It’s a real pleasure today to be joined by author Pauline Barclay. Pauline has a number of wonderful looking books to her name – the latest, The Wendy House, was published in September 2016, and is already an indieBRAG award winner. In addition to her writing, Pauline is behind the Chill with a Book awards for indie authors – and I’m always so delighted to see books and authors I’ve featured here receiving wider recognition through these fantastic awards. Let’s meet Pauline…
Hello Pauline, and welcome to Being Anne – would you like to introduce yourself?
Thank you Anne for having me here on your wonderful Blog, I’ve brought a warm top as the weather is a little cooler here than home! I haven’t always lived where the sun shines 99% of the year, many years ago, in fact, a lot of years ago, I was born in Bradford, Yorkshire. When I was fourteen my parents moved to Suffolk, years later after I married, Clive and I moved to Surrey, then Holland. Today we live on one of the beautiful volcanic islands of the Canary Isles with our two rescue doggies.
I have six books published, plus a 20 minute short festive story. I am now busy working on book seven, which has a working title of The Man I Once Was. When not writing I love to run, walk, cook, read, take lots of photographs, play around with my Photoshop and spend time with my family and friends.
Your name is now so linked with the Chill with a Book awards (more later!), that there’s a danger of people overlooking your own books. Which of your six would you consider an award contender?
Oh my goodness, I hope not! As for my six published books, I’d like to think they all are award contenders, but that would be very greedy and presumptuous. *Laugh* Though, I can say that three of my books have received Awards. The Wendy House and Sometimes it Happens… have both been honoured with an indieBRAG Award.
Tell me more about your writing. I’m never a fan of the word “genre” but would all your books appeal to the same readers?
My passion is to write about events that happen in life and change everything for those involved as well as those caught up in the maelstrom. My books are emotional and moving, and I want my characters to sit at your side, steal your attention and sweep you up in their story. Stories that will bring tears to your eyes, have you laughing out loud and sometimes, what they share with you, will stay in your hearts for a very long time. Maybe because the characters seem so real that readers come back for more. So far I have found that once a reader reads one of my books they go on to read all of them.
And how are things going with writing number seven?
I’d like to say, The Man I Once Was is cracking along and the end is in sight, but sadly that is not quite the case. I have the full story in my head and have written over half, but I will get there, Martin Culford, the main character, is insistent that I tell his story.
Like you, I have a background in corporate communications – how difficult did you find the transition to fiction?
Not too difficult, though maybe I wrote fiction back then! (Mmm – can’t argue with that, Pauline!) Seriously, there are rules and ways to write fiction, which is different to corporate writing, and for this I had amazing help from Helen Hollick who was a wonderful mentor and had the patience of a saint and my amazing editor, Jo Field.
And had you always wanted to write fiction? And when you decided to do so, did you simply sit at your keyboard and write?
From an early age I have written, poems, short stories and a couple of full length stories. Only a couple of short stories ever saw the light of day, the rest are archived somewhere never ever to be seen again. Of course in the early days it was pen and paper before I had my first computer. Now though, I do everything on my laptop, my handwriting is appalling and even I can’t read it half the time!
Would you call yourself a full-time writer, or are you fitting your writing around a busy life?
Writing my earlier books I spent most of my days writing, but being an Indie author you have to divide your time between promoting and writing, and of course for all authors, have a life. Some days life wins and other days writing wins. Having said this there are not many days when I am not writing or plotting, even when I go out running I take my characters with me. At the end of the day, I like to see myself as an author when asked what do I do.
I notice you often mention your degree with the Open University – unlike those of us who drifted down the degree path from school. What made you return to studying? How difficult did you find it?
I do mention the Open University often because I believe it is an amazing institution and I am very proud to be a graduate from there. After leaving school I went to college, but it was in my late twenties when I realised a degree was important. I had a full time job which I loved, but I wanted more. A degree at the time would help and the only way I could achieve a degree was to enrol with the O.U. It was tough and life outside the office revolved around studying, but six years later I had earnt a BA Honours degree.
I first noticed the Chill with a Book awards because so many of my personal favourites were receiving awards. Tell me where the idea first came from.
One day I found myself reading an article about awards for authors and it seemed many of these excluded Indie authors so I decided to develop an award for Indie authors. Originally authors with small Indie publishers were considered on an individual basis, but as the interest grew from Indie authors, I needed to restrict submissions to Indie authors due to the increase in books being added to the Award programme.
The Awards are international with awardees from UK, Europe, USA and Australia. I am passionate about helping good Indie authors and this is one way of discovering great authors and promoting great books.
Who are your readers? And if anyone wanted to join your panel, how could they do so?
Chill readers are people who love to read, they are not bloggers or reviewers their passion is to read, hence why the Award is a Readers’ Award. Chill readers are scattered over Europe, UK and USA. Each book accepted into the Award programme is read by an equal number of readers and evaluated against a five point criteria. If anyone would like to become a Chill Award reader please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or take a look at the Readers Page on Chill’s web site
So tell me how books are put forward for consideration…
Usually Indie authors email me with an interest to submit their book(s). Before a book is considered for evaluation in the Award programme a sample of the book is read to assess its quality and content. Subject to this first stage a book is accepted or rejected.
What’s the failure rate like?
So far this has been low and this is due, in main, to the sample filter at the initial submission stage. Within the Award programme, the decision on a book receiving a Chill Award is determined from the overall evaluations from the book’s readers. Authors can find out more about the Awards on Chill’s web site.
Now, I know you’re a voracious reader too. Rather than asking you about some recent favourites (we could be here all day…) let me ask you which authors you’d most like your own writing to be compared with…
Interestingly, my editor and a number of readers have mentioned that my books remind them of Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher. I have read all of Ms Binchy’s and Ms Pilcher’s books and loved everyone. The very thought that my stories and writing can even be compared to these great authors makes me feel very honoured.
And what question haven’t I asked you that you’d really like to answer?
I think you have asked everything. Thank you so much for this, I have loved being here. Maybe you would come and sit round my pool and talk about you, your love of books and helping authors, and a little about your career in communications. I’ll make sure the bubbly is chilling.
Thank you Pauline – and I hope our poolside chat might happen one day!
On social media Pauline loves to chat and connect with readers, authors, Bloggers and lovely people, and can be found at…