Saturday 25 February 2012

Facebook Page for Joey Paul

If you like Joey's books, you can now "like" this page on Facebook and spread the word of her books!

Feel free to share as well as like!

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Review: Dying Thoughts - Second Sight

Dying Thoughts: Second Sight, featuring the return of Tara and her best friend Kaolin is not a book to be missed. The style and prose of the book merges with a snappy dialogue to create a storyline that is both intense and believable. Moving the reader from tears to laughter to anger in the space of a few paragraphs, Joey Paul’s writing is riveting and this book is an excellent example of a true teenage thriller.

The storyline moves along at a pleasant pace; with both Tara’s school life and work with the police not balancing out quite as much as she would wish, you find yourself siding with the heroine in her frustration when teachers and ‘fellow-pupils’ such as Jody (who, I must agree with Tara, is the anti-Christ) stir up trouble and place obstacles in the way of Tara’s efforts to solve another murder.

As ever, the book revolves around death and Tara’s ability to see people’s dying moments by touching objects belonging to the person. The reader finds themselves at times shaken by some of the darker moments of the story, which seems takes Tara’s gift to a new level, with even more emotional impact than the first book.

The profound effect of Tara’s gift on her life becomes clearer in this book; and with the introduction of a new character Cassie, the secrecy of her gift and her work with the police becomes key.

With characters that you can believe are real and with a plot that keeps you on your toes, Dying Thoughts: Second Sight is an incredible read and I’d recommend it to everyone.


Review: The Friendship Triangle

What I liked about the friendship triangle: It is about three girls who are like me and they have an adventure running away together because of all their problems. It is very exciting but sad in places but I still liked it lots.

My favourite character: I liked Char because she lost her little sister and was really sad about it and then found out her dad wasn’t her dad and her mum was lying but still managed to be a good friend.

Best bit: When Chloe, Sarah and Char all have the same dream. I liked this bit because it was a bit magic and showed that they were great friends. I also liked that part where they meet Maria and she makes their wishes happen.

Worst bit: When Chloe gets run over. I didn’t like this bit because I thought she was dead.

Why other people should read it: because it is about friends like everyone has and will make you appreciate your friends more. Plus it has lots of problems but they sort out in the end.

Review - Dying Thoughts - First Touch

When I first picked up “Dying thoughts – First Touch” I thought I was going to be reading and angst-ridden depressing story from the ideas the title had given me. I couldn’t have been more wrong, however as I found my reading experience fun and uplifting.

The main character Tara is captivating in herself; brilliantly sarcastic and witty her amusing narrative uplifts the whole novel, cracking well-placed jokes and quips to relieve tension throughout. The reader can often identify with her large collection of problems, from being an outcast, being forced into the company of the “popular” people that you hate and having to keep secrets from the people you hate but in contrast she also suffers many problems that the readers have not been through, such as Tara’s unique gift – to see the last moments of the deceased.

The other main character Kaolin may not be as instantly attractive to the reader as Tara but eventually I became very attached to her also. Together, Tara and Kaolin form a brilliant double-act whose antics kept me hooked right until the end.

The plot to “Dying thoughts-First Touch” begins at a slow pace, introducing us to Tara as she struggles with her gift but soon a twist sends the story hurtling forward and soon making this book completely impossible to put down.

Although the book is aimed at younger teenagers, I think it will be enjoyed by people of many ages. Sure to raise some smiles and maybe a few tears as well, this book is completely unmissable!

Review - Blackout

Tally Jenkins is a 15 year old whose life is just perfect. She’s popular, has lots of friends and a boyfriends and she has a family everyone dreams about. Only this time you have to take the word dream literally. It turns out Tally’s perfect life was only a dream she made up while she was in a drugs coma. Tally’s real life is nothing like she thought it was: she isn’t popular, she doesn’t have a boyfriend and her parents are not longer the same cool and nice people she dreamt about. Tally tries to adjust to this new life, but she won’t rest until she found out what happened exactly. Together with her friend Lisa she tries to make it all clear.

The reason why I like the book so much is because the themes used are so recognisable. Who isn’t familiar with the gap between the popular group and the unpopular people at school? Who doesn’t want to belong to the cool group? What teenager never has a fight with his/her parents? And doesn’t everyone like to be believed and have a friend you can trust?

