Interview with Joey Paul

What are you working on next?
I'm working on my nineteenth and twentieth books right now.
Nineteen is the third of a trilogy about a dystopian world where people are sent off to sleep on the day after their sixtieth birthdays. The main character, Lock, discovers someone is ageing people down to give them a longer life, while ageing others up to take their place. The trilogy plays out with Lock and other characters working to change the system.
My twentieth book is the second in my new series - Cramping Chronicles - which is about a teen girl who has the ability to feel other people's emotional and physical pain. She also sometimes gets "film clips" that show her the cause the pain. Jessie is fifteen and newly chronically ill. The first book dealt with learning how to deal with her empath abilities and the second book follows her as she feels a stranger's pain, and wants to stop the worst from happening.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up - and still live - in the south-west of the UK. I lived most of my childhood in a richer part of town than I do now. My parents separated when I was thirteen and eventually as I got older (and sicker) I moved out on my own and lived with my best friend of many many years. We all now live in a historic part of town and it has inspired me to write a book about the area and the history of it. It has inspired my writing because I feel like when I write, unless otherwise mentioned, the town used is based off the town I live in. There are times when it's come in handy to have lived all over town because it means I know the places that only someone who has lived pretty much everywhere in the town would know about.
Describe your desk
My desk is a corner one from Ikea. It has my computer monitor in the middle, with various odds and ends to either side including a money change jar, a desk vacuum, character notes for the Dying Thoughts series as there are so many they require a notecard box. I also have some sharpies in a pencil case, ready to sign things and mugs that are broken and used as pen and pencil holders. I have a wireless keyboard and mouse within reach and on the left of my actual desk there are the two folders for the books I'm working on right now. I also have a lamp that is shaped like a robot - his head lights up! - and responds to noise.
Also on the left that are tilted shelves which in order from bottom to top have: cross stitch in progress; my inbox with post that needs keeping and/or filing; envelopes with address labels; geocaching puzzles that need solving; and lastly a cross stitch box made from a book that I got for my birthday this year. Just below that is a bunch of stuff like my external hard drive, a purple box that I keep unfinished cross-stitch patterns in and random cables and leads.
To the right is a cubby hole that has some semblance of order. Meds, purse, hair brush and all that other stuff that needs a place to live and seems to actually have one. Above that is a shelf that has other stuffed bears as well as my USB sticks and Nano bugs that keep me entertained when I'm stuck (or just bored) with writing. On the right is a whiteboard that is also magnetic. On there are random drawings from my god-daughter, as well as stuff I need to keep close, like the college time-table for Tara and her friends - which was hell working out! - as I may not write about the lessons in detail, but I need to know who is where and when for day to day stuff. I used it a lot in book six, but am finding it less needed in book seven. I imagine it will play a big part in book eight though!
Along the top of my desk are bars that act as bookends. I have printer paper, book research, my bookmarks and business cards as well as lots of stuff monkeys and other ornaments. There is a shelf above my computer that has random items like photos, dictionary, thesaurus and such.
I sit at my desk usually in my manual chair and everything is in good reach. It's basically organised chaos!
When did you first start writing?
I started seriously writing when I was nineteen. I had just been diagnosed with M.E (CFS in the US) and Fibromyalgia. With both of those conditions making my life hell, along with the rare form of asthma that I have. I had been told that I would probably never work again. I began by taking a story that I'd written at thirteen and tore it apart piece by piece and then put it back together and kept doing that until I felt it was finally done. From there I wrote another book, and another and before long, it became something I did.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Due to my health conditions, I am less able to deal with too much stress and pressure. I was given a traditional publishing contract when I was twenty-two, but I ended up being dropped when I couldn't keep up with the deadlines. I decided then, after being approached about creating my own label, to go for that. It was never about making millions for me, it was more the achievement of having something I wrote in print and on other people's bookshelves. I wanted to achieve something when everything else in my life had changed dramatically. That was 2006 and I haven't looked back since.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Now that I have my honours degree, I spend the majority of my time writing or doing other book related work. If I'm not writing then I'll either be reading, a massive hobby of mine, doing some cross stitch, which I find relaxes me and passes the time well or I'll be out and about in my electric wheelchair looking for tupperware in the woods using a GPS unit, otherwise known as Geocaching. I love doing that as it gets me out and about and allows me to see more of the town where I live and other places. So far we've been doing it for a year and have found over a hundred! Very good fun!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle Fire, and have always used either the Kindle app on Android or the Kindle range of hardware. In the past I have used iTunes when I had a different phone, but I prefer the Kindle range. So many books to read, such little time to explore and read them.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've found that promotions such as coupons and free books for a few days have worked wonders. I also have a lot of "promotional" Facebook pages that I can fall back on to get my name out there for people to discover and try my books. I have used guest blogging posts, as well as interviews and reviews on book blogs with a high traffic and although I am nowhere near well known yet, I'm getting there.
