Interview – Paulette Oakes, author of Love Stinks
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Paulette Oakes, author of Love Stinks. Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, Paulette.
PO: Thank you so much! I’m very happy to be a part of the team.
SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
PO: I’ll do my best! I’m a 30-something woman from Kentucky with a husband, three girls, two Persian cats, and a German Boxer. My life is never boring or without something going on whether it be one of my two jobs, reading bedtime stories, traveling to visit family, playing Yahtzee with my husband, or catching the latest superhero movie at the cinema. I love to spend time with my family and friends, but I cherish those very rare moments of alone time that happen along once in a blue moon. During those times, I read voraciously, write passionately, or sleep noisily.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
PO: I have never heard of this phrase “perfect writing conditions.” If I waited for that to happen, I would have never completed my first book. Being a full-time working mother, my opportunities to write are basically stolen moments after bedtime, during my lunch hour, and any other slice of time when I can sneak in a few hundred words here and there. I try to write as much as I can, but it has to follow my other priorities such as making dinner and keeping the lights on.
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
PO: I’ve wanted to be a published author from the time I was 12 years old. It has been my life’s ambition to write since I was old enough to string together my first story. I remember winning a Creative Writing competition with the school’s academic team when I was in 7th grade, and the feeling I got when I won that ribbon made me fall in love with story-telling.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have found yourself writing in the style/genres that you do?
PO: I have been reading romance novels since I was too young to be doing so. I cut my teeth on Johanna Lindsey and Catherine Coulter and I fell in love with falling in love. Then, in the past 15 years, the rise in popularity of paranormal books captured my interest and never let go. If I can include the elements of passion, comedy, action, and tension in my books with interesting characters, then I will be happy.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us all about your new release Love Stinks?
PO: Love Stinks is a funny romantic comedy with realistic characters that deal with everyday situations. I actually started writing this book even before my last release, Fool That I Am. Because of that, readers may see a few parallels in plot, but otherwise, they couldn’t be more different in tone and style.
SPS: How would you best describe it? Chick-Lit with a touch of Comedy?
PO: I would definitely call it a “Chick-Lit” novel or contemporary romance, but I like to think it has more than just a touch of comedy. I have a great appreciation for humor and dry wit, so I tried to make that a large part of the main character’s personality. The book takes place in present time and mentions a lot of pop culture references, so most people will be able to pick up the allusions.
SPS: What can you tell us about Robin Wagner? And do we experience her love story in 1st or 3rd person?
PO: Robin Wagner is a cynical divorcee that survived a bad marriage to the wrong man. At the age of 30, she has found herself in debt, childless, and living with only her roommate, a Persian cat named John Wayne. The story is solidly from 1st person perspective where you get a real-time view of Robin’s thoughts and feelings. By the end of the book, you will think of her as your friend.
SPS: Who else would a reader expect to meet in this the first book of a new trilogy?
PO: Robin’s story wouldn’t be complete without her two best friends, Callie Galloway and Leyla Catalano. You also get to meet Robin’s immediate family including her over-involved mother, her Type-A sister, and her nieces and nephew. And it wouldn’t be a romance without her love interest, Luke Everman, who is an old classmate with new scars courtesy of his service in the military.
SPS: Do you already have the future books mapped out? Will it be Robin again, or a different protagonist?
PO: Yes, as much as I ever map anything out. I’m already hard at work on the next novel, Love Hurts, which will feature her best friend Callie Galloway. The final book in the trilogy will be Leyla’s story, which is tentatively titled Love Bites. Each of the three books will be in 1st person from the heroine’s perspective.
SPS: Prior to this latest release was romance novel Fool That I Am. What can you tell us about it?
PO: Fool That I Am was actually a book that blossomed from the beginnings of Love Stinks. I wanted to try my hand at writing a romance novel, but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to write in the voice of Robin. I also wanted to try my hand at writing in 3rd person as a narrator since I had only tried 1st person up until that point. It was such an easy book to write and it flowed so easily that it took me by surprise. I wish the rest of them had happened like that!
SPS: Bille Jean Hardesty has certainly had a hard time of it in the love stakes. Do you feel it’s important in Romance novels for the protagonist to have experienced some adversity?
PO: Of course! I really believe that you don’t know what someone is made of until you try them by fire. Love is a difficult, and usually painful, emotion. People make mistakes and sometimes they make the wrong choices. I feel like sometimes you need to get it wrong once or twice before you can figure out who is the right one.
SPS: She’s now got some tough choices to make. Where did you draw inspiration from for the situation she finds herself in??
PO: I think every author draws inspiration from their real life. I’ve been a struggling single mother, so it was only natural for me to write about that. However, I have never been on the stage in front of people to sing except for the occasional karaoke night.
SPS: Who are the main love interests, and how do they differ?
PO: Sam Garrett is her main love interest. The unfortunate situation she finds herself in is that he is also her ex-husband’s best friend. He has remained her friend, despite the divorce, and continues to help her and her kids. The problem is that he can’t seem to cross that moral line and neither of them are brave enough to tell the other how they really feel. Daniel Petrosky, the other love interest, is the quintessential tall, dark, and rich businessman that appears out of nowhere with an offer she can’t refuse. He’s almost too good to be true, but he really is that good.
SPS: Do you see yourself revisiting Billie again in the future, or has her story been told in its entirety?
PO: I had never really intended to write any more about Billie, but fans of the book will enjoy a brief sighting of her in Love Stinks. I’ve had a few reviewers ask for sequels, but I just feel like she’s already had her “happily ever after.” I wouldn’t count out Daniel Petrosky from showing up again sometime, though.
SPS: What kind of responses have you received from people who have read your work?
PO: The overwhelming majority of reviews I’ve received have been really positive, and I’m not just counting the ones from my family and friends! It’s been really amazing to read what people think of my books, and I hope I can continue to entertain them for years to come.
SPS: Now that Love Stinks is released, what’s next on the self-publishing horizon for Paulette Oakes?
PO: I’m still working on the next book in the paranormal Eden Daire series, Getting Eden. That book is about 50% finished, but I keep getting distracted by my Love Me Right series. I would like to think that it will be next, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Love Hurts will beat it to the punch.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
PO: I’ll be honest and say that I had hoped for the traditional publishing deal, but I’m so happy with where I am in the indie field. It has been an amazing experience!
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
PO: At first, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I quickly learned the ropes and how it all worked. I absolutely love the freedom of being a self-pub author where I am the boss of my own schedule, plot, and timeline. This route to publishing has allowed me the freedom of creativity to tell stories the way I want to with the characters and language I prefer.
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
PO: I would say that you should just start writing. There doesn’t have to be a process or a guide or the right time. All you have to do is tell the story in your mind. You can always go back and rewrite and edit to make it better. If you are going into this for the money, you will likely be disappointed. Write because you love to do so, not because you think it will help you pay off your mortgage. As Henry Miller said, “Writing is its own reward.”
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
PO: No matter how busy I get, I will always be reading something! I try to read as many indie authors as I can, but I also have recently enjoyed books by Eve Langlais, Delphine Dryden, and Molly Harper. My hands down favourite author, though, doesn’t need my help to spread the word. Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden Files is the best series going and only gets better with each book.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today Paulette, and all the best for the future.
PO: Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to speak with you and your readers. You guys rock!
SPS: For more information on Paulette and her work, please do visit her Showcase Author page here.