Sunday, November 22, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Pauline B Jones

This week, we had the pleasure of reading The Last Enemy by Pauline B Jones. Pauline graciously agreed to do an interview with me to post on the blog and to respond to questions.

Even if you did not have a chance to read The Last Enemy, feel free to ask Pauline a question.

Now on with the interview:

1. What motivated you to write this book?

I started this book way back when the internet was just beginning to move into the mainstream. It fascinated me that I could “meet” people that I didn’t actually know. I had to take their word for who and what they were, how they looked, no way to know if they were really male or female. Then I saw The Fugitive and got interested in US Marshals Service and the story started to come to a boil. The theme of not really knowing people, virtual or real, threads through the story—though I didn’t know that until it was finished.

2. What are your current projects?

I just finished and turned in Girl Gone Nova, a follow up story to my Project Enterprise series set in the Garradian Universe. Then I started working on a short story for our next chapter anthology, except the story turned into a novella, so now I’m working on it as a standalone—and the next chapter in my Project Enterprise series. It’s also got some steampunk mixed in, which is making it a lot of fun to work on. It’s also a novella in search of a title. Usually titles aren’t that hard for me, but the title I wanted has been chosen by two books releasing next year. Sigh.

3. How do you come up with your story ideas and your characters?

I get story ideas in weird ways. Sometimes a character will come to me and I’ll have to write a story for him or her. Sometimes I get the idea first and then have to find people for the story. The Key is unique for me. I got hooked on Stargate Atlantis and got this story idea for an episode. It kept getting in the way of me writing a book, so I thought, I’ll just write it down and get it out of the way. Well, 100 pages later, I realized I had a character in need of a story. I had nothing but this woman with special abilities. And she required a science fiction world, something I’d never done before. I tried everywhere I could think of to situate her in the “real” world and she would have none of it. So I followed her lead and ended up with a huge science fiction romance novel.

One thing I do when I finish a book is to interview myself about writing that book. I call it my Behind the Book interviews. I have a little fun with them, but they also keep details fresh that I might otherwise forget. Here’s the link to my interview about The Last Enemy:

4. What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I get the most buzz from writing suspense and/or action-adventure. Not sure what that says about me. LOL! I’ve tried writing straight romance and can keep from killing anyone or blowing anything up if the story is short, but past about fifteen pages, stuff starts to happen. I also enjoy adding humor. For me, humor is the leavening of life, so it’s natural for me to filter it into my writing. While I’ve written what I’d call suspense from the beginning, my writing has been edging toward action/adventure for some time. When I look back and I can see it more and more, so that’s where I am right now. I call it action/adventure, but my books always have a romance element. I’m told that The Key is science fiction romance or space opera. For me, space is a setting, just as Denver was the setting for The Last Enemy. Both settings had to be, they are as essential to the plots as the characters, but through all my books there is peril, romance and action. (That’s where I got my website tag line: The Perils of Pauline—is the unifying theme of all my books.)

5. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

I got the title for The Last Enemy from a quote:

“Death is the last enemy: once we've got past that I think everything will be alright.”
Alice Thomas Ellis

It really suits the story, because my character has survivor guilt issues.

6. How much of the novel is realistic?

All of my books are completely realistic. Really. Okay, so maybe the time travel and the space travel aren’t exactly true yet, but they could be.

Seriously, I try to make my characters feel real. If readers believe in the people, then they will believe in the story. I once had this reader busting my chops about a small detail in Out of Time. I was like, dude, you’re fussing about where the guys go to the bathroom on a B-17, but have no trouble with travel through time? It’s fiction. So basically I made it all up.

7. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?

I wouldn’t. I’ve enjoyed writing my books, have loved what I’ve learned from each one. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t publish with a larger publisher, like one in New York. The short answer is: they didn’t like what I like to write. That meant one of us had to change and we’re both determined not to budge.

I feel blessed to find a publisher who likes me and my writing as is (other than the edits of course). I have to spend so much time with a book that it’s just not possible for me to do anything but write what I want. While this is a business for me, I would not spend this much time doing something that didn’t bring me joy.

8. If your book was made into a movie who do you picture playing the part of the hero and heroine?
Matt would be played by Tommy Lee Jones (well, a younger one) and Sandra Bulluck for Dani?

10. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I made my first sale: a short story to a children’s magazine. I didn’t start telling people I was a writer, though, until my first novel, Pig in a Park, was published.

11. Who is your favorite character in the book?

Well, Dani, I guess, though I loved writing Matt, too. I liked Dani a lot because she had courage and a sense of humor and she was real. She reacted to events the way a real woman would and didn’t use any extraordinary powers to overcome evil. She is like the women I’ve known through the years, woman who face hard things with a sense of humor and determination.

12. What is your favorite way to take a break from writing?

I like to put a movie into the dvd player, curl up with a bowl of popcorn, chilled Jr. Mints and a Diet Dr. Pepper and let the world go by. The movie can be a romantic comedy or an action –adventure. I also have this secret love of critter features or disasters flicks. I’m drawn to Tremors, Lake Placid and any movie that will mean an end to life on Earth as we know it. I have no explanation for it, though I suspect it is hereditary. I once caught my mom watching some earthquake flick, mini-series. Sorry to out you, Mom, but it is long standing tradition to blame our parents for stuff, and well, you were watching it.