What do you read for pleasure?
I like to read both young adult and adult crime/mystery books. I'm also fond of "Chick Lit" and the occasional romance. I have embraced the electronic age and now have most of my books on my Kindle. The authors I like to read most are Harlan Coben, Sue Grafton, Kathy Reichs and Karin Slaughter, Sophie Kinsella and Jill Mansell. I love to read, it's where my love of writing comes from. I like to be able to enter a whole new world that the author has created and just explore along with the characters.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Oh, there are so very many! I love the start, the getting to know the characters that you've created. I love the story, the creating. The leading the reader down this path and showing them the answers, piece by piece. I mostly write crime and mystery young adult books, so for me it's about exploring the plot, looking for clues that sometimes I didn't even realise were there. I adore the ending and the rush you get from that and I love the feeling of melancholy that happens just afterwards when you realise you've said goodbye to those characters and you've done your best to tell their story. I just love making new worlds and characters and starting again over and over.
What is your writing process?
My process is long and drawn out. Firstly I like to plan, plan some more and plan just a little bit more to be on the safe side. I make a chapter plan, I make character notes, I do a bunch of research and go over every little thing that I might need to know. Once I'm ready to start writing, I go through another process - the one of avoiding the shiny things on the internet and actually doing some work!
I usually am working on two books at the same time and the idea is simple. I write two chapters of one, then switch and write two chapters of the next one. I've been doing it this way since around 2007 and it works for me. I get books written quicker, but I don't feel like I'm skimping on time spent whilst creating them. I only usually release one book a year so that means that I have the backlog to work from in the case of me falling sick and not being able to write for a while.
Bottom line, my writing process is complicated and full of notes, plans and ideas that don't always happen!
How do you approach cover design?
I may be somewhat talented in the written word, but I can't draw for bumpkis. I am very lucky that my best friend, carer and housemate is a talented artist. She and I have a deal where we work together to create my cover designs. She's actually in the process of redoing the earlier covers as we've come up with better ways to represent what happens in the books. I usually have some idea about what I want the front cover to show. Sometimes it's the main character(s) and sometimes it's just symbolic of the story. Whilst I usually get some idea of what I want, I also know well enough to defer to her at times because she has some of the best ideas! She then spends months working on drawing and designing the cover and I usually get to see it along the way.
Published 2017-07-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Walk A Mile
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 121,050. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective
It’s the year 2050 and it’s possible for people to literally walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Enter Hetti, eighteen, and fresh out of training college, joining the police force alongside her best friend Layla. She’s excited about finally getting to do some practical work after spending so long talking about it in college. Except her first cases are throwing up a few confusing signs.
Dying Thoughts - Sixth Change
Series: Dying Thoughts. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 126,340. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal
Tara’s life is full of change. Her education, her friends, even her dad has changed. She’s struggling to find her feet after the events of the last few months. She’s at college, her Dad’s a pop star again and she’s finally coming to terms with her gift. Her new friends are being attacked, someone is targeting young women and Tara is going to find them out and stop them.
