Interview with Paul Pilkington

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing seriously back in 1999. This was a comedy about four friends who have a somewhat traumatic time on holiday. Those friends later starred in Rob-a-Job, my full length comedy novel. Later I began to write suspense mysteries, but I still have a soft spot for those first comedies.
What is your writing process?
I tend to write in one hour blocks, either before or after work. If I'm on a roll, I can do 1000 words in that time. I like to write in public places, such as cafes, or libraries, where there is "white noise" but nothing too distracting!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember a particular first story, but I do remember reading novels such as The Hobbit, and being inspired to write from that. Similarly, when I was older, suspense mysteries I read encouraged me to give writing a go.
How do you approach cover design?
All my covers are professionally designed by a lovely lady called Jeanine Henning. I think it's really important to have a strong cover - one that not only tells you something about the novel, but also one that says something about the author "brand". I feel that my covers do convey my brand well, and lots of people have commented that they like them.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
That's a difficult one. Five that come to mind are; The Hobbit, The Big Picture, Tell No One, The Gunslinger (Dark Tower 1), and, err, all of the Famous Five books! I'll throw in a sixth - Brighton Rock.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love to read suspense mysteries. But I also enjoy comedy, and non-fiction.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle and a Nook.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Definitely the first book free strategy. My book The One You Love has been downloaded over 2.5 million times across all platforms, and off the back of that, I have sold nearly 200,000 copies of my other novels. It's a great way for readers to try an unknown author - and a very honest way of an author to promote themselves. If they like what they read, then some people will pay for more.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in North West England, Lancashire. I'm not sure if this influenced my writing, but my education certainly did. I always loved English at school and college, and loved creative writing.
Describe your desk
More messy than I would like!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The One You Trust is the final book in the Emma Holden suspense mystery trilogy. It brings together a number of threads that run through the series. It's available for pre-order in the USA and Canada, and will be released on 12 December. In the UK and Commonwealth it will be published by Hodder and Stoughton, in what is my first traditional deal.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love the control that you have, and enjoy being in charge of all parts of the process - writing, editing, cover design, pricing, marketing. I also love the relationships with the readers, and also companies such as smashwords, Amazon, and Apple.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been extremely helpful in distributing my books very efficiently across a range of stores, and also helping authors to promote themselves. I've featured on the Breakout Books promotion on the iBookstore, which has been really great. Smashwords was also really helpful in sorting out the US tax side of things.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the act of creation - being drawn in to the world that you are creating. Ultimately if you can't be taken in by that world yourself, then why expect any other readers to be affected by your writing?
What do your fans mean to you?
My readers mean a lot to me. I always reply to messages, and I feel that it's very important to engage with people who have not only paid for your work, but have also taken the trouble to get in touch. It's the least I can do.
What are you working on next?
I've got a couple of ideas for suspense mysteries to come in 2014, but I've not yet decided which to start with first.
Who are your favorite authors?
I like Douglas Kennedy, Harlan Coben, Linwood Barclay...
You've signed a UK book deal for the Emma Holden trilogy; do you still consider yourself an indie author?
I do. But I think the distinction between an "indie" author and an author who is published through a publishing house is fast becoming a thing of the past. The truth is that all authors can now be much more independent in terms of what, where, and when they publish. Smashwords and others have changed the landscape - now you can self-publish a novel and within a day, it might be read by someone on a tablet or ereader on the other side of the world. I believe that in the near future, many more authors will both self-publish and be publishing through the traditional route. Both have their advantages, and depending on the project, one or the other may be preferable. It's a fantastic time to be a writer.
Can you give us any clues about The One You Trust, the third Emma Holden book?
I don't want to spoil it, but there are some surprises about the friends that hopefully will be unexpected for readers! I can't say any more than that... ;)
Which book are you most proud of?
I'd have to cheat, and say the three novels that make up the Emma Holden trilogy. Those books mean a lot to me, and have obviously resulted in my success with self-publishing. However, I am really proud of my comedy, Rob-a-Job, as this was my first full-length novel - the sense of achievement at writing 112,000 words was considerable! And just proving how hard it is to pick, I'm really proud of Someone to Save You, as in my opinion, it's the most tightly plotted of my novels and was a real challenge to put together.
Published 2013-10-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Inside The Bubble: a short story
Price: Free! Words: 2,760. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
(4.00 from 1 review)
Dr. John Laman is the inventor of The Bubble, the most sophisticated criminal rehabilitation technology ever invented. Never, in his wildest nightmares, did he dream he would be its first prisoner. Inside The Bubble is a short story of 3000 words, from the author of the bestselling Emma Holden suspense mystery trilogy and standalone mystery, Someone to Save You.
The One: The Complete Emma Holden Suspense Mystery Trilogy
Series: Emma Holden suspense mystery trilogy. Price: $5.49 USD. Words: 210,480. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
The gripping, chart-topping romantic suspense mystery trilogy. Now available in a single volume at a special low price. This volume includes all three books in the trilogy: The One You Love, The One You Fear, and The One You Trust. Packed with twists, turns, and cliff-hangers, the fast-paced trilogy has topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.