Author website:

While you're there checkout Pauline's book The Key, An Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medal Winner.


Jacqueline Seewald November 22, 2009 at 7:23 AM  

Hi, Pauline,

You're such a multi-talented author! It was a pleasure reading this interview.

Wishing you every success,

Jacqueline Seewald

Pauline B Jones November 22, 2009 at 9:05 AM  

thanks, Jacqueline!:-)

I think I've just lived long. LOL!

Betty Gordon November 22, 2009 at 9:16 AM  

Pauline, I can see you curled up watching a movie and eating popcorn..yummmm. I enjoyed your comments and I've told you many times how much I enjoy your work.
Keep writing and we'll keep reading.
Betty Gordon

Pauline B Jones November 22, 2009 at 9:22 AM  

LOL! That's me! Had to fight the urge this week and keep writing. Oh well, life happens and sometimes you just have to check out for a bit. LOL! Thanks so much! love you!

Frances November 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM  

Congratulations on getting it done, Pauline. That's wonderful. All the best, and my personal favorite's are Harry Potter audio books, Lord of the Rings, and Second Hand Lions. *G*

And Denise, thanks for having Pauline on your blog. Great interview.

Loretta November 22, 2009 at 10:57 AM  


Excellent interview! I enjoyed reading all of it, loved the quote on death:)

I've watched Tremors several times also, and Jurassic Park is my downfall:)

All the best with your new book!


Cornelia November 22, 2009 at 12:12 PM  

Great Interview Pauline. I love your writing.

Denise November 22, 2009 at 12:43 PM  

Have to agree with Betty. Keep writing and we'll keep reading. Really enjoyed this story and Pauline is a great interview subject.

Although the fact that she likes to watch Tremors is kinda scary. Once was enough for me.

Pauline B Jones November 22, 2009 at 1:07 PM  

Thanks, everyone! LOL! Yeah, it scares me I like Tremors. And the Burbs. Forgot about that. Obviously I have a dark side. LOL!

Pauline B Jones November 22, 2009 at 1:20 PM  

i will actually turn on not just Jurassic Park I, but II and III, too. How sad is that? LOL!

dkchristi November 22, 2009 at 1:20 PM  

Pauline not only writes a great novel, she is generous in sharing her wisdom and experiences with colleagues. It's great to know a few more of her secrets to success., author of Ghost Orchid: Four lives; four destinies; touched by the rare and exotic ghost orchid.

Pauline B Jones November 22, 2009 at 1:33 PM  

many thanks, DK! I'm blushing all over the place here at my desk. LOL! You are all wonderful. :-)

Anonymous November 22, 2009 at 1:39 PM  

Pauline, I haven't read your books, but after reading your interview, I will have to correct that oversight soon. Your books all sound really good.
Patsy Hagen

Pauline B Jones November 22, 2009 at 1:41 PM  

Thanks, Patsy! Nice of you to stop by! Hope you enjoy. I had fun writing them (should I say that when characters die? LOL!)

The Belle in Blue November 22, 2009 at 1:53 PM  

Pauline, you can always do like me and just go back and write "prequel" short stories about those dead characters so they can be alive again for a while.

Maybe there's a support group for writers with post-character death remorse!

Pauline B Jones November 22, 2009 at 1:55 PM  

LOL! probably ought to be one, though some I'd probably just kill again. LOL!

Mark Rosendorf November 22, 2009 at 4:12 PM  

Wow, that was a good interview. I remember when the internet first came around, you really didn't know who was on the other end of those e-mails. Today, it's become much easier to look up people and find out if they're "real."

I'm looking forward to checking out the upcoming book, it's very intriguing.

Pauline B Jones November 22, 2009 at 5:23 PM  

Thanks, Mark. Hard to realize internet is under 20 years old, in its current formation. I did my first website coding it manually. didn't have programs to do it back then. It's changed a LOT.

2010 November 22, 2009 at 9:12 PM  

Great interview, Pauline and Denise. Looking forward to reading The Last Enemy.

Pauline B Jones November 22, 2009 at 9:13 PM  

Many thanks, 2010! (That's very cryptic! LOL!)

Roxanne November 23, 2009 at 9:09 AM  

Nice interview! I'm interested in the comment you made about interviewing yourself after finishing your novels. Hmmm, popcorn, mints, and Dr. Pepper--we have much in common!

Roxanne Smolen

Charlotte Phillips November 23, 2009 at 9:11 AM  

Pauline and Denise - Great interview! I loved The Key and can't wait for the sequel. It's nice to know I have some Baird-Jones books to read while I'm waiting:-).

Pauline - blaming your mom??? Shame, shame.


Pauline B Jones November 23, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

Hi, Roxanne,
I did the behind the book interviews as a sort of play on behind the scenes for movies. They also helped me to capture the post novel moments. You think you'll never forget, but you do. :-)

thanks for stopping by!

Charlotte - LOL! thanks for the kind words! :-)

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