It's Not Always Rainbows
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 121,700. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Gay & Lesbian
The LGBTQ rainbow covers people from all walks of life. Catherine and her friends all have to struggle for acceptance in their own lives. Parents, friends, teachers, pretty much everyone seems to have their opinion on how they should live. So when people from that community start getting attacked and then murdered, Catherine feels she has to do something to stop it.
Dying Thoughts - Fifth Secret
Series: Dying Thoughts. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 101,940. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal
Tara has an admirer, someone who thinks the world revolves around her. The problem is, they won’t reveal their identity and the notes they’re sending her are getting weirder and creepier. Then there’s the fact that she thinks she’s being watched. And the notes seem to be coming from someone she knows. Now she’s getting scared. Can she find out who they are?
Destination: Unknown
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 102,020. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal
Harriet has a complicated life. She cares for her chronically ill Mum, while trying to juggle school and a social life. She’s tired, overworked and underpaid. Yet, one day she sees what she thinks is a ghost, but ghosts don’t exist do they? And they especially don’t help you travel in time, right? Now Harriet has a murder to solve, without being caught.
Dying Thoughts - Fourth Week
Series: Dying Thoughts. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 88,570. Language: British English. Published: July 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal
Tara has a gift that allows her to see the last moments of someone’s life when she touches something that belonged to them. She’s finally close to finishing school, but then disaster strikes when Kaolin is kidnapped. Can Tara find her friend in time? Will her gift be able to save her friend before it’s too late? What’s the point in having a gift that won’t even help save the ones you love?
Waiting On You
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 78,680. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Drama
Angelina and Zack couldn’t be anymore different; one lives in apparent riches and the other in poverty. They meet online and a friendship blooms, but then things in Angelina’s life take a turn for the worst and she finds herself turning to the only person she thinks loves her – Zack. With everything against them, can Zack and Angelina cross the distance to change her life before it's too late?
Dying Thoughts - Third Wish
Series: Dying Thoughts, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 88,660. Language: English. Published: July 16, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Drama
Join Tara and Kaolin in the third book in the Dying Thoughts Series. It’s finally summer and all Tara Leverton plans to do is spend the time sunbathing, hanging out with Kaolin and doing as little as possible. Her gift has kept her busy and now is the chance for some serious down time before her final year at school.
Lynne & Hope
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 69,720. Language: English. Published: July 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Family
Lynne and Hope are sisters – they share parents, living space, but that’s pretty much it. Until one day when Lynne has to run and rely on the sister she hates to save her. If Hope fails, Lynne’s going to jail and she can kiss her perfect job goodbye, but if she succeeds will Lynne be able to swallow her pride and see Hope for who she really is?
Dying Thoughts - Second Sight
Series: Dying Thoughts, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 69,130. Language: English. Published: November 22, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Drama, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Social Issues
Tara Leverton has a ‘gift’. Up until recently it has been kept a secret from everyone. Things have certainly changed. For one, Tara has a best friend, Kaolin. For another, Kaolin, her dad and the police know about her ‘gift’. She’s got the chance to help them solve murders – actually make a difference, one that doesn’t involve doing homework on time.
The Friendship Triangle
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 38,000. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Family, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Did you ever think that running away could solve things? Sometimes the world throws so much at you, escape seems like the only option. Sarah, Chloe and Charlotte thought it was. They are about to discover that problems follow you and that sometimes there is more to a friendship that it first seems.
Dying Thoughts - First Touch
Series: Dying Thoughts, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 50,860. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Social Issues
Ever had a secret? Something you can’t tell anyone in case they think you’re crazy. Tara does – she sees the last moments of people’s lives when she touches something that belongs to them. Kaolin does – she doesn’t want anyone to know the truth about what happened to her father. Now they’re both in trouble because secrets never stay quite as secret as we wish they would.
Blackout
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 49,860. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Social Issues
Imagine having everything you ever wanted. A perfect family, a perfect boyfriend, perfect friends – the whole group that only exists because of you! Then imagine waking up one morning and discovering you don’t have any of that. It was a dream…a dream you had in a coma that was supposedly brought on by drugs. Imagine having to start again at school, desperately trying to fit in and prove that th