Interview with Paula Wynne

Paula Wynne is an award-winning entrepreneur who day-dreams up new plots while walking through the Andalusian countryside with her springer spaniel. The Grotto’s Secret is her début novel after two best-selling business books, Create A Successful Website and Pimp My Site.

At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?

My life-long dream to be a novelist has come true thirty-five years after I first decided I would be a novelist. Harbouring a near-obsessive love of learning the craft of writing, I’ve been scribbling down the stories in my head ever since I can remember. At the age of eighteen I used my first South African pay-check from the Natal Mercury to buy a long distance writing course. Many years later I received an ‘Honourable Mention’ in the 75th Annual Writers Digest Writing Competition for two novels (written and not yet published), which inspired me to continue writing.

What inspired The Grotto’s Secret?

Moving to Spain fulfilled a lifelong dream to write novels. During the hunt for a new home in rural Andalusia, my husband and I found a tranquil home with stunning views down the Valle del Guadalhorce towards Malaga and Marbella.

Apart from a white-washed village in the far distance, the valley is lush with green wheat fields and rolling hills, shadowed by layer upon layer of distant mountains. The magnificent Sierra del Torcal towers over the back of the house. Paula’s first sight of the Guadalhorce Valley gave birth to the fictional location of The Grotto’s Secret. As I gazed at the stunning view, a medieval character just popped into my head and I could see her in that landscape. She was so real and had a story to tell.

Unusual writing habits

I like to write alone with peace and tranquillity and thought I couldn’t write any other way, but during a recent building renovation I discovered I could write anywhere and with banging and bashing going on around me.
What is your writing process? I usually give Dexter a long walk on the country tracks around my house in Andalusia which lets my mind go freely into any areas of my book that are bothering me. I get home, eat breakfast with my hubby on our patio overlooking the most stunning view and then I settle down to a day of inspired writing.

Do you listen or talk to your characters?

Oh, YES! My husband, Ken, calls them the ‘squatters in my head’. I get him involved too by suggesting he gives me quirks or bits of dialogue a character can say and do. He enjoys being involved with my ‘squatters’.

How did you decide how to publish your books?

I wanted to write the stories in my heart and head not want someone else wanted me to write. And talking to so many Indie Authors I started to realise I could publish my own books. My first novel, The Grotto’s Secret is a conspiracy thriller with a historical mystery twist but readers have reviewed it as ‘Historical, thriller, mystery, suspense, romance, conspiracy’. Some readers have said it contains bits of all these genres.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?

The sky is the limit. Indie publishing has given so many authors a chance to get noticed where traditional publishers wouldn’t. In saying that I do think Indie Authors must still go through the rigorous processes like numerous editing passes to produce the best book they can possibly give to a reader.

What authors/books have influenced you?

So many it is hard to even know where to begin! I love the old classical authors and started out reading Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. They probably gave me a taste for adventure and thrilling mystery. Over the years I have read different genres but as I love reading thrillers and action adventure, I started writing in that genre.

What are you working on now?

The follow-up books to The Grotto’s Secret: The Sacred Symbol & The Lunar Legacy with another two in the series being plotted and planned. So many books and so little time!

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Advice for new authors

Never, never give up your quest to be an author. Read books in your genre to learn from the greats and devour as many writing books as you can. New writers may find my FREE book a help:

What is the best advice you have received?

To keep writing. Many agents told me this even though they rejected my books. I also won a ‘Honourable Mention’ in the Writers Digest Writing Competition many years ago and they also said to keep writing. That really inspired me to continue my dream to be a novelist.

What are you reading now?

I’v3 just finished a book by Graham Brown and another by Boyd Morrison. I have Steve Berry, Scott Mariani, Simon Toyne, James Rollins, JF Penn and Dean Crawford all waiting to be read! Phew … who has time to write when there is so much great reading to be done.

What is your all-time favourite book?

The Power of One by Bryce Courtney stands out amongst a pile of best ever books. Many books by Dean Koonz and Scott Mariani and Glenn Cooper. I read and re-read most of Wilbur Smith, but wouldn’t include his latest books as they’re just not him. And Simon Toyne’s Sanctus will not allow me to sleep on that desert island! If I could take my childhood favourites I would sneak in the entire Famous Five.