Interview with Paula Marais

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I could pick up a pen. Words have fascinated me my whole life. My first poem was published when I was eight and gradually my focus grew to short stories and now full-length fiction.
Describe your desk
My desk is not as neat as I would like it to be - I'm often juggling creativity and other work so papers tend to pile up. But I have an amazing view of Table Mountain, which changes every day - so inspiring. My office is on the upstairs level of our house and it's the only testosterone-free zone in the house. That's why my walls are burgundy with a decal of a tree and pink birds on the walls. I have WRITE in huge silver letters on the wall above one window and on my cupboards are pics of my current characters from A Fish Out of Water, which I hope to finish in May.
What do your fans mean to you?
I like the idea of others living my stories and interpreting them in their own way. In my book Shadow Self, I had many reactions from women who'd experienced postnatal depression and reacted to the descriptions of this - many men too were unaware how significant PND can be. In The Punishment, I really loved the way people connected with the setting and history - I always feel setting can be its own character. For Love and Wine, people have loved the escapism, and that means I've achieved what I wanted. So my fans are a validation but the relationship is also complex. One has to realise that not everyone is going to agree with or like your work; it's hard but it's a reality.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember the first complete novel. It was the first Famous Five by Enid Blyton. I was more impressed by my achievement (I learnt to read very young) than the actual story I think, but I still have the entire set of books: every Famous Five ever published. I've tried to read them with my boys. Unfortunately they seem so outdated now. Boring sandwiches and adventures that don't appear all that adventurous. Yet I enjoyed them at the time!
What are you working on next?
My novel A Fish Out of Water is partly set in Zimbabwe and partly in South Africa and tells the story of Gloria Hove, who takes on society in a very unique way! It should be finished in May 2016 and ready for editing after that.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Lionel Shriver, Anita Shreve, Patrick Conroy (such a BIG loss) and so many others. My main focus is on literary fiction, but I'm not afraid of a great beach read, thriller or mystery. I'd rather be reading something than not have anything to read.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have two boys, a passion for my writing, a Jack Russell who needs walking, a very busy husband and a love of travel. There is lots to do and see. Every day is much too short!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a passionate cook and entertainer. My husband is huge extrovert so we often have people round. I read about three books a week (audio as well as on my ereader and hard copies). I paint, but mostly in acrylics (like Helen from Love and Wine). I've been to almost 80 countries around the world - I love the exhileration of a new environment, different languages, beautiful landscapes and interesting cultures. As a family we love to hike, go to the beach, go on day trips out of Cape Town and around the peninsular. We love family time.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
It seems rather ad hoc. I'll often read a book someone has recommended, but often if something intrigues me I'll read it based on that even if I don't know anyone who is reading it. That doesn't particularly bother me. But like everybody, I download the samples. If these don't pique my interest I don't download the rest. Often the ebooks I buy are related to my research for my own novels.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have to say word-of-mouth, which unfortunately I can't control. But I have been on television a few times and on the radio. All marketing counts. I'm actively working on this at the moment, so would welcome readers' suggestions! They can also always reach me:
Facebook: paulajmarais
Twitter: paula_marais
Published 2016-04-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Shadow Self: No Mother is Perfect
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 99,040. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2016 by Logogog. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
An award-winning dark psychological novel of mental illness and murder set in suburban Cape Town. Thea Middleton finds herself behind bars for an unthinkable crime. As she, her husband Clay and oldest daughter Sanusha try to repair their shattered lives, their individual accounts form the pieces of a tragic puzzle that will haunt them forever.
Love and Wine
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 75,410. Language: English. Published: April 20, 2016 by Logogog. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A love triangle set in the winelands of South Africa. Artist Helen Shaw meets the De Villiers brothers and is torn between Jared’s tempestuous unpredictability and Max’s sensitivity and romance. But a secret lurks at Bourgogne and tragedy is only a harvest away.
The Punishment
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 87,290. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2016 by Logogog. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical, Fiction » Historical » General
A story of love, betrayal and passion set during the Second World War in France. Against all odds and despite the obvious danger, Cédonie Boineau and Kommandant Kurt Auer get caught up in a romance they find impossible to resist. And when the war is finally over and truths come to the light, Cédonie is left at the mercy of the town to face her punishment.