Paula Houseman

Publisher info

I grew up in an episode of South Park on an endless loop.

Or so it seemed.

What felt like hard yakka at the time is now a fabulous cache of raw twaddle to draw on.

When I first realised that my early, quasi-fictional home environment had distorted my understanding of selfhood, I became curious about the concept of identity. As a graphic designer, I’d already been creating business ones for others through imagery.

But scratching the surface wasn’t enough for someone who asked a lot of questions. So, I went to university and, majoring in linguistics and sociology, I learned about the power of word usage to shape our identities and realities.

Still not enough, though.

I dug deep into the substratum until it felt like I was schlepping through a filthy ancient myth. Or an episode of South Park. It was like a homecoming.

Not a bad thing because I uncovered my muse, the butt-ugly, goddess of obscenity.

She, who embodies a holy kind of dirty, shows me the absurdity of the human condition, reminds me about the value of laughter, and is responsible for my dirty bazoo and the bawdiness in my books. My three Amazon #1 bestsellers (British satire and humour category) are part of the Ruth Roth series, but all are standalones. Book 1, a Readers’ Favorite Award winner, is the coming-of-age chick lit, Odyssey in a Teacup; Book 2, 2019 New Apple eBook Awards Humor Official Selection, is the romantic comedy Cupid F*cks Up (formerly known as Apoca[hot]lips); and Book 3, My Troyboy is a Twat, is also a romantic comedy. Book 4 is just around the corner.

Smashwords Interview

What is your writing process?
Where my writing is concerned, I don’t follow a step-by-step process. I’m not really a plotter; I’m more of a ‘pantser’—I fly by the seat of my pants. My creativity doesn’t want to be constrained by a pre-determined plan. And relying on instinct rather than logic makes the writing process mysterious and so much more interesting. And more real. I’m also interested in other writers’ techniques, and I learn a lot through reading; through paying attention to what I love in others’ writing—what makes me want to keep turning the pages? I also edit rigorously, but I follow novelist Zadie Smith’s advice: ‘The secret to editing your work is simple: you need to become its reader instead of its writer.’

I have awesome conversations with my characters! Most importantly, I feel when I write. If I’m crying while I’m writing a sad scene, or raging when my protagonist is locking horns with an obnoxious character, or getting turned on when I’m writing a sex scene (!), then I know that what I’m writing has depth and will resonate with the reader, because we relate through emotions, not thoughts.
What inspires you to write?
I grew up at a time when women and girls were taught to make ‘nice’, and the catchphrase was ‘Children should be seen and not heard’. That’s tough, especially when you’re a spirited child who thinks outside the square.

We need to be able to express who we are, all of us, not just our ‘niceness’. I used to express through art, but it wasn’t enough. I needed to find my voice—my many voices. And for me, the beauty of fiction writing is that I can do that through my characters because they represent the many aspects of the human psyche. I can give voice to the extremes of emotion without being shamed for it. That helps my journey, but I believe it also helps the reader’s because I’m writing from the soul, where writer and reader connect at the most basic level of humanness.

Extending on that, I have some big ideas that are outside mainstream thinking, and that have helped me through difficult times (and still do). And if they help me, they can help others.
Read more of this interview.

Books

My Troyboy is Twat (Book 3, Ruth Roth Series)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 82,610. Language: English. Published: January 10, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
‘Keep your mouth shut!’ This, from Ruth Roth, inspirational columnist for a women's magazine. It's not the best advice to give your new husband, but men don’t listen, do they? When he tells all, the fall-out is like a layover in hell. Horrid, and yet…tantalising. Who knew the underworld had so many subdivisions? But Ruth may be stuck in the horrid after another skeleton comes out of the closet!
Cupid F*cks Up (Book 2, Ruth Roth Series)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,940. Language: English. Published: January 9, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
Women's magazine columnist Ruth Roth’s first time with her man leaves her gasping. It has nothing to do with his prowess or the taboo-ness of the romance. And it’s not like she’s inexperienced (divorced and in her mid-forties, she has two teenage children). It’s her mother’s unexpected and unwelcome presence in the bedroom that has Ruth all bent out of shape!
Odyssey In A Teacup
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,400. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
A tut-tutting, big-breasted, modern-day gorgon; a humourless schoolmarm with an unfortunate name and freakishly long, yellow incisors (yeesh)—these are the kinds of people Ruth Roth regularly encounters. Add in daily dealings with an acerbic mother who squawks like a harpy, a father with a dodgy moral compass and a God complex, a bitchy mirror, and Ruth’s existence feels like a Greek tragicomedy.