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Author Interview – Paula Boyd

What are some milestones on your journey as a writer? I have had some really cool stuff happen with my books along the way. Hot Enough to Kill was featured in Redbook, Colorado Homes and Living, Romantic Times and a lot of magazines and newspapers and I had personal features in Mountain Living, San Antonio Woman and others. A few years ago, an excerpt from the book was included in the University of Texas Press’ Lone Star Sleuths: An Anthology of Texas Crime Fiction. To be included along with big names such as Kinky Friedman, Mary Willis Walker, Walter Mosley, Joe Lansdale and many others was a pretty fantastic thrill. And, I admit to being a little star struck at the group book signing event. The second book in the series, Dead Man Falls, won a literary award and getting Turkey Ranch Road Rage into print after a long stretch of “life happening” was a big deal for me too. After I revised and re-released the books as ebooks in 2012, Hot Enough to Kill wound up as the number one book in the entire free Kindle store with almost 50,000 downloads in November. And, along the way, I also became a seven-time award-winning author of self-help nonfiction as well. Yeah, milestones!

Is writing a form of personal therapy for you? Yes and no. Because I also write self-help, most people assume that Living the Life You Love by Paula Renaye is my own personal therapy book. It isn’t. Not at all! My personal therapy occurs in my fictional world. I mean really, how cool is it that you can go back and rewrite your story so that it turns out the way you really wanted it to. And, as a special bonus, anybody who ever pissed you off can die a slow and appropriately painful death! That’s pretty therapeutic! Of course, it usually doesn’t work out that way for me. Several of the characters I’ve intended to deliberately and deliciously murder, not to mention metaphorically mutilate, did not die. Once I’d worked through what I need to, it just didn’t matter anymore and the story went however it needed to.

Do you put experiences from your life in your books? I’m working on Killer Moves now, and while I have way fewer axes to grind these days, I am surprised to find that I certainly have an adequate supply t to entertain myself. And, on my recent trip back to Texas, I gathered a few more. I stopped in a little town along the way—yes, I went to the Dairy Queen just like Jolene—to get a mega-unhealthy, grease-coated and gravy-laden chicken basket. I was sitting in a booth, minding my own business, and this man came up to me and spontaneously said some wildly inappropriate things. Now, Jolene would have punched him and Lucille would have shot him. Paula, however, responded quite calmly with only two little words—and they weren’t even bad ones—“That’s inappropriate.” His face turned deep red and he literally ran out the door. Oh, yeah, he’ll be in a book somewhere!

Why do you write? I have to! Some people believe I am possessed. Others are certain I am on some sort of drugs. You know, if only it were that simple. Those problems can be fixed with an exorcism and drug rehab. I’m not fixable—and I’m really glad about that! However, it is a documented fact that when I am writing Jolene, there is a bit of a personality shift—okay, a lot. I’m normally a high energy person, but when Jolene is out and about it is off the charts. And I love it! It is so much fun and I get so excited about how the story is unfolding that I can’t fault people for thinking I’m a little wacko. It probably doesn’t help that every time an exciting scene pops into my head I call them and squeal, “Guess what just happened!” So, to answer the question again…I write because I have to—it feeds my soul. It also gives the voices in my head something to do, which is not nearly as crazy as it sounds. Hey, it works for me!

What inspired you to write your first book? A trip back to Fort Worth, Texas for a funeral. Seriously! My uncle, who was like a second father to me, had been ill for a long time and when he passed, we headed back to Texas. He and I had always joked about being forced to go to Wichita Falls for family gatherings, so making disparaging comments about anything and everything became a bonding activity for us. My mother never totally caught on, but she suspected and gave us the evil eye accordingly. So, the night before we left Colorado to go to his funeral, I had a dream. I know it sounds hokey, but it’s also true. The idea for the book laid itself out in full living color and I had the opening line as well when I woke up. I loaded myself in the car, and thanks to my trusty laptop and an ongoing supply of Benadryl to combat motion sickness, I wrote the first fifty pages of the novel on the trip down. No small trick with three kids and two dogs. Yes, I figure I had a little other worldly help with that!

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Oh, no, not at all, and it says so quite clearly and emphatically in the disclaimer at the front of the book. Now, it is true that I did grow up in Texas, and I might possibly have loosely based the setting on a town similar to Holliday, Texas, but the description fits pretty much any small town, including the fact that there’s a Dairy Queen. One thing is very true. The ugly yellow yearbook fiasco described in Dead Man Falls is just too stupid to not be a fact. And, for the record, Jolene is not me, she just sort of looks, talks and thinks like I have from time to time—totally different thing. Lucille isn’t a mirror of my mother either, she’s more a compilation of several women, but the looks, oh, yeah, that’s her. I still have some of her very large and wildly eccentric clip-on earrings. I did not keep the trademark gold-glitter slippers, but I did buy a pair of blue sequined ones for myself in her honor. Obviously, the murderous events were made up—the local mayor didn’t actually die, but he sure did deserve to. Now, the “You slut, he’s a married man” hate mail thing is disturbingly true. Even more disturbing is that my mother was proud of it. “Isn’t that something!” she said, giggling. “At my age, somebody thinking I’m a slut! I must be doing something right!” …I could go on, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already said too much…

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Book 1–The 1st Jolene Jackson Mystery
REVISED EDITION–July 19, 2012

Kickapoo, Texas, is the last place Jolene Jackson wants to be, but with her 72-year-old mother’s boyfriend murdered and Mother Dearest locked up because of it, she’s got little choice but to head south and deal with it.

Bullets are flying, chicken’s frying and there’s a lunatic on the loose in the mesquites with a shotgun who’s Hot Enough to Kill.
An excerpt is included in The University of Texas Press’ title, Lone Star Sleuths–An Anthology of Texas Crime Fiction

REVIEWS

“Don’t Mess with Texas! You’ll laugh your way from Kickapoo to Redwater Falls and back.” — Linda Huntley Wills, Redbook

“This is a wild ride with thrills, chills and laughs galore. Highly Recommended.” — Editor, I *Love* a Mystery

“…makes for fast, fun summer reading.” — Nancy Cook-Senn, Shawnee Escort
“Anyone who enjoys the works of Janet Evanovich or Joan Hess is going to love Ms. Boyd.” — Toby Bromberg, Romantic Times

“…a terrific mystery, sharply drawn, cleverly plotted, dynamically presented, and pure sleuthing entertainment from first page to last.” — Wisconsin Bookwatch

“The mystery genre has witnessed an abundance of female sleuths, but none quite like Jolene Jackson and her mother, Lucille.” — Argus Observer

5 Stars and 5+ Laughs! Has to be film adapted. Would make a delightful audiobook. ” …a hoot and a half of rollicking good mystery! The best dang novel I’ve read all year!” — Leann Arndt, The Midwest Book Review

“Carl Hiaasen meets Texasville! …a must read for your Sherlock funny bone.” — Judi Clark, Mostly Fiction

“… comedic characters you’ll just love. …a humor you can’t resist. I can’t remember the last time that I read a book as light and refreshing as this.” — Pamela Stone, My Shelf

“This first entry of an apparent series will leave readers loudly laughing at the antics of Jolene and her mother. Hot Enough to Kill is a tongue-in-cheek look at relationships and amatuer sleuthing. Still, the mystery has a character of its own that adds to a wonderful plot. If this tale is any example, Paula Boyd has a long running series that will provide much pleasure to fans.” — Harriet Klausner

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery & Thriller / Women Sleuth

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Paula Boyd on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://paulaboyd.com/

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