Paula is offering to two randomly chosen commenters either a print or ebook edition of her novel BEST FORGOTTEN. The winner will be announced here on Friday, August 9th, between 4-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!
Here's an excerpt of Paula's BEST FORGOTTEN for you to enjoy:
Questions for PaulaAs an author of “Australian-based Christian fiction” what do you strive to achieve as the common denominator for all readers to experience and enjoy?
I love to highlight the beauty and bounty of my country and its people. We have such a lot going for us. We are blessed to live in a wide, warm land full of contrast and colour, yet sometimes we feel removed from the rest of the world in a sense that is more than geographical. This is partly because of our location, so far south on the globe, and perhaps partly because we were so recently settled as a nation in the mid nineteenth century. We sometimes get the feeling the rest of the world may not be clued-up about what we’re all about down here, yet based on some lovely feedback from international readers of my books I sense an interest and fascination with Australia. My books serve a two-fold purpose. They reveal our culture to the rest of the world in a fun way, and also give local readers something familiar to settle down with when we feel like it. Australian stories have their own distinctive flavour.
Many of us are descended from brave, resilient settlers who left everything they knew to set up new lives in a strange, harsh land at the bottom of the world. I like the sparks of boldness and forbearance still evident in many of us who are their descendents, mixed with our own style of humour. I like that to come out in my writing.
Our unique flora and fauna are wonderful and often handy to weave into my plots. Some international readers have mentioned my ‘Australianisms’ which they think are interesting and quaint. I like them to come out in my stories too, even though they are usually unintentional. And I’m delighted that the increasing availability of eBooks has helped to lessen that gap between Australians and the rest of the world. I hope it continues.
Would you like to highlight your Fiction Writer’s Creed?
One day, I started to ponder the purpose of my occupation. What is the function of the fiction that I and other authors write? We like to believe there is more to our writing than just creating satisfying stories. Of course we want to take readers through the gamut of emotions, but it’s not all for the sake of making them laugh and cry. I sensed that the emotional response is a means rather than an end in itself, but couldn’t quite pinpoint what my work was leading to.
I was reading Matthew 13 in The Message Bible, and suddenly it was all clear to me. The purpose of our fiction is all tied in with the reason Jesus gave His followers when they asked why He liked to tell so many parables. His motivation is the same as ours.
It’s to create readiness, nudge people toward receptive insight, create fertile ground for readers to have ‘a-ha’ moments of their own. I understood that my novel writing is a bit like preparing a garden bed for magnificent flowers to bloom.
I wondered if other writers had come to the same conclusion. Writing is an engrossing, time-consuming job with many challenges, and we often sacrifice more lucrative occupations to pursue it. I wanted some sort of creed to hang above my desk, to encourage me to keep my chin up and stick to it. I was surprised when I couldn’t find one so I made up my own. It turned out to be a list of eight features, and you are all very welcome to share it if you’d like a creed too.
Which of your characters are you most like? And which would you never want to be like?
Even though I’m sure I put bits of myself into all of my main characters, I think I have a special spot in my heart for my young men. It’s always been an enjoyable challenge for me to get my head inside a masculine mindset, so I’m always really pleased when I carry it off to my own satisfaction.
I am similar to Blake Quinlan, a main character of “Picking up the Pieces” for his uncertainty and lack of confidence in expressing himself. That attribute is possibly why I started writing in the first place.
I also feel I’m like Courtney Lockwood, the hero of “Best Forgotten” who wakes up with total amnesia. As he searches for his old identity, he initially gets a picture of himself as someone he doesn’t like at all. Eventually he comes to sympathise with his old self, a young man who was vulnerable and reactive to outside feedback and disapproval. He learns that he used to take other people’s perceptions of him on board and let these form his self image. Like Courtney, I was a bit like that and needed to learn about my identity as a child of God, and that I didn’t have to let other people’s perceptions of me shape my own.The character I’d least like to be like may come as a surprise. I’ve written many misguided and villainous characters but the one who stood out as someone I’d least like to be is an old lady from “The Risky Way Home”, one of my earliest novels. I chose her because I can see how easy it may be for any one of us to follow a similar path.
Henrietta Bowman, a sour, elderly lady, is about to die. Although she never realises it, the reader may sense that her miserable life was rooted in her attitude. She’d had enough blessings to make her happy and content, but chose to look past them and focus on the resentment and self-pity, which she was also arguably within her rights to claim. Focusing on the cruel twists of life that upset her created a self-fulfilling prophecy. It became true that her whole life had been sad and unfulfilled, but equally true that others who had suffered similar setbacks called themselves joyful and blessed. Our lives are as happy as we choose to emphasise.
Everyone has a story: Learn of author Paula Vince’s faith-inspired fiction set in Australia. (Tweet This)
Paula Vince: "… a story has…power to touch readers' hearts in ways other genres do not” (Tweet This)
Award wining author Paula Vince teaches about: Fiction Writer’s Creed. (Tweet This)
Win inspirational author Paula Vince’s novel BEST FORGOTTEN. (Tweet This)
For over ten years, Paula's aim has been to provide quality faith-inspired fiction set in Australia. Her quest started way back when, as a Uni student, she discovered the writing of American Christian fiction authors. Her passion is to provide the same enjoyable reads highlighting her own country.
After years of plodding on with minimal return, as Australian-based Christian fiction was regarded as something of an oddity, Paula's efforts are beginning to bear fruit, at last. Her novel, "Picking up the Pieces" won the religious fiction section of the 2011 International Book Awards.
Her novel, "Best Forgotten" was the winner of the 2011 CALEB Award in the fiction category, and also recognized as the best overall entry for the year, chosen over memoirs, devotionals and general fiction.
She is delighted that her books are now available for international readers too.
Connect with Paula at:
Goodreads Author Page