JP describes it all in ‘Blackout’. She puts both emotional and happy touches in the book, as well as funny notes. The sarcasm and irony are genius and make you laugh each time again. There’s an excellent build up of the tension, followed by a surprising ending. The clues of the solution are given away step by step in the story, that way you can try to find an answer to all Tally’s questions, and maybe you find out what’s happened sooner then Tally.

Blackout is a book filled with emotions. It’s about friendship, trust and hate. Mix that with some good tension and you have a book you don’t want to put down once you’ve started reading.

Review - Blackout

When you first pick up “Blackout” by Joey Paul, your immediate reaction is to be insanely jealous of the main character featuring, Tally. She has it all – friends, family, popularity, everything the normal everyday girl or boy craves. She’s going places, meeting people… and then suddenly it’s all thrown into a disarray and you’re suddenly grateful that you’re not mixed up in this mess which has become her life. However you are drawn into the story by the array of characters and the aura of mystery - what happened to Tally before she went into a coma?

The twisting and turning story line does just what it says on the tin – twists your opinion about each individual character and where they stand with Tally and turning you against them one by one as you suspect they are up to Something. As her memories slowly return you begin piecing it all together along with Tally who remains as thrown as you will – and no one yet has guessed the villain of the tale.

Tally represents thousands of school children across the globe – the outcasts, the ignored, the people who never fitted in. The fact that you are able to associate with her this way makes the book that much more interesting to read and it is a very literal Can Not Put It Down book, especially towards the end where the suspense really begins to build!

The fact this book features a character who suffers Brittle Asthma also makes it an incredible read – raising awareness about the Asthma and writing a thrilling story at the same time? A commendable achievement!

Overall, Blackout has definitely been one of my favourite reads of recent years. It’s gripping, entertaining, heart rending and a fabulous read!

-Laura, aged 14

Blackout - Radio Interview Transcript

[Intro- Katie/Jess]

[Possible- get a male to extract from blurb]“Imagine having everything you ever wanted. A perfect family, a perfect boyfriend, perfect friends- the whole group that exists because of you. Then imagine waking up one morning and discovering you don’t have any of that.” – That’s exactly what happened to Tally in new author, Joey Paul’s debut book, Blackout. Released on August 10th. We caught up with Joey a few weeks ago to ask her on her views of school, the book and her favourite biscuit.

[Greeting, hello ETC}

[Katie/Jess] Lets start off with an intro, Joey, tell the listeners of Well In FM, who Joey Paul is.
I’m Joey, I’m 23, I like Busted, the unappreciated V, reading…lots…my god daughter Darla…monkeys…and of course, writing!

[Katie/Jess] When did you start making writing a career & why?
I started writing properly when I was nineteen, I’d started my first book when I was thirteen, but I didn’t have the time to actually finish it when I was nineteen – Blackout was the second book I wrote. I had the time then because I’d been retired from my job.

[Katie/Jess] Why did you retire so young?
I was diagnosed with a condition called M.E, as well as another condition called Fibromyaglia. Those together with a lung condition called ‘Brittle Asthma’ it meant that I couldn’t work anymore, at least not to the level required in my job, so they sent me off to a doctor and ended up retiring me on medical grounds.

[Katie/Jess] You share illnesses with the character Lisa from the book, is Brittle Asthma a common disease?
Not at all, it affects only 1500 people in the UK.

[Katie/Jess] What was it like being a teenager with Brittle Asthma?
It was hard, I spent most of year eight in and out of hospital, I slipped from top set to bottom set in most things because of that.
-         Did that influence your version of Lisa in any way?
Yeah, I was lucky that I had friends who understood the reasons behind my many hospital stays and didn’t think that I had something that was contagious, but I know of a few other sufferers who weren’t so lucky and they were treated the way Lisa was before she moved to Tally’s school.
-         Would you say that Lisa is partly your way of raising awareness about the disease?
In a way, yes, not a lot of people know it even exists and I’d like to raise some kind of awareness, maybe so that in the future kids who get diagnosed at school don’t have to go through the same thing Lisa does.

