Thursday 28 April 2016

Random Booktube - The Story Behind #JoWriMoGo - April 2016



APRIL 2016

From Joey's Instagram

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Photo of Joey Paul sat up in bed smiling. She is a white woman, with a chubby face and wire-rimmed glasses. She has a short bob of brown hair and is wearing a grey tank top, though only the straps are visible in the photo. 
Caption reads: "After a month of lots of work and a day of writing it's nice to relax in bed with my tablet and chat with a friend. Another chapter to write tomorrow and a new record this month for words, pages, and chapters!"]

Inside The Author: Why The Romance Genre?


The only one of my books that has been published so far that fits into the romance genre has been WAITING ON YOU. As an adult reader, I do admit to having a bit of a guilty pleasure for romance novels, or what some people call "chick lit". I like to read books by authors such as Jill Mansell or Sophie Kinsella, who have written excellent stories about characters that you can relate to falling in love and living somewhat happily ever after. While there are many other writers in the young adult genre who do the same, such as as John Green and his excellent book "THE FAULT IN OUR STARS", I wanted to challenge myself to write my own romance novel.

So I did, and WAITING ON YOU was the result. I didn't want it to be a generic boy meets girl, girl falls in love, boy falls in love too, boy and girl live happily ever after romance. While it does have some of that in there, it's not the whole story. I wanted to look at two different ends of the spectrum. On one end, there's a girl from a poor family, who has dealt with some form of verbal, emotional and physical abuse pretty much her whole life. She is looking for, and waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for her fairytale ending.

On the other side of the scale there is Zack, who has a rather large, but very loving family. He has a lot of responsibility placed on his shoulders at the young age of sixteen and although his parents care and have provided him and his siblings with all they should need in life, there is the fact that they are rarely home when the children are awake. However, Zack just sees it as normal life because he's never really known much different through his teenage years.

I also wanted to include some aspect of a long distance relationship, as it's something that I have experienced personally, both in a positive sense and a negative one. It's a sign of the times we live in that people can fall in love with someone they have never met in person. There is technology such as Skype, online chat rooms, texting apps and much more that allows people from one country to communicate with someone else who may be around the world from them. While I know of people who have been in successful long distance relationships that began as online only, I also know others who have had a difficult time and a less than positive ending. By no means is the story supposed to comment on the validity of those relationships. As with many things, your mileage may vary.

What I did want when I wrote WAITING ON YOU in 2007 was to show how much more open the world was to people from other countries meeting and cultivating relationships either as friends or romantically. I wanted to show that it was possible for people to fall in love and find, as Zack and Angelina did, that distance can be a factor with being with the person you love. I wanted to tell their story in their own words and for that, I needed to write something in the romance genre. I won't pretend that it was plain sailing for me because usually I am strictly a crime and mystery genre person, with the occasional dabble in paranormal and supernatural. At times I found that it was an uphill struggle, whereas at other times it worked for me and I did enjoy the challenge

As for whether I will ever dip my toes into this genre's sandbox again, I don't know. I am getting close to writing another book that crosses all three genres, though the romance aspect is more subtle and could be considered a minor plot point. As I plan to stick with writing in the Young Adult genre, it's highly likely that there will be more romance novels from me. What they will be, I have no idea. I guess you'll have to wait to find out!

Follow Joey here on her blog, on Facebook, or Tumblr to be sure to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Monday 25 April 2016

Cover Reveal: Destination: Unknown

[image description: book cover art, the background is paving stones with tufts of grass through the edges of the brown dark stones. In the middle of the picture there is an orange and white ticket that reads:Destination: Unknown. At the bottom left of the ticket is the Railway sign and on the bottom right are small text which reads : SINGLE 2010. Just below the first ticket is a second one, a beige-brown coloured ticket that has across the centre: Joey Paul. On both sides of the ticket is: 1910. The top of the ticket has “2nd - Single” on it.]

Friday 22 April 2016

Inside The Author: Why The Crime & Mystery Genre?


When I decided to write for the young adult genre, I also made a decision to write books with crime plots. From a young age I liked reading and I adored following along with the characters and going down the paths their journey took me. I was a fan of Enid Blyton's Famous Five books, as well as the Secret Seven and her other works. I was never really focused on one particular genre. However, as I grew older, my tastes changed and I found that I loved reading a good mystery. As it turned out, I also loved writing them.

