are no longer mountains – now they are skyscraper height.!!!

    But I LOVE IT.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Cindi Hoppes says:

    Hi, I don’t like the heroine to be ignorant and need the strong man to save her! I read many interviews and reviews to learn about most of the books that I read! Thanks,Cindi

  24. Nathalie says:

    The covers really appeal to me… when I find it tasteful, I usually buy the book in question!

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