[Katie/Jess] The book deals with bullying & peer pressure; did you see much of it when you were at school?
That would be a BIG yes, I was bullied, my friends were bullied, in fact most of the kids were bullied and it still happens now, especially to kids who don’t fit in, or have the right brand of trainers or something equally stupid.
-         Do you think things have got better?
I’d like to say it has, but to be honest I think a lot of bullied kids still get ignored, they need to know that if they tell a teacher or something it’s not going to come back and haunt them the way it did when I was at school, it’s sad to think that some kids are bullied so much that they’re driven to suicide.

[Katie/Jess] What do you think you people should do if they’re being bullied/being pressurized in to doing things they shouldn’t?
Peer pressure is a really hard thing to stand up to, the best I can say is that if you’re being bullied, tell someone, don’t just hide away and hope it’ll stop if you do nothing. I know that sometimes telling a teacher or your parents or something can seem like the worst thing to do but it’s the only way to get the problem solved. As far as being pressurized into doing something you shouldn’t goes, it’s hard to say no to your friends but sometimes saying no is the only way to keep your self respect and at the end of the day that’s the only thing that counts.

[Katie/Jess] Before Tally wakes up, she decides to sleep with her boyfriend, do you think that teenagers sexual morals have changed from the time when you were at school?
I think a lot of girls are pressurized into having sex, whether it’s because all their friends have done it or their boyfriend says it’s the only way to prove you love him or something stupid like that. At the end of the day, sex is a big thing and if you think that by sleeping with someone you’ll be ‘cool’, think about having a baby while you’re still at school, cool huh? Didn’t think so. Sadly, sexual morals are still pretty much the same as when I was at school, all the ‘cool’ kids did it. And yeah, a few of those ‘cool’ kids had two years old kids by the time they sat their GCSEs

[Katie/Jess] The book isn’t all-serious though; do you have any favourite, more comedic, parts of the book?
I do like the parts when Tally first wakes up and some of the conversations she has with the doctors. Her whole life has fallen apart and yet she still manages to worry about her image.

[Katie/Jess] What was your favourite part to write/ favourite character?
I’m gonna have to say that I loved writing Tally, I loved the way the character kind of grew as I wrote, I had loads of criteria for her to meet, but still she did surprise me at times, which sounds odd, but will make sense to you if you’ve ever written.
[Katie/Jess] We’ve heard that the book is being released over seas ‘oo-er’ do you think that the book will appeal to American teens in the same way as those from the U.K?
I hope it does, I’ve had a few people from ‘over the pond’ read it, both young and old and they all liked it. I think that just as we like to read books about American teenage life, they like to read about English teenage life…at least I hope they do!

[Katie/Jess] ‘Blackout’ isn’t the only thing you’ve written, is it Joey? Have you ever written anything that now, looking back on it just makes you cringe?
If I listed all of that we’d be here for years, but yeah, a few things spring to mind that I wish I could go back and erase from existence, until then they’ll sit in a box hidden in my flat growing dust.
-         What else can we expect from you in the future?
I have two other books written that will be released in the not too distant future, and I’m working on the sequel to one of them at the moment.
-         When all your other books have been released, what do you plan on writing about next?
Well, one of my finished books and the one I’m working on now are part of a five book series, so I plan to get them finished as well as writing a few books on other things, but to be honest I don’t know what they’ll be able, I just write what the ideas bring me.

[Katie/Jess] Do you have any advice for people like me who like to write and would like to make a job out of it?
Keep at it. I’m serious, I started writing my books when I was nineteen, I’m twenty-three now and I have numerous rejection letters in my storage room at home. For every person that says no, there’s always going to be one that says yes. Don’t be discouraged and keep writing, keep doing what you love.

[Katie/Jess] Finally, We’ve been asked, by a good friend of yours to ask you: ‘ What’s your favourite biscuit?’
Ermm…I don’t really have one, but seeing as I know this good friend of mine, I’m going to say malted milk.

[Goodbyes and thank-you’s- last minute info- repeat release date, title, publishing info etc]


Blackout - Interview

A 23 year old woman who was medically retired at 19 has had her first book published, despite suffering from several life threatening illnesses.

Joey Paul was diagnosed with Type One Brittle Asthma when she was seven years old. The little-known branch of the asthma condition affects only 1500 individuals in the UK, and leaves Joey reliant on a combination of medication. 

“I’ve had doctors who think it’s ‘just asthma’ and won’t let me tell them any different,” she describes. “I’ve had people tell me that ‘asthma isn’t a debilitating disease” But in the case of Brittle Asthmatics, nothing could be further from the truth.

Severe attacks can result in sufferers having to stay in hospital, and even the simplest daily tasks can become a chore. “I have oxygen tanks at home and I use a wheelchair to get around since walking makes me extremely breathless”.

In addition to Brittle Asthma, Joey also suffers from Vocal Chord Dysfunction, Fibromyalgia, and Myalgic Encephalopathy - more commonly known as M.E, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As a result, she was retired from work aged 19.

“In the beginning, writing was more to do with having something to take up time after I'd lost my job,” she described. “I discovered it was something I could do and it didn’t make me any sicker.”

She soon began contacting publishers in an attempt to take her work from her computer and put it into bookshops.  That in itself was no easy feat.

While most would-be authors struggle with simply finding a publisher who’ll print their work, Joey also had the added trouble of finding one that understood how her illnesses affect her work.

“My conditions don’t work well with stress,” the author explained. “I wanted a contract that would allow me to work in my own time.”

“I seriously lost count of all the letters that said ‘nice book, but sorry’…” she explains. It was only her determination that resulted in a deal with Author House earlier this year. “That would be my only piece of advice to anyone who wanted to be published. Don't stop trying, you'll get there eventually.”

Joey’s first book, ‘Blackout’, was released in August this year, and one of its central characters suffers from Brittle Asthma. “I was spending every other week on a hospital ward with a bad attack,” she remembers. “Writing the book was a way for me to let out the frustration of it while doing something I loved.”

Since being published, Joey has taken the opportunity to return to college, with the hope of going on to study for a degree. She has also written three more books, with the hope that her next will be published in the next year. “I’m holding out at the moment because it’ll be the first in a series,” she explains excitedly. “But I’d like to be writing the third one before I submit the first”

Blackout by Joey Paul is available from priced £1.42

Blackout - Interview

Why did you start writing?
In the beginning, it was more to do with something to take up time after I’d lost my job…and to get the idea that had been brewing over an eight year period out of my head and onto paper. I discovered it was something I could do and it not make me any sicker, plus I really enjoyed it which is always good when doing any kind of work.

Why did you choose that theme for the book? Did it just pop into your head or was it (part of it) real experience?
90% of it was already written in my head before I started writing, but there was some of it that ended up the way it did because of experiences I’d had. Lisa’s experiences at her previous school were down to some personal experience, and I discovered that you can only write what you know…and I know a lot about hospitals and medicine, so yes, that obviously has a lot to do with the way I write and what I write about.

Do you recognize yourself in one of the characters?
I think there is a part of me in Tally, as well as Lisa. I was very much like Tally in that I didn’t fit it, but I’m like Lisa in that I didn’t care that I wasn’t part of the elite group.

Did you want to tell a message (moral) with the book?
There wasn’t one when I started writing, but the more I read it, the more I see that there is a moral hidden away. It’s okay to be yourself and if people don’t like it then they aren’t worth it, your real friends will stand by you through thick and thin and “fitting” in isn’t the most important thing in life – I think everyone can relate to that, at some point everyone goes through a stage of not fitting in, even the really popular kids.

What’s your favourite part of Blackout and why?
I’d have to say the ending, because it just came together so well. I’d known how I wanted it to end from the beginning, but I was worried that it wouldn’t make sense or it would be too obvious and such, but it’s not turned out that way and I just love hearing about people’s surprise at the end J

Blackout - Interview

Interviewer is in Black 
Joey is in Purple

Well Ms Paul, Your first novel will enter our shops soon. What can you tell us about it?

It's it... end of. Naaa...seriously...I loved writing it and I love people reading it

Really? Have you had much feedback on it? How do you feel people will react to it?

The first few people who read it loved it, I gave them questionnaires to see what I needed to change, if anything...and there were only positive points about it. I think that any kid who's ever wanted to fit in will like, it has the effects of a little known disease that I suffer from and how people perceive it...I think people will like that insight

That sounds very interesting, so your own life has influenced your work somewhat?

Of course! Any writer who says that the characters they create aren't based in even the tiniest way on an experience they've lived through is either lying or has a very over active imagination. I was never popular at school, I never "fitted in" - Tally doesn't either. The difference was that I didn't *care*, she does.
Plus, the fact that I didn't start writing until I was 19 and was medically retired, that influenced how I wrote and what I wrote about

19? So you haven't been writing very long? It must feel quite an achievement to be getting published.

I started writing when I was 13, but I never really got anywhere...I had a lot of ideas in my head, I just didn't have the time. And no matter how long you've been writing, getting published is the ultimate rush, it's just....indescribable

Well you have my congratulations. Any further releases we can look forward to?

Yep, I have two other books which are finished, and I'm currently working on the sequel to my third there should be more from me in the future

We look forward to it. Thank you very much Ms Paul. Anything you'd like to add? my kitten is starving


Name: Joey Paul
Age: 30
Date of Birth: 6th January 1982
Home Town: Swindon, UK
Siblings: Brother, Daniel (31)
Significant Other: Scott (33)
Pets: Penne (cat) & Spaghetti (cat) 

When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was thirteen, but schoolwork kinda got in the way – doesn’t it always? I wanted to be published since then, but well I never had the time because after school came college and then work and there just weren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. So I stuck to the important things, like paying my rent and putting food on the table. I was retired when I was nineteen and since then, I’ve had all the time in the world to write.
Why were you retired?
*deep sigh* The short answer to that is, I got sick. The longer answer is that I got sicker and the honest answer is, I couldn’t work anymore doing the job I did. Yes, I wish it hadn’t happened, but if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been writing and that is honestly what I love doing.
Is it true you share a sickness with ‘Lisa’ in Blackout?
Yes, it’s where I got the idea from, and where most of my medical knowledge comes from. I suffer from a form of brittle asthma, as well as M.E., Fibromyalgia and vocal cord dysfunction – which sounds like a lot of stuff and also sounds confusing and scary – but honestly, it isn’t. It makes my life more difficult, but it also means I now have the time to write and create characters like Tara and Tally.
Where do you get the ideas for your books?
Now, that’s a hard one because everyone finds inspiration from different places. I had the idea for ‘Blackout’ in my head for a very long time, we’re talking from when I was about fourteen and considering it didn’t get written until 2003, that’s a while! The ‘Dying Thoughts’ series actually came to me whilst shopping in Asda. ‘The Friendship Triangle’ was a book I started writing and then pulled apart and re-wrote several times until it was just the way I wanted it. The ideas form in my head and when they’re ready to go onto paper they get typed or written out as soon as possible.
How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends, purely on how long the idea has been brewing, how much research I need to do, whether or not I feel the need to write it first and then type it up or whether the idea is fresh enough for me to just sit and write it on my laptop or main computer. ‘Blackout’ was written in ten days, whereas ‘The Friendship Triangle’ took me *counts* eight years to finish!
Do you work set hours?
No, I work when I want to, sometimes I work a nine to five day, other times I’ll work for just an afternoon and I have been known to work all day and all night – it depends on how I am and what part of the book I am working on.
Who designs your front covers?
All my illustrations and front covers are drawn, scanned and designed by my best friend, B. She does it all for me and I love every one of them.
Where do you get the character names from?
*laughs* Believe it or not some of them are the names of flowers, gems, places, alcohol, I even named one character after B’s ‘Miffy’ pencil case that was on the desk when I was writing! I usually have the name of the main character in my head before I start writing, but other than that I can get inspiration from anywhere.
How much research do you do?
It depends on what the book is about, things have changed since I was at school so I had to phone round and see how the GCSE choices were being set out and make sure that everything I put was as accurate as I could make it. A lot of the medical information is stuff that I’ve learnt from my own stays in hospital or from doctors and nurses. I think it’s important to put as much research into your book as you can, because people don’t want to read it and know that something just isn’t true.
How does it feel to be finally getting published?
Scary! *laughs* No, seriously, I’m looking forward to people I don’t know having my book on their shelves, I love to hear about other people’s take on each of my books because they very rarely have the same favourite bit and it’s always nice to hear which part they related to the most.