Renowned author, Paullina Simons is visiting The Hills Shire as part of her Australian tour this August.
The Russian-born writer will discuss her new books, as well as meet fans at the Pioneer Theatre on Monday, August 5.
Ahead of her appearance, FOCUS spoke with the famed author of The Bronze Horseman and Tully about her love of writing, where she draws inspiration for her novels and about her next project.
(Q) How did you get involved in writing novels?
I had always wanted to be a novelist, ever since I was a small girl growing up in Russia. I wrote my first “novel” when I was 12 years old and barely spoke English. It was 78 handwritten pages. It was a cross between Star Trek, the Great Gatsby and Rosemary’s Baby. My actual first novel, I wrote when I had moved back to the States after living in England for many years. I was laid off from my job, and instead of finding new work, I spent two years writing Tully. I haven’t looked back since.
(Q) Where do you draw inspiration for your stories?
Anywhere and everywhere. Life, books, movies and that mysterious place you can’t explain. Sometimes an image or a character springs into my mind’s eye. Sometimes a whole story appears to me all at once, as it did with the End of Forever books.
(Q) What do you hope audiences take home from your Pioneer Theatre talk?
A strong desire to run out and buy and read each and every one of my novels…
If they are already my devoted readers, I hope they’ll get fresh insight into a story they enjoyed. If they are new to my work, I hope they get a sense of what to expect and excitement to travel on a journey with me.
(Q) What was it like to return to Russia to do research for your novel?
It was unforgettable and heartbreaking. I hadn’t been back in 25 years. I returned with my father, who had struggled so hard to get us out and give us a new life. I wrote a non-fiction book about the experience called Six Days in Leningrad.
(Q) Who are your favourite authors?
Truman Capote, Nora Ephron, John Steinbeck, early Stephen King and Ira Levin.
(Q) What advice do you have for up-and-coming writers?
Before anything else, write something you are passionate about. Write something that gets into your heart. And don’t get discouraged by the weaknesses in your first drafts. Keep working. Keep revising. Keep the faith. You’ll get there.
(Q) If you get stuck in a writer’s block, what do you do?
I don’t get blocked often. When I do it’s because I’m resisting something about the story, or I’m stuck on a specific problem. The only way out is to work through it. That’s usually easier said than done, but there is no other way. I did get a bit stuck on the End of Forever books because I was resisting letting the story grow to its natural size. I kept pretending I could tell a Reader’s Digest version and pack the same emotional wallop. The breakthrough came when I understood that I had to tell it in full and not worry about the number of pages or how long it would take. In the end, I spent five years in Julian and Josephine’s world.
(Q) What’s next for you?
I have two things I’m working on at the moment. One is a mystery set in south Florida involving two characters named Spencer and Lily and a femme fatale, and one is a story that returns to the world of The Bronze Horseman.
(Q) Anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you to everyone for coming to see me and for reading in general and my books in particular.
Tickets cost: $15pp | bookings essential.