Hi Pauline, thanks so much for visiting us here at Romaniac HQ. First things first: Tea or coffee? And we have some freshly baked yummy chocolate brownies, if you can force yourself… 😉
Hello Jan, thank you for having me here at your fabulous offices, so trendy! As for tea or coffee, any chance I could have green tea please? And I’ve skipped breakfast so I could overindulge in your scrummy chocolate brownies… mmm… they look too good to eat, but I’ll risk it!
Green tea, it is! And maybe a “small” glass of fizz later (just to celebrate your latest novel, of course…)
So exciting that you’ve recently published Storm Clouds Gathering. Can you give us a little teaser about the storyline?
Now I am going to warn you, there is nothing worse than asking me about my new book, but please tell me to shut up if I go on too much … Like most of the books I’ve written, it is filled with emotion that gets right to the heart. In my latest book, the storm clouds are gathering, silently and slowly, too far away to worry about. Or so it seems. But ignoring what is brewing will have dire consequences for the people caught up in the maelstrom. Shirley Burton is too busy cheating on her husband, having a laugh and looking for fun to alleviate the boredom of her childless marriage. Kathleen Mitchell is too wrapped up in running around after her beautiful family to worry about her health. Anne Simpson has two things on her mind: her forthcoming marriage to Paul Betham, who seems to want to control her, and her career, which she does not want to give up. The question is, can Shirley really expect to deceive her husband and get away with it? Can Kathleen hold it all together, and is Anne able to have the best of everything? As I said, I love to write with deep emotion and Storm Clouds Gathering is a story of human emotion, passion and heart-rending grief. Set against the backdrop of the mid-sixties, these three families will be tested to the limit, as betrayal, loss and love threaten to change their lives forever.
How long did it take you to write this book? Was there lots of research involved?
It took the usual time for me, around 10 months. What caused me a problem to publish a book in 2012 was that, I began to write another book and after 25,000 words, found I couldn’t go any further at that time, so I began Storm Clouds Gathering and then the words just flowed. Regarding research, I spoke to family members and I also drew on my own experience from that period of time. On top of this, I found a truly wonderful man via the internet who had helped me with answers about working in the woollen mills in the 1960s.
The cover is beautifully eye-catching. Do you choose your own designs, Pauline?
I work very closely with Cathy Helms from Avalon Graphics and I give Cathy ideas of what I am looking for. I also trawl through the photo directories online looking for pictures that will give me what I have in my head. Cathy then turns my thoughts into beautiful covers.
You live in super, sunny Lanzarote and we’ve loved hearing about your weekly book signings and readings. How did that all come about and how do you find the marketing side of writing, in general? Any little tips you can share with us?
Oh my, I’m no expert at giving tips for marketing, I just do what I hope is good for me to sell my books. Living here on our fabby little pebble in the ocean, I’ve got to know one or two holiday complex owners. This led to me going to chat with the tourists staying in these super places about my books. I take along with me professionally printed leaflets, bookmarks to hand out and, of course, my books to sign and sell. I love meeting the people and getting their feedback on my books. And to my utter surprise, they enjoy meeting an author!
What first sparked ‘the writer’ in you?
I’ve always been a writer. As a little girl I wrote poems and, once, a song. It was sung at one of our school assemblies when I was in junior school. Sadly the teacher named the song writer as Pauline… but it was the other Pauline in my class. At eleven years old, I was mortified they’d got the name wrong. I was also a writer for many years at work. I was a communications manager in the international oil industry, which I loved every minute of. These days, I enjoy writing fiction, though one could argue, I’ve always written fiction!
Tell us about your involvement in, and the subsequent success of, Indie Author site Famous Five Plus?
Oh you mean my little baby! I started FFP back at the end of October 2011. The idea was to offer Indie authors a platform to showcase and share their experiences and at the same time, support others in the knowledge they would be supported in return. That concept has not changed. FFP continues to grow and whilst it takes up far too much of my time, I believe it is worth it. There are some wonderful authors in FFP who just need to have enough exposure to really make it big.
What do you like to read when you’re relaxing, poolside?
I love reading, but relaxing, what is that? Laugh! I love murder mystery and thrillers, but in between being frightened to death with a likely stalker of someone intent on murder, I read a lot of indie author books too. I have a Kindle these days, as living on my pebble it is so much easier to download a great read instantly and there are some fab books out there.
If you could pass on just one piece of writerly advice, what would it be?
Just do it. Write and enjoy every minute. Get those words and ideas down, but when it is finished and you want to publish, please always talk to an editor – a publishing editor. Not only will he or she make your book shine like a diamond, but you will learn so much more too.
And in true Romaniac fashion, some quick-fire, fun questions for you:
Dream Dance Partner?
Pasha Kovalev from Strictly.
Rolls Royce or Ferrari?
Champagne or Cocktails?
What a question, champagne… love it!
Murder Mystery Weekend or Paintballing?
Murder mystery – no contest!
Favourite place in the UK?
Now that is tough as I’ve lived in several different places and I’ve loved them all, so sorry can’t choose an answer to this one.
Sarong or Shorts?
As I spend every day in shorts, it has to be shorts, but not the baggy sort.
Paella or Tapas?
Mmm… another toughy. I love both. Sorry, can’t choose on this one.
Three words that best describe Pauline Barclay?
Energetic, optimistic and smiley.
It’s been fabulous chatting with you, Pauline. Best of Romaniac luck with Storm Clouds Gathering.
Whoa! Thanks for having me and letting me eat most of the scrummy chocolate brownies. Along with the champagne, they were simply delicious. A huge thanks also for allowing me to ramble and for making me feel so welcome. It’s been wonderful. Have a fab day and please leave the plate and glasses. I’ll wash up, it’s the least I can do!
Follow Pauline on Twitter: @paulinembarclay
See the trailer for Storm Clouds Gathering… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCwnvAK4DxA