Whilst not all of my books can be placed firmly in crime and mystery, the majority of them have some aspect of it within their plots. I have delved into other genres, and enjoyed doing so, but for me, my heart and inspiration firmly stays within the job of thinking up ways to kill people and to almost get away doing so. I have a sign on my office door that states that anyone who annoys me may get put into a book and murdered in the most gruesome of ways, much to the chagrin of my mother! I suppose I have always been someone who enjoyed a good puzzle and while as previously stated, although I never really stuck to one genre when reading as a child and teen, I did enjoy working things out, finding out where this part went and what it meant in regards to the whole picture.

That's what I do now when I'm writing. I start with the end in some ways and work my way back to find out how they got there. I like to leave clues for my readers and sometimes it becomes obvious to them 'whodunnit', other times it isn't. I have always enjoyed, when reading a good crime novel, the bit where you are enlightened on the killer and their motives. I love the back-story and I love it when after I'd read the book I can find the clues that pointed to the bad guy all along. I got my first taste of doing the same for my readers when I wrote BLACKOUT and it's something that has stayed with me ever since.

I also like to have a different spin on each book as to why that character is the one who's solving the crime. With BLACKOUT, it was because Tally was the victim, with LYNNE & HOPE, it was Hope trying to clear her sister's name and with the DYING THOUGHTS series, it's because Tara has a gift that gives her visions. While it is rare in the real world for teenagers to be solving crimes, it's always nice to be able to pop over to the fictional world where there are many doing just that. You only have to look at other great writers such as Enid Blyton, who had the Famous Five solving all sorts of crimes, as well as Harlan Coben with his Mickey Bolitar books, and not forgetting Kathy Reichs with Tory Brennan and the rest of her pack. They all have written excellent spins on how teens and young adults can be involved in catching the killers or other criminals and they're wildly popular.

I don't write crime and mystery because I think it will make me rich, I write crime novels because I enjoy it, I love making puzzles and solving them. I love thinking up new and interesting cases for Tara to solve and different ways for my other characters to get involved. Sometimes they work for the police, and other times they feel that they are the only ones capable of doing so before more people get hurt. I love what I do and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Follow Joey here on her blog, on Facebook, or Tumblr to be sure to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

From Joey's Instagram

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A faded piece of cream paper with a hand in the right hand corner holding a silver and black fountain pen. The words are black and read: "I don't know how my story with end, but nowhere in the text with it ever read...I gave up."]

Thursday 14 April 2016

Inside The Author: Why Young Adult?


This is a question that a lot of people asked me in the beginning. In my opinion, it's one of the hardest genres to write for, and at the same time, it's one of the easiest. However, the answer is simple. I was nineteen when I first seriously put pen to paper and called myself a writer. I was writing young adult books because I was a young adult and I had yet to experience "grown up life". Some people who have read my works always ask me why I usually write from the perspective of a teenage girl, although there are some exceptions to that rule, and WAITING ON YOU is one of them. The answer to the question though, is that I remember what it was like to be fifteen or sixteen, about to sit your exams and wondering what on earth you were going to do next. I remember the feelings of "Yay, school is FINALLY over!" alongside the feelings of "what if I failed my exams?!" I remember growing up, living with my mum after my parents had divorced, with my small circle of friends, all of us thinking that once school ended, we would live out in the world and be awesome. And we did, and we were, we still are. My point is that teenage girls go through so many changes, and have so many things to deal with. Bullying, school, exams, making decisions that people tell you will affect the rest of your life, when it really won't matter when you get older. I write for young adults, for teenage girls because I want them to be able to read fiction, to escape into it and know that they are not alone. I want them to know that one day they'll be grown up, that they will get through this, and that life will go on and they will be awesome too. I felt then and I still do now, that I knew what it was like to be a young adult.

One of the good things about writing YA fiction, is that as an age group, they are more open to the supernatural, paranormal and fantasy plot lines. They are willing to use their imagination to conjurer up images of what you're telling them. The same, of course, can be said about any age group, but I've always found that young adults are more open to reading about going back in time, or having visions. I know that when I was a teenager, I wanted books that were grown up, but not too grown up and I find that as a writer, I want to write those books.

During my teen years I went through a lot of things that many other teenagers go through, and although now in the age of the internet, it's possible to find others going through the same things, sometimes finding that storyline in a book and seeing someone else go through it and come out on top can help. I wanted to be able to reach the next generation of readers and writers and to do that I chose to write YA books. Writing for young adults is hard, but to me, writing for adults seemed impossible. Even as I got older, I wanted to stay dabbling in the sandbox that I had built for myself. My characters were happy to stay as teens for as long as I wrote about them and I was happy to keep playing with them. I wanted to be able to show my readers that even though life sometimes can be hard, it can be difficult and it can down right suck, you do get older and life changes.

