Monday, February 21, 2011

Pauline Holyoak Interview

Author Bio:… I grew in Southeast England, in a coal mining village my husband calls, “The place that time forgot.” It is nested between the notorious city of Canterbury and the medieval town of Dover. I came to Canada (as a nanny) when I was 21, in search of adventure and a new life. I live in Spruce Grove, Alberta with my sports crazy husband, adorable sheltie dog and cantankerous ginger cat. We have two grown children. They are the gems in my treasure chest.

[Anne] Welcome, Pauline.  Tell me, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

[Pauline] I’ve always been a writer. As far back as I can remember the pen and paper have been my faithful companions and story telling my forte. As a child I would sneak away from the mundane adult world, find a private retreat (usually behind the garden shed) and imagine. There in my own little sanctuary I'd conjure up all kinds of intriguing tales and colorful characters. In my teen years my journal became my confident, revealing all my hidden secrets, private fantasies and wild notions within its pages. Later I started to write poems, articles and short stories, and pondered the thought of becoming a writer. When I immigrated to Canada I buried my dreams under layers of real life clutter. I chose a safe and practical career in child care, married and raised a family. But my creative spirit kept trying to dig its way out. I was asked to write articles and editorials for our local church. I taught a story time class at the school, which lead me to writing a children's book. I wrote an article about my husbands' prestigious grandfather and sent it to our local newspaper. They printed it. I kept sending them articles, they kept printing them. I was surprised at the compliments I received from the editor and readers. It was evident to me then that I had excavated my creative spirit.

I decided to take a comprehensive writing course to improve my technique. With help from a proficient and supportive tutor, who told me I had a gift, I began to cultivate my skill. My articles started to sell and I received an assignment from a major Canadian magazine. I have spent the past few years working on my novel, Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge (a trilogy) and two children's books.

[Anne] Tell me about your latest book.

[Pauline] Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge…Is about a young girl who goes to visit her aunt at her quaint little cottage in England. She had waited all of her life to visit that enchanted land but it doesn’t take her long to realize that her fairytale kingdom has a sinister twist. One night in her attic bedroom she was confronted by an entity that haunts her for the rest of her stay and long after that. Later, at the age of twenty, she is to discover that this entity is someone she had known century’s ago. I have created a world into which my readers can escape and an atmosphere that will evoke their imagination, stir their emotions and engage their senses. My book contains elements of romance, mystery, humor, horror and sex.

[Anne] Sounds very interesting and I love the cover!  What inspired you to write this story?

[Pauline] Every summer, when I was a child, we would visit my aunt and uncle at their quaint little cottage on Salisbury Plain. It was called Scotland Lodge and was situated not far from the historical Stonehenge. My uncle worked as a farm hand for the local squire. My aunt tended the manor house. It was there as I roamed free, deep within the English countryside, that I experienced joy, enchantment and some very strange and frightening occurrences. It was like a fairytale kingdom with a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland (the old place still emanates a strange and eerie essence) and was lead by some mysterious force into concocting this story and writing this book. It is from my mystifying experiences at Scotland Lodge that this book has emerged

[Anne] Do you have anything new in the works?

[Pauline] I am working on the second book of my trilogy, Merryweather Lodge – The Malevolent Spirits.

[Anne] What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

[Pauline] I write long hand in my purple room, at my antique desk, under a large picture window. Then I type it into the cold inanimate piece of equipment I call my computer and edit as I go. Young people think this is weird, but the blank screen does not inspire me to write; the view outside my picture window does. I tend to compare my writing routine to my eating habits. Sometimes I graze, jotting down tasty morsels throughout the day. Other times I binge, feasting greedily, at my desk, for a long period of time, on something scrumptious, devouring every delicious word that comes to mind. Then, I find myself looking down at my work or my waistline and having to edit and revise.

[Anne] If you could be anyone of your characters, which one would you chose to be and why?

[Pauline] My protagonist’s aunt, Emy Fletcher. She is a lovely mix of my mother and grandmother. She is hard on the outside but all soft and mushy on the inside. She is resilient, tells it like it is, doesn’t give a darn what anyone thinks about her and has a heart of pure gold. Or maybe my protagonist. She gets to sleep with the gorgeous Jonathan McArthur, but she has to go through hell and back to keep him.

[Anne] Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

[Pauline] Southern Ireland, and I’d like a quaint little cottage in the country, please.

[Anne] You’ve just been informed that your latest release was a NY Times bestseller and Hollywood wants to turn it into a movie. What actors would you choose to play your main characters?

[Pauline] Woo-hoo…! Well, you never know. Kristen Steward of Twilight, for my protagonist. Robert Pattinson also of Twilight, for her lover. Judith Dench for Auntie Em.

[Anne] What type of books do you like to read when you’re not writing?

[Pauline] I read across genres. My favorite authors are, Rosamunde Pilcher, John Saul, Libba Bray, Judith Lennox, Dr. Wayne Dyer. My favorite book of all times is Anne of Green Gables.

[Anne] Name three things you can’t live without (excluding spouses and family because that’s a given).

[Pauline] My computer, my coffee percolator and chocolate!

[Anne] What advice would you give to any aspiring writers out there?

[Pauline] Sieve through the numerous bits of advice from so-called experts and well meaning people. We are all different; we all have our own way for deciphering information, our own idiosyncrasies, and different writing styles. What works for me might not work for you. So read and listen, keep what works for you and disregard the rest. Believe in yourself and your work. Perseverance, patience and bold determination are what most published authors have in common.

[Anne] Where can we find you on the web?


[Anne]Where can we purchase your books?

[Pauline] Locally at Cole, Audreys and Greenwood Books. Or you can contact me for an autographed copy.

[Anne] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[Pauline] I’d like to thank you, so very much for inviting me to your page, Anne. And ask your readers to visit me at my website or join me on facebook. View my video and read about my books and articles.


Cheryl Tardif said...

Awesome interview, Anne and Pauline! All the best in success to you both.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Divine Intervention

Pauline Holyoak said...

Thank you for stopping by Cheryl.

Anne Patrick said...

Hi Cheryl, glad you dropped by! Your books sound great. Best of success to you too!

Pauline, thanks again for the interview! I wish you many sales!

tina said...

Enjoyed reading your interview Pauline, I too think southern Ireland would be a lovely place to visit, to reaad re charge batteries and in your case write. your book Merryweather lodge was incredible.