When I think about the circle of people I called my friends when I was at school and I look at the people surrounding me now who are my friends, I can see the big differences in those two groups. Only two people still in my life went to school with me and were part of my friendship group. I was not popular, I was not the "queen bee" of the school. I was picked last for sports and I was bullied. By writing YA fiction, I am able to write about both characters who are like me in some ways and characters who are not. I am able to write about things that happen to teenage girls that some people in the world are not aware of because they have never been a teenage girl. At the same time, I am able to explore worlds and situations that I wouldn't be able to explore if all my characters were adults and had real life jobs and children of their own. It gives me more space to create, whilst also putting in between the words encouragement for those teens who are experiencing what I write about.

Of course, not everything I write about is possible, but imaginations are a powerful thing and like other YA writers, I choose to explore both the possible and the impossible. I want to show young adults that there is a whole world out there for them to grab hold of and live in. While not every subject I deal with is pleasant, they can be real situations for someone and I want them to know that they are not alone. I want them to be able to relate to my work and to realise that there are other people like them. I write young adult books because I want to, I also write them because I enjoy engaging with the readers, I enjoy writing for them and seeing their reactions and I feel that I can give something positive to them. I write young adult fiction for young adults and I get to enjoy myself in the process. Who can ask for a better job than that?

Follow Joey here on her blog, on Facebook, or Tumblr to be sure to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Thursday 7 April 2016

Inside The Author: How I Started Writing


When I was five years old, I told my parents that I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up, a paediatrician, to be exact. I was happy with my choice right through school and into college. It kept me focused and I got good marks on my exams because I knew where I was going in life. At the age of thirteen, I started to write stories and I kept on dabbling in that until I went to college. I was almost seventeen when I dropped out of college and entered the job market. My reasoning was thus: I had changed my mind about going to university. A-levels were harder than I thought. I had struggled with college and did not feel the same drive that had kept me going through my schooling years. Call it what you will, I was not going to be a doctor.

So what was I going to do? I was sixteen and worked a number of jobs, some of which could have become careers, but none I felt were jobs that I was passionate about. I wanted to get up in the morning and *want* to go to work! Ha! Who does that? Anyway, in my last job, I thought I had finally found something I was good at, something I could excel at and be happy with. But it would seem that life had other plans for me.

I was nineteen when I had to stay off work with what the doctors called "flu". Three months later and I'm finally back at work, but I still don't feel better, I don't feel right. So, my employer sent me to be assessed by a doctor in Occupational Health because they could see that I was just as sick as I had been before I'd come back, if not sicker. Ten days later and I was out of a job. I had been retired on medical grounds. I would collect my meagre pension in one go (mostly because I'd only been paying into it for nine months) and would probably never work a conventional job again.

Now, after three months off sick, I was already bored out of my mind. I was sick yes, but there are only so many reruns of TV shows and day time TV than you can watch before you're desperate for something to do. ANYTHING to do. Remember those stories I wrote at thirteen? Well, I had at one point started going back and tearing them apart, so I decided that since I had all this time on my hands, I would finish what I had started.

Three months later and I had my first book - THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE - and once that was done I decided that I would take an idea I'd had back then and write it out, because as it turned out I really enjoyed writing. I was passionate about it. Ten days after that, I had another book finished - BLACKOUT - and so a career was born.

I started the DYING THOUGHTS series and had ideas for other books and I kept writing. Although my days were filled with sickness and fatigue, they were also filled with imagination and wonder. I created people, characters, places, plot lines and I got lost in them. As my health grew worse, I took solace in the one thing I could still do. I could write! I went from handwriting to typing as the Fibromyalgia took the ability to hold a pen without pain from me, from walking unaided to a wheelchair. I took my work with me, to doctor appointments, tests, hospital stays. They all came too and I created at 2am when the cramps were bad, when I couldn't breathe, or just when I woke up with an idea that needed to be written. It was as if all of what had happened in my life, all my plans that had been undone had because I was supposed to be a writer. This was what I was meant to do with my life.

So, now I write. I wake up in the morning and I'm happy with my choice in career. I still struggle with my chronic conditions and I still find that some days I can't find the energy to get anything written, but I do look forward to writing. It keeps me smiling, it fills me with such joy and the fact that as I write this we are approaching the release of my seventh book makes me stand back and think how far I have come from the days where I sat at a table with a pen and rewrote the first lines of THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE. It's a privilege to be able to share my stories with all of you, and something I plan to continue to do. I may not have become the doctor that I planned to be, but I've certainly become the writer I  wanted to be.

Follow Joey here on her blog, on Facebook, or Tumblr to